EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

OPINION: Chronicle Columnist is Again Smearing Oakland

By Elmano Gonsalves

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson
OAKLAND | OPINION | Chip Johnson, it seems that your on-going vendetta against Jean Quan and the city of Oakland continues unabated. The San Francisco-centric and slanted media goes after Oakland Mayor Jean Quan as if she were Kim Kardashian. Quan makes news when she gets a parking ticket, is involved in a fender bender, when her car window gets smashed, when she's talking on her cell phone, when her purse gets stolen, etc.

It's all fun and games for the selective San Francisco-centric media who could care less about what San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is up to. Lee is not questioned about a 22 percent increase in crime in 2013. Lee goes on with his business as tourists are shot in San Francisco. He is undisturbed as tourists and KRON-TV have their cameras stolen at gunpoint. No one writes a column when a 14-year-old boy is murdered in San Francisco.

Chip, you like to embellish any negative news or crime numbers when it comes to Oakland. You stated that crime in Oakland under Quan was " the deepest and widest" it had ever been. Once again you're making things up. In 1992 there were 175 homicides in Oakland. The 1980s and 1990s saw much higher crime rates. The robbery numbers the media likes to pin on Oakland had to do with smart phone thefts which included 75 percent of all robberies in Oakland in 2012. San Francisco had the same problem, but fudged the robbery figures by classifying cell phone robberies as thefts.

You may think that you're helping to insure that Jean Quan loses the election, but what you're really doing is exposing San Francisco's disdain for any progress in Oakland.
______________

Chip, it's interesting that you make no mention of how much crime has come down in Oakland in the last two years. You're not Interested in the record low 48 non-justifiable homicides in Oakland as of Sept. 9. You know Oakland's homicide, robbery, and residential burglary numbers are down by over 30 percent in 2014. You know that Oakland has a chance to record the lowest homicide count since the 1960's. Why aren't you writing about the record low crime rates instead of once again smearing Oakland?

Unfortunately, this has been your method of operation for many, many years as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. You bury the good news and the record low crime numbers since it doesn't fit your anti-Oakland agenda and the narrative that Oakland is a "crime infested " and "impoverished city" which you and your fellow San Francisco-centric colleagues want so desperately to promote and perpetuate.

Folks in Oakland understand that you've had an anti-Oakland agenda for a very long time. No one likes a bully. You may think that you're helping to insure that Jean Quan loses the election but what you're really doing is exposing San Francisco's disdain for any progress in Oakland. Oaklanders don't like bullies with agendas working for a newspaper in a neighboring city which attempts to define Oakland on a daily basis with selective reporting.

Your anti-Quan agenda is going to backfire and I predict Jean Quan will get re-elected. Is she the best candidate with the best leadership skills? Probably not. Has she been unfairly targeted by you and your San Francisco-entric media colleagues? Absolutely.

Elmano Gonsalves is a former Oakland resident who resides in the East Bay. In August, his criticisms of the San Francisco media's reporting of Oakland was featured in the East Bay Express.

24 comments :

Sounds like Gonsalves has an anti-Chip Johnson agenda.

"Your anti-Quan agenda is going to backfire and I predict Jean Quan will get re-elected. Is she the best candidate with the best leadership skills? Probably not. "

Clearly Jean Quan is not the candidate with the best leadership skills, nor a candidate with enough brains to plan a good future for Oakland.
She has proven that over the past 3.7 years..
Why in the world would we give her another 4 year term.
She will not change. She will not improve. Any improvement in Oakland will not be because of her, but rather Oakland's luck in being at the center of a very dynamic area.

If anything, Jean Quan is a anchor that Oakland has to drag along as it makes some progress despite her awful leadership.
She and Ron Dellums, vying for Oakland's worst mayor.

She ran the schools into bankruptcy and has brought those same financial skills to the mayor's office.
Rolled over and gave out sweetheart contracts to city employees.... then allows potholes to grow into dangerous chasms.
Go from Trader Joe's southeast over 580 and along in front of Oakland HS... Huge chunks out of the road for months.
So deep you have to swerve to miss destroying your tires and rims...
Dangers about all over Oakland for anyone trying to ride a bike without hitting huge holes and cracks. Law suits waiting to happen. Just like the then one below Montera Middle School that cost Oakland over $3,000,000 a while back.

Dump Jean Quan NOW...

The point here is the the media here in the Bay Area has been unfair to Oakland in its reporting. There is no way any city can stand up to the on-going negative reporting that Oakland has had to endure for years and for decades.

