"We have left undone those things which we ought to have done" - Protestant Episcopal Church 1928 U.S. Book of Common Prayer


Oakland Mayor Schaaf Gets OK To Put Shed Camp Outside Kaiser Auditorium

Published by the San Francisco Chronicle September 19, 2018

Residents of a homeless encampment near the Kaiser Convention Center begin to remove their belongings in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. City officials are evicting the campers and plan to build sheds on the site for temporary housing.

By Phil Matier & Andrew Ross

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf just barely won approval Monday night for her Tuff Shed village near Lake Merritt.

Five Oakland City Council members — Noel Gallo, Dan Kalb, Larry Reid, Annie Campbell Washington and Abel Guillen — voted yes, while Desley Brooks and Lynette Gibson McElhaney were absent, and Rebecca Kaplan abstained.

Kaplan said the mayor’s strategy to set up 20 of the prefab sheds in the parking lot of the boarded-up Kaiser Convention Center failed to include plans for sanctioned homeless RV parking and the use of church parking lots for temporary housing.

“Instead, they brought up a proposal to help a tiny fraction of the people” at a higher cost, she said.

Residents Report Being Evicted From Tuff Shed Camp

The city’s pilot program to help address the homelessness crisis has also led to some evictions, and former residents say they are more vulnerable than ever.

Published by the East Bay Express September 18, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 19, 2018

A miniature basketball hoop is currently Michael London’s only possession. 

He has been carrying it with him for years, but holding onto it with greater intensity over the last few days. Sitting in the waiting room of the Homeless Action Center last Wednesday, London ran his fingers up and down the contours of the toy net, anxiously waiting to hear whether he would be able to return to his home and his possessions. 

“I never shoulda moved into those sheds,” he said. “I lost everything I had, and even though it wasn’t much, now it’s gone”

In May, London was one of 40 people to move into the Northgate Avenue Tuff Shed camp, a pilot program by the City of Oakland to provide temporary shelter to people experiencing homelessness. The Northgate camp is the second Tuff Shed site to open, and the city is planning to open a third. According to a recent city report, the two existing sites have collectively helped 41 people find more permanent housing. 

After an altercation on Sept. 7, London joined the ranks of those who have lost their place in the Tuff Shed camp since the site opened. One resident estimates that the camp has evicted 10 people during that period. 

London said he misses the relative security of the Tuff Shed, and he no longer has the tent he gave away when moving in. 

The experience of London and others who have lost their place at the camp is raising questions about what responsibility — if any — the city has to ensure that participants in the Tuff Shed camps do not leave worse off than when they arrived. 

[Click on link to go to entire column]

Oakland Has Sheds For Lake Merritt Homeless, But Most Famous Isn’t Interested

Published by the San Francisco Chronicle September 17, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 19, 2018

A homeless encampment occupies a parcel at Lake Merritt Boulevard and East 12th Street near the Kaiser Convention Center Oakland. Twenty Tuff Shed mini homes are going up this week in a parking lot next to the boarded-up Kaiser Convention Center on the east side of the lake for the homeless.

By Phil Matier & Andrew Ross

Campers living around Oakland’s Lake Merritt will soon be offered new Tuff Shed homes, but the lake’s most famous resident — who gained internet fame when “Jogger Joe” tossed his belongings into the water — says he’s not interested.

“Why do I need a shed?” said the man known as Drew (we’re told his real name is Greg), who calls the downtown lakeside his home.

Drew is one of 64 tent dwellers who will be offered space in one of 20 Tuff Shed mini homes that are going up this week in a parking lot next to the boarded-up Kaiser Convention Center on the east side of the lake. The area already had become home to many of the campers.

The shed village is the third of five “cabin camps” that Mayor Libby Schaaf hopes to have open by year’s end. They’re all located near existing tent encampments.

“Everybody living around the lake will, for a period of time, be offered a spot ... as they become available,” said Joe DeVries, an assistant to the city administrator who works on homeless issues.

Drew, however, doesn’t appear interested in sharing a 6-by-15-foot shed with a roommate, nor was he much interested in talking to a reporter. When we caught up with him, he was sitting on a pile of pillows and blankets beneath the column-framed portico that anchors the lake’s northeast shore — rocking back and forth, staring off in the distance and twirling his thumbs. His tent was off to the side, outside the portico.


