119 thoughts on “
Open Thread

  1. Rebecca Kaplan

    This morning the California Supreme Court will issue a ruling that will impact my rights and the rights of hundreds of thousands of LBGT people. It also will determine whether anyone, including you, no matter what your sexual orientation, has protection for fundamental rights under the law.

    As I’ve been waiting for the ruling and thinking about its meaning, I wrote something too long to fit in a comment here, about how the Proposition 8 case impacts the rights of everyone. It is online at:

  2. Ken O

    Becka, didnt read your post, too tired right now. but if the state splits into more states, the coastal “state” would bring back lgbt rights for you. just a thought.

    you still driving the tdi golf? :)

  3. John Klein

    Here’s another Boat House and Measure DD set of photos as of Sunday, May 31. Plants are being brought to the Boat House. There are a couple of pics showing new walkways being cut to the water’s edge at Lakeshore.


    I’m not sure who is going to care for all those new plants, though…….

  4. R Kaplan

    Witches Hats: I’ve seen such costume stuff sometimes at Long’s on 51st St and Broadway, and sometimes at the various Goodwill sites (but no guarantee Goodwill will have one at any given time). Also sometimes at East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Temescal.

  5. Becks

    You should try the Hat Store on Telegraph. It’s in Berkeley, but it’s easily accessible by the 1. The Depot is a good recommendation, but I was just there this weekend and didn’t see any there.

  6. Naomi Schiff


    Call this ancient store that sells theatrical makeup and stuff. They seem to keep the halloween stuff around (in the back storage) all year. It’s technically in Berkeley, on Alcatraz above Adeline and not too far from Ashby BART. Not very web savvy. Call them up.

  7. Ken O

    Topic: Social Security, Pensions

    Funny comment I read elsewhere today:

    “If you promised to buy your son a Porsche when he turned 21 and then said just kidding when he got there, he’d just think you’re a jerk. But if like Social Security and Medicare, you took part of his wages as he worked during his teen years and told him that you were putting them into a high-yield savings account for him so that he could buy his own Porsche when he turned 21 (that would be one sweet high school job to afford that) and then when he turned 21 you said sorry the money is gone, well, you’d be more than a jerk, and he might seek restitution… or hire a hit man, if he supports revolutions.

    “Now imagine that you’re driving a Porsche when you say sorry. Don’t you think he’d realize that his money paid for your Porsche and he got screwed? Now, at this point, he’s probably pretty close to calling that hit man.

    “The truth is that we all pay into Social Security every time we get a paycheck. Look at the stub and you’ll see that the government does owe you money… BECAUSE THEY TOOK IT OUT OF YOUR PAYCHECK! That is most certainly a debt. And look at the senators who are spending your son’s Porsche money. They’ve got the best health care, retirements and big wages for part-time labor. All paid for with money that we are owed and disappearing faster than a 911 Carrera does 0-60.”

  8. Jim M

    I was walking by the San Leandro Library last night and spotted people coming out of a meeting with lawn signs that said Yes 4 Oakland. Looks like a mail in election is coming in July. Their website is below.


  9. V Smoothe Post author

    I had a previous engagement and therefore wasn’t able to make it to the meeting about the libraries last night at Dimond. If anyone went and can report back, I’d love to hear about it.

  10. Robert

    One has to wonder why a meeting on the Oakland election was being held in San Leandro?

  11. V Smoothe Post author

    It was a meeting of the County central committee, not Oakland specific. The committee meetings the first Wednesday of every month at the San Leandro Library at 7 PM.

  12. Becks

    FYI – I’m an associate on the ACDCC and the committee voted unanimously last night to endorse all four measures. Rebecca Kaplan was there seeking the committee’s endorsement and gave an excellent presentation.

    The campaign signs might remind you of another recent campaign.

  13. Quercki M. Singer

    Ancient Ways at 41st and Telegraph might have a witch’s hat for sale.
    If you can’t find one for sale, you can borrow one from me. I’ve got two: plain or with multi-colored stars and moons.

  14. V Smoothe Post author

    As it turns out, I won’t be needing a witch hat after all, but thanks to everyone for the suggestions. This list of places to buy costume type stuff will doubtlessly come in handy in the future.

  15. Charles Pine

    Measure D on the mail-in ballot would give the poverty pimps “only” 50 percent of their Meassure OO grab. However it went at the County Dem session, Rebecca Kaplan had a difficult time at the earlier meeting of the Metro Greater Oakland Democratic club. She pushed for immediate endorsement of the measures, but they refused to be railroaded.

