87 thoughts on “
Open Thread

  1. Coolhand Luke

    Okay, good. Well it worked V. Incredibly bad, unless of course it was a 3rd grade class project. And is Oakland really the 8th largest city in the US? That doesn’t sound right

  2. dto510

    It’s a fake blog, Luke! I get those in my Google Alerts all the time. Here’s a typical entry: “It was a dark and stormy night. Looking at my girlfriend sitting on CHINATOWN RESTAURANT OAKLAND, she reached into her purse and pulled out JEAN QUAN OAKLAND and proceeded to wipe her nose with it. One day, we’ll get LAKE MERRITT at a nice church, and then we’ll have BRITNEY SPEARS RINGTONE. A boy and DISCOUNT FARES, I hope.”

  3. len raphael

    Luke, i have the same impression as you that the current reincarnation of Jack London Square is a failure, but a pleasant failure, but I don’t have any data to back that up.

    what was done right and wrong there, and was it planned by the Port staff or?

  4. Ralph

    Tonight’s city council Mtg and Measure OO. Many loud children. A few disruptive speakers who used a other topics to pull support for Measure OO. Somewhat annoying because they lacked respect for the process, they should have stayed to hear council discussion following the speakers they may have actually learned something.

    Long story short, instead of an outright repeal to Measure OO and back to Measure K levels which was on the agenda, somewhere along the way 4 or 5 compromise solutions were developed and also up for discussion. 4 Council members in favor of returning to Measure K level funding. This would result in some cuts to spending from prior year spending but we also hads more revenue last year. The option that 3 members preferred was Option D, which would set a fixed rate of 3.5% of revenue or result in funding which approximates prior years funding.

    Among the various problems I, and more than a few councilmembers, have with Option D is it essentially kids don’t have to take the kid. When Measure K was initially passed it was at 2.5% of available revenue. Meaning that in good times you do well and in bad times you suffer along with everyone else. The jump and fix at 3.5% is essentially an effort to skirt that. We will still need to find $4MM from some other source, so this is just wrong.

    There was more impassioned discussion, but all you really need to know is that at the next council meeting, cc is going to choose between essentially the 2 options above.

  5. V Smoothe Post author

    Small clarification. Both Option A (return to Measure K levels) and Option D (between Measure K and Measure OO levels) got 4 votes, but 5 were required for passage. Ignacio De La Fuente, Desley Brooks, and Jane Brunner voted for the former. Pat Kernighan, Jean Quan, and Nancy Nadel voted for the latter. Rebecca Kaplan voted for both. Larry Reid was absent.

  6. Steve Carney

    Can anyone expand on Measure OO Option D that’s still on the table? Is it to set the set aside at 3.5%?

    Was option B or C to pin the set aside to the discretionary portion of the General Fund as opposed to the entire GF? I think makes a ton of sense but it would involve a repeal of the original Measure K language, which would be too revolutionary for staunch Measure OO supporters.

  7. V Smoothe Post author

    Steve –

    Option A: Return set-aside to 2.5%.
    Option B: Return set-aside to 2.5%, but with a minimum required contribution of $13.5m/year (this would be the most expensive option for the next 10 years).
    Option C: Put set-aside at 3% to start, gradually raise it to 5%.
    Option D: Put set-aside at 3.5%.

    Len –

    Kaplan said that she thinks its imperative that we act quickly to minimize the impact of OO on the budget, so she wants to move something forward now. To that end, she was willing to vote for a compromise she doesn’t see as ideal. Even with her, neither option could get 5 votes, so it’s stuck in limbo anyway.

  8. Ralph

    Yeah, RK could you explain your actions on the 2nd vote. I was racking my brain to understand that second aye. It seemed like some type of procedural thing.

    But going back to option D, this option still has the problem of increasing funding without identifying the source of these revenues. Everyone has programs that they want to keep but the reality is we can not afford all programs. I feel for those afffected by these cuts but the reality is we need to make tough decisions and some good programs will be cut and some individuals adversely impacted.

    In December, my employer announced a 6-8% reduction in workforce. The bottom line there are going to be some individuals without a job yet their expenses have not changed. They will need to make do with less.

    To give in to the demand of this very vocal minority sends a very wrong system about how the real world functions. It would seem to reinforce a sense of entitlement that this generation has. Their threats that without these programs that they will turn to drugs and gang amounts to a threat and should not be rewarded.

    V -
    Just saw your post, RK’s aye on Option D just seemed inconsistent with her earlier stmts about a funding source, accountability (yada, yada), willingness to discuss further as long as they can at least still meet the timetable to present to voters and minimize current yr damage…i could see her buying something b/w the 2. I don’t like Option d and will let her know

  9. Chris Kidd

    Heads up – Another BART protest is planned for today at the Fruitvale Station at 4:00. Here’s hoping the wannabe revolutionaries don’t try to highjack this demonstration for their petty political agenda like last time.

  10. Steve

    BRT talk:

    My main specific objection to BRT is that it will cause a traffic disaster in the area of 51st and Telegraph. Here’s an idea for an alignment that avoids Telegraph in Temescal:

    stop at Children’s Hospital

    All of these streets are wide and have ample capacity.

    direct service to Children’s Hospital
    preserves streetscape, parking, traffic flow in Temescal
    better serves MLK side of 24

    access to Temescal restaurant strip requires 1/3 mile walk
    slightly longer (1/2 mi, 1 minute @ 30mph)

  11. Chris Kidd

    I’ve never seen as many white people at one time in the Fruitvale BART station as I just did at the protest. Here’s hoping they at least stick around and get some dinner afterward; the restaurants on International could sure use the business. I’m also pretty sure the ratio of demonstrators to TV crews was about 3:1.

  12. Mike Spencer

    Anyone following the recent YBMB/OPD articles? How is that Longmire and any of his supervisors get to keep their jobs????? They knew or should have known he was granting favors to the murderous Bey IV. Sack them all. They cannot be trusted. Oakland has this weird double standard, firing underlings who lie on search warrants but not going after supervisors who encourage this sort of corrupt behavior.

  13. oaklandhappenings

    NOTE: I do _not_ wish to take up alot of space on this thread with the following, considering that there are already two topics about it recently…
    … but if any of you have not yet read Ray Ratto’s column/blog on Lew Wolff’s bs talk about 0% chance of staying in Oakland (with the A’s), you may want to, among others. I have already commented there, and wondered what some of the rest of you think, if you haven’t done so yourselves yet. Just curious.