However, the plan for replacing tents with sheds next to the Kaiser Auditorium is drawing skepticism from many of the lakeside campers, who say they were given only a week to sign up for the Tuff Shed housing or to move their belongings to a nearby sidewalk.

“It’s inhumane. I’d rather live in a f— tent than a toolshed,” said a woman named Rachel but known to her fellow campers as Mom.

A 28-year-old camper, who goes by the name Kid and who said he has lived on the streets since age 12, said he had mixed emotions about the city putting so much time and money into providing sheds that “look like a concentration camp when they could just help by providing electricity, showers and a bathroom” to the tent campers.

But DeVries said allowing the tent camps to remain isn’t an option.

[Click on link to go to entire column]

Oakland Police Monitor Critical Of Dramatic Drop In Reported Use Of Force

Published by the East Bay Times September 14, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 17, 2018

A federal monitor overseeing reforms in the Oakland police department criticized the city’s reported dramatic drop in use of force, finding cases in which officers never reported drawing their guns on citizens, as required by department policy.

Robert Warshaw, the court-appointed monitor and compliance director, wrote in a report released Thursday that the officers should have reported the incidents as a use of force and supervisors should have caught the omissions.

His report questioning the use of force data the city has proudly promoted this year is the latest stumbling block in the city’s efforts to finally fully comply with the federal settlement reached 15 years ago in the wake of the Riders police misconduct scandal. The group of rogue officers, known as the “Riders,” were accused of beating up and planting drugs on West Oakland residents.

“While to date, we have found no instance where the force used was unwarranted or inconsistent with policy, the actions described above are troubling and appear to depict reportable force that was, in fact, not reported,” Warshaw wrote. “This would indicate a significant supervisory failure.”

Because of the findings, Warshaw said his monitoring team is reviewing cases from the second quarter of 2018. The police department’s Office of Inspector General, according to Warshaw, is conducting its own internal review.

Justin Berton, a spokesman for Mayor Libby Schaaf, said the internal review is “intensive and ongoing.”

The Warshaw report also disagreed with the department’s use of force review board in one case, a police stop of a man jaywalking in the early morning hours. After the individual tried to walk away from police, officers used an “armbar hammerlock, a bent wrist hold, and a leg sweep” to arrest him. The man’s arm was broken. Three OPD commanders on the force review board concluded the use of force was consistent with policy.

[Click on link to go to complete column]

City of Oakland Plans To Ban Homeless From Camping Around Lake Merritt

A third soon-to-open Tuff Shed camp will 'resolve' homelessness around the lake, but unsheltered residents are planning a protest.

Published by the East Bay Express September 10, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 11, 2018

By Darwin Bond-Graham

Oakland officials are moving forward with a plan to close all of the existing homeless camps around the perimeter of Lake Merritt and to ban camping in the parks. But some homeless people say they're organizing against the ban.

The closure of lake campsites, which could affect as many as 100 people, will be phased in starting this week, according to city officials.

At a meeting last Thursday at Peralta Park, which is located between the Kaiser Auditorium and Lake Merritt channel, city representatives told about a dozen homeless people in attendance that the Peralta Park camp will be closed first in order to make way for a third Tuff Shed camp run by a nonprofit organization.

Talia Rubin of Oakland's Human Services Department told homeless residents who attended the meeting that the closure of the camps around the entire perimeter of Lake Merritt is a “geographic intervention.” She said residents of that camp will have up to 10 days to decide if they want to obtain a space in the new Tuff Shed camp. If not, they'll have to move.

One person at the meeting remarked that the plan to close all the homeless camps around the lake was happening just before the November election in which Mayor Schaaf and District 2 Councilmember Abel Guillen are running for reelection.

The city acknowledges that there are more homeless people living in the parks around the lake than can fit in the proposed new Tuff Shed camp. According to a city report, unofficial estimates are that there are as many as 50 people living around the lake. The city conducted a census late last month, but the results haven't been made public yet.

Nino Parker lives on the E. 12th Street Remainder Parcel in a camp made up of seniors, with strict rules against using hard drugs. Parker has been rallying homeless residents to attend a meeting of the city council's life enrichment committee on Tuesday to speak out against the ban, and demand more assistance for the unsheltered.

“There's more people than sheds,” said Parker. Oakland's homeless population was estimated to have surpassed 2,761 last year, with 1,902 people unsheltered on any given night. The city's Tuff Shed program currently has spaces for only about 80 people.

