More on Gentlemen of Leisure

Wow. You guys apparently can’t get enough of talking about Gentlemen of Leisure. The comments on the old post are getting a little unwieldy, so here’s a fresh space to continue the conversation.

My position remains unchanged. We’ve identified the film industry as one of our targeted economic growth sectors. Turning away a television series that wants to film here will cause irreparable damage to Oakland’s potential in that arena. Either we support this industry or we don’t, end of story.

But beyond what I see as a really cut and dried economic question, I have to say I find the opposition to the series just generally really creepy. It is not our business to make judgments about what is or is not permissible with respect to artistic content, and I don’t really understand why anyone would even think script or subject approval should be a factor in decisions to grant film permits. Pat Kernighan was downright scary on KGO last week, basically saying that we shouldn’t allow the series because she has a personal moral objection to its content:

While it might be okay to do a documentary about that to educate people, I think if you really portrayed those things in a fictional portrayal, it would be sensationalizing it. I think there would be, really a prurient interest in seeing that kind of thing that would be kind of sick, really. And I just – to me, it’s further sexual exploitation of those teenage girls who are already being exploited.

Just because of the nature of entertainment, there is going to be a sort of glorification of, certainly of the pimps. And whether it’s intended or not – I think the intentions actually, of HBO and the producers are – they have some good intentions, I think. But I just don’t think there is a way to portray this industry in a way that doesn’t sort of make the exploitation even worse. Or, that, sort of, other people are even profiting off it at another level.

The “bad for Oakland’s image” stuff is stupid, short-sighted, and wrong, but when you start using personal speculation about how people will perceive art to justify your behavior, that’s crossing a very serious line. It is simply not part of a politician’s job description to evaluate a producer or writer’s intent or whether a work of fiction will play out as intended. I volunteered for Pat Kernighan’s campaign in 2006, and supported her because I thought she would be a good legislator and make sound financial decisions for the City. I did not support her because I thought she should be determining what kind of creative content is tolerable in Oakland. I don’t think anyone else did either. And the idea that she thinks those kind of decisions are part of her mandate…well, that’s just chilling. And it gets us started down what I see as a very frightening road.

43 thoughts on “More on Gentlemen of Leisure

  1. Patrick

    Here is the second e-mail response from Ms. Brooks, which much to her credit, I received late last night. It is not presented in its entirety; I removed items that were inconsequential to the discussion:

    Patrick:

    Let me first thank you for your kind words. I grew up in Seattle; a city that never had the image issues that face Oakland. We never thought of ourselves as second class nor did we believe that we had to settle for anything. Unfortunately these attitudes are very prevalent in Oakland.

    If our image is already low we should not pile on things that would keep it in the gutter.

    Many who have advocated in support of the series are engaged in the entertainment industry. If I were only looking at this issue through that lens I might agree with you. I don’t have that luxury. The same people who want the HBO series want retail, economic and community development yet they fail tpo see how all of these negatives provide excuses for reluctant investors.

    I watched the streets of san fancisco as a child. There are two stark distinctions in that series and the one currently proposed. Oakland is not San Francisco; and Streets of San Francisco was a cop show that had the other elements you described. This a far cry from a series about an ex-pimp.

    THe issues are far more complex than the superficial discussion currently taking place.

    My position remains the same.

    Best,

    Deey

  2. 94610BizMan

    to Ms Brooks credit? Give me a break. This reply is just typical bureaucratic arrogance.

    “are far more complex than the superficial discussion currently taking place.”

    Translation:
    “I don’t want people hassling me about this series everywhere I go. How can I ever go out in public or to parties and have everyone ask me how many child prostitutes are still on the streets of Oakland…

    I would have to explain to people that Oakland officials don’t really do anything about prostitution. How dare you peons have a superficial discussion about what your elected officials decide after our sophisticated deliberations. Sit down, shut up and pay your taxes”

    BTW, I’m the one always complaining in the comments about attracting corporate investment. I would view this series as a nit if I had to go before an executive investment committee back East.