    Audience questions made it clear they are not happy with Measure D nor with the council’s handling of the whole Kids First disaster. There is sentiment to urge a No vote on Measure D and work for putting a complete repeal of the Measure OO crock on the November ballot.

    Becks wrote: “FYI – I’m an associate on the ACDCC and the committee voted unanimously last night to endorse all four measures. Rebecca Kaplan was there seeking the committee’s endorsement…”

  16. Ralph

    Charles, I can pretty much guarantee you there will be at least one no vote on Measure D. A bad measure is a bad measure. The compromise was a crock and council knows a repeal would have passed. Hopefully, the 3rd time will be a charm.

  17. Tony

    The poor people of Oakland, actually all poor people of this country, needs to learn how to save money and focus on education (and of course, living honestly, not engaging in criminal activities). Those qualities are the only ones that focus on any kind of future. A lot of immigrants come to this country with un-American expectations. They work harder for less money and don’t complain nearly as much because they know what real poverty really is.

  18. Mike Spencer

    Way off topic, even for an open thread:

    Two-day yard sale,Sat/Sunday at 2491 Cole St. in Maxwell Park to benefit Oakland Warthog high school rugby. We have lost our sponsor due to financial reasons and we want to keep the team going for kids from all over the city.

    Come on by. Thanks.

  19. Hayden

    Does anyone have advice on calling in solicitation/prostitution to the police in a way that they take note of where it is and perhaps periodically drop by over time?

    The prostitutes have been back for awhile on MLK between 14th and 16th (they were there in the late 90s and then were no longer there, when Jerry Brown was mayor). This is in the same location as an indoor soccer gym and a fencing club, each of which attracts kids on any given night.

  20. Max Allstadt

    Are there pimps out there with them Hayden? If not, just round up a band of neighbors and tell them to take it elsewhere.

    Another thing that works is waiting for them to flag a car, and popping out with a camera to very deliberately and obviously take a picture of the john in his car. Johns don’t like this one bit, and won’t return for a while.

    Otherwise, go to your NCPC meeting with details of when you see this happening, who’s doing it, etc. You might be able to get into more direct communication with the cops on that beat, so that you can help them time their arrival on the scene.

  21. len

    R: “Charles, I can pretty much guarantee you”

    Ralph, was that phrase just coincidence, or were you tweaking the George Zimmer endorsement?


  22. Ralph

    Coincidence, as I know not of this G. Zimmer of whom ye speak! I am happy to know that others are just as upset about this compromise.

    2:15 am Sunday 6/7 3 professional women noted in the vicinity of 14th and mlk. i know when i was contemplating buying at CW in 2006-07 the women were a concern. From what I can tell there is low vehicle traffic but there is a half way house that operates in that general vicinity. I would just keep calling as you see them.

  23. Hayden

    Thanks Max and Ralph. I’ve been to my NCPC meeting for where I live in West Oakland–it’s a good suggestion to track down the one for that part of downtown. Not to mention letting the police know when they’re out.

  24. einnocent

    Hey, wait a sec! This isn’t a thread! This is just an empty article =)

    I just wanted to say that I found this blog while researching Oakland live/work issues but am staying because I like it. Just consider this post as a +1 for continued coverage of this topic.

  25. Born in Oakland

    Whoever does the graphics at KTOP should be fired. They spelled DeFremery Park as defermery….yikes! There should be absolutely no errors such as this…anyone hear of Google if spell check is not appropriate. This is not the first time I have noticed errors. Not spelling proper or place names correctly is a pet peeve of mine.

  26. Ken

    BO: are you perfect? ;p The media, including gov-run, covers so much they’re bound to make some bloopers …

  27. teacher

    “anyone hear of Google if spell check is not appropriate”

    -1. run-on, sentence fragment.

  28. V Smoothe Post author

    Thanks to everyone who was so helpful about where to buy a witch hat. I have another question now. Does anyone know of a local organization one can volunteer with that provides basic computer training? Like, where you can help teach people how to use e-mail and so on? Preferably one serving adults, not kids.

  29. SF2OAK

    can anyone tell me if I can reserve the parking in front of my house for a moving truck, if so how?

    Thanks in advance

  30. len

    how busy is the street?

    most meter attendents respect large red cones placed around a section of the street if not heavily used. flag your regular one down and ask. they are surprised when people talk to them nicely.

  31. Mike Spencer

    Blown away today by the Chip Johnson revelation that The Edge’s nephew was making 75K a year repairing parking meters. Puts the budget fiasco into perspective doesn’t it? He was probably a “junior” employee, so that means the more senior repair people making near 100K and parking meter middle managers making over $100K. Who signs off on these salary grades???