“Fuck the sheds,” said a man who goes by the name Touché and lives under the oak trees on the north side of the lake.

Touché said there are probably around 100 homeless people camping around the lake, more than double what the city's Tuff Shed camp will accommodate.

Nino Parker (right) said homeless residents around Lake Merritt plan to protest the camping ban.

[Click on link to go to complete article]

Reflections On A Visit To Tuff Sheds Site

Published on the Shelter Oak website September 9, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 10, 2018

A group of workers ready Tuff Shed temporary housing units along Northgate Avenue and 27th Street on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. The city has leased land from Caltrans and installed 20 units that will house 40 people. 

OGS Website Note: The use of Tuff Sheds by the City of Oakland on city-sponsored homeless encampments is one of the responses by the administration of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to the homeless crisis in Oakland.

Opinion by John Kirkmire

Passing by the Northgate Tuff Shed site there seemed be a vast improvement over the out-of- control homeless encampments that overwhelmed the intersection at Northgate and 27th a few months ago. The area is cleaned and orderly and the green Tuff Sheds look way better than makeshift tents. It seemed to me the city, along with private donors, had found a useful path to address homelessness.

While the site is useful as a Navigation Center to help expedite available social services and hopefully process the homeless toward permanent housing, this 'safe' site can also be viewed as a controlled incarceration of the homeless, removing them from around the area and clustering them together where they need to sign in and out at a singular entry/exit point of the gated and barbed wire enclosure. Each of the 20 units has two occupants assigned to it who then share a claustrophobic 15 x 8 space. There is NO running water on site for the 40 inhabitants, screeching  BART trains and endless noise of the overhead freeway make the site that much more symbolic of an uncaring community. 

After touring inside Northgate I have concluded that Tuff Sheds, now known as Cabins  (Orwellian name for tool sheds) are inhumane, undignified and a terrible way to treat the disenfranchised who have come to expect nothing but grief from a gentrified society. To all the many well-intentioned people involved in this project, if any of us had to spend a full day/night on site, tool shed villages such as this would never have been created. It is a reflection of the disrespect we have for the homeless.

[Click on link to go to complete column]

Hold Mayor Schaaf Accountable For Her Affordable Housing And Police Reform Failures

Published by the Oakland Post September 5, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 7, 2018

Opinion By Eric Arnold

Eric Arnold is an Oakland journalist, researcher, archi­visit, cultural historian and multimedia producer.

The Mercury News (August 12, 2018) reports that as a can­didate Libby Schaaf promised that 28 percent of the housing built in Oakland would be af­fordable.

The article also notes only 6 percent of housing currently in the pipeline is considered “af­fordable.”

Most of that 6 percent “af­fordable” housing was gener­ated by community-benefit agreements, and not solely by impact fees—which do not guarantee onsite affordable units in new developments.

How is that acceptable, if displacement and affordability are the top two issues in Oak­land today?

If Lailan Huen, Ayodele Nzinga, Carla Service, Alvina Wong and I had not personally negotiated those community benefit agreements, the afford­able housing in the pipeline might be closer to 1 percent-2 percent.

The residents of Oakland are owed an explanation of why this 28 percent target was not even in the ballpark.

That is either incompetence or benign neglect or both. If private developers can hit 20 percent affordable housing targets, and BART can hit 30 percent, what is the reasonable explanation for Oakland’s poor performance in this area?

[Click on link to go to complete column]

Local Faith Community Offers Safe Spaces for Homeless, Hoping For Mayor’s Support

Published by the Oakland Post August 31, 2018
Posted on the OGS website September 3, 2018

Local faith-based organizations have stepped up to help create a solution to the human rights crisis posed by the City of Oakland’s failure so far to effectively respond to the growing homeless encampments in Oakland— including the public health dangers associated with large numbers of unhoused people living on the streets.

Five local churches have already agreed to offer their church parking lots as spaces where the homeless can live in tiny houses, as they become available, or park and live in their vehicles in safety with bathrooms, running water and garbage disposal—not preyed on by criminals or periodically driven from their encampments by police and city officials.

In addition, the churches have facilities that can be used for classrooms for job and career training, as well as to provide county health and human services.

Surprisingly, the main obstacle to these faith-based proposals appears to be the indifference and lack of urgency on the part of Mayor Libby Schaaf and her administration, which has not acted on this proposal for nine months.

When the members of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) met with the mayor in March, she was unsympathetic to short-term solutions proposed by the faith leaders.