  14. Ralph

    Economically speaking, it makes no sense for the A’s to stay in Oakland and from my sideline seat, I am not sure that the city of Oakland has done anything to prove otherwise.

    Whether we like it or not, the Oakland A’s is a business. Suites and corporate sponsorship bring money. Best I can tell, Oakland business interest have not come forward with a committment to buy suites. And when I say business interest, I mean companies with a national presence or at least the kind of money to support $1MM suites. SJ has that in spades. Then there is the money to be made from hotel nights. Wolffie has no hotels in Oakland but SJ is chock full of his hotel rooms.

    I am not from this area but I know what it is like to have my team ripped from me, but one must not forget that more than a community sport, baseball as well as all sports are in the business of entertainment. Baseball fans across this country have made a statement, they like the cozy atmosphere of the small stadiums. I for one have no desire to see a game at the Coliseum because it is not a baseball park. I’d much rather go across the bay to see a game. fans are fickle but the park is better.

    Further, fans like the entertainment value of a PacBell. If we want Wolffie to stay we must acknowledge that this is not just about a community’s baseball team. Wolffie competes against a similar product on the other side of the bay; if he can not provide an experience on par, then he is not going to win and certainly not increase the franchise value.

    Without knowing the details of Oakland’s proposal, it sounds like a can we talk approach. If Oakland wanted to retain the team, they should have in no specific order a) identified a site, b) done the work to qualify the site, c) identify and confirm corporate support, and d) identify financing. How much of this have we actually done?

  15. Navigator


    Wolff just gave Oakland the back of his hand. Oakland has never had a serious chance at retaining this team. Oakland may not be full of major corporations, however, Oakland still has some good sized companies like Clorox, Kaiser, Ask, Dreyer’s, Cost Plus, etc. Also, let’s not forget the corporations in the Tri-Valley area, along with the corporations 10 miles across the Bay Bridge. And, corporations from the South Bay are some of the biggest supporters of the San Francisco Giants. Lew Wolff’s corporate argument doesn’t hold water. Corporations from the South Bay are accessible from Oakland as proven by the naming rights of Oracle Arena.

    Also, evaluating a city’s population against another city is irrelevant considering we are talking about accessibility to a region. Who cares that San Jose has nearly 1 million residents within its city limits while Oakland has 400,000. What’s important is that the Oakland Metro Area has 2.4 million residents within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Also, Oakland is much more accessible than San Jose to the regions 7 million residents. That’s the bottom line

    I hope Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee take this all the way to Congress and to the Obama Administration. Congress needs to take away MLB’s tax exemptions. It’s time to let these bullies know that they can no longer pit one city against another while using civic loyalties and monikers to manipulate the local populace into supporting what in reality is, THEIR team. Lew Wolff should be forbidden from ever again attaching the name of any municipality to his team. The team should be known from this point on as “The Lew Wolff A’s.”

  16. Steve Lowe

    We know that the Mayor has reached out to Wolff, and that Wolff is, as always, sending out messages that sound an awful like the boy who cried wolff. The main thing we can do, in my opinion, is keep on keeping on: let’s take the Coli and, after all these years, completely renovate it by building a new ballpark there in the parking lot – with a new parking garage to make up for the loss of parking spots that, obviously, the new ballpark will eat up.

    Using a mix of of stimulus dollars, redevelopment money (the Coliseum Redevelopment District is the largest in California!), private investment, etc., we can do this with or without Wolff or the Fishers. Nice if they’d help, but they have way too much money between them to be worried about the social consequences of not doing the right thing.

    In between the new structures and the old, we can install a fabulous retail area that can help JPA meet its commitments and not ever again have to dip into the general fund in order to repay bondholders! And, knowing that the JPA is dedicated to this process, other cities, counties, even DC-types will have a difficult time lobbying anyone to build an alternative park that Lew Wolff may or may not deign to have what really amounts to John Fisher’s team play there, especially if there’s a single stimulus dollar involved in an Oakland’s project.

    Even Selig will have to watch his step on this one, knowing that he’ll not only have the Giants suing him personally in the event that he tries to change the boundaries and thereby permit the A’s to move to San Jose, but he’ll also have every other franchise in MLB wondering when he’s going to break this or that rule for another friend? On the other hand, from all the hate mail, bad press and just plain evil mojo Bud generates, maybe Lew is his only friend, in which case we’re back to square one on this line of enquiry.

    So Lew may just come to the conclusion that he’ll take the team to Fresno, LA, LV or Guam, far, far from the Fisher’s home base here in the Bay Area. In each case, he’ll be the one responsible for getting together all the land and making the investment in a new, sure to be admired park where there’s fans aplenty to fill it up. (Whoops, I forgot, there’s already two or three teams in the LA area which kind of divvies up a fan base with loyalty issues, and the other cities cited are hardly MLB contenders by any stretch of the imagination.) Does he really have that monster amount of energy to pump into a battle that could be more time-consuming and headachy than it could ever possibly be worth?

    Let’s get going, build it out and Wolff still doesn’t want to talk, let’s go out and get ourselves another team that would enjoy this unique market and a brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark, always bathed in the warm California sun.


    – S

    [As to Navigator's interesting thought about the Lew Woff A's, what in the world would the "A" stand for, assuming that Oakland might sue for, and succeed in retaining naming rights, logos, etc., all bearing the name or picture of Oakland?]

  17. dto510

    Steve, Dellums did not reach out to Wolff, he rudely attempted to go over Wolff’s head in a craven attempt to play politics that backfired badly. If Dellums and Brunner wanted to keep the A’s more than to score political points, they would have honored Wolff’s request to cool down until April, and started working on a realistic plan to keep them. Instead, Oakland was publicly dissed. Dellums’ empty threat to get Congress to intervene makes him look even more ineffectual and childish than his letter did. If Wolff hadn’t ruled out Oakland before Thursday, he certainly has now. Once again, Dellums screws up big-time, and Oaklanders are stuck with the mess.