  3. Frank

    Very simple question: What is more important, Mayor Dellums’ plus our other City Council members’ idea of the “image” of our City, or our City’s ability to provide much needed services to its residents?

  4. Jennifer

    I don’t believe in censorship, and Kernighan has crossed the line, along with the other Councilmembers and Mayor.

  5. Robert

    All this talk about how the money will be good for the city is looking at a very short term issue, this years budget crisis. And the talk about how this show will shine a light on prostitution, how is that going to help actual pimps or prostitutes in Oakland? If HBO was willing to give $6M every year they film directly to crime reduction efforts, it might actually do some good, and I might change my mind. But to just dump money into the city coffers for the politicians to waste? If we insist on selling the Oakland image, lets at least try and get something meaningful in exchange.

    I don’t know if HBO would set the show in Oakland if the city refused to cooperate. If you cut through the self justifying crap in the Baltimore article, what is left is that he wanted to use a real city because it makes a better show becaruse it is more real. While we can’t keep them from using the name of the city, by eliminating any city logos or sites, or identifiable landmarks, it removes that sense of ‘real’ that they want. So if that reality is important then they would shoot someplace else that they could use the name, and if it isn’t important, then they could shoot in Oakland, but not identify the city.

    To me, a few million dollars going to the city to help with short term budget issues just does not seem worth the potential for long term damage to our image. This is all a matter of opinion about which is worse in the long term for our Oakland, because nobody can be sure how great the damage to the image of our city will be.

  6. V Smoothe Post author

    I find the idea that filming a television series in Oakland would hurt our image or do any damage to the city completely preposterous. Where do people come up with this stuff? What hurts Oakland’s image is broadcasting to the world that we intend to micromanage everyone who wants to do anything here. The City Council frightening away business, investment, and jobs by acting like someone’s overbearing mother is the long-term problem, not a freaking TV show.

  7. Patrick

    I’ll second that. As a city, we’re either open for business or we’re not. The City Council has put “Gentleman of Leisure” in the same category as the “Out of the Closet” consignment store. What are they relying on to make these decisions?

    I DO understand people’s concerns about this television show, but now we have a situation where illegal businesses – such as drug dealing and prostitution – are allowed to flourish, while we are actively discouraging perfectly legal enterprises. I mean come on people, the Mayor has left us hanging without a CEDA director for one year today and Council couldn’t even come to terms on something as straight forward as making prosecution of urinating on public property a simpler affair. Are we really willing to trust them to make values judgments regarding what is “acceptable” and what is “unacceptable” – based on nothing more than their personal beliefs – even if its legal in either case?

    I stopped attending church long ago because I am not willing to let another person judge me based on their interpretation of the Bible. But our Mayor and Council are not even relying on documents or laws to back up their decisions, which is not only wrong, it’s scary.

  8. Patrick

    Yes, BizMan, to Ms. Brooks credit. I do not live in her district, which I made perfectly clear, and yet she took the time on her Sunday off -business closure or no – to respond to me. You and I may not agree with her response, but she DID respond, twice, and for that I respect her.

    As far as the “superficial discussion” goes, my e-mails were rather short on supporting evidence, in part because I sent nearly identical e-mails to everyone on the list. My take was that those words were directed at me specifically.

  9. Robert

    Patrick,

    it’s not “we’re either open for business or we’re not”. That is like saying that you can either be an armed robber or a laborer, they are morally the same. You make choices about how you choose to earn money. You may disagree about whether this will be harmful to Oakland, and that is fair, but it is a choice and decision you are making. And that choice does have a moral component about the explotation of our image, and it is most definitely an exploitation of our image.

    V, I do not find it preposterous that some of us are concerned that this may provide further harm to our image. We may disagree with you, but you but I think that Navigator and I both have made reasoned judgements about the issue. As somebody mentioned, a lot a people out in the rest of the country don’t know anything about Oakland except possibly that it is across from San Francisco, and that it has a lot of crime. It is my judgement that etching in their minds that Oakland=prostitution will have an impact, and not a good one.

