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Mon Dec 5, 2016, 10:21 AM

Artists and advocates say deadly Oakland fire is product of housing crisis

Last edited Mon Dec 5, 2016, 10:54 PM - Edit history (1)


(I warn in advance that I am emotional about this topic, since I have lived and worked in some of these places and this weekend was terrible for all of our community. I no longer live in Oakland, but a lot of us came together this weekend on social media to share experiences. No one lives in a place not up to code strictly for funsies.)

A devastating warehouse fire that killed at least 36 people has shone a harsh light on a housing crisis in Oakland and its consequences for artists and low-income residents.

The fire, which broke out during a party at the ‘Ghost Ship’ warehouse on Friday night, sent shockwaves through the underground arts and music scene in the northern California city where rapidly rising rents have forced people to live and make art in shared and sometimes hazardous spaces.

Some reports have cast blame on the artists and residents associated with the warehouse where so many people died, trapped in a building that lacked basic fire safety mechanisms.

Long-time Oaklanders and tenants’ rights activists, however, said the tragedy was a symptom of a major affordability crisis and the long-term failure of urban housing policy to protect the most vulnerable people.


Edit to add, link to help out: https://ww2.kqed.org/pop/2016/12/04/how-to-help-families-and-loved-ones-of-victims-of-the-oakland-fire/

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Reply Artists and advocates say deadly Oakland fire is product of housing crisis (Original post)
Starry Messenger Dec 2016 OP
vlakitti Dec 2016 #1
exboyfil Dec 2016 #2

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Dec 5, 2016, 02:35 PM

1. A realy fine article.

And an interesting interpretation. I live near Oakland, and this is devastating. Thank you for posting it and for your comment.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed Dec 7, 2016, 03:38 AM

2. Money quote

Kazaleh said artists needed to rely on each other to ensure their spaces were safe: “There’s no easy answer. We have to be completely self-policing now. We don’t want city inspectors snooping around.”

Lets start the list of those most culpable:

1. The owner of the space who was happy to collect the rent.
2. The manager who had an obligation to meet code standards for the tenants.
3. The city of Oakland and its inspectors if they did not follow the law.
4. Those who inhabited and visited the space who did not consider their own safety. I think that sentiment includes Kazlaleh above.

Somewhere down below that is the fact that rents are unaffordable. So who decides what is unaffordable and who is entitled to these below market rents.

Left unsaid is the risk that firemen take in fighting this type of fire and trying to rescue the inhabitants.

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