  18. Navigator

    DTO, Unfortunately Wolff has been ruling Oakland out ever since he purchased the team. That’s why you go over his head and make your case with MLB. Wolff wants Oakland to be quiet so that he can spread his PR misinformation that ” Oakland doesn’t care and hasn’t done a thing to keep the A’s.” Dellums called him on it. Now, everyone knows that Wolff is the one who never considered Oakland for this ballpark. Lew Wolff is the one who will be responsible for Oakland losing its baseball team.

    Also, Steve, I think Oakland should sue to keep the name “Athletics” along with the green and gold uniforms. Oakland should also refuse to renew Wolff’s lease in 2010 and use the Coliseum for concerts, motocross, conventions, etc. Get that slimy carpetbagger away from here.

  19. dto510

    Wolff owns the team, Selig is his friend, we have to deal with Wolff. Going over Wolff’s head was a HUGE mistake and its rudeness allowed Wolff to declare with finality that he won’t work with Oakland (when a month ago he said he would if we let him enjoy Spring Training). I cannot see how Dellums’ idiotic letter, and his even more idiotic follow-up (“I’m gonna tell Congress!”), did anything but piss off the only person who can keep the A’s in Oakland – the team’s owner, Lew Wolff.

    On what basis would Oakland “keep” the name Athletics or the color scheme? It doesn’t belong to Oakland, it belong to the A’s. Can Kansas City sue too? Has there ever been a successful lawsuit from a city over the city’s image and likeness?

  20. Navigator

    DTO, Wolff has never wanted to build that ballpark in Oakland. Wolff has dissed Oakland every step of the way. He’s using Oakland as his personal launching pad to what he considers greener pastures.

    What really upsets me is his total disregard for Oakland as a viable city for business. Oakland has hosted the Athletics franchise for over forty years, and now, when it comes time to invest a potential 500 million in capital into the local economy, the benefits go somewhere else. Why should San Jose benefit from Oakland’s 40 year labor? The guy embarrassed Oakland with his total dismissal. He tried to embarrass Oakland as a viable location for businesses in general. Fortunately, spiteful individuals tend to do more harm to themselves in the long-term than they do to anyone else. Wolff, burned his last bridge in Oakland and now he’ll be rotting on the vine for the next four years as a lame-duck owner.

  21. oaklandhappenings

    DTO and Nav, I think that you are both right, in regards to Dellums’ mistake and Wolff never wanting to stay in Oakland respectively. I will keep the rest of my comments to the sfgate site, if you want to read what else I have to say there.

  22. Steve Lowe

    Well, let’s all get put behind us the idea that Wolff owns the team: I’ve heard everything from 8% to as much as 22%, with his son owning a part of that. The rest belongs to John Fisher, son of Don Fisher, the Gap guy.

    Let’s say you and I jointly own an old jalopy that we want to fix up and ride around in. You’ve put up something like 80% to 90% of the cash because you like that model car. That makes me little more than your chauffeur, I think, and, given my age and failing eyesight, not the most effective choice for that job if you actually want to get someplace. Eventually, my bluster about how I’m the managing partner and I’m going to garage the car in, say, Bakersfield, while you continue to live here in the Bay Area is going to seriously piss you off, especially if I come back with crumpled fenders and bummed-out shock absorbers after every road trip out of town. Someday you’re gonna say, “Stevo, it’s time for you to get out and check the back tire.” Then you’re going to shift gears and tweak out, just like all the other guys who pulled that trick on me lots back in high school; because the real truth is, we never learn a damn thing different from what we learned when we first realized we already knew everything anyway.

    So let’s not invest too much more time wondering whether Lew is evil or good or maybe just plain clueless; no matter what, we’ve got to offer up something that is attractive to the A’s and, as a business deal, the best the organization can hope for. As there are less and less gentlemen in the world of business these days, maybe it’s time to wipe all the pleasantries off the table and start upping the ante a little bit by asking hard questions like who really does own the rights to this or that marketing tool or logo or image piece? If it’s a card to play, we ought to at least have it ready to help penetrate the thick-headed mindset of those who have, until now, refused even to sit in the same room – or extend us the courtesy of saying that there’s a willingness to “go over old ground” again, especially if there’s a new Mayor here who loves baseball so much that he almost went into the minors.

    And if that Mayor believes that help from congress is one of the ways to get a new ballpark built here because some folks in Washington could see how resolving the Coli’s woes would actually accrue to economic development in the region – and therefore be a good use of the stimulus funds – then his vision should be applauded just as hard as one assumes everybody is doing right now with the decline in crime stats that Oakland is beginning to experience. I’m still willing to give him the benefit of any doubt when it comes to writing letters to Selig, Schwarzenegger or Obama, as he knows all these individuals and can communicate with them in a way that the last guy couldn’t (even though, as everyone must surely know by now, that Mayor was and is a great friend of the Fisher family).

    Baseball been beriberi bad to me!

    – S

  23. dbackman

    There has been a successful lawsuit by a city against a thieving team owner. A similar situation played out in Seattle over the Supersonics just a couple of years ago. Clay Bennett lied about his intentions of keeping the Sonics in Seattle in order to the buy the team with a lower bid than one of his competitors. He then tried to extort the city for a new arena and when that didn’t work, he bailed out and moved to Oklahoma City, which was his plan all along. The city sued and won $45 million, plus another $30 mil if no team returns to Seattle by 2013. Plus Seattle retains the rights to the Sonics name, history and colors. I am not a litigious person, but was very glad to see that Seattle was able to get something in return for being screwed over. I hope it doesn’t turn out that way in Oakland, but losing the A’s will be damaging to Oakland and the city should be trying to get some compensation of sorts if they can’t keep the team.

  24. V Smoothe Post author

    Dbackman –

    I don’t see how he Sonics lawsuit relates to Oakland’s situation at all. That was basically a breach of contract case.

  25. dbackman

    Yeah….I guess you’re right about that. I got slammed on the New A’s Ballpark blog for making the same comparison. Even if it is not the exact same situation, it is the most similar in recent memory. There are lessons to be learned from it regardless. Is it that far fetched to imagine Oakland trying to sue the A’s? Sounds like fun!
    But seriously, is it really so naive to believe that cities should have ownership of their sports team’s legacy?

  26. dbackman

    I know. And I don’t want to see it happen either. But we live in a very litigious society and the rhetoric coming from both sides seems to be a setup for some sort of legal circus.

