Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I live a few of blocks above MacArthur Blvd and Fruitvale Avenue, a little house with lots of trees, huge Eucalyptus trees in the back. A couple of stories high they make creepy creaking sounds in the wind. We can’t afford to remove them or the 30 foot dead stumps so I plant vines on the stumps. We put the exercise bike in front of the bedroom window, it looks out the back of the house on the trees and stumps and the backside of the houses behind us. With the light off in the bedroom the dirt on the window glass is hardly noticeable, and you can watch the light change in the trees and street behind the house.

Fifteen minutes into my very brief very slow work-out an owl swooped down and landed on top of a stump and peered down toward my compost pile. OK, I might have a slight rodent problem but I also apparently have a biocontrol strategy.

Amazing the things we don’t see in Oakland, particularly the politicians. We have some seriously low vision or quite possibly blind politicians. Oakland has epidemic levels of violence spreading like the flu through our community and I’m getting emails from my council person about the next festival and great Oakland eats. Whatever the Oakland City council is smoking I want some. Even Chip Johnson (Chronicle journo and Don Perata lapdog) has noticed.

The fear, the frustration, the uneasiness, the denial, the grief, the pain and the physical damage touches us all we just deal with it differently. Anyone who thinks they can live in the middle of this much murder and mayhem and not have it touch their life lives, lacks either vision or conscious or in the case of our local leaders, both.

Politicians can build walls or bridges and Oakland seems intent on building walls, it’s an “us and them” approach. More police, more prisons, more condos, more yuppies and less poor people. Why fix the schools when we can subsidize luxury housing. Why take care of minority teenagers when you can attract people who can send their kids to private schools. Don’t fund the county hospital; have the hospital fund the County Government so they can put up prisons and billboards.

So what causes this type of “social epidemic?” How do you propagate such violence and despair? This isn’t a virus and it’s not spread by spinach, or birds or even dirty needles; the greed, the arrogance and the corruption of the Oakland City Council and the County Board of Supervisors fuel this decay. What we have is what you get when City and County government refuse to build and support schools, hospitals and community services which meet the needs of children, families and working people.

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