Open Letter to Oakland Mayor (Responses)
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First NameLast NameComments
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NiharBhatt
As a survivor of the Ghost Ship fire who lost 7 friends I urge the mayor to act to stop further harm from coming about as a result of this tragedy.
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MayaBenton
Tired of artist being the enemy. Don't we make this world beautiful. Keep radical art and expression alive
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JoshThomas
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TracyParker
Creativity and the arts are always the first to get cut with a budget crisis. It's ironic to me that everything we interact with in our daily lives is designed by a creative, from our toothbrushes and cereal bowls, to our shoes, eyeglasses and clothing, to the style we were our hair, vehicles we drive and buildings we live/work in. The arts and the nurturing of the creative community should be of utmost importance and protected and supported; encouraged to excell. I was an art focused student in high school, but I was also valedictorian. I have always done things with conviction and morality, concern and care for those around me. I hope that my beautiful city of Oakland can treat our artistic and creative community with the same sentiment. The greatest of cities recognize the need and importance of culture. Please support our beautiful creatives in Oakland by doing your best to work with all of us. My sincerest appreciation and gratitude. Sincerely, Tracy
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DerekGedalecia
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FanciullaGentile
As a performer & bay area native who has been displaced multiple times I align with this statement & want to see the mayor & council address these urgent demands and follow through with changes that will have a positive impact on the well being of current Oakland residents. I lost many friends the night of the fire, I could have lost my own life. Help residents live safely with dignity, help artists contribute to the culture of their communities by ending evictions & investing in the survival of long time & marginalized residents.
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SophiaKim
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SeanNieves
I stand with my community in demanding support for those living in warehouses and other improvised spaces, as well as safeguarding those spaces- not only in making them physically safer, but by protecting residents from opportunistic and predatory evictions.
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Maxine Chernoff
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KevinKillian
In memory of all those who died in the fire, and those thrust out of the Bay Area by unchecked speculation, do the right thing and stop the evictions.
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ZephFishlyn
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SarahBly
Not only did we lose pillars of the artistic community, but many of the attendees were also social workers, therapists and teachers. I myself am a full time middle school teacher in Richmond, California. I teach computing and electronic music production. I am also an artist who has performed at and attended many events at the Ghost Ship. I pay taxes, I volunteer at many local civic events, and I give back to my community as a teacher. I deserve safer spaces to congregate and share my art with like-minded individuals, without fear of being sexually harrassed or stolen from as I often am in mainstream venues.
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BenjaminValis
Hello Mayor and Oakland powers that be. I was recently evicted from a warehouse in west Oakland in 2016, the Lobot Gallery space at 18th and Campbell. Since then, my life has become incredibly housing insecure and tenuous, living in vessels and vehicles and crashing with friends and partners. I never thought I would be functionally homeless but sometimes it feels that way. I work full time, but cannot afford housing in the current market in Oakland. So please understand that evictions equal homelessness, stress and mental anguish for the residents affected. Oakland needs arts spaces and they need to be a safe as possible, so please let's work together to build something sustainable, not destroy something potentially so beautiful.
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JamesCrawford
Protect our community.
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judithbalmin
The worst health outcomes are associated with not having shelter! Displacing people in a community that had just suffered a huge loss is cruel and misguided. If you care about health and safety--make buildings safe. No more evictions. We've suffered enough.
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ErinAllen
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MarissaYoung
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JasmineMcKay
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PatrickWood
Please keep the Bay Area safe, physically and psychologically, for those most affected by the recent tragedy and ongoing eviction crisis that is affecting our community. Government has a choice in how to proceed. Please proceed in a direction that will empower the community instead of demolishing it.
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GregNiemeyer
Oakland s a symbol to the world... of what, is up to you.
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DanielKaminsky
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RRheaPack
The need for protective action is now.
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SharmiBasu
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KernHaug
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RichardMarler
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MichaelDaddona

Stop intentionally making it difficult for marginalized artists/communities to have the bare bones of resources . It's the city's responsibility to stand in solidarity for
Once and provide the $ and resources needed in the wake of this awful tragedy ...