  27. Ralph

    Dbackman, at best you can negotiate with the team owner to retain the history – Cleveland Browns comes to mind. Not sure what the point of it doing this though. If the A’s were to leave for richer pastures, unless you change the economics and the underlying perception of the city, it is not like someone is going to be rushing to place a new team in Oakland.

  28. dbackman

    Is that OK with everyone if there was never baseball in Oakland again? What if there were no professional sports teams in Oakland at all?
    How essential are sports for a city’s identity, economy, and urbanism?

  29. Ralph

    I think the mistake people make is thinking like an Oaklander and not like an outside business person. Oakland never had a serious chance because Oakland doesn’t improve the franchise value. If Oakland wanted to be in the conversation, they should have put forth a plan that makes Oakland attractive to a business owner. This can’t be said enough increase the business presence, reduce the crime, increase overall education of the residents.

    Corporate dollars are more than naming rights. You need butts in seats and corporations can do that either through suites or regular seats. Oakland does not have the corporations to do this. Of the companies you note – Clorox is the only one that seems realistic. Cost Plus is trading for less than a buck on Nasdaq. Ask.com is owned by IACI, which is about to be delisted, Kaiser is a non-profit, Nestles a Swiss Corp owns Dreyers.

    But let us play economist and assume that other South Bay and peninsula companies will follow the Oracle lead. Oakland and the areas around the Coli are perceived to be heavy crime areas. The city is allowing the press to define its image. We live in America and whether you like it or not, some people hold negative perceptions about heavily populated African-American, low income areas. So how do you convince your employees and business partners to attend. If you get them to attend where do they eat, where do they go after the game?

    How does education and income play a part. Assume you are a Lexus dealer, where are you going to spend your ad dollars. In front of a captive audience that barely has a high school education and brings home $30K/yr or across the bay or SJ where the average fan has 1.8 degrees and a household income well over 6 figures.

    Out of curiosity, how many of those area peeps you reference attend Oakland games versus Giants? Heck, how many even consider baseball a way to spend limited entertainment dollars.

  30. Ralph

    a sport team gives a city something to rally around and allows people who would normally socialize to socialize. if you don’t have a pro team then you rally around the college team. but last I checked there is a pro baseball team just on the other side of the bridge, a heck of lot easier to get to and from than SJ

  31. oaklandhappenings

    changing topics, here is the Chron’s article regarding the snail-pace of getting measure DD work done.
    As much as I am looking forward to an improved, pedestrian-friendly lakeshore, this is something that Oakland City Council really needs to push, and stop whining (Nancy “chocolate-biz-first” Nadel) about as if it isn’t their fault that it is going as slow as it is. As for the whole thing about blaming residents for “concerns”, guess what: just about everyone–who loves the Lake and its parkland as our “Crown Jewel”–is going to have a set of opinions, and any variety can be healthy towards an improved centerpiece, landscape-wise, of Oakland. Hundreds to thousands of people live around the Lake, while thousands more walk/bike/run it. Let’s get the s*** done, and get rid of the blight-like barriers.

  32. Navigator


    It’s funny that you mention a Lexus dealership, since Coliseum Lexus is one of the more successful Lexus dealerships in Northern California. Also, if perceptions and realities of crime were a prerequisite to which city can host a baseball franchise, then Saint Louis, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Cincinnati, etc., wouldn’t have a team.

    The idea that Oakland should be held to a different standard is a bit unfair. Attendance at the Coliseum reached 2.9 million fans in 1989 at the height of the crack epidemic. In 1992 Oakland recorded a record 174 killings. I don’t think that NOW with a much lower crime rate, that the location of the ballpark is an issue. The ballpark is located in an light industrial and office park suburban setting. Hegenberger Road has been greatly improved from what was there when Walter Haas was bringing in between 2.4 and 2.9 fans per year in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Making Oakland into an undesirable location for MLB is not accurate.

    What we have here is an owner with South Bay business ties and investments, who wants to use a baseball team which over forty years has become part of the fabric of the city of Oakland, as a way to enrich his personal business assets in the South Bay. It’s wrong!

  33. len raphael

    Dellums failure to grasp the economic importance of institutions he personally dislikes or has no interest in was never better illustrated by his mishandling of the military base closures that started in the 90′s.

    The Bay Area lost more bases than any other area in the country and i would say has failed to realized the “peace dividends” that were promised despite the subsequent real estate and economic booms.


    It was a combo of the military submitting a list of bases they were willing to close, and Dellums as head of the most powerful House military committee (some would say welcoming it) initially accepting the closures. Of course the military was only to happy to pull out of the Bay Area in large part because Dellums consistently opposed their fat budgets.

    My recollection is that Dellums passed up his chance to reverse the closings early on in the process and then tried but failed to stop them at the end.

    We’re now more than a decade later and Alameda Naval Air and Oakland Army Base are blighted areas. Obamba is likely to expand the size of the Army.

    So yeah, it would be typical Dellums to ignore the retention of the A’s until it was too late.

    -len raphael

  34. Ralph

    Except for DC, there is one small problem with your list, each of those cities have had baseball teams for decades. Further, I can attest that in the case of Baltimore and DC the crime problem is specific to a certain part of the city. With the possible exception of Detroit, I think the representatives of these cities also do a very good job of highlighting the positives aspects – such as nationally recognized cultural and educational institutions as well as businesses headquartered. The problems I described are impediments to attracting a new team.

    I noted earlier that the move to SJ is more about concentrating Wolffie’s business interest in one area. The move makes economic sense. Also need to consider the travel and tourism dollar – a new stadium brings all the boys to the yard.

    What actually was the rate in the late 80′s. In terms of national average, I believe the cities you listed are all 3 – 4x greater than the national average for violent crime.

  35. Ralph

    Someone should just tell the new lake residents complaining to shut up. Project approved. You knew that when you moved here now leave us alone and let us get s— done.

    yeah for lanes on the path…i feel bad when i knock down slower runners, walkers, pedestrians, people with babies. etc but if you don’t understand on your left what am i suppose to do….

  36. V Smoothe Post author

    Still not action on OO. Kernighan, Quan, Kaplan, and Nadel support a compromise measure. De La Fuente, Reid, Brooks, and Brunner support full repeal. Vote on whether to repeal or not was tied, now in limbo until next meeting.