  10. Patrick

    China desperately tried to burnish their image prior to the Olympics, and for them, much bad came with the good. However, I think that most people think of China differently than they did before they pushed themselves upon the world stage. What we learned was that they were a country like any other, with many great attributes and some frankly awful problems. However, China, to me, seems more real, more accessible…and definitely less ominous. I’m far more interested in going to China now than I was before the Olympics. It’s amazing what capturing the world’s imagination can do for a physical spot on a map.

    Working as an armed robber involves illegal activity, working as a laborer does not (as long as you have a permit). “Harmful to Oakland” is a nebulous assumption at best. What does that mean? Reinforcing the stereotype that already exists? Attempting to “protect” our image via censorship and head-in-sand tactics leaves us exactly where we already are. And, based on the comments in this blog at least, I think we can all agree that we’re not satisfied with our current situation.

  11. Navigator

    There are many great things happening in Oakland right now. Forbes Magazine has just ranked Oakland one of the ten “Comeback Capitals” in the Country. The New York Times did a great story in their business section about all of the development going on in Oakland and about how real estate in Oakland and San Francisco have done far better than many of the hard hit areas in the suburbs. National publications are taking notice.

    It is true that the San Francisco dominated media still attempts to perpetuate negativity and create an inferiority complex among many Oaklanders, with slanted reporting. As long as they have us hitting ourselves over the head about crime, we won’t be talking about economic development.

    That’s why we need to build on the positive images being generated by some of these prestigious National Publications. The glorious Fox Theater is nearly fully renovated. The grand opening is in 40 days. Our beautiful Lake Merritt is being improved with new paths, additional parkland, new pedestrians bridges, new landscaping, a refurbished Boat House, etc.. Scores of new restaurants are opening up all over Oakland. We have a beautiful new Catholic Cathedral in Lake Merritt. We now have a new Whole Foods and two Trader Joe’s in our city. Many of our formerly marginal neighborhood shopping areas have improved. Temescal, Fruitvale, Uptown, Old Oakland and Laurel, are all better now than they were five or ten years ago.

    Why do we need to portray ourselves to the world as a pimp haven? Why do we want to go backwards. This isn’t about censorship. This is about giving in to a negative stereotypical image that has plagued this city for far too long. We need to take pride in our image and protect it. No other city is going to take this show. San Francisco certainly wouldn’t take it. Do you think they would chance ruining their tourist image with shots of pimps, prostitutes, and gun battles going on in the Tenderloin or the Mission? No way. Sure, they may allow HBO to shoot the show in their city, as long as they call it, “Oakland.” If that were to happen, the City of Oakland would have every right to sue HBO, AND sue the City of San Francisco.

    Can we think of our city with a little more pride? I know many of you say “well, just get rid of the crime, the prostitution etc.” Well, I’m afraid your living in a fantasy world if you think that these complex urban American problems are unique to Oakland, and our city government can just wave their hands and every criminal and every pimp will disappear from Oakland. You folks think that our Mayor and City Council can wave their hands and stop the knuckle heads from killing each other? It doesn’t work that way. Oakland has a high crime rate because Oakland has a high poverty rate.

    We know that Oakland will always have crime. I’ve seen Oakland at 172 homicides, and I’ve seen Oakland at 66 homicides. The IMAGE remains the same. As long as the media barons across the Bay decide what is news, and what isn’t news, Oakland will always have a negative image among Bay Area residents. And, that fact, contributes to the low self-esteem many Oaklanders have of their city. Their lack of pride and their inferiority complex manifests itself in self destructive thinking. That’s why image isn’t important when it comes to Oakland. That’s why “Gentlemen of Leisure,” a show about a pimp, is deemed appropriate for Oakland.

  12. V Smoothe Post author

    Navigator, the suggestion that the City of Oakland would sue a someone for using Oakland as a setting for a piece of fiction they don’t like has no legal justification whatsoever. It is also COMPLETELY INSANE.