When she attended a public meeting of ICAC in June, she pledged to expedite the proposal. However, ICAC only received one noncommittal call from the Mayor’s Office. No further calls or emails were sent to ICAC between June and this week, when the administration finally agreed to start the process of providing resources for the proposal.

Update: The day after the "Safe Spaces For Homeless" article was published, the Oakland Post published the following update under the title "Schaaf Finally Pledges Homeless Resources After Sharp Questions":

The Oakland Post contacted the Mayor’s Office Wednesday morning seeking comments on allegations that Mayor Libby Schaaf has been “indifferent” to Interfaith Council of Alameda County’s proposal for the city to provide resources to urgently address the needs of Oakland’s homeless population.

ICAC President Pastor Ken Chambers told the Post Mayor Schaaf called him late Wednesday afternoon to find out what “ICAC needs to move the safe car park and tiny home program forward.”

“She verbally committed to recommend that the City of Oakland sole source (the funding) to the ICAC program (if it committed to serving) 500 people in tiny homes and or safe car parking on faith-based parking lots with wrap-around services,” said Pastor Chambers.

[Click on link to go to complete article]

4 Homicides In Less Than 48 Hours Prompts Oakland Police Department To Deploy Extra Patrols

Published by Bay City News August 28, 2018
Posted on the OGS website August 29, 2018

Oakland police are putting additional officers on the streets this week in response to a spike in fatal shootings that occurred in rapid succession over the past few days, police said this morning during a news conference at department headquarters. 

"This level of violence is unacceptable, and we take it very seriously," Acting Chief LeRonne Armstrong said.  

Armstrong was referring to a series of fatal shootings that left four people dead and four others wounded between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon. 

Mayor Libby Schaaf just sent out a newsletter on Thursday touting a significant reduction in fatal shootings as a result of the city's Ceasefire violence prevention strategy. Gun homicides dropped roughly 44 percent from 114 fatal shootings in 2012 to just 63 in 2017, according to the mayor. 

[Click on link to go to complete article]

And Right On Cue, As Predicted...

"All that would be needed to make [Mayor Libby Schaaf's "bulky block parties"] full-fledged campaign events would be for the mayor herself to be there to shake residents’ hands and pose with them for plenty of selfies..." Oakland's Getting Shaafted, August 24, 2018

Mayor Schaaf posing with resident at August 25 East Oakland "bulky block party," posted on the Mayor Libby Schaaf Facebook page.

In The War Against Oakland's Illegal Dumping, Salvation Is Not Yet At Hand

Illegally dumped furniture, appliance, and mattress on Peralta Street in West Oakland

Published on the OGS website August 24, 2018

In recent weeks, Mayor Libby Schaaf has begun to publicly admit that her City of Oakland administration has not been successful in attacking and solving the enormous and growing problem of illegally dumped trash on Oakland’s streets, sidewalks, and vacant lots.

Answering a question from the audience about the dumping crisis at the city’s Safety Town Hall at Laney College last month, Mayor Schaaf said that “there are people in city government with good intentions about solving this problem, but good intentions are not enough. What we have been doing on the illegal dumping problem is not working.  So we will continue to experiment and try new things.”

One of those “new things” the mayor is experimenting with is setting up three dates—each one in a different portion of the city—where residents can drop off and dispose of oversized trash items such as appliances, furniture, and mattresses without charge. Providing these three bulky trash drop-off dates, Mayor Schaaf says, should be a cause for celebration and rejoicing in Oakland.

“Oaklanders should celebrate that they get to drop off their old mattresses, couches, and bulky goods for free,” the mayor said in a prepared written announcement, “but they should also rejoice that they’re helping to keep Oakland free from abandoned debris.”

The drop-off events will be held August 25, September 25, and September 29th.

In keeping with Mayor Schaaf’s celebration theme, the city is officially calling these drop-off events “parties.”

[Click on link to go to complete commentary]

Oakland Enables A 21st Century Diaspora

More Working-Class Black/Indigenous Families and Elders Evicted from Oakland as a Result of Gentrification and International Real Estate Speculators

Originally released by Poor Magazine August 21, 2018

An entire building of working-class tenants of color, veterans, children and an infant evicted by a wealthy foreign investor now face homelessness or removal from Oakland.

"My family has been living in the Bay Area for generations and now we have nowhere to go," said Franki Velez, Army Veteran and mother of three. Her entire family is being evicted, along with other tenants, from their small building in Oakland for no just cause, except that their building was bought by a wealthy foreign investor.

