Get It Together
It’s clear to me that the City of Oakland is not doing its due diligence to take care of its citizens, and in this case was egregious in their misconduct. It’s clear that a tent with a person and their belongings inside isn’t garbage.
What I have seen is that most encampment residents work hard to out all the garbage in one place, and that the city has not been collecting garbage from the camps. Imagine if the city didn’t pick up your household waste for weeks ... it’s an unimaginable nightmare that the city has seen before during strikes.
Get it together, Oakland. Treat residents kindly and fairly and utilize the city services to help rather than harm.
I’m intrigued by the popularity of “tent city.” I recognize that they’re necessary, but they are also disgusting and a public health crisis waiting to happen.
Let’s see: 160 cubic yards (to use the smallest figure quoted). What can that mean? It could mean a debris field about 3 feet deep, 3 feet wide, and 18 feet long. That’s a hell of a lot of trash accumulated in one location! I doubt it was really that compact, but we can set that aside for now.
What are the implications of this? Hmm ... home for vermin? (rats, mice, roaches and any other disease ridden creepy crawlies we can think of in an urban environment). Sound like anything you want anyone living around? Not me.
How about just simple paper and other burnable junk. Had some fires that wiped out a tent city recently, didn’t we? People hurt? Wonder how that happened, huh?
As to the use of industrial equipment to clear it. How many back-breaking human (expensive) man hours would it take to clean it otherwise? Yeah, the equipment operators need to be a lot more careful but it’s disingenuous to paint this as anything but what needs to be done.
Since all the “stuff” didn’t accumulate itself, it’s equally clear the inhabitants aren’t doing much to clear it themselves.
I don’t have a good solution, but more care needs to be taken on the part of all parties.
“Amid Calls to ‘Defund’ Oakland Police, City Settles $989,000 Claim of Sexually Exploited Teen ‘Celeste Guap’” by Darwin BondGraham, Seven Days, May 31:
Corrupt Police Department
This has nothing with OPD’s “lack of diversity” and everything to do with a corrupt police department and even more corrupt mayor.
Police Officers Deserve Punishment
You want to build trust between the community and the police department, punish officers just the way you punish civilians. No cover ups, no administrative leaves, no paid leaves, no slap on the wrist and back to work. The Catholic Church hierarchy tried the same game hiding the crimes of its priests. In the end, that ploy didn’t work.
Oakland City Council needs to double down on a fully funded police commission so that there is effective oversight with teeth! We voted for Measure LL to stop this from happening.
“Oakland’s Fire Inspection Fees Set to Double” by Darwin BondGraham, Seven Days, May 30:
Oakland’s Poor Record of Safety Inspections
This observation is the accurate. The sad truth is that there never was an adequate infusion of funds from the general fund to offset these monies in the operating budget. It is simple math: Positions were cut and eventually we had a Ghost Ship fire. Many jurisdictions charge for competent complete inspections. Since Oakland has a poor record of doing safety inspections, we are all at risk.
So, we have paid fees annually and some years they get picky, while others they do a drive by. Are they now going to do actual inspections on buildings fairly, even when people don’t come to the door as happened at Ghost Ship? How many years since they had a full inside viewing?
“A New Oakland A’s Ballpark: Our Writer Looks At The Good, The Bad, And The Unknown Of Three Rumored Sites” by Scott Morris, News, May 31:
Build It Downtown
Having visited all but five Major League Baseball cities, I cannot see why a downtown site for the new A’s stadium cannot be decided upon. Actually, the Fox Theater area would be best — new hotels, restaurants, cafes and sports bars would follow, as Denver, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, and even San Francisco have demonstrated. However, if the Laney College location is picked, that would suffice — it has worked before as that exact location housed Frank Youell Field for the Oakland Raiders (1962-65), with 21,000 fans per game attending. And that was before BART was even in the picture. Let us get the decision confirmed and underway sooner rather than later.
Coliseum Only Option
Scott Morris’ article about the potential locations for a new A’s stadium contained a glaring error, in comparing public transit to and from the potential Howard Terminal location to that of the San Francisco Giants ballpark: Giants fans do not walk a mile from the nearest BART station to get to the ballpark, they simply transfer from BART to a MUNI train in the same station, the latter letting them off right in front of the park.
People will not walk a mile from BART to get to the Howard Terminal location; they will drive to A’s games if a ballpark is built there.
Of the three potential new stadium locations in the article, the Coliseum location is the only one that would provide adequate public transit to and from A’s games. If you truly care about environmental issues such as global warming and air pollution, you should advocate getting people out of cars and onto public transit. Making it seem as if the other locations would be easily accessible by public transit, when in fact they are not, just advocates the continuation of the bad environmental behavior of driving everywhere.
In last week’s cover story (“Stomping Grounds” by Scott Morris, May 31), we incorrectly reported that the Oakland Athletics made threats to move to Montreal and San Antonio. In fact, it was an Oakland elected official that made overtures to the possibility of the A’s leaving for those cities.