    Personally, I’m starting to get a little worried about the impact that your frequent and increasingly irrational comments are having on the “image” of my blog. They only serve to support the biased portrayal common in the mainstream media of blogs as places where single-minded anonymous nutcases rant incessantly without any regard for fact or logic. Since I’m very concerned with my credibility and the legitimacy of this site, I’m going to have ask you to stop participating in the discussion. You understand. I need to protect my “image.”

  13. Navigator

    The New York Times has a great article regarding our beautiful Oakland Cathedral.

    Unfortunately, they needed to include the fact that there have been three homicides within 15 blocks of the Cathedral. ( BTW, That includes every homicide in downtown Oakland, including the one officer involved shooting which happened at 14th & Jefferson. How disingenuous is that? That’s like me saying that there have been 18 homicides in downtown San Francisco including 10 within fifteen blocks of Union Square)

    They also said “some people are leaving” It seems that our good friend Susan Gluss and her San Francisco sponsors have legs. This is how Susan Gluss is quoted in the New York Times. “If you can’t protect residents from random violence and crime, then it doesn’t matter how walkable a city it is,” wrote Susan Glass, the director of media relations at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, in an essay in The San Francisco Chronicle this month.

    This is an open letter that just keeps on giving, thanks to our friends in San Francisco.

    The rest of the article is very positive.

    A pimp show in Oakland will do nothing to counteract the image war being waged against Oakland from across the Bay. Now do you see how an innocent essay to the Chronicle becomes a National story? Now do you see what Oakland is up against?

  14. Patrick

    Uh, may I have a small espresso to go with that irony?

    I’d love to respond but, the broken record card has already been played.

  15. Navigator

    V,

    You need to work on your bedside manner. You have a bad habit of ridiculing posters who you don’t agree with. Also, try to be a bit more engaging without being confrontational. And, stop being defensive about criticism of the San Francisco media. Evidently, the only bias you ever notice in the media, is anti-blog bias.

    Also, the “speak your mind” caption directly above, apparently is only applicable if one agrees with your opinions.

    I’ll be glad to leave a site which practices the very censorship it accuses others of engaging in.

  16. VivekB

    VS – I got the “image” joke, thought it was pretty funny. Then again, i’ve got a dry sense of humor.

    Nav – read again, she’s mocking the concern over image.

    Patrick/BizMan: About Delsey & responding – I agree. I have a hell of a time getting Brunner to reply to me, she’s only done it to 1 out of 20 emails as I supported her challenger and she has clearly told one of her gadflys that she chooses to not reply to any emails from unfriendly people. These are all very politely written emails, they just ask hard questions that she would rather not answer. I’m fairly certain i’ll have the last laugh, but it is good that Delsey doesn’t play such games.

  17. Max Allstadt

    In terms of responsiveness, in my experience, Kernighan wins hands down. She even responds personally sometimes. Next is IDLF, but it’s never him in person.

  18. Frankie D

    Well if Oakland chooses not to allow filming in the city limits, the show’s producers can simple film entirely in LA or Long Beach and still call it Oakland. Nobody except us local residents are going to know these locals are outside of the city limits. Oakland wont get a dime in the process, local film crews, actors and writers wont get work and our name gets kicked around anyway. I seriously doubt a lawsuit could result from them doing this. Besides who’s got the money to pay legal fees, certainly not the city. Remeber the movie “Romeo must Die”, it was supposed to be located in Oakland but rather was filmed entirely in Vancouver. Film crews arent required to shoot on specific locations and the viewing public is too gulliable to know the difference and too stupid to care. I say let them film it here we get the revenue, jobs and perhaps some creative input on an otherwise negative sterotypical portrayal of our city. Bring all of them here especially the writers and encourage them to live here let the charm of our community turn their heads.

    On another note, have you ever noticed how every movie filmed in SF the sky is always so blue and sunny when in reality San Francisco is as gray and damp as London.

  19. ConcernedOakFF

    Good luck all of you ostriches out there. Keep burying your heads in the sand.

