Caltrans - Unsafe at any speed.
Tox Omistakin' -
the mastermind of the de-population of Wood Street.
On April 7, 2022, Caltrans announced that all 200 residents of the Wood Street Community living on State of California public land, were exclusively to blame for all 240 fires at Wood Street, without naming a single person as a potential suspect, without presenting any evidence, without due process of law, and giving us no chance to answer our accusers in court.
So we have had to collect evidence to prove our innocence of arson by learning amateur street arsonology.
Caltrans ruthlessly and brutally destroying the home of a single black woman.
The cruel and gratuitous crushing and destroying of the Art and Music Camp by Caltrans, Marinship, Burlington Northern and Gavin Newsom, who could have stopped the evictions with a phone call.
Caltrans causes crash to commuter train!
Caltrans causes Amtrak commuter train crash right next to the
Cob on Wood village.
Dear Toks, Jeannie and Cheryl,
It is with shock and dismay that the residents of our Wood Street community received your message that you wish to forcibly remove our people who are living under the freeway at Wood Street, starting on March 21st, 2022. We need to ask you to push this date back, because this is not enough time for anyone to pick up their lives and move.
Although the process of meeting together as mutual stakeholders in the use of our state owned land was still quite young, we were hoping that Caltrans would not so abruptly revert back to its inhumane policies of forcible displacement of our residents, the destruction of our communities, and the theft of our homes and property.
It was also particularly painful for many of us that you used fire as the pretext for evicting us. Most of our residents have been traumatized and terrorized by arson fires, and are victims of fire, not its perpetrator. Many of the arson fires were caused by people from outside our community. So for you to summarily punish the majority for the acts of a minority, without consulting us first as partners to fix the problem, or acknowledging our efforts at fire abatement in the last year, is unacceptable. In fact, our crews are making renewed efforts with our own heavy equipment, including bobcats and trucks, to remove all the trash, abandoned vehicles and flammable items from the Wood Street community.
May I also remind you that last year our residents made unprecedented progress in forging alliances with our friends, volunteers and advocates from the housed community to clean tons of trash and abandoned vehicles out of zone II, with a priority on removing flammable trash items that had accumulated under or around the freeway infrastructure. Can we agree that the appalling amounts of trash on the Wood Street lands was a shared responsibility in which neither residents nor Caltrans were blameless. Our lands were abused on a daily basis by illegal dumping from outside, as well as failed Oakland city waste policies, and the active neglect practiced by your agency, which has all the heavy equipment necessary to quickly remove trash and abandoned vehicles, but instead would drive dozens of times right past the most egregious piles of flammable mattresses, plastic, foam, wood, construction debris, car tires, etc. sitting against the support columns under the freeways, and do nothing to remove it.
We do not want harm to come to the freeway structures, because they are beautiful, and we don't want them to fall, and claim the lives of our residents, or of the drivers above. And even with the many financial constraints that we suffer. we have made unprecedented efforts to develop our own infrastructure for fire abatement, without any support from Caltrans or the City of Oakland. Again, with the help of our partners in the housed community, and our own efforts at fundraising, we have purchased electric pumps, procured water totes and large water containers, hoses, shovels, fire extinguishers, and provided safety education to our own residents. And please remember that these efforts took place against a backdrop of active deprivation by the City of Oakland, EBMUD and Caltrans of any fire hydrants and water delivery systems to the Wood Street lands. It is not beneath the City, for example, to put theft-proof caps on the hydrants in the vicinity of Wood Street, or to keep the showers and bathrooms at nearby Raimondi Park, perpetually locked and inaccessible to either residents or the housed community. The inhumanity and the violation of international standards represented by these water deprivation policies are shameful and unsustainable, and a blight on Oakland's reputation.
We ask that you indefinitely suspend your plans to forcibly remove us and destroy our community on March 21st, and instead return to our process of stakeholder meetings to come to mutual agreements on how we can best partner to reduce or eliminate damaging and uncontrolled fires anywhere on Wood Street lands. We much prefer this to the other option, which is to defend ourselves and our community, through the mobilization of our ever-growing network of support worldwide, who support our community-based model of land stewardship and tiny home ecovillage development, and its promise to become a truly humane solution to homelessness everywhere.
Why expose your agency to increasing social disapproval, legal injunctions, theatrical protests, negative press attention, and the diversion of your agency's resources to dealing with the growing power of self-organized encampments across the State, and their maturity in terms of solidarity, mutual aid, and increasing knowledge of the law and our basic human rights, as well as the constitutionally shaky ground upon which injunctions against overnight camping within cities have been built.
From our perspective, telling us when we have to move, and where we have to move to, without our consultation, represents Caltrans going back to its old playbook, of dehumanization, depopulation, and acting like a huge monopoly agency without accountability, that is deaf to the needs of the people, and uses its bully power of the police and heavy equipment to crush our communities, deprive us of our rights, and degrade our quality-of-life with callous impunity.
We have our own plans for the property of open space north of the RV park, and nobody here has proposed the grim pallet shelters as their personal preference; and no one here favors the kind of development utilizing these shelters on barren plots of pavement behind heavy security gates, all of which have distasteful overtones of an internment camp.
We understand your discomfort at moving beyond your role as a transportation agency, and taking up responsibilities as a social service agency as well. But would you agree that humanely solving the problem of homelessness is a basic civic responsibility that we all share, and that it is better to leave your comfort zone, than to continue to do harm to your fellow human beings?
We have resident representatives and community advocates that are ready now to re-engage the process of stakeholder meetings with you. I am sure we can come up with solutions together for meeting our respective needs, including your stated need to use the land where we live so that you can do "maintenance". In the scheme of things, we have to put human life above "maintenance", which your vast land holdings outside of Wood Street could surely accommodate.
It's not an easy road, but let's walk together toward our shared future as true stewards of the land.
Our Wood Street Community West Oakland