For the last 10 years, working class families of color have been facing a violent rise in evictions from their life-long homes, resulting in the rise of homelessness forcing many families to sleep in their cars or on the streets.

"If Libby Schaaf really wants to do something about homelessness she needs to put a moratorium on these speculative evictions. They are directly connected to the rise in homelessness,” Velez said.

Housing justice advocates are demanding that Schaff use City funds to purchase land for working class and poor people to create their own housing projects. Homefulness, a project in Deep East Oakland launched by homeless, formerly homeless, and indigenous families, is working to reclaim this already ‘occupied’ indigenous land with redistributed resources they call “Community Reparations.” The work of The Village, a group of volunteers building homes and services for the unhoused, has also been critical and needs to be better supported by the City.

Oakland Holds Three "Bulky Block Parties" For Large-Item Disposal

Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle August 18, 2018
Posted on the OGS website August 21, 2018

Oakland residents who need to dump large, bulky items will have three opportunities to dispose of them in the city's "Bulky Block Party" initiative. 

In an effort to help curb illegal dumping, these special large-item pickup events will be held in three different locations around town. They're designed not only to allow people to get rid of ungainly, unwanted items, but also to educate residents about existing curbside bulky pickup service, already available by making an appointment with Waste Management. 

"Oaklanders should celebrate that they get to drop off their old mattresses, couches and bulky goods for free, and should also rejoice that they're helping keep Oakland free from abandoned debris," Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. 

The Bulky Block Parties will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 25 at 7101 Edgewater Drive in East Oakland; Sept. 15 at 250 Victory Court in Central Oakland; and Sept. 29 at Engineer Road at Wake Avenue in North/West Oakland. 

Food trucks and music on-site will create a party atmosphere, city officials said. And residents will be assisted unloading items. 

The disposal parties are only to Oakland residents only. Proof of residency will be required. 

The Oakland We Knew And The Mayor’s Race

Originally published in Drake Talk Oakland August 20, 2018

[OGS website note: Pamela Drake's "The Oakland We Knew" includes Ms. Drake's recommendations for the November 2018 Oakland mayor's race. The OGS website is not taking positions on the mayor's race or reporting on it in any way, so for that reason, Ms. Drake's recommendations have been removed from the posting of the column on this website. Anyone wishing to know Ms. Drake's recommendations in the mayor's race are free to look them up on the Drake Talk Oakland blog.]

Libby Schaaf’s Record

It’s hard to know how seriously Oakland folks will take this contest at a time when we are glued to twitter trying to understand the circus in Washington, but local politics are also a reflection of broader issues coming home to roost.

Libby Schaaf was a local apparatchik for a number of party politicians before she was elected to a single term on the council. She then ran what a pundit described as a “stealth campaign” for mayor. While everyone was busy blaming Jean Quan for all our ills and taking pot shots at Rebecca Kaplan, Libby Schaaf was tooling around town making goo goo eyes at reporters about her Oaklandish cred. [That was some ish alright.] After she released her secret weapon, an endorsement by Governor Jerry Brown, she turned out to be the top vote getter in that Ranked Choice Voting surprise.

Now almost 4 years later, we areexperiencing a human disaster like none we’ve seen in our 152 history. Thousands of Oaklanders are living in squalor on the streets and whole neighborhoods have been destabilized by gentrification. Of course, Ms. Schaaf cannot be blamed for the sudden rise in homelessness but the level of indifference she’s shown to these conditions, has been, until very recently, stunning. 

[Click on link to go to complete column]

‘The Oakland We Knew Is Not Going To Remain’

Massive Building Boom Tears Through City

Future tenants will lease luxury apartments at the 4th Street East residential tower in the Jack London District. The eight-story housing development will include 333 residential units and ground-floor retail.

Originally published in the East Bay Times August 12, 2018
Posted on the OGS website August 20, 2018

SLEEK NEW CONDOS rise up amid the graffiti-covered warehouses, artist’s studios and homeless encampments of West Oakland. Construction cranes dot the downtown skyline, and scaffolding-shrouded towers march down Broadway into Temescal.

An extraordinary residential building boom is shaking up Oakland, part of a transformation sweeping the Bay Area as market forces and political initiative combine to address the region’s desperate housing crisis.