    Oakland, despite all of the cheerleading out there has a reputation up there with Detroit, South Central LA, Cleveland, Atlanta, New Orleans etc for deprivation, poverty and crime. Yeah, and pimps and hos too.

    Unless you look carefully and thoughtfully and/or have lived here this is what a majority of people think about this city: That it is a Shithole with random shootings and muggings. Now, we may know that isn’t true, but most people think that.
    Yeah, an HBO show would ruin that rep wouldn’t it (rolling eyes)

    This Is so F-ING shortsighted it makes me sick. Go ahead, drive the business away.

    Just stop whining and crying that we have to jack up tax rates to pay for basic services. Stop whining that the libraries are closed. Stop whining that the few “OK” schools we have are forced to cut music programs and sports. Stop whining period. Because if we shut out even 1 dollar that could help people here, we are doing a TRUE disservice to the residents.

    Whatever. As usual, the ignorant masses will make the wrong decision in this “lovely” other city by the bay.

  20. Born in Oakland

    I agree with ConcernedOakFF. He cites ostrich behavior, I call it NIMBY at its most extreme. I think all who posted about not wanting to be associated with pimps/prostitutes are totally well meaning (and none of us want to be associated with that…no argument…but guess what) but closing the castle gates to “possibility” is shortsighted. HBO will film the series elsewhere and we lose everything and still get to keep the stigma. Some victory. I just hope our Councilpeople are reading. This should be a nonconversation and we should be celebrating that someone (HBO) is actually interested in filming here. Heck they aren’t afraid to be out on our mean streets.

  21. Erin Battlefield

    “The Wire” portrayed the city of Baltimore as a completely corrupt city rife with drug crime and corruption, and it was the best thing that has happened to Baltimore in god knows how long. When it was going to be canceled, the Mayor of Baltimore published a letter stating 10 reasons why it should be kept on the air. One of them was the devastating effect on Baltimore economy, if the show was canceled.

    This is the stupidest decision to emanate from our city hall yet: to turn away a lottery win.

  22. Erin Battlefield

    Adding on: the thing for an enterprising journalist in Oakland to do right now is talk to people at Baltimore city hall about the process of being the city of The Wire. Initial resistance, eventual acceptance, and finally, great success for the city. And publish the article asap.

    This is the most significant thing to come along for Oakland in several decades. We simply can’t afford to turn it down.

  23. Erin Battlefield

    City hall of course doesn’t get to decide whether anyone can make a TV show about Oakland or not. HBO can still make it, shoot it in any number of cities where the powers that be know a good thing when they see it, and paint Oakland city hall as a bunch of ineffectual dweebs (that would be cinema verite now, wouldn’t it). Pick a fight with the people who spearheaded the revolution in television and have created more substantial, meaningful contributions to our culture than anybody ever imagined from that medium? Really?

    Baltimore showed strength of character and true leadership by participating in portraying what are very real problems in that city. The city leadership didn’t demand that their city be portrayed as some dreamland it isn’t. They aren’t afraid of the truth, and they aren’t trying to polish their image with nonsense that nobody would have bought anyway. Anybody watch the Wire? The whole theme of that show was the battle of bureaucratic opportunists versus people who actually give a shit.

    The leadership of Oakland now has an opportunity to show its constituents where it falls on that continuum. We are waiting!

  24. Erin Battlefield

    V Smoothe may ask me to shut up soon but I will say one last thing on this. Why this agitates me so much is that what the Dellums and Fuentes and Kernighans are worried about, really, is not the reputation of Oakland. It is the reputation of Dellums and Fuentes and Kernighan.

    There are careers to be had! Places to go! Oakland has to look good on paper and have a great image because important aspirations may be damaged!

    I can tell you, Dellums, Fuentes and Kernighan et al, exactly what this is going to do for your reputation:

    Stopping this important, exciting, groundbreaking development for Oakland will make you look like an opportunist concerned with your reputation and personal gain. You know, like those politicians on The Wire who benefited from drug money and did everything they could to stop the investigation in Season 1? Because their personal gain was more important than actually creating some change.