  37. Ralph

    Really love the Quan, Kernighan compromise – compromise with whom? themselves.

    Quan talks as if this is just $4M dollars – somone is going to lose a job, rec centers, libraries, and museums are going to be closed and senior services are going to be cut.

    very displeased with Kaplan, 2 weeks she talked about accountability this week she is ready to give away the barn.

  38. Paulette Hogan

    Once again I find myself in a pickle. I know that parks and recs, and after-school programing needs the measure OO monies. However, I am concerned that in East Oakland, there is no Youth Entertainment district. Consequently, we have a high rate of crime in the East Oakland area.

    Mr. Ried, Ms. Brooks, and Mr. DeLufuente should get a clue, sieze the moment and make and investment in the youth of the East Oakland Area. Find a way to purchase the Toyota Dealership Building.

    This is what can be done. Y.O.O.U.T.T.H.H. : Youth Of Oaklan Unite and Trainded To Help and to Heal. A complete Youth Development Center with
    1. Job Training
    2. Medical/Dental/Mental Health Drop-In Center
    3. Television Station and Radio Station with KTOP and Youth Radio University
    4. Mechanic Shop (Already there) So that Youth can get there cars fixed at a reasonble rate. The Detail Shop is also present (Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!)
    5. A Dance Hall
    6. A Recording Studio
    7. A Skating Rink
    8. A Bowling Alley
    9. A Computer Lab (Bill Gates Foundation)

  39. Ralph

    Thank you V. Should we parade a group of seniors to the podium at the next council meeting?

  40. Charles Pine

    Kaplan not only voted for the OO “compromise” last night; she made a remark about cutting “untouchable” areas. This is commonly understood to mean police. She said this in the same discussion where Quan tossed off that when Oakland gets a federal COPS grant, that will free up general fund money. Typical bait and switch, and she wants us to believe a “parks” parcel tax is for parks?! More on OO last night at http://www.orpn.org/OO_repeal1.htm

  41. Ken O

    @Steve on BRT Talk:
    If BRT is placed in the center median of Telegraph, it shouldn’t cause a conundrum at 51st St.

    In fact, it would probably help increase sales for all the telegraph merchants. Just my .02!

  42. MayB/JuanC

    IMO one piece of conventional wisdom that needs to be debunked is that somehow it’s the responsibility of City of Oakland (or an city) to keep its young people entertained lest they become criminals. The only incentive young people need to not break the law is that crime is illegal. The #1 non-school activity for young people should either be homework (for students) or work (for non-students). To that end, parents/students/schools are responsible for making sure adequate amounts of time are spent on homework and the City is responsible for providing a healthy climate for business and promoting job creation and employment opportunities. These jobs, however, come from the private sector. In addition, perhaps the city can assist ensuring its residents have access to small business loans. Ideally there should be businesses that both employ and serve local people of all working ages.

    Libraries and parks are available for youth activities outside of school. Nowadays, kids have the world at their fingertips from their own home (or local library) via the internet. We cannot suggest to youth that they have some excuse to be involved in crime because the city hasn’t spent enough money keeping them entertained, especially in times of economic hardship for governments. This isn’t to say that youth programs are not necessary or beneficial, but that the goal of these should be supplemental enrichment and development, not merely distraction for kids that some have decided are potential criminals. And within this perspective, funding should rise and fall as appropriate or necessary.

  43. Ralph

    Last night, as I listened to the various speakers, I had that very thought. Sometimes you just want to hit the kids who say that they are going to turn to crime. Perhaps if they spent more time doing homework, going to the library and reading they would have more oppty. But I work with 11th graders, who barely spend an hour a day on homework.

    As for the kids I mentor, many do not have consistent at home on-line access and would greatly benefit from open libraries.

  44. Patrick

    I don’t know, the youth of East Oakland seem to be doing a pretty good job of entertaining themselves on the street corners and behind dumpsters near my house. Why, two of them (16 and 13, if I had to guess) were entertaining themselves in the back of their car in front of my house when I came home from work last night. I’m not willing to commit my tax money to “detail” that car.

    Perhaps if they had parents who cared, or a City Council who didn’t, we wouldn’t be asked to “entertain” them. The city provides schools, parks, libraries, after-school programs, rec. centers, etc. for youth to “entertain” themselves. Schools are a requirement for a society to function. And, the benefit with much of the rest is that they are available to everyone, and not just a subset of our population. What about self-reliance? Clean up your neighborhood; teach a neighbor kid to ride a bike; learn how to cook or to speak.

    And I can’t imagine a worse use for a brand spanking new car dealership than to attempt to re-purpose it as a youth center. The city jail has recreation space, easily cleaned surfaces and scrap iron – they can learn welding. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

    Sorry – I just learned of a pay cut at work-and I’m in no mood to spend even more of my money babysitting other people’s children when it seems apparent that those responsible frequently have little interest themselves. I know they’re working 27 jobs to make ends meet; maybe all of these parents can get together to share the responsibilities of parenting? After that happens, THEN come to me for a handout.

  45. Joanna/ShopGirl

    hella bike,

    I just read that the Parkway was closing Sunday, March 23rd. It’s very sad. I came straight to ABO to see if there was any other info as to what can be done to save them… If someone has any ideas, I’d love to get involved.


  46. Ken O

    Man- so sad that the parkway closed. I never even went once!

    Ah well, its spirit will live on in living rooms across the flatlands and hills. RIP.

    What will go in its place? Will it be boarded up for years, or will a more a business move in who sells more expensive goods/services?

    Here’s some thought on GM’s now admitted car bubble and how it impacts Oakland:



  47. Becks

    A few weeks ago, there was a debate on V’s post about the California budget situation about whether rich people flee the state when taxes increase. Robert over at Calitics has a great post up today arguing that higher taxes don’t cause the wealthy to leave the state.

  48. len raphael

    Does the Fox have public tours or open visiting hours? a friend of mine used to go to the movies at the fox when she was a kid (she’s 91 now) but has avoided downtown oakland for the past +30. she’d love to see the old place restored.

