All those bins…

Have you seen those bins all over Oakland. Where you can drop off your stuff and you think you’re doing good? Well you’re not. I was reading an article (here and noticed a very interesting quote:

Tobin Costen, the division manager of USAgain, a for-profit company that collects clothing at 44 boxes across Oakland and sells the items to recyclers, acknowledged that illegal dumping around the donation boxes is a problem. “There is definitely a challenge in Oakland because there is dumping in Oakland, unfortunately,” Costen said.

FOR-PROFIT? Uh what? So that’s just another notch in the city’s belt. These people take our old stuff and, what people don’t loot by breaking into the bins, and sell it. Basically these bins are Ebay receptacles.

What the city needs to focus on is finding a way to clean up Oakland, not line the pockets of those trying to take from us.

Living Wage for Oakland Recycling Workers

Did you see this?

Workers who handle Oakland’s recycled materials will have “good, family-supporting wages and benefits,” and all Oakland residents — including those in multifamily complexes — will have a full range of recycling services, according to a resolution passed by the city council this week. These were the key goals of a coalition of recycling workers, community and environmental organizations, workplace safety advocates, and clergy, which had been pushing for these measures for two years.

We need to provide a living wage for our workers rather than spending millions of dollars to build a railroad switching station to support workers in OTHER cities.

Train Safety

On March 3, the Mayor of Benicia, Elizabeth Patterson, wrote an op-ed that appeared on SF Gate about train safety. Her concerns were about tanker cars, but I also think there should be concerns about these proposed trash hauling cars.

These trains full of San Francisco’s trash are just going to mosey into the Oakland Rail Yard, sit there until full, and then head on out to the burbs for disposal. Will they be covered? Will the trash just sit there and if it catches a nice Bay breeze be picked up and distributed all over our Oakland?

We run a risk of trash fires in the Rail Yard, swarming birds, rats, odor… the list goes on.

We can’t let San Francisco use Oakland as it’s dumping ground and put the safety of our city at risk.

Urban Gardens

Oakland needs more people like Kelly Carlisle. In a recent Oakland Local article they profiled a local resident, Ms. Carlisle, and her attempt to form Urban Gardens in East Oakland. She uses tax incentives to try to get other neighborhood folks to join her in the effort to create a sustainable food source in their community. She has had a lot of doors slammed in her face, but she won’t give up.

This is what Oakland needs. We need to pump money into revitalizing our community not to make it easier for San Francisco to use us as it’s dumping ground!

Stop the Sugar-Coating!

The SFGate wrote a recent article about Family Fun in the Bay Area, including the following:

” On the topic of art, tonight Recology, better known as the San Francisco dump, is having an open house for its artists-in-residence who create art from recycled materials. Who knew? My kids and I attended the last event and enjoyed free hot dogs and spectacular sculptures. We especially had fun browsing the “free junk” area, featuring a collection of too-good-to-throw-away items found at the dump. We returned home with a set of retro TV trays and old records.”

Seriously? Recology’s PR folks are working overtime to hide the Green Rail destruction of Oakland. Sure we’ll go play in your trash art, but you need to help clean up our city, not run over us without so much as a hearing, public comment. Don’t sugar coat what you’re doing to Oakland by washing us with trash art.

The Green Train is Coming

The Green Train is coming.

A recent call to the City of San Francisco Planning Department revealed the following…

The Draft EIR should be released in the next 45 days. We’ll see if that EIR truly reflects the Environmental Impact this “green rail” is going to have on Oakland or if it just focuses on San Francisco and not the trash it is spreading through our town.

Check back often! We’ll post it as soon as it is out!

Trains need to be updated

The BART trains are just a nuisance. On December 4, hundreds of passengers had to be evacuated from a train here in Oakland. A parking brake on one of the trains malfunctioned and deployed in the middle of a tunnel. The train then took off, several people were injured, the station was shut down, and fire fighters spent valuable tax payer money fighting a non-existent fire.

Tax payer dollars need to be spent updating the BART system not adding a switching stations for a trash company.

We shouldn’t have to save school lunches

A recent article in the East Bay Express outlined the amazing program at New Highland Academy and RISE Community School in East Oakland. 98% of the children at these schools are eligible for assisted lunch. The school, like many schools, has an exorbitant amount of waste from the cafeteria each day. But now there is a really great program:

“During the last few weeks of school last spring, Food Shift piloted a food giveaway program at two schools. In just 5 weeks, volunteers collected 3,000 pounds of food and gave them away to 49 families. Parent volunteers gave away packaged burritos, chow mein, broccoli, beans, hamburgers, bagels, crackers, applesauce, cookies, whole fruits, and milk to families after school.”

49 families in our area are given food scraps from schools where 98% of the children are on the assisted lunch program. We all know that there are far more families that need assistances in our community, yet the city is going to spend a lot of money to overhaul the train depot for the benefit of a multi-million dollar corporation?

We need full bellies not full wallets.

Highway Expansion not Useless Rail


Brakelights come on as Highway 101 southbound traffic grinds to a halt during commute hours on Thursday morning, Nov. 14, 2013, in Novato, Calif. Economic recovery may be adding cars to the roads. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal) Frankie Frost

Traffic is getting worse. A lot worse. We all know the economy is getting better in the area, thank goodness, but did we ever stop and think that the economy getting better means traffic will get EVEN WORSE.

A recent article in the Marin News touts just that theory. The article says commutes that took 30 minutes a year ago are taking twice that now. An hour to get to work, yikes. Californians spend nearly “62 hours a year in traffic” almost twice the national average.

So why are we going to spend money and time on this Green Rail when we should be spending money on expanding BART service, encouraging carpooling (65% of people still drive by themselves), and cleaning up the suburban traffic into San Fran instead of helping get their trash out.


Where money should be spent…

On Friday BART went down. The trains worked fine… but the computers stopped working and, therefore, BART stopped working. 

BART blamed a network server upgrade for the computer problem, which also delayed hundreds of passengers on Thursday night.

The planned upgrade was implemented on Thursday, but it later began affecting the performance of the computer system used to monitor train service, Trost said. The system eventually went offline. (source)

Why would we want a new train clogging up our lines when we can’t even get our current trains working. Now I’m not saying that the “green train” will share the lines with BART but I am saying if we can’t even get our BART trains to run smoothly, why would Oakland want to risk adding more rail nightmares to our area. Imagine if the “green train” went out and trains full of trash just sat there…



Attracting wildlife…

Winds blowing that stench towards our homes and houses.