Thursday, January 8, 2009


People are mad. I'm not happy about it either. But why smash stuff that has nothing to do with what happened on that BART platform? Becks has posted another person's story about how things got out of hand, and hotter heads prevailed. It's unfortunate that a few need to be hooligans and vent anger that exists in this way. Here's a commentary I agree with to a certain extent.
No question that Oakland is a full-on bonfire, soaked in gasoline and just waiting for a match or two. Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson and reporter Henry Lee have provided readers a long running and deep image of a city off its moorings, from hapless (or absent or corrupt) government leaders to rampant homicide.
This has been boiling for a while. Oakland seemed a bit sleepy for a while but Dellums being the absent professor isn't helping and no one has really taken a leadership role in the city of late. I'm not afraid but rather sad. The city has such great potential but seems to have a bit of a complex. Always overshadowed by San Francisco, Oakland developed an identity related to the bad things that have happened. But it has great qualities. It has great bones.

Working downtown has given me some perspective, but I don't understand most of the dynamics. The underlying issues need attention. And I don't think anyone in the leadership of the city is paying enough attention to what is going on deep down to actually fix it. I don't know the answer, but hopefully someone will think outside the box on this. The shooting was just one event, but so was the killing of Franz Joseph. It's a powder keg in Oakland and we need a solution. Where's the leadership summit? Where are the bright minds and big hearts? This is a cycle that must be broken.


Anonymous said...

From what I've been able to gather, this "protest" was some combination of local thugs and Berkeley revolutionaries, both of whom were just looking for an excuse to smash something.

Robert said...

Host said: "But why smash stuff that has nothing to do with what happened on that BART platform?"

Because they know that if they were to smash something of BART's or something of Johannes Mehserle's, they would probably be shot in the back while laying face down.

It's not helpful to this dialogue for you to criticize the riotors. I come to your blog to read about your ideas on strategic approaches toward moving this country toward a sustainable future. Rioting is not a systemic problem for which a strategic approach can be devised: it just doesn't happen very often.

So what systemic problem is seen often and what unsustainable practice can be fixed with a strategic approach? Cops killing unarmed people. It is endemic in California. I obey the law and don't carry a gun but live in fear of pissing off a cop. Where's your post on that?

I pay attention your blog because you talk about important issues that impact the long range success of the country. I don't come here to read complaints about the petty damage done by a relatively small riot. This wasn't Chicago 68 or LA 92 or Seattle 99 or even freaking Minneapolis 2008.

Further, the damn riot got people's attention; I had never even heard of Oscar Grant until I read the article about the riots and I live in the same state!

Anonymous said...

So if someone strong beats you up, the solution is to find someone even weaker and more defenseless and beat them up in turn? How about I blow up your car in protest against the evils of fossil fuel transportation? Or burn down your house to attract attention to the injustice of suburbanization?