Monthly Archives: December 2007

Billboards, again

I appreciate all the responses to my question about billboards. Honestly, I don’t really have strong feelings about billboards one way or the other, but if I had to choose a side, I would have to say that, sadly, I disagree with most of my commenters. I’ll write more about why later, but before I do so, I have another question. Do you guys have a problem with ads on bus shelters and buses and in BART as well?

Oakbook magazine launch party tonight!

So Novometro’s print magazine, Oakbook, is finally out and I’ve got to say it looks totally fabulous. The magazine is free, so when you see it around town, make sure to pick up a copy a copy of the new, hipper alternative to Oakland Magazine, so you don’t miss the very cool fashion spread, the spooky true crime feature, and a great reminder of why the African American Museum and Library is just that awesome. Also, horoscopes! (Apparently, I’m going dancing at Luka’s this week. Who knew?)

Anyway, if you’re planning on going out for First Friday tonight, make sure you stop by the Esteban Sabar Gallery at 480 23rd Street between 7 and 10 to celebrate the launch. If you weren’t planning on going, now you have a reason to. Enjoy music by DJ Fflood and wine from Lost Canyon Winery.

Ignacio De La Fuente announces Fruitvale Safety Initiative

So it’s about time (PDF!) that someone tried to do something about the increasing safety problems in Fruitvale:

Oakland City Council President and District 5 Council Member Ignacio De La Fuente introduced the Fruitvale Safety Project – a three-month focused effort to reduce rising crime and violence in the vibrant Fruitvale Neighborhood through improved coordination and targeting of resources. “We all have to pick priorities and my priority is increasing public safety in the Fruitvale,” said President De La Fuente.

Good for him. Continue reading

Save the planet without making yourself even mildly uncomfortable!

So the East Bay Express this week was all about global warming. If you missed it, you can read the stories here, here, here, here, and here. And overall it was interesting. It was nice to see them have some actual content for once, even if it wasn’t unique to that paper. But I have to admit that I’m a little bewildered that a newspaper can devote 4,436 words to a discussion of slowing climate change, and somehow not once mention the single most important factor driving increasing emissions rates – land use. In fact, immediately preceding their special rah-rah environmentalist section, they ran an anti-development story bitching about the kind of high-density housing that, frankly, we’re going to need a lot more of if we want to accommodate anticipated regional growth without making the problems in question even worse than they already are.

Also, I’m not entirely certain that any of the Express articles managed to communicate what a daunting task the emissions reductions they’re calling for is. In October I went to this ABAG/MTC joint event called Bay Area on the Move, where they talked about planning for anticipated housing and transportation needs for 2035. Continue reading

Meaningful citizen input

So if you ever attend or watch Oakland City Council or Committee meetings, a complaint you’ll hear nearly every week is that the Council is disrespectful to Oakland’s citizenry because they don’t allow sufficient time for public comment at meetings. People get so angry about this! On their list of positions, Oakland’s League of Women Voters includes a section on ensuring “Meaningful Citizen Input.” The first bullet point of this section reads:

Adequate time for input at hearings (one – three minutes is often not enough)

Get real, people. Continue reading

Why is Oakland selling our police officers to outside agencies?

So around 10 PM Saturday night, I happened to be sitting in a local bar, enjoying a glass of bourbon and a lovely conversation, when two of Oakland’s finest entered and proceeded to march up and down the room with their flashlights, inspecting all the patrons for cigarettes. They wrote a couple of tickets, issued the bar a warning, and twenty or so minutes later, went on their merry way. Since providing real-time (or even near-time) crime data for its residents is not one of Oakland’s strengths, I couldn’t tell you what else was going on around the city at that time. But historical personal observation and anecdotal evidence have led me to conclude that Saturday night is not exactly a traditionally low-crime time, and I have a hard time believing that there was nothing else those two officers could have been doing to better serve the community at that exact moment. Continue reading

Outside Oakand

Nothing’s inspiring me today, either in the news or at the Council. (Concerned citizens may want to check out the emergency meeting of the Measure Y Oversight Committee tonight, but I’ve already written about that.) Anyway, in lieu of spending time searching for something to complain about, I thought I’d share some stories about other places that I’ve found interesting recently and made me think of Oakland for one reason or another. Happy reading! Continue reading