The fear-mongering constantly coming from across the Bay keeps Oakland from reaching its full economic potential.

"The fear-mongering constantly coming from across the Bay keeps Oakland from reaching its full economic potential."

Not at all. The incompetent political "leadership" in Oakland's city hall keeps this city from solving its real problems and moving forward to a better life for all its citizens.

"Fear-mongering" hasn't kept down Oakland's new restaurant scene, its thriving arts activities, young techies moving into neighborhoods cheaper than San Francisco, or the various other aspects of gentrification.

What about the crime and economic emptiness of Deep East Oakland etc.? Too bad some fearful people don't know such places even exist.

Of course the fear mongering has kept Oakland from reaching its full potential here in the Bay Area.

Sure the restaurants, art galleries and the years are doing well but what what about the red lining from banks regarding financing market rate housing or large corporate office buildings? As SF sinks from construction cranes on its skyline, the only construction going on in Oakland is affordable housing with the exception of Brooklyn Basin which was largely funded with foreign investment. Do you think that's an accident? Do you think it's an accident that Broadway still has undeveloped surface parking lots within walking distance to two Bart stations?

it's no the crime either because SF has more especially in its over developed downtown. Oakland suffers becuase of a stigma caused by twisted and selective reporting from Bay Area columnists and news editors.

Yes, Deep East Oakland exists much as does the Tenderloin or Hunter's Point in San Francisco.

The only difference is that Deep East Oakland tends to define Oakland while the Temderloin and Hunter's Point are not allowed to define San Francisco.

Fear-mongering Oakland does nothing to help deep East Oakland or the pot holed riddled streets in Oakland. Fear-mongering only creates fear and dis-investment in Oakland thereby reducing the tax base which contributes to an increased general fund which in turn is used to fund more services for Oakland as well as for Deep East Oakland.

"Yes, Deep East Oakland exists much as does the Tenderloin or Hunter's Point in San Francisco."

History and facts needed. Black population of San Francisco is 6% same as California as a whole. Black population of S.F. primarily located in Western Addition and Bayview.

Black population of Oakland is 28% primarily located in Deep East Oakland where there is great economic injustice and crime victimization. White folks and city hall folks don't go there, don't know shit, don't care.

Much of Oakland's Black population came from San Francisco in the 1970s under redevelopment (ie ethnic cleansing) under city hero Justin Herman.

The gentrifiers coming to West Oakland, Temescal and other non-Deep-East Oakland areas clearly are not fearful of Oakland. The real fear of Oakland is among our local politicians, "editorialists" and others who fear what they don't know and don't want to know about Oakland's real problems.

Oakland's "real problems" are exactly the same as San Francisco's " real problems" with the added problem of slanted reporting which puts a microscope on Oakland's problems while sweeping SF's under the rug for economic gain.

Excusing slanted media reporting lends approval to red-lining, artificially lowered property values, lower economic tax base, higher unemployment, and racist attitudes.

There's no doubt that the 'redevelopment' of San Francisco and expulsion of African Americans - property being occupied by African Americans was one criteria of 'blight' - in the 1970s, in the Filmore and other places, under Justin Herman, was a travesty.

However, the bulk of the African American population came to Oakland from the American South in the war years (WWII) as tens of billions of federal dollars poured into the Bay area on defense spending, including shipyards in Richmond, Oakland and Alameda.

Those jobs went away, but the migrants stayed, hence the economic depression of Oakland we still see today.

"Those jobs went away, but the migrants stayed, hence the economic depression of Oakland we still see today."

Nah. Not accurate historically. Much of what is currently Black Oakland was white Oakland following WWII--examples District 6 Maxwell Park; District 7 Sobrante Park.

Black population of Oakland in 1950s was 12%; white population was over 85%

The Black population of Oakland has been fluid. Current population distribution is not what it was 60 years ago.

It looks like the discussion regarding unfair media coverage has turned into a race baited discussion where African Americans are seen as the problem in Oakland.

Oakland has been getting a bad rap for years; but I still will adhere to my belief that the City of Oakland is a diamond in the rough. There are many attractions here, that a lot of folks are not even aware of. Not to offend any residents of San Francisco, but it is a city that is greatly overrated, not to mention unaffordable for everyday people to reside. Frankly, I question the motives of journalists who's sole agenda is that of bashing Oakland. Why not highlight some of the positives?