    Engaging and participating in making this show will bring all kinds of benefits, the least of all is not contacts and activity in an industry which is supposed to be some important focus of future plans for Oakland. And jobs. And economic activity. More importantly – for you – it will burnish your reputation as smart, tough, progress-minded politicians who aren’t afraid to look the truth in the face. As people who weren’t too chicken to take on some dirt because of the greater, long-term good. As people like, you know, Barack Obama, who aren’t afraid to take bold steps to move forward, or to hear uncomfortable things.

    What do I care, really? I can leave Oakland and go to a city that actually is interested in innovation. But for you, this is an important juncture. You know, for your CAREER.

  25. Susan

    V Smoothe,

    Your comments about the proposed HBO ‘Leisure’ project (Dec. 29, 2008) are spot on.

    I’m glad to read that people have written to members of the Oakland City Council to express their dismay that there would be any hesitation about bringing this job-creating, revenue-generating television project to Oakland.

    I was very pleased that several members of the City Council acknowledged and replied to correspondence when contacted via email. This was very heartening.

    Regretably, Councilmember Kernighan was not among them.

    Apparently, she’s been too busy conducting on-camera television interviews
    to respond or acknowledge her constituents …

    … at least, not to constituents that don’t share her point of view.

  26. Born in Oakland

    I applaud the councilpeople who did not respond for taking their vacation seriously and not checking their Blackberries all the time. Wish I could do the same on this, my vacation. We are all back to business as usual in a couple of days and I am certain there will be conversation about Oakland business then. I am a constituent of Pat Kernighan and very pleased with her concern for and support of my below-580 district . I never expect that a councilperson and I will have 100% agreement on issues but she or her staff respond 100% of the time.

  27. len raphael

    the superficial irony of this whole hbo brouhaha is that some of us (including myself) who thought the wayans brothers project was a pipe dream, are so supportive of the hbo deal. in some ways we’re getting way to wrapped up in image vs substance, how about closing this thread?

  28. We Fight Blight

    Thanks V. You are spot on…

    If everyone spent as much time fighting crime and cleaning up the blight that is Oakland as they do writing about Gentleman of Leisure and Oakland’s undeserved tarnished image, then maybe Oakland’s image wouldn’t be so damn tarnished and the media would have positive things to report about Oakland.

    Get our from behind your computers and do something about it! Writing ad nauseam about Gentleman of Leisure accomplishes very little to improve Oakland’s image. Reality or not, deserved or not, Oakland’s image is one of blight and crime. It will take a lot of hard work to erase that image from people’s minds.

  29. Navigator

    We Fight Blight,

    I agree, we need to do our share to improve the city of Oakland. Believe me, I’ve done my share of sprucing up Macarthur Blvd in the Laurel District. I’ve thrown my share of bricks at City Hall. Ask Nancy Nadel. But, again, your assumptions that if we all do what we are suppose to do and make Oakland better, then this automatically will make the media take notice and report fairly on Oakland, is a bit naive.

    Let me site a few positive events in Oakland which don’t get reported by the San Francisco media. Oakland Christmas Tree Lighting, Oakland Christmas Parade, Oakland Yacht Parade, Dia De Los Muertos, Art & Soul Festival, Oakland Art Murmur, Chinatown Festival, Festival of Greece, Summer plays at Woodminster Amphitheater, Zoo Lights, New Year’s at Chabot Space & Science Center, etc.

    Instead of reporting the positive things happening in Oakland, they report on the negative, on the crime, on the blight, and then, reserve the positive coverage for their own parades, festivals, concerts, and other cultural events.

    A show about a pimp in Oakland would help local actors and people in the Film Industry. I completely agree with that. Will it help the city of Oakland? It depends. If the Producers and the City off Oakland can sit down and agree regarding the perimeters of the content of this series and put it in writing, along with the stated number of local jobs and the number of hotel rooms reserved in Oakland, then, and only then, will it possibly make sense for the city of Oakland.

