Monthly Archives: January 2010

OAC at MTC. Again. On Twitter!

Have I mentioned recently how much I love Twitter? Not recently enough, I’m sure.

I realize that for the most part, you guys are not nearly as excited about it as I am. In fact, when I asked about it on my reader survey last August, a full three quarters of you responded that you were just not interested in Twitter. I gotta say, folks – you really should give it another try.

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Building up Broadway: Specific Plan and Alta Bates

Tomorrow night will be the third in a series of community meetings about the Broadway/Valdez District Specific Plan. If it seems like it’s been a long time since you heard anything about that effort, well, that’s because it has been. The last community meeting, which covered existing conditions (PPT) and market demand (PDF) in the area, was held in early July.

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There are limits to what people should “tolerate”

I read with shock, horror, and disgust the recent columns from the Chronicle’s Chip Johnson, the Tribune’s Tammerlin Drummon and Byron Williams, and yesterday’s Chronicle editorial defending the Mayor’s nomination of Oakland’s largest Proposition 8 donor, Lorenzo Hoopes, to a new term on the Paramount Theatre Board of Directors.

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Please tell the MTC not to throw away $70 million in stimulus funds!

Ever since the release last week of the FTA’s letter to BART and the MTC (PDF) urging them to reprogram the $70 million in ARRA (also known as stimulus package) funds away from the Oakland Airport Connector, all the transit advocates I talk to have (understandably) been in a pretty celebratory mood.

But not me. We haven’t won anything yet. In fact, the region is now running the risk of losing entirely $70 million in stimulus funds for public transit.

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Two opportunities to get involved and weigh in on the future of the City budget and OUSD

I spend a lot of time trying to encourage people to pay attention to what their local government is doing. Oakland is full of energetic and politically active people working hard to make a difference on the State and Federal levels, and I think that’s awesome, and would obviously never suggest that they stop doing so. But I also think sometimes that the strong level of interest that so many Oaklanders take in fights going on in Sacramento or Washington comes at the expense of awareness of local issues.

That’s not to say that there’s nobody in town aggressively following local issues and trying to make a difference right here at home. Oakland is blessed with a fair number of people who have been doing so for many years, and I am proud to know many of them. But it’s undeniable that when you start watching or attending lots of local meetings, you pretty quickly get used to seeing all the same set of faces over and over and over again.

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Your chance to weigh in on BRT in Oakland

At long last, Oakland transit geeks are finally going to get a chance to talk about BRT! Talk about, that is, it somewhere other than the internet or a bar or AC Transit’s BRT Policy Steering Committee meetings, which are attended by only the absolute geekiest of transit geeks, anyway.

During January, Oaklanders will have seven – that’s right, seven chances to weigh in on their preferred route design and stop locations.

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Dear Council: 64,000 voters are the boss of you. You have to do IRV.

I have intentionally not said a word about Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) on this blog, because it’s one of those annoying topics, like PRT, that whenever you mention it, zealots on both sides of the issue from all over the country appear out of nowhere and hijack your blog with their never-ending comments of craziness. Alas, the City Council will be voting tonight on whether to implement IRV for this November’s election (PDF), and I’m becoming increasingly concerned that the vote will not go as smoothly as I had hoped.

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Vacant building registry returns to Council

The hot topic for tomorrow’s Council meeting is the adoption of Instant Runoff Voting for this year’s election, which means that we won’t have June primaries and will only vote on City Council and Mayor once, in November. If you want to read about IRV, the staff reports for the agenda items are here (PDF) and here (PDF), and Becks has a blog up about it today. But IRV is not the only important thing on tomorrow’s agenda. We’ve also got the return of the vacant building registry (PDF)

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29 Great Oakland blogs from 2009, part 1

From time to time, journalists putting together stories about the future of news or new media or something will ask to talk to me about blogging and local news. I always think this sounds like fun. It usually doesn’t turn out that way, though.

The conversations almost all go pretty much the same. First, they tell me that they’re a huge fan of my blog and that they read it all the time and are so impressed with what a great writer I am. I thank them. Then, they ask something along the lines of “So, what would you do if there were no more journalists covering Oakland City Hall? Without newspaper stories to respond to, how would you find things to write about?”

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