  32. Tony

    The answer to this city’s governmental problems isn’t just to throw money around. 75K? For that much money, he’d better be one of the best meter repairman in the world who can repair thousands of meters in a week.

  33. Ralph

    “Pay-go is not good policy,” Dellums said. “It perpetuates parochialism.”

    Wow, something Dellums and I agree on. Maybe, I wasn’t giving him a fair shake.

  34. Max Allstadt


    I wonder who else Edgerly was setting up with sweet deals. And how many are still there…

  35. navigator

    Uptown Unveiled was amazing. I’m surprised that Angela Woodall writes that there were “hundreds” at the event. From my perspective between 7:30 and 9:00, there were thousands on Telegraph and Broadway. Also, all the restaurants and clubs on Telegraph and Broadway were packed.

    I also had the opportunity to see the Fox Theater for the first time. I was blown away. What an incredibly beautiful venue. Mr. Tagami did Oakland and all of us who love this city, proud. I never taught I would see a theater which would surpass the magnificent Paramount on Broadway. I must say that the Fox is a bit more ornate than even the Paramount. I love the cabaret style floor plan, the many bars, the statues, the intricate ceiling, the immense floor to ceiling height, etc.

    It was amazing to see so many people in downtown Oakland on a Thursday evening. It’s obvious that Uptown Oakland has caught the fancy of many people in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area.

    It’s now time to capitalize on this energy and start utilizing more of the great old buildings on Telegraph. Also, the City of Oakland needs to widen the sidewalks on Telegraph so that we can have outdoor seating for restaurants up and down the street.

    One more thing. Where was the San Francisco media? It doesn’t surprise me. If it happens in Oakland it doesn’t really count unless of course its crime or some sort of disturbance. But who cares. People are finally realizing that Oakland has a lot to offer. They learn this from the “alternative” media.

  36. Chris Kidd


    One astute commenter on the trib’s website noted that her story was online at “8:16 PM”, meaning she didn’t actually wait around for the event to end before going home, writing it ,editing it, and probably getting a read-through from an editor before posting to the site. I’m sure that before she took off at 6:30 there were only a few hundred people. When I was there at 9:30 there were *thousands* of people there.

    Somebody should tell the tribune that this is the reason their market share is shrinking every year. When the “local” paper can’t even stick around at one of the most notable public events of the month, FAIL ensues.

  37. Chris Kidd


    Yes, I was able to attend the CESP open house before getting to Uptown Unveiled at around 8:45 or so.
    The CESP meeting was really positive. They split up all the different existing condition themes into different stations where they would have different staffers walk you through the information presented (in a very user friendly form) and solicit comments and corrections. I’ve been told that all the existing conditions reports will be made available on their website and staff encourages anyone interested to jump into the reports with both feet to get a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the issues that will need to be addressed. There was a lot of good information about the current land-use, environmental, infrastructure, employment, and public-health issues contained in the CESP area.
    The next CESP meeting is going to be July 11th. It’s pretty much going to be a spread out map with lots of place-markers that you can move around and play Sim City with. Yeah, that’s right. YOU GET TO PLAY SIM CITY. Since existing conditions is wrapping up, they want to get into what can be created and how it will interact with what’s already there. Kinda show to people that anything you want to do will have consequences for everything else in the area and how difficult it is to balance all of them in a way that will not only make people happy, but will also be beneficial for the future of the nieghborhood.

    Crap. I shoulda just done a post about this, huh?

  38. Patrick

    What to say about last night’s event that hasn’t already been gushed over? The art displays, the performers, the incredible music – I’d definitely have paid to get into that event.

    The Fox is A M A Z I N G ! I was completely awestruck and thankful for all of the people who had the foresight and talent to give Oakland such a lasting gift. I was rather amused by the number of people saying “where do you sit?”, but this was outweighed by so many saying “I want to see a show HERE.”

    Had the opportunity to chat to several strangers – most of them were not Oaklanders! Exciting, that.

    I tried several times to get a drink at Cafe Van Kleef but, alas, as I had left my cattle prod at home it was but a pipe dream.

    Also, parking was not an issue – at all.

  39. navigator


    I agree with you. Writing a story at 6:30 and claiming there were “hundreds” at the event minimizes and marginalizes the scope of what happened last night in Uptown.

    However, I’m not going to be too hard on the Tribune since they seemed to be the only media organization which even mentioned the event. Where was the San Francisco Chronicle? How about the San Francisco electronic media? How come we don’t get helicopter shots of thousands of revelers peacefully enjoying themselves in downtown Oakland? Does someone need to break a window to get the San Francisco media running over to Oakland?

  40. Chris Kidd

    The tribune does not get a pass from me.