  49. len raphael

    B, i’d agree w Ken for a different reason. Most medium to high wealth (talking assets and income) individuals who have only one main residence probably put a higher value on the amenities and social relationships to a location than to the state or city income tax rates. But very wealthy people who have multiple main residences probably are more likely to pick a favorable state or country for their tax home.

    Wealthy and not so rich people who either own or manage businesses affected by state and local taxes definitely make decisions to relocate based on taxes.

  50. len raphael

    interesting thing about my friend is that she is usually not the least bit nostalgic about most Oakland architecture/buildings. She has a near perfect long and short term memory, eg. could describe boring picnics in Idora Park, feed lot stores on E14, the colors of various Oakland trolley systems, but doesn’t look back unless you ask her.

  51. Navigator

    It’s sad that Oakland gains one beautiful historic theater in the Oakland FOX, and soon after loses another treasure in the Parkway.

    However, It’s not all gloom and doom for Oakland. I was downtown this afternoon on a glorious first day of Spring. The farmer’s market in Old Oakland was filled with people. There were pedestrians walking all over City Center, Uptown and Chinatown. The place looked like a bustling cosmopolitan city, especially with all the new construction around Grand & Broadway finally finishing up. I like the new landscaping and ornamental lighting on Broadway near the YMCA building. It makes for a nice entrance to downtown.

    Also, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in downtown’s appearance as far as litter and graffiti. There are still a few litter problems around the bus stops between 14th & Broadway and 12th & Broadway, but over all, the area looks much cleaner.

    Having said that, there are still some sick vandals out there who cant get rid of their compulsion to deface other people’s property. Evidently, some loser named “LUKE” has been going around with a spray can making these huge tags. Evidently “LUKE,” and some of the other graffiti losers are making up for their insecurity and shortcomings, by blighting what others try to build up. I’d say removal of the tip of the spray finger would be a good punishment for these idiots.

    Anyway, kudos for those of you responsible for improving downtown Oakland’s appearance. AND, to those of you who like defacing property, and making me, and others like me, look at your shitty scribbles, I hope you get caught and spend a little time in the clink. Those jail cells need a little brightening up.

  52. len raphael

    Never heard of The Oakland Shadow before I read this post from Sanjiv H. According to the post City council members are getting a COLA raise to their 72k/year salary (plus a 6k car allowance). That didn’t bother me until the post mentioned that council members get about 14 weeks of vacation time (aka “recess”) each year from their very difficult part-time city gig. 100% paid medical, dental insurance, plus retirement package.

    Also interesting that Council salaries are half paid by Coliseum redevelopment district. Guess that means they all recuse themselves on matters affecting that district. Or maybe they just don’t bother to legislate on it.

    “This is last week’s issue of The Oakland Shadow, which is published every Monday. It used to be a monthly. The information may be of interest to you.

    Sanjiv Handa
    East Bay News Service

    The Oakland Shadow, March 9, 2009

    Stimulus Dollars May Add 100 Police Officers

    Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan will propose hiring an additional one hundred police officers with Oakland’s $52 million share of federal stimulus funds earmarked for law enforcement, raising the number of sworn officers to 903.
    The amount covers salaries, benefits, equipment and vehicles, and all other associated costs for a period of three years. It also includes increased costs resulting from promoting some officers to sergeants and lieutenants, a requirement of the negotiated settlement agreement to base the number of supervisors on the count of officers.
    The grant is for a three-year period, and does not require any matching local dollars. It is administered through the state Department of Justice.
    When the proposal comes before City Council, it will likely trigger debate on whether there is any flexibility in uses that might free up some current dollars in the OPD budget. Several council members have called for cuts in police and fire services to save slashing cultural and recreations city programs.
    OPD currently has an authorized strength of 803 officers: 739 through the city’s general operating fund and redevelopment dollars, 63 through special Measure Y taxes, and one through a grant.
    As of March 6, OPD has 822 officers on payroll. Several are on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of investigations alleging transgressions, including one deputy chief and one captain. Two sergeants and nine officers are undergoing appeals to protest their proposed terminations for allegedly falsifying reports by stating drug testing had been undertaken to secure search or arrest warrants, even though no such analysis had been done.

    City Council Slated for Another Pay Raise

    Even as Council members call on city employees to take compensation cuts up to 20 percent of their salaries to help balance the city’s growing budget shortfall, the Public Ethics Commission is moving to grant City Council another pay raise on July 1.
    In the 2004 Strong Mayor amendment to the city charter, Council snuck in a last-minute provision to require that they receive an annual cost-of-living increase every July, regardless of the city’s finances or compensation adjustments for any other elected officials or city employees. In the all-or-nothing series of amendments to the charter, voters passed the provision without any discussion or scrutiny.
    The Ethics Commission is required to give Council a minimum raise equal to the annual increase in the Bay Area cost-of-living index, up to five percent. If the index rises less than five percent, a boost of five percent may still be granted. Anything in excess of the five percent limit requires voter approval.
    Council members are currently paid $78,878 – a base salary of $72,278, plus a cash vehicle allowance of $6,600. The city also provides a full benefits package at no cost to individual Council members, including medical and dental insurance, optical and psychological services, retirement and every other benefit granted city employees.
    Half the salary and cost of benefits for Council members is paid from the city’s general fund; the other half from redevelopment dollars. Since 2004, the Coliseum redevelopment area budget has paid for all Council costs after city staff disclosed that the downtown redevelopment area could not afford to do so anymore.
    Council members received a five percent boost on July 1, 2004. City employees received only a one percent cost-of-living-increase that year, as the Bay Area consumer price index increased by 1.4 percent.
    Council pay was boosted 2.1 percent in July 2005. City employees received a four percent increase that year, while the Bay Area consumer price index increased by 2.1 percent.
    In July 2006, Council pay increased by four percent. City employees received the same four percent enhancement that year, while the Bay Area consumer price index increased by 2.9 percent.
    The Ethics Commission boosted Council pay by five percent in July 2007. City employees received a four percent increase that year, while the Bay Area consumer price index increased by 3.2 percent.
    At the strong insistence of Andy Wiener, Ethics Commission Chair, the Council pay raise was held to 2.9 percent in July 2008, equal to the actual rise in the Bay Area consumer price index. City employees did not receive any increases last year.