“The city is being radically reconfigured — the whole Bay Area is,” said urban geography expert and UC Berkeley professor emeritus Richard Walker. “The Oakland we knew is not going to remain.”

The change is particularly stark in Oakland, where developers and investors began clamoring to build after decades of dismissing the city as dangerous and crime-ridden. Oakland has permitted a staggering 9,710 new homes since 2016, more than twice as many as during the prior nine years. But the construction of those new dwellings — creating hip, trendy neighborhoods for newcomers while pricing out old-timers — is exacerbating the divide between the city’s haves and have-nots.

In 2016, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf promised to build 17,000 new housing units in the next eight years -- 28 percent would be subsidized, low-income housing — and preserve another 17,000 existing homes as low-income rentals. So far, Oakland is on track to meet its overall goal, but is falling short in its affordable housing mandate. Of the 6,982 new units under construction as of July 31, less than 6 percent were reserved for low-income residents.

Oakland officials say they have to work harder to find money for affordable housing. In 2011, the state axed redevelopment agencies, depriving Oakland of about $37 million a year in affordable housing funds, said Housing and Community Development Director Michele Byrd.

The city has found new sources of funding — including a real estate fee approved by state legislators last year, affordable housing bonds and an affordable housing impact fee that took effect in Oakland in 2016 — but has yet to come up with a “cash cow” to replace redevelopment agency funds, Byrd said. The city also has expanded its focus to include buying existing buildings and keeping them affordable, working with organizations like Oakland Community Land Trust, in addition to building new units.

Oakland needs affordable housing now perhaps more than ever, as high prices push more families out of their homes and onto the streets. Last year there were 2,761 homeless people counted in Oakland, up more than 25 percent from 2015, according to EveryOne Home’s point-in-time survey.

[Click on link to go to complete article]

Mayor Schaaf: Do The Right Thing!

Original publication date in The Action Network unknown
Posted August 20, 2018 on the OGS website

Online petition sponsored by IFPTE Local 21

It’s politicians like Libby Schaaf that make us wonder whether corporate democrats are much different than republicans. 

Democrats who say they can be counted on to do the right thing, but really support the interests of the wealthy, make it hard for people to vote for them.

They say the status quo will change, but somehow it doesn’t. That’s because it works for them; the big donors, the political career, the art of using words without really saying much at all.

The people are tired of playing this game, and they are tired of being told to vote for candidates that don’t have their best interests at heart.

Real progressive values mean standing up to big money and speaking truth. They mean throwing caution to the wind and siding with the little guy, the oppressed, the everyday folks. Progressive values mean taking a good hard look at the system and deciding that enough is enough.

Mayor Schaaf is a corporate big business democrat.

Promises were made when Libby Schaaf was elected that have not been kept. Residents were told that affordable housing and helping people get off the streets were top priorities. Workers were told that they would be made whole for all the losses they suffered during the great recession. Oakland was supposed to move towards being a city for everyone.

Instead, the housing crisis continues to escalate, and the streets are filled by displaced people and garbage. City departments are underfunded and understaffed, and workers have taken to the streets in a massive strike to protest unfair labor practices, dishonest budget numbers, and under funding of city services and workers. Meanwhile, Oakland is inviting businesses like Uber to come to the city, the Mayor has stacked the planning commission with Real Estate Industry Representatives, and been accused by the City Council members of doing things like shifting soda-tax funds away from their intended use and delaying an ICE raid hearing about potential public misinformation. Doesn’t that seem upside down?

Is being true to the people more important, or being true to backers who might further your career more important? Oakland residents and workers are wondering whose side Mayor Libby Schaaf is really on.

Sign your name if you think Mayor Schaaf needs to rethink the kind of politician she is if she wants to win in 2018. In Oakland, we expect a leader who can stand up and do what’s right. We call on the Mayor to worry less about her political aspirations and more about the people of Oakland!

[Click on link to go to entire article and online petition]

Oakland Holding Block Parties Where Residents Can Drop Off Junk

Published August 17, 2018 by the East Bay Times
Posted August 19, 2018 on the OGS website

Have an extra mattress or couch you need to get rid of? The city invites you and your junk to a series of bulky block parties starting later this month.

“Oaklanders know how to turn anything into a party, and the Bulky Block Party is no different,”Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. “Oaklanders should celebrate that they get to drop off their old mattresses, couches and bulky goods for free, but they should also rejoice that they’re helping to keep Oakland free from abandoned debris.”