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LauraThatcher
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NataleeDecker
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RyanMartin
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LaurenO'Connor
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KatrinaClark
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StephanieLister
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AdrianSaenz
As a friend and creative collaborator of several of the victims who lost their lives in the fire, I live in solidarity with the other survivors and am in complete agreement with all things outlined here.
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MatthewHarris
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EnriqueHernandez
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DavidEaslick
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NathanBowers
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Leola Davis
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LukasBlakk
Make the commitment to safe artist spaces & affordable living!
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PhilipMorganelli
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MelanieLister
Save and respect our special places
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HeatherClark
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McLeanPierce
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LarkBuckingham
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Yea-MingChen
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DuncanMoore
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Jasper Bernes
If you are compassionate toward the community that is grieving those lost in the Ghost Ship fire, you will not evict them in the middle of winter. It is not "safe" to be homeless; in fact, the stress of losing housing can lead to illness, physical and mental. Please halt all evictions.
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EsCanogullari
Mayor Libby Schaff needs to reevaluate the aggressive ways that people have been already evicted or threatened that their creative spaces will be shut down. Pushing our community into fear is the last thing we need right now, especially when we are already holding onto secure housing and access to art spaces with our dear lives as the city is being sold to huge tech companies. What Libby Schaff and the City of Oakland should be doing during an intense time of mourning for the creative community here is have direct conversations with those effected and artists spaces, IT SHOULD NOT TAKE 36 BEAUTIFUL LIVES LOST FOR THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO CARE ABOUT ARTS SPACES AND ARTISTS. Its extremely heartbreaking that it took death for this conversation to be initiated. Art and the artists that live there are a defining part of what makes oakland so beautiful. please instead of scare tactics and evictions figure out ways to support these crucial spaces instead of demonizing them and making them dissappear.
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alexcruse
It is imperative that Bay Area musicians and artists are given the opportunity and time to improve the conditions of venues and living spaces. In this time of intensified gentrification and displacement, we ask that our attempts to build safer spaces not be met with evictions and closures.
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Jesse MarieDi Carlo-Wagner
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patricianuñopeople before profits!
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MayaBush
1929 Linden st Oakland CA 94607
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AndreaDanger
Now is Ms. Schaaf's opportunity to prove to the world she stands for what she claims to stand for. The national assault on creatives that has begun since the Ghost Ship fire began in Oakland and it is her responsibility as a person, as a woman, as an art lover, and as Mayor of Oakland, to put an end to it. In the times of Trump, there is no room for compromises. Save the lives and the soul of Oakland.
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MaximilianBrotman
I was very close to the victims of the ghost ship fire. I would have been there had I not had another date that night. Many of my friends survived because they were on their way to the party late, or standing outside. This space was unsafe, a fire risk. This does not mean that every art space is a fire risk! It does not mean that collective housing or re-purposed storefronts are inherently dangerous! It would be a tragedy if the legacy of the lost lives of my friends is a shutdown of the community that they were part of.
I lived in spaces similar to the ghost ship for many years. These open floor plan kinds of places not only provide space for artists to create or for music events, they are homes that enable people to get a foothold on living in Oakland. The story of my peers is move into an art space and live there until you set yourself up with work and your own home, or stay there and facilitate others. This is how the creative talent of the city functions because we need the space/time to create and affordability to become working artists.
Collective housing has a long history in our area. My father lived in bay area arts warehouses in the 60's and 70's. Many thousands have built their lives and crafts because of having live-work spaces and non-commercial venues. Collective housing is a vital facet of the culture and well being of the city. I never thought it would be under threat the way it is now.
