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Getting Out Late In Oakland After Too Much Work: A Brief Report

This phase of work, work, work is not done (and this is part of it) but not yet taking its toll. To make sure that doens't happen, I did two things: 1) I went to the gym and 2), I went out to just relax. The first thing, the gym, I do every day, or try too. I'm working to keep by weight below 200 pounds. I find I feel best at less than 196. Yesterday I was at 198.

The second act was just plain going out. I wound up, as they say, at Luka's and ran into my neighbors and their friend who can dance up a storm. So, for the first time in a a while, I danced to some combination of "house" and reggae. Then, once enough sweat was produced to make think of my desire not to sweat a lot, I stopped, and fortunately so did they, and left. That was fun. It's also a blast to do it with people from your hood.

Then I wound up at another place called Mua and ran into a couple I generally see at Cafe Ven Kleef. They had a friend in West Oakland who had a story tip for me so they brought me over to her and we talked for a long time. To give the short version, it seems there's this company that specializes in cleaning up after a homicide. Now, according to my new friend, that firm, called "Crime Scene Cleanup", reportedly has been telling West Oakand residents that they "own the neighborhood" and plan to buy distressed property. For what reason, I do not know.

But the company has been -- according to my new friend -- active around West Oakland. Now remember they clean up after, say, a murder. And that, from what I've read today, is not a pretty thing. It's mostly maggots, and other disgusting stuff.

My friend then sent this message:

What we do know: they are moving into a property that touches a restaurant, is surrounded by residential properties and a half a block away from a school.

When my neighbors went over there in good faith - in fact excited to meet these guys because they had heard about them and thought that their van was really cool - they were instantly met with hostility and intimidation.

The questions we in the neighborhood have are:
- why hasn't this business notified residents that they are moving in, as they are supposed to do?
- what is their waste disposal procedure? Their safety measures must be excellent, since they were approved to operate right next door to so many families with children.
- how will this affect our neighborhood activities, such as our planned community garden, National Night Out block parties, etc?
- why is the business hostile to the community it plans to join?
- and finally, as a matter of curiosity, what kind of homework did they do that led them to choose a property right next door to two large loft developments (some of the oldest ones in West Oakland), a school, and lots of residential?

The main question is, are the employees of Crime Scene Cleanup doing any illegal waste dumping and with a sense of entitlement, which would explain the exchange I reported above? I understand Councilmember Nancy Nadel's aware of this so I'm going to do some digging. More soon.

At any rate, it was fun and even though I was the only person not "coupled" -- hey I could have gone to a fundraiser with a woman friend of mine but I had too much work to do (she' pissed at me now) and the woman I've been dating recently has a job that keeps her on a plane, overseas for months at a time. So you can imagine what I'm thinking.

So, perhaps taking pity on me, the women teased me mercilessly while their boy friends laughed in approval. Life is so fun, especially when your surrounded by great pairs of legs. There was a "film at 11" but to protect the identity of my source, it will not see the whites of your eyes.
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