At the parties, city workers also will provide information on Oakland’s bulky pickup service, where residents can schedule a free curbside pickups each year.

Though the service is offered year-round and only requires scheduling an appointment, city officials said residents rarely take advantage of it and they hope the parties will encourage more use.

The bulky block parties will be held Aug. 25 at 7101 Edgewater Drive in East Oakland, Sept. 15 at 250 Victory Court in Central Oakland and Sept. 29 on Engineer Road at Wake Avenue in West Oakland. Residents can drop off their junk from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on each of those days.

The parties will have food trucks and music.

[Click on link to go to entire article]

Oakland Hosts ‘Bulky Block Parties’ To Discourage Illegal Dumping

Published August 16, 2018 by KPIX 5
Posted August 17, 2018 on the OGS website

Several big block party are being planned in the East Bay for the coming weeks and the only thing residents are required to bring is their big trash items.

Mayor Libby Schaaf on Thursday announced the unusual effort to clean up the streets of Oakland.

She hopes the three “Bulky Block Parties” that will give people  a chance to drop off bulky trash items will stop people who might otherwise choose to trash Oakland.

Illegal dumping has long been an unsightly problem in East and West Oakland. Piles of everything from mattresses to old tires  can be seen left along the streets.

The city is now placing high-resolution cameras in dumping hot spots, buying more trucks  to respond to complaints and hiring a 12-person litter enforcement team that will be on the streets this fall.

Schaaf called the parties an experiment.

“We’re going to have food trucks. We’re going to have music,” said Schaaf. “We know that there are going to be lines. And we want to be clear: this is for Oakland residents only.”

Another incentive to stop dumping in Oakland. If a resident reports someone for illegal dumping, they can get part of the fine if the culprit is caught. All residents have to do is call 311 to make the report.

[Click on link to go to entire article]

Oakland Mayor Claims City Had No Liability In Deadly Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire

Published August 11, 2018 by KPIX 5
Posted August 14, 2018 on the OGS website

With legal showdowns on the horizon, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf echoed her belief Saturday that the city bears no liability in Dec. 2016’s deadly Ghost Ship Warehouse fire.

On Friday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer rejected a plea deal for Derick Almena and Max Harris, who are charged with 36 counts of manslaughter in the deadly blaze.

The plea deal had called for Almena to be sentenced to nine years in prison and 28-year-old Max Harris to six years. The judge said he found Harris to be sincere but because the plea bargain was for both Harris and Almena, both pleas were rejected.

Many of the victims families are also suing Oakland and others in civil court. They heralded Cramer’s decision saying a criminal trial will bring facts to the surface.

Mayor Schaaf told KPIX 5 on Saturday, she did not belief the city has any financial liability in the wake of the fire.

“We do not believe we bear any liability,” she said. “These two individuals who knowingly did things to this building to make it unsafe, that is where the focus of the trial should lie.”

She added that the court’s will ultimately decide who is responsible.

“The issue of where blame placed among the many entities and individuals involved in this tragedy is one that the court’s will work out,” she said.

[Click on link to go to complete article]

How Long Does It Take For City Government Indifference And Neglect To Turn Into A Human Health Hazard And Then Into A Violation Of Human Rights?

It's Already Happened At Oakland's Willie Wilkins Park...

Published August 7, 2018 on the OGS website

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

If you find yourself down around 98th Avenue and B Street in the East Oakland flatlands one afternoon and need to use the restroom, there are few places in that area where it's possible to go. Still, I'd recommend against trying the facilities at Oakland's Willie Wilkins Memorial Park.

The City of Oakland Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Development stopped servicing the Wilkins Park restrooms some time ago, for some reason. They shut off the water and chain-locked the outer doors. People using the park were out of luck if they had bathroom needs.

City neglect led to the inevitable deterioration of the bathroom building. A fire broke out at one point in one of the rooms, causing damage to both the room and the roof directly above it. Garbage and used clothes and other items began piling up on the outside. Even if they weren't going to re-open the bathrooms for their intended use, Oakland officials had an obligation to clean up these unsightly messes. So far, it hasn't been on the top of their priority list.

Photo taken August 6, 2018

If that's all that happened to the Wilkins Park bathrooms, it's deteriorating outside appearance should have been a shame and embarassment to Oakland city officials charged with its maintenance. But it got worse than that. Much worse.

