Monthly Archives: June 2007

I am at a complete loss as to why this concept is so difficult to grasp

As the deadline for comments on AC Transit’s Draft EIR on BRT approaches, the pro-parking activists are going on the attack. I can hardly look at my RSS feeds these days without being subjected to some whiny story or blog about how giving the bus dedicated lanes on Telegraph and E. 14th is going to cause traffic problems. The East Bay Express is the latest offender.

Since nobody seems to be getting it, I’m going to state this as simply as I know how. The entire point of BRT is that you get out of your goddamned car and take the fucking bus instead. O.M.G.! Why is this so hard to understand? Continue reading

As usual, the Council doesn’t care about, well, anything

The plastic bag ban passed through the Public Works Committee yesterday and will now move on to the full Council, who will, of course, also pass it. Desley Brooks abstained from the vote, claiming she needed more information before she could endorse the ordinance.

The lengthy discussion of the ordinance revealed just how fatally flawed the proposal is. When asked how many businesses would be affected by the ordinance, Carol Misseldine, the city’s sustainability coordinator and author of the ordinance, admitted that she had absolutely no idea. The threshold for businesses covered by the ban is $1 million in gross sales annually. That translates to roughly $2700 in sales daily. So the answer is most businesses. The Committee didn’t care. Continue reading

Before we ban them, here are some facts about plastic bags

I was going to write a long and witty blog about this last night, but I had too much fun instead.

I wish I could attend the Public Works Committee meeting to speak against the ordinance, but instead I have to work. Undoubtedly, the press will mindlessly swallow Nancy Nadel’s and Jean Quan’s inane ramblings and regurgitate them without scrutiny. However, for those among the community with even a slight inclination towards critical thought, here are some things to consider. I apologize for the lack of links and such. I will try to update this with them later as time allows.

The report is a collection of half-truths and distortions. None of the arguments presented for banning plastic shopping bags stand up to inspection. Here are several reasons the Committee should reject this legislation. Continue reading

Your Council this week – June 25th-29th, 2007

State of the Art Education Complex: Tuesday, June 26th, 6:00 PM Education Partnership Committee

Last summer, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced a plan to sell 9.5 acres of OUSD-owned property near Lake Merritt to New York developer Terramark for $65 million. The land sale would have put a substantial dent in the $100 million the district owes to the state. The proposal drew violent opposition from members of OUSD’s impotent School Board, who claimed that the sale would actually hurt the district financially, since the cost of relocating the five schools currently housed on the land could reach $35 million. Although their decisions have carried no weight since the district went into state recievership in 2003, the School Board voted to reject the land sale and countered Terramark’s proposal with a vision of their own – a “state-of-the-art education center” on the property. Continue reading

Weekly City Business Round-Up – June 18th-22nd, 2007*

Planning Commission – Wednesday, June 20th 6:00 PM

Sparks flew at the Planning Commission’s last meeting when Commissioners Doug Boxer and Michael Lighty attempted withhold a permit to sell alcohol from two new Trader Joe’s stores until the company agreed to have the stores’ employees to submit to a union query . Both men are union advocates by trade – Boxer is a labor lawyer and Lighty is director of public policy for the California Nurse’s Association. Although the Commission has no explicit authority over labor issues, Lighty claimed that the demand was consistent with the Commission’s mandate to consider the impact of major projects on the surrounding community. At the last meeting, the Lakeshore location prevailed, but the Rockridge store, at the former site of Albertsons near BART, will have to try again on Wednesday. The new downtown Whole Foods (another famously anti-union grocer), at 27th and Harrison, will share the spotlight with Joe’s, as they seek an alcohol sales permit of their own. Will Boxer and Lighty repeat their stunt? Continue reading

Gee whiz, it’s scary here. I sure with there were some at-risk youth around.

I wrote about the proposed Oakland Ambassador’s Program in my weekly city business roundup on Novometro. On Tuesday, the Council voted to conditionally approve the program, subject to funding during their budget deliberations.

Let’s take a look at a few features of the program that illustrate just how mind-bogglingly stupid this proposal is. Continue reading