Cities throughout Europe have permitted art spaces where people live and create. These are celebrated publicly and even funded by governments. Artists are not relegated to scurrying in the shadows trying be low-profile in fear of loosing everything. In the political climate of our nation today, shouldn't the few cities that claim to be progressive actually be progressive? The nation needs us to create positive culture, to answer the rising tide of hate and bigotry. Oakland needs the creative young people. We are why the affluent people want to live here.. because we create the vibrancy that makes it more than a box-store suburb. Loose us and loose everything.
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SimonaOtyrba
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BenjaminFurstenberg
Tragedy cannot be parlayed into an opportunity for developers and real estate interests. It's well known that the zoning procedures and bureaucracies unfairly favor those with ample capital and connections, while punishing and endangering those without.

Safety is a socially-produced public good. By pushing vulnerable people further to the margins, in allowing evictions from homes and project spaces, the city is producing further social hazard and promoting unequal access to safety. Practice harm-reduction by providing ways for people to safely create and congregate in the ways that make sense to them. Stop making life, housing, and vital creative work harder for people of color, queer/trans people, and artists.

Oakland has an interest in protecting a thriving, socially heterogeneous, creative community, one which is free to experiment outside the dictates of the market and confines of established artistic and entertainment norms.
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JenniferCross
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Anandi Worden
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BrianTester
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Donnade la Perriere
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JosephLease
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ClaireBrown
Libby Schaff, this is the least you could do. Please have a heart and stand up for whats right for once.
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ElaineKahn
I first moved to Oakland in 2002 and am closely connected with the queer and artist communities devastated by the Ghost Ship fire. Even before this fire, code violations were already being used as an excuse to evict people from relatively affordable housing (e.g. 1919 Market Street and the Lobot warehouse in West Oakland); in the weeks since, this insidious practice has intensified even further. I urge you to take strong action to stop tenants from being evicted from warehouses in response to this tragedy. We must support safety without further displacement.
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LisaCarmack
With a heavy heart and hope for the future.
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ChrisZaldua
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AndrewJoron
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SiobhanAluvalot
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YetundeOlagbaju
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ClaireStaples
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JasonPerez
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LauchlanCasey
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JuliaLitman-cleper
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SeaHeikes
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AmberGriffin-RoyalTreat us right!
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GeorgeChen
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ColleenFitzSimons
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MasonSmith
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GlennWait
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TomasHemstad
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Sarah Lockhart
founder/co-director 21 Grand; Oakland resident for 19 years.
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Tasho Nicolopulos
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NehaSpellfish
I am an Oakland-based artist and international performer and a 20-yr veteran of the underground, independent arts community. I lost close friends and loved one's in the Ghostship warehouse fire and I was a regular volunteer at 21 Grand in the early '00s. I have witnessed first hand the City of Oakland's obstructionist policies and it's poor handling of multi-purpose art spaces. Even in some of the poorest nations, the communities of artists are given the independence, space and self-determination to create works and experiences for the public. In Oakland - in 2016 - there's no reason why we should not be able do this safely. The City of Oakland MUST do more to protect it's community of underfunded artists and performers. The long-standing tension, grief and paranoia that our community faces as a result of scrambling for spaces is truly decimating our culture. As a 16 yr resident of Oakland, I am constantly disappointed at the city's refusal to reform its live/work policies and the lack of bravery and for-sight to make long-standing changes in support of independent, community art spaces. WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS! As a tax paying citizen and a working artist, I demand that the City of Oakland prioritize this community and commit to supporting us in the long term.

- Neha Chriss
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Miss IanCallaghan
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christophertubbs
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EstellaBlomquist
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RemyMarc
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GeetaDayal
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IanWinter
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FanciullaGentile
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DawnHillis
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JordanPresnick
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joseyduncan
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DenaGoldsmith-Stanley
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CarolynValentine
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Sona Avakian
Eviction is not the answer. Making underground spaces physically safer for artists, poor people, people of color, trans people and all marginalized people is the solution. Also, making above ground places psychologically safer for artists, poor people, people of color, trans people and all marginalized people, which means check your privilege.
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davidjonesyes this.......
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kwamehargrove
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GentryMcShane
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Christopher Musgrave
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