    Old Audits Disappear From City Auditor Site

    All audits and reports conducted by the city auditor’s office prior to Jan. 1, 2007, have been removed from the city auditor’s web site. That’s the date Courtney Ruby assumed the auditor’s job.
    Many, but not all, of the removed documents can be retrieved by using the search engine function on the city clerk’s website at oaklandnet.com/ government/council/agendas-calendars.cfm – but there is no longer a centralized, one-stop source.
    Former Deputy City Auditor Michael Kilian has created a web site (OaklandCityStuff.com) that allows interested individuals to peruse the web contents created under the tenure of former City Auditor Roland E. Smith.

    City Cancel – oops, City Council – Update

    Friday, March 13, is a business shutdown day, the eighth of thirteen unpaid days off imposed on city employees as a budget balancing measure during the 2008-2009 fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.
    All city facilities, except police and fire services, will be closed, including city offices, libraries, senior centers and recreation centers, will be closed Friday.
    City Council cancelled the March 12 Rules and Legislation Committee meeting because the agenda packet distribution for the March 17 meeting needs to be completed a day early. The Rules Committee normally sets the two-week agenda for Council and Committee meetings, but opted to let city staff take over that function for the week.
    The next shutdown days are Thursday and Friday, April 9 and 10. City Council members will take off the entire week of April 13 as their Spring recess, allowing a thirteen day potential getaway.
    When City Clerk LaTonda Simmons reminded the Rules Committee members that they had scheduled the week long recess, Council President Jane Brunner exclaimed, “Yea! Vacation!” – a direct repudiation of the repeated claims by council members that their fourteen to seventeen weeks of “recess” each year is not actually vacation time.
    The Spring Recess has caused changed meeting schedules. Because they are trying to rush through a special election to bring several tax increases and other measures to the voters, Council meetings will be held March 17 and 31 at 6 p.m. The next meeting will be April 21 at 6 p.m.
    The April 7 Council meeting will be cancelled, and replaced by committee meetings. All committee meetings on April 14 and 16 are cancelled. The April 9 Rules Committee is also cancelled.
    When Council members return April 21, they will begin the 13-week countdown to their summer vacation – a eight- to nine-week hiatus when city government slows to a crawl.

    Dellums Watch – Day 800: Police Chief Status

    Mayor Ron Dellums marks exactly 800 days on the job today, Monday, March 9. In the next few months, he will name a new police chief, two new Planning Commissioners, and two new Port Commissioners. These five appointments will be a critical component of how his tenure as mayor will be judged.
    ∫ Some Council members and others are touting East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis, a former Oakland Police captain, as the next OPD Chief. Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, who assumed the role March 1, has not indicated if he will apply for the permanent post.
    ∫ The concept of transparency in Oakland City Hall took another big blow when it was discovered that a secret meeting is being convened to hash out the definition of “community policing”.
    Rather than involving the community in the discussion, the chair and vice chair of four groups are being invited to a private meeting with the mayor’s new public safety coordinator, Dori Reed, and Jeff Baker, staff to the Measure Y Oversight Committee. A City Hall source said the meeting is an effort to iron out differences among the oversight committee, the Community Policing Advisory Board, the Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Policing. The Police Department has also been asked to take part.

    Keeping Your Directory Current Every Day SM

    Judith Blackwell, executive director of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, has been laid off, effective March 6. The move is a result of lower than projected revenues.
    Blackwell also operates a health care brokerage, which she will continue. She was previously chief financial officer at the Port of Oakland.”

  53. V Smoothe Post author

    Len -

    City Council is a full-time job, and recess means a vacation from sitting through public meetings, not a vacation from working. Personally, I think the City Council is underpaid.

  54. V Smoothe Post author

    Also, regarding the “secret meeting” of various boards related to community policing, the community is, in fact, welcome to participate in the discussion. A special joint meeting of the Measure Y Oversight Committee, Community Policing Advisory Board, Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee, and Citizen’s Task Force on Community Policing, with representatives of the Oakland Police Department will be held on March 26, 2009 from 6-9 pm at Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 3. The agenda items are a group discussion of the definition of community policing and a group discussion of the role of problem-solving officers.

  55. len raphael

    V, are you saying that the current council members do put in at least 40 hours on the job, or only that to do the job well you have to put in at least 40 hours?

    There is no way you can put in 40 hours and also hold employment or self employment as a union business manager or attorney as some of our members do unless you have the energy of an under 35 blogger.

    Underpaid absolutely iff the council members were required to give up all outside employment and self employment (which would limit the job to professional politicians or people who worked for organizations willing for whatever reasons to give 4 year leaves of absence). Would also want the members to post their daily calendars online. (do they now?).

    Why should part time employees get retirement plans or full medical and dental benefits? Is that true for other muni part time employees?

    Regardless of the above, the members should announce now that they are forgoing COLA’s until the muni employee layoffs are over. (at least two years from now).


  56. V Smoothe Post author

    I’m simply saying that the job of City Councilmember is classified as a full-time job. It is incorrect to call it a part-time job.

    I agree that the pay should be raised and outside employment should be prohibited, but I totally disagree with your suggestion that people in general can’t work full-time at one job while also holding other, part-time employment. I’ve certainly managed to hold down two full-time jobs at the same time in the past. And I don’t think that’s an age thing – I know plenty of people in their 50s who work 70-80 hours a week.

    Re: benefits and retirement plans. All permanent City employees, part-time or full-time, get the same benefits, and that includes the Council. It’s fair to question this policy in general, but I see no reason why the Council should they be treated differently with respect to benefits from anyone else.

  57. Angry Oakland Citizen

    4 Oakland Officers killed?!?!?! Its high time we kill every thug out there. If diversity means we have to put up with the shit of other races, then it simply sucks!
    Kill them all! Eff Ron Fcuking Dellums and his fcuking wife!!!!

  58. Angry Oakland Citizen

    Its high time the neegers accept their shortcomings without bringing up their racist crap. They suck at parenting. They simply have dropped the ball and have asked for hand-outs. FCUK THEM! I WOULD NOT MIND APPLYING THE “FINAL SOLUTION” upon them. FCUK THEM!!!

  59. Angry Oakland Citizen

    neegers suck. I dont care how you cut it, They simply sucl. Diversity is not worth it
    Fcuk you Neegers! Start to learn how to parent you fcuking kids!!!!!!!!

