Here, from the San Jose Mercury News, is the strangest story to emerge from the ghastly Dec. 2 fire that has claimed the lives of at least 33 people partying in a dilapidated warehouse in Oakland, Calif.:

As they grieved for friends killed in the inferno at the Ghost Ship warehouse on 31st Avenue, artists, musicians and partygoers from east to west Oakland couldn’t help but worry about a backlash of building inspections at other warehouse collectives.

“There’s going to be a draconian overreaction to shut everything down,” said Dunn, 42, who has attended events at the collective in the Fruitvale neighborhood. “That would only add to the tragedy.”

“People are getting worried (the fire) is gonna be used against us,” said Katelyn Charvoz, of West Oakland. The 25-year-old said she’s been involved in the music/party scene since she was about 15. “The city’s gonna paint us as some ugly, crusty, punk kids that are up to no good. If they buy up all the warehouses on every street and kick everyone out, it will just hurt the arts community here.”

We mourn the loss of life, and are appalled that a story is titled "Vibrant Arts Scene Re-Energized Oakland, But Fire Spreads Fear of Crackdown" indicates some people are taking the wrong lesson from the fire. They may be contributing to the next time a fire erupts.

Now for a more details about the vibrant  "collective" that in minutes turned into a towering inferno–from the U.K. Daily Mail:

Visitors have described a squalid scene where cat faeces and used condoms litter the limited floor space, junk and 'art' is piled high in every room, nails protrude from stairs made out of old pallets, brick work crumbles in the walls and drug use rife among the party goers who came and went….

The property has received 10 complaints over the past 10 years, the most recent involving a makeshift stairwell and un-permitted construction….

The eccentric building operator created an indoor 'RV park' downstairs charging residents $500 a month per person and would also make money renting the space for parties.

Said eccentric building operator, Derick Ion Almena, had fortunately parked his wife and three children, who lived on the warehouse's second floor, in an upscale hotel while the fatal party–apparently set up to help Almena cover the montly $5,000 rent– raged on.
Now, Oakland, across the San Francisco Bay from equally progressive San Francisco, is one of the most regulated cities on the planet. There's a byzantine system of rent control and a maze of rules that make it all but impossible to evict deadbeat tenants. There's a reusable bag ordinance that makes it expensive to carry your groceries home in plastic. There are elaborate parking ordinances backed by massive fines. You can't smoke in most places. You practically need a lawyer to run an Airbnb.
But when it comes to the arts and the arty people, the Mercury News implies, Oaklanders turn into Ayn Randers:
So Friday’s tragedy has put city officials in a bind: Red-tagging unsafe or unpermitted buildings used by artists will likely reduce an already scarce supply of affordable space. But ignoring code violations puts residents at risk….

“The issue of creating safe, vibrant spaces for Oakland’s artist community is a priority not just of me as mayor but of this community,” Schaaf said. “This is work that’s been going on for a long time and we’re going to stay focused on accomplishing that in a way that makes sense both for Oakland and also for all the different stakeholders involved.”

Sarriugarte, 53, an artist, blacksmith and longtime part of Oakland’s vibrant arts community as well as the Burning Man crowd, wants to make sure artists using warehouses are not painted with a broad brush.

Fortunately for the artists and blacksmiths of Oakland, the city's mayor, Libby Schaaf, seems to be as into the "vibrant" as they are:

Schaaf often arrives at parades and other events in a fire-breathing art car in the shape of a large snail, fabricated by Burning Man artist Jon Sarriugarte, and has attended events in converted arts spaces around town. She has pledged to do all she can to preserve and promote the arts and spaces for artists in Oakland.

We at the Independent Women's Forum are all in favor of deregulation–cutting through mazes of pointless rules that stifle jobs and businesses. But there are such things as good regulation, and fire safely rules would seem to belong among them. Even the most vibrant of artists would rather be vibrantly alive than vibrantly dead.