'It looks like the discussion regarding unfair media coverage has turned into a race baited discussion where African Americans are seen as the problem in Oakland."

An alternative view of some of the comments is that the comments point out that Black residents of both Oakland and San Francisco have been abused and neglected by both Oakland and San Francisco governments.

Tyron,

I agree with you. In some cases Oakland's attractions are better than SF's. For instance, I'll take the Oakland Zoo over SF Zoo any day of the week. There is nothing in SF which compares to the Fox or Paramount theaters in Oakland. SF has nothing like the impressive Mormon Temple or Christ the Light Cathedral as far as iconic religious architecture. Another thing Oakland has over SF is a redwood forest just ten minutes from downtown. Not to mention better weather and greener and lusher neighborhoods.

By MW:

In regard to any battles for reputation and image between Oakland and San Francisco, and especially in the case of just Oakland all by itself, various points should be brought up.

1. However let's first discuss the comment of Tyron Jordan (9:39AM) in which he says San Francisco is overrated. I not only consider SF to be an extremely overrated city, but furthermore head and shoulders "above" all other major cities in the degree to which it is overrated. AND IN FACT EXTREMELY OVERRATED.

In fact actually the biggest industry in SF is not tourism but instead organized crime money laundering. And some other major industries in SF include politically protected trafficking in undocumented aliens by certain supposedly "respectable" businessmen who have close ties to City Hall, arranging multi million dollar arson fires that are declared to -have been caused by bad luck rather than arson as long as the big boys in and connected to City Hall get their under the table bribes, crooked lawyers arranging illegal backroom fixes with judges they pay under the table bribes to, fraud, phony and choreographed "investigations," and threatening and shutting up whistleblowers who have the "gall" and the "nerve" to tell the truth, For instance, let's not forget that it was, and very predictably, SF lawyers who for years were Lance Armstrong's main co-conspirators in attacking, harassing, and trying to destroy whistleblowers who told the truth about LA's drug use.

Basically, SF is run by phonies, charlatans, demagogues, sophisticated white collar briefcase carrying crooks, and fashionable and politically correct big windbags. However, and in spite of all that, residents and tourists can normally walk around downtown SF without much fear of being mugged or robbed, and businessman are not in such fear of violent street crime in SF, and including in downtown SF, that they refuse to open stores and restaurants.

2. However the levels of violent street crime in Oakland are so extremely high that most people, and including most Oakland residents, consider it extremely foolhardy to even slightly consider opening a store or restaurant in most sections of Oakland, and including the majority of downtown Oakland, And of the few stores that are in downtown Oakland, ,most of them are closed in the evening because of the very justified fear of violent street crime.

However if Oakland had a competent city government and also had much less violent street crime, it would be a truly fantastic city since it: one,. probably has the best weather of any major US city; two, has unusually clean air; three, has its points of extreme beauty, and including Lake Merritt; and four, is very conveniently and centrally located.

To sum up, Oakland has some truly great points. However it will always be considered a tenth rate city, and very justifiably so, as long as it has an extremely incompetent and totally corrupt local government and also skyhigh rates of violent crime.

Really, Oakland should not worry about Chip Johnson and his comments and instead concern itself with correcting its two main problems, and which are: one, an extremely corrupt and totally incompetent local government; and two, skyhigh rates of violent crime.

MW amen. Except for the clam about "unusually clean air." That air, especially along the 880 corridor, ain't all that tasty.

Need to put this pro-PR piece in context. In the Bay Area "PR specialists outnumber reporters 5 to 1." Source Darwin BondGraham, Pueblo Lands, 8/9/14.

I guess if PR types outnumbered reporters by a bit more, say 10 to 1, Oakland's problems could absolutely vanish.

MW,

You've made some incredible misrepresentations about crime in Oakland.

First of all, there is far more crime in San Francisco than in Oakland. SF experiences between 1800 and 2300 citywide crimes per week according to crimemapping.com. By contrast Oakland experiences between 400 and 450 weekly crimes citywide according to crimemapping.com.

Donwntown SF has 7x the number of crimes on average as downtown Oakland. The downtown SF neighborhoods of the Tenderloin, Mid Market, 6th Street, Civic Center, Soma, are FAR more crime ridden than the downtown Oakland neighborhoods of Uptown, City Center, Lake Merritt, Old Oakland, Chinatown and Jack London Square.