  60. Almer Mabalot

    I can see why Oakland has a hard time controlling violence. Most citizens put the blame on the police, but they don’t give a lot of evidence to their arguments. I think it is the citizen’s fault, and not the police. The Oakland Police Department tries very hard to control the violence alongside in trying to better their department, taking care of their predicaments with many popular cases, protests, etc. They are in a very tough situation as they are, but citizens only do something when the Police aren’t doing what they wish. I know it might be frustrating, but the citizens need to also participate in helping controlling the crimes around their neighborhood, give it that they help the police so that they can help control the crimes. The usual “Snitches get stitches” of most citizens are what keep Oakland from pursuing it’s goal in lower crime stats. I give condolences to the four police officer’s families.

  61. masb

    I am very upset about the tragedies today….I am also upset about “Angry Oakland’s Citizen’s” response to these events….this racist tirade certainly does not help anything. In fact it just makes everything even more terrible. I kinda think this kind of posting should be banned.

  62. Angry Oakland Citizen

    Almer Mabalot,

    Yes, I am fcuking angry. What have the neegers contributed in a positively way?

    High crime rates and lousy parenting skills. Why should society suck this up?

    Fcuk them and kill all thugs!!!!

  63. Angry Oakland Citizen

    Where the fcuk is Ronnie The Clown Dellums?????

    I really wish some mofo with a .44 magnum and 500 counts of ammo was roaming in Oakland City Hall, aiming for Ronnie the fcuking clown’s head.

    It’s not fair our cops are in danger while Ronnie is safe. I hope he sees the blood on his hands with his thug soft approach…

  64. Almer Mabalot

    I know you are angry, and most of us don’t approve of Ronald V. Dellums , but you are putting the blame on one single race which is the African-American community. I know a lot of African-Americans who are very civilized, and as well as those who are not. But that doesn’t mean it’s that one particular race, it can be any. Again raising my point, if the community would rise up, and help the police than their communities would be much better off than it is now. I only wish people would get rid of the “Snitch” mentality. There are something called “Anonymous lines”, and if a majority of the community helps than there wouldn’t be much bad things going towards them if they are scared of that.

  65. Joanna/ShopGirl

    AngryCitizen – I understand the outrage, but I don’t understand the direction your anger is taking you. I’m sure that no white, Asian, Indian, or any other race have ever killed a cop before right? And no cops (white?) have ever killed a black person, right? The outrage is that the race card is played on either side. And as I type this I realize that I know so little about what happened other than watching the press conference, that maybe the officers weren’t even white. I don’t know.

    If I used your mode of thinking, I’d hate my best friend who happens to be Asian, because I was robbed at gunpoint by an Asian. Right? Wrong. You can have white trash, black trash, and every other color of trash. The $64 million winning answer will be if someone can figure out a better way for the variety of races that live in this town to somehow learn to love one another because of the diversity.

    We don’t know the whole story of what went on with the suspect that died. Maybe he was pumped up on drugs, or who knows what other crazy, insane reason he did what he did. What can we do to keep this from happening again?

    I remember 3 state police (troopers) getting gunned down in Oklahoma when I was a kid, and it was tough on ALL of the officers throughout that state. Do YOU want to take that risk going to work? Do you want a loved one to take that risk? Would you feel uncomfortable going to work the next day? For the next month? Try even longer.

    This is a serious blow to an already fragile police department. They need all the support we can give them. What they don’t need is anger like Angry Oakland Citizen making things worse.

  66. Patrick

    For some reason, the thing that keeps popping into my head is Desley Brooks curt e-mail response to my inquiry regarding “A Gentleman of Leisure”. With this tragedy splashed over every single national media outlet, something like “A Gentleman of Leisure” would actually improve our city’s image.

    Millions of people have seen this news today, and millions more will see it over the coming weeks. And none of them will ever set foot in Oakland because of it. While our city government is touting “outreach” centers and are about to allow a huge percentage of our discretionary budget to be spent on programs with little oversight and no proven efficacy, more and more of my relatively liberal/progressive mindset gets chipped away. 3 officers slain as the result of a routine traffic stop? Incredible. And the only way to fix it is to turn this city into a police state.

    Mayor, City Council, citizens of Oakland – you may put any Police-related parcel tax – for any amount – on the next ballot and I promise you I will vote for it.

  67. Deckin

    Unfortunately words are not what’s needed in Oakland or any other place at this time. What’s needed is attitudinal change (along with an unending amount of sympathy for the families and loved ones of those officers). For how long has the attitude of much of Oakland (to say nothing of Berkeley and SF) that the police are an ‘occupying force’ or just another set of people with guns and agendas? This gets taught by leftist community groups, criminally ignorant school teachers and politicians alike. Now of course there’s no straight line between this and that loser who’s hurt so many. But there is a straight line between that perniciously malignant attitude and a culture that creates the space in which that manner of loser can operate. The tragedy of our area will continue to be that we reap what we sow. If you have a society that accomodates and excuses animalistic behavior (in endless ways), you will generate more of it. When the people of this area begin to draw the lines between their mindless and ultimately degrading coddling of anti-social lifestyles and the completely natural anti-social behavior it spawns, things will change. Until then, sadly, I doubt much will.

  68. len raphael

    coulda happened in any urban area in the us.

    other than the high numbers of ex cons in oakland, and californias’ 3 strike law might push aholes kill a cop rather than go to jail (but they gotta know cop killers get executed?)…

    a nationwide wide enforced ban on automatic weapons might have helped, but maybe not.

    i was heartened that a resident snitched. that person’s action counts more than some kids taunting cops.

  69. Ralph

    I am beginning to hate the word “snitch.” Although in this case, I am more inclined to believe that the person reported a crime in progress versus identifying a perp.

    something not discussed in this tragedy – this was initially a routine traffic stop. I am wondering what the officers did or did not do procedurally. For 2 motorcycle officers to be gunned down like this makes no sense. I am guessing they had no idea what they were walking into.

    Frankly, I am ready to suggest that if you are convicted or arrested for certain crimes your family and known associates need to give up some rights to privacy.

  70. Kathy

    Its been hell in Oakland since they closed the City Jail Take the saved money and put it back into opening the city jail so more officers wolud be on the streets of Oakland and not sitting at santa rita or north County waiting to book in prisoners