  30. Susan

    To ‘Born in Oakland’,

    I can tell from my email server that indeed, Council Member Kernighan DID READ my correspondence prior to the holidays. (Or perhaps someone who has ready access to her email read my correspondence). Nonetheless, it was opened, and I presume, read by Ms. Kernighan, or someone else with access to her email. It was opened within minutes of my sending it.

    Ms. Kernighan wasn’t ‘off’ on vacation the morning I sent my note.
    In fact, later the very same day that I contacted her, Ms. Kernighan responded to Mike Sugerman of KPIX. And Ms. Kernighan conducted an on-camera interview with KPIX TV in front of Oakland City Hall later that day.

    My point is that several of the Oakland City Council members DID respond thoughtfully to a respectful note (sent PRIOR to the holidays) that
    expressed my concerns about what a mistake it would be for the City of Oakland to turn away this job-creating, revenue-generating opportunity.

    Ms. Kernighan was not among the Council Members that acknowledged / responded to my correspondence.

    But make no mistake — she was working that day.

    But her priority was getting on television; not responding to constituents.

  31. Susan

    A couple of other thoughts –

    The opinions expressed here are compelling.

    If you want these jobs –and the revenue generation this project will attract–
    in Oakland, you’ve GOT TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS with POLICY MAKERS.

    If you feel this is film project presents a good opportunity for Oakland, please urge local businesses that you patronize (and persuade business owners that you know) to contact City Hall. (The Chamber of Commerce executives I spoke with last week said that they’d take a look at this issue — and weigh in with City Hall).

    I agree, all of us need to engage in activities that help make Oakland a better place. My partner and I tutor underprivileged kids. Others (as stated here) participate in neighborhood improvement projects. I’m sure many people reading this web site volunteer and work on community initiatives. We all should help in our communities to the extent we can.

    This filming opportunity should NOT be dismissed. It will be a tremendous loss for Oakland if HBO is turned away.

  32. cbg015

    I have mixed feeling on this. I think people are overrating the financial “boom” this will give Oakland. I’m thinking most of the actors, crew, etc. will be probably stay in SF (since it is so close) and will travel in for production during the day. As far as the money that we do actually receive, most of it will be wasted by city hall.

  33. JenY

    cbg015– cast & crew will stay in the east bay for sure. Time is money & nobody wants to waste valuable time vanning across the bay bridge!

  34. Erin Battlefield

    As someone who works in the television industry, I can tell you that actors staying in a hotel is not really the main financial benefit a TV production brings to a community.

    It’s typical for a TV production to spend upwards of a million dollars on local goods and services per season. These include hiring electricians, carpenters and other crew, catering services, hiring extras and local actors, and many other services from portapotties to gardeners, animal trainers, what have you.

    Cities that understand the value of this usually have ordinances giving film and TV productions benefits and access, if they agree to spend a minimum amount stipulated by the city.

    Oakland probably has no such ordinance, or extra benefits it can offer.

  35. Ken O

    I think the tv series should be filmed here.

    Any publicity is good publicity, and this is artistic.

    Thanks for listening.

  36. Oaktowntom

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If the producers will portray an unseemly side of Oakland, let them do it here. It they’re too far off base, somebody at the diner or the grocery might ask them, WTF? When they nailed something, we can thank them. Using Oakland as a backdrop, they will show not just the bad and the ugly, but the beautiful side of Oakland, because that makes good TV too.

    If they film the show somewhere else, they’ll miss our feedback.

  37. Sean B

    There is no good reason to NOT film it in Oakland. Worried about hurting Oakland’s image? Well, Oakland’s image is already in the dumps AND more importantly, the show is going to be based in Oakland anyway. In other words, that reputation these politicians are so worried about is going to take a hit no matter what. So if Oakland is going to be “dumped on” might as well make some money from it.

    And personally I had more interest in seeing Baltimore after seeing “The Wire” than before.