I’m swamped with real work, so I’m keeping things on the short side today. Click through for some administrative updates, news on Center 21 and Mosswood Dog Park. Oh! And the City of Oakland’s Christmas wish list.
Over the weekend, I managed to find myself a little time to spend working on the site. The ancient About page still isn’t updated, but I did add a bunch of new links, which I’d been meaning to do forever. Oh, and I added a new feature I’m quite excited about. In response to many reader requests, I have now added an e-mail subscription list. Sign up, and you can get all new A Better Oakland posts delivered straight to your inbox. I, of course, hate stuff like that cluttering up my inbox and encourage people to use RSS, but for those who haven’t yet discovered the myriad ways that feeds improve your life, this’ll work too.
I agreed with Chip Johnson today that Dellums’s administration is not transparent, although I’m not sure why anyone would find the weird secrecy and inaccessibility coming out of that office surprising. It seemed pretty clear to me two and a half years ago that this was going to happen.
OMG! OMG! OMG! Center 21 got itself a tenant! Finally. 38,000 sf down, only 177,000 sf to go. I’m thinking things should get a little easier for CIM from this point on – nobody wants to be the first to move into a completely empty building. And maybe, just maybe, if somebody could do something to make Shaw Plaza look less gross, we might see the rest fill up relatively quickly.
One of the things I really don’t like about Oakland is how unfriendly the City is to dogs. The fact that you can’t even take your dog to a park on a leash is totally insane. When I tell people from other cities that, they don’t even believe me. Over Thanksgiving, I had to go and print out the applicable section of the Municipal Code before my family would accept that I hadn’t just made it up.
Anyway, things are going to get just a little teeny bit easier for North Oakland dog owners soon. Tonight, the City Council will amend the code (PDF) to allow you to walk your dog on a leash on a specified path through Mosswood Park in order to get to the dog park. Yes, you read that right. See, we opened a dog park in Mosswood Park back in March. Which is nice, right? Problem is, nobody thought about how people were supposed to get their dogs to the dog play area, since dogs, even leased dogs, aren’t allowed to walk through the park. The amendment will permit dog owners to take their dogs on a leash through specific paths in the park to get to the dog area. We would have already done this, but when the item came to the Life Enrichment Committee back in November, they didn’t even have a quorum so they couldn’t vote on it and it had to wait another month.
Tonight is the last Council meeting before Christmas! You can view the agenda (PDF) here, but I’m warning you now, there’s nothing exciting going on.
I haven’t had time to examine the requests from every City in the US Conference of Mayors Mainstreet Economic Recovery Plan (PDF), but if the 20 or so large cities I have managed to look at are any indication, Oakland has once again completely missed the boat, or the point, or whatever. Sure, there’s no reason to think that the Obama administration is going to give cities all, or maybe even any, of the money they’re asking for. But in the event that whatever economic recovery package that gets settled on does involve giving large amounts of cash directly to cities for infrastructure projects, the projects that get funded are probably going to come from this request, and we completely blew it. You can look at the requests from all the cities here.
Basically, most cities are requesting a relatively small number of large sums for major job-creating public works and infrastructure type projects. Us, on the other hand? We submitted a pathetic laundry list of small projects the City is planning on doing eventually no matter what, like a new document management system for Public Works, and asked for way less money that we should have. There is also absolutely no logical relationship that I can discern between the projects we’re requesting funding for and the jobs they’re supposed to create. For example, we put a new helicopter, to replace our old one, on the wish list. Okay, fine. Helicopters are expensive (the request is for $2.5 million). But how is buying a new helicopter to replace an existing one going to create 30 jobs? The whole list is just so depressing to me. It represents a complete failure of imagination and aspiration on the part of the City.
- Sweet Melissa’s take on Gavin Newsom’s seven and a half hour YouTube State of the City speech had me laughing out loud. My favorite part:
Immediately numbed by the substance of the speeches, my mind wandered to the question of why he chose to address us in this fashion. He claims to want a dialogue, a discussion — yet the comments section of the videos is turned off. Part closing argument, part infomercial and part desperate babbling — as if, like Scheherazade, he has to keep talking until the sun comes up — these lengthy monologues do not invite conversation.