Oakland's violent crime stats spike becuase of what has traditionally gone on in Deep East Oakland and parts of West Oakland. The media has made hay with this and have used it to instill fear of all of Oakland toele who are not familiar with Oakland. Oakland still has prime undeveloped property in downtown not far from Bart stations precisely because of ignorance, bigotry and racism due to erroneous information regarding crime.

Downtown SF has far more crime and is far dirtier with more beggars, homeless, panhandlers, drug dealers, mentally I'll than does downtown Oakland. The problem of under development in Oakland has to do with the dishonest image created in the SF dominated media precisely to benefit development in SF while marginalizing Oakland as a viable option.

"The problem of under development in Oakland has to do with the dishonest image created in the SF dominated media precisely to benefit development in SF while marginalizing Oakland as a viable option."

I doubt it. The problem is not bad Oakland PR. The problem is with lack of leadership in Oakland. With adequate leadership in Oakland there could be plenty more development in parts of town like downtown, uptown, Old Town, Chinatown and Lake Merritt which have the infrastructure and the relatively low crime rates which should be attractive to developers.

Oakland simply has not had the leadership, with the possible exception of Jerry Brown, which can prioritize and accomplish the development so badly needed here.

Development-oriented business people are not idiots who are easily led astray by what is sensationalized in the mass media. Business people know where the bottom line is. If Oakland is a real opportunity, whether or not Chip Johnson or anyone else says the right thing about it, then business will follow.

Oakland hasn't attracted the business it should attract because for the most part Oakland's electeds are amateurs and losers who know absolutely nothing about attracting business and keeping it here.

And the same city hall losers have managed to neglect East Oakland and other areas badly in need of all sorts of improved services, opportunities and community-building.

Much of Oakland is a very good place to live and work. Unfortunately Oakland's electeds don't know what's good about Oakland and don't know how to fix what's not so good.

Even more unfortunately, many Oakland voters don't know how to distinguish between the no-nothing and do-nothing current inhabitants of city hall and thoughtful and competent new people who can bring about badly needed change.

So Oakland is likely to have a mayor right out of the incompetent crowd which currently manages our affairs so poorly. That includes Quan, Schaaf and Kaplan.

The problem is that capital is racist. Capital doesn't invest in Black and Brown areas. It's really not about crime or downtown SF wouldn't have any investment. It's about having White and well-to-do Asians as the preferred demographic.

Let's take a look at Walnut Creek as an example. Here we have a mostly White town of 65,000 people with an incredible amount of high end retail which many large cities with over one million residents would envy. Walnut Creek has so much precisely because multi cultural Oakland has so little retail. Well to do Oaklanders are forced to go to Walnut Creek to do their high end shopping. Walnut Creek prospers because capital is racist. Walnut Creeks coffers overflow becuase of the unspoken economic racism and red lining perpetuated on Oakland.

There's nothing Jean Quan can do to make biased bankers and large retailers to invest in Oakland. What's growing in Oakland are small businesses and restaurants not the large corporations and retail stores controlled by the biased decision makers who don't like the TNT of Oakland's demographics

I don't think including cell phone 'removal-from-person' by force or fear (cpc 211) equates to fudging the numbers. Giving something up because of fear of physical harm or having something forcibly taken from you doesn't get less traumatic because the loss was a phone. Some of the thefts involved people getting their faces punched. Just fyi.

I believe the article states that SF fudged the numbers not Oakland.

"The problem is that capital is racist."

Capital invested in Barak Obama.

"[Walnetto Creek] with an incredible amount of high end retail which many large cities with over one million residents would envy. Walnut Creek has so much precisely..."

Sounds like someone both doesn't like capitalism and loves shopping. Makes their political analysis quite "interesting."

"Large corporations and retail stores controlled by the biased decision makers who don't like the TNT of Oakland's demographics..."

Corporate types are biased about money not about skin color. Time to bring your understanding of U.S. history up to the present. Racial bias in the U.S. is called "instititional racism" these days. For good reason. Because the structure of our social and economic systems is what causes our inequality. It's not individual bias. Do some reading please. You could start with a recent book called "The New Jim Crow."

"There's nothing Jean Quan can do to make..."

There's nothing Jean Quan can do about just about anything. She's stupid, out-of-touch and incompetent. Get your mind off Quan and think about voting for someone who hasn't spent half their life in city hall.

Money seems to flow to certain skin colors and the media sure knows how to perpetuate negativity about certain demographics thereby reaffirming the biases which exist in the lending industry and at the corporate level.

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