Monthly Archives: April 2009

Mayor Dellums dines alone?

I always look forward to reading look forward to reading “Watchdog,” the government transparency column from Thomas Peele, who is hands-down my favorite journalist in the Bay Area. Public records and open government may not be the sexiest of topics to read about, but they are the bedrock of quality local news. Without the longtime efforts of people like Peele, the coverage myself and other local bloggers provide would be much more difficult, if not impossible.

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How do things get done in Oakland? Very, very slowly.

In May 2006, I had an opportunity to speak with then-Mayoral candidate Ron Dellums. It was pretty informal – I standing outside a downtown bar, enjoying a cigarette, when he and his entourage were walking passed, and I just stopped him and asked a question. I don’t remember my exact inquiry, but it had something to do with his schedule, whether he was going to be at some debate or something, which was listed on the website schedules for the other candidates, but not on his.

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Tom Thurston: Policy is made by those who show up. Those who show up want something.

The hearing on the Housing Element was not as bad as I anticipated. Eric Angstadt, Deputy Director of CEDA and Jeff Levin, CEDA’s housing policy coordinator presented the draft statement. They noted that the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) would like to see most of the new housing in the central cities, namely San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. This is environmentally sound and consistent with a megatrend in housing preferences. These three cities got the lion’s share of the next round of housing allocation.

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Where does our money go?

Last night’s budget town hall meeting was depressing. Sure, the budget itself is hell of depressing, but what was even more depressing for me was how few people showed up. It was hard to do a good count, since there were all sorts of people swarming around the room, but I tried a couple of times, and as far as I can figure, there were at most thirty people there who weren’t either City staff or with the League of Women Voters.

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Planning Commission passes CBD Zoning proposal

I felt like kind of a jerk yesterday when I kept hearing about how amazing Uptown had been on Wednesday night, what with all the crowds showing up for the Franz Ferdinand, Green Day, and Leonard Cohen shows at the Fox, Uptown, and Paramount, and with all the restaurants and bars all filled to capacity. Living in the area, I’m starting to grow accustomed to crowds downtown, but from all accounts, it sounds like it was a particularly exciting night. I wish I had thought to wander over and check it all out at some point. Instead, I spent four hours sitting on my couch watching people talk about how we want to create a vibrant downtown. Alas.

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