[Click on link to go to complete article]

Open Letter To Mayor Libby Schaaf And The City Of Oakland — “Illegal Dumping”

Originally published May 3, 2018 in Medium
Posted on the OGS Website August 5, 2018

By Shaniece Alexander

I’m writing to you as a three year renter in District 7 and leader of an equity driven community based organization. I am a frustrated Oaklander and must offer critical feedback and alternative solutions to addressing the issue of “illegal dumping” in Oakland based on the proposal presented by Mayor Libby Schaaf on May 2, 2018. In this letter I will offer four practical solutions in hopes that they will be taken into consideration as the City moves forward in its policy implementation.

As a social justice advocate, I’ve committed my organizing efforts in Oakland around centering economic and health equity through policy and practice. This work crosses the intersections of community food systems, bridges generations, economic classes, and impacts a diversity of ethnic and cultural groups. It must be known that the recent announcement by Mayor Schaaf to roll out an “aggressive new approach to combating her city’s rampant and often disgusting litter problem,” is a reactive, ineffective response to addressing Oakland’s ongoing issue of blight that’s only been exacerbated by the housing crisis and rampant displacement of people of color and poor community members in Oakland.

The decision to spend $500,000 (of which the funding source has not been communicated) to hire three “litter enforcement officers” or “trash detectives” as the mayor states, is neither an aggressive or remotely reasoned solution to rectifying the current and/or future dumping of trash in Oakland. In fact, this proposal will purposefully increase the policing and criminalization of communities of color. It seems that this money could be more effectively used as a resource to address the immediate concerns of community members while setting a practical foundation for ongoing action to solve the underlying problem, which is mass displacement of people who work, advocate for, and raise their children in a city that they cannot afford to live in.

[Click on link to go to complete letter]






Front Page

Why An "Oakland's Getting Schaafted" Website

In The News

Our Thoughts On The Libby Schaaf Administration

What Others Are Thinking And Saying—Opinion Pieces About The Schaaf Administration

The Trashing Of Oakland

Oakland Mayor Schaaf Gets OK To Put Shed Camp Outside Kaiser Auditorium
San Francisco Chronicle
September 19, 2018

Residents Report Being Evicted From Tuff Shed Camp
East Bay Express
September 18, 2018

Oakland Has Sheds For Lake Merritt Homeless, But Most Famous Isn't Interested
San Francisco Chronicle
September 17, 2018

Oakland Police Monitor Critical Of Dramatic Drop In Reported Use Of Force
East Bay Times
September 14, 2018

City of Oakland Plans To Ban Homeless From Camping Around Lake Merritt
East Bay Express
September 10, 2018

Reflections On A Visit To Tuff Sheds Site
Shelter Oak
September 9, 2018

Hold Mayor Schaaf Accountable For Her Affordable Housing And Police Reform Failures
Oakland Post
September 5, 2018

Local Faith Community Offers Safe Spaces For Homeless, Hoping For Mayor's Support
Oakland Post
August 31, 2018

4 Homicides In Less Than 48 Hours Prompts Oakland Police Department To Deploy Extra Patrols
Bay City News
August 28, 2018

In The War Against Oakland's Illegal Dumping, Salvation Is Not Yet At Hand
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
August 24, 2018

Oakland Enables A 21st Century Diaspora
Poor Magazine
August 21, 2018

Oakland Holds Three "Bulky Block Parties" For Large-Item Disposal
San Francisco Chronicle
August 21, 2018

The Oakland We Knew And The Mayor's Race
Drake Talk Oakland
August 20, 2018

'The Oakland We Knew Is Not Going To Remain'
East Bay Times
August 20, 2018

Mayor Schaaf: Do The Right Thing!
The Action Network
August 20, 2018

Oakland Holding Block Parties Where Residents Can Drop Off Junk
East Bay Times
August 17, 2018

Oakland Hosts 'Bulky Block Parties' To Discourage Illegal Dumping
August 16, 2018

Oakland Mayor Claims City Had No Liability In Deadly Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire
August 11, 2018

How Long Does It Take For City Government Indifference And Neglect To Turn Into A Human Health Hazard And Then Into A Violation Of Human Rights?
OGS Website
August 7, 2018

Open Letter To Mayor Libby Schaaf And The City Of Oakland—"Illegal Dumping"
August 5, 2018

The Flood Of 89
Oakland's Getting Schaafted Website
July 25, 2018

The Promises Of First Days
Oakland's Getting Schaafted Website
July 16, 2018