    They shouldn’t get a pass because they were the only newspaper to cover the event, they should be held to a higher standard *precisely because* they were the only paper there.

  41. navigator


    You may have a point. Maybe inaccurate information does more harm than no information at all. Writing that there were only “hundreds” at this event makes it seem like there wasn’t much interest and the event was not a success.

  42. East Lake Biker

    Channel 7 was there covering the event, but they seemed to have taken off early too. They interviewed a 9 to 5 office worker who ran to BART instead of going to the event, not cool.

    KPIX Ch 5 did more of a background story.

    No, parking was not a problem. Bikes were in abundance that night. In fact, EBBC’s parking corral was overflowing.

  43. Dave C.


    Forget widening the sidewalks: Telegraph should be permanently closed to cars between Broadway and Grand. I’ve thought this for a while, and last night only confirmed my opinion. I assume that the powers at be in Oakland would consider such a proposal unthinkable (“But, but, but, how will people visit the bars and restaurants if they can’t drive right to the front door?”).

    I think people should cut the Trib some slack here. Angela Woodall, who wrote that article, has written about Uptown Unveiled repeatedly both on her blog at the Trib website and in the paper itself. I would be surprised if anyone on the planet publicized the event as much as she has. And a huge photo of the crowd and the glorious Fox was splashed above the fold on today’s front page. And the notion that she “took off at 6:30″ seems to be pure speculation. Reporters have cell phones and laptops just like other people do, and it’s easy enough to email stories or phone in updates to editors from the field if desired. (My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the bulk of the story, with the Huff and Tagami quotes etc., was actually written before the event had officially started.) Sure, they probably should have updated “hundreds” to “thousands” as the crowd grew over the course of the evening, but it’s not like a street festival is a big breaking news story where it’s absolutely critical to make sure to keep updating and updating as developments occur. Given that the Trib’s editorial staff is probably skeletal after years of downsizing, I can’t really blame them too much for failing to update the article as the evening went on.

    Because of the early deadlines required for morning delivery, many papers don’t even try to cover evening events for the following day’s paper, unless it is major breaking news. Some city newspapers would have just waited, and put a little article inside the Saturday paper instead. I think the Tribune, and Angela Woodall, should be praised for going to the trouble of getting the article into Friday’s paper, and for giving it such prominent play, so that a photo of the event was visible through the display windows of newspaper boxes all over town.

  44. navigator


    You’re right, Angela did a great job publicizing the event. I’m just a little disappointed that now all the articles which I’ve read mention that “hundreds” attended the event. It’s not accurate and it downplays the entire thing.

    Also, in a perfect world Telegraph would be closed between Grand and Broadway. However, I think narrowing Telegraph, widening the sidewalks and adding much needed landscaping, would turn Telegraph into a pedestrian friendly area connecting the proposed plaza at 16th & Telegraph to possibly another small plaza (with an increased set-back) on the proposed Forrest City residential building parcel.

    Let’s face it, at present, Telegraph is too wide with too much asphalt. It screams cars not pedestrians. We need to soften Telegraph and create a pedestrian friendly street.

  45. Angela Woodall

    Hello people. Most of you are wrong about why the story about Uptown Unveiled was what it was. Since no one bothered to ask me let me correct a few of your comments, which all are based on conjecture.
    No. 1. I had a 7 p.m. deadline and only 12 inches in the paper. That’s about 400 words. I arrived at 5 p.m. and crawled off into a semi-quiet place at 6:30 p.m. to write. I returned to the event at 7:15 p.m. and stayed until 10 p.m. I covered 16th St. to West Grand along Telegraph and Broadway twice throughout the evening. I didn’t impose the deadline and didn’t like it any better than anyone else because of course the best stuff happened later. Talk to the publisher.
    No. 2 There were hundreds of people around at the start. What if I had written projected to what it would be like at 9 p.m. and people didn’t actually turn out of the event? Hmmm.
    No. 3 The photo is not from the Tribune if you would look at what I wrote you would see someone donated it. That’s what the streets look like.
    No. 4 The Chron just had another round of layoffs, including Christopher Heredia. Where was Chip Johnson, you might ask, since he lives here and is supposed to report about Oakland.
    In any case, next time you like or don’t like something about my coverage, e-mail me to check your facts. The domain is at the end of every story.

  46. Patrick

    If the story had a deadline prior to the end of the event, why not state that in the story? Even worse, the story is crafted specifically to make it appear as if it were written AFTER the event concluded: “The street fest, which ran officially from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., slowly heated up as the night wore on.” Hmmm…sounds like conjecture to me.

    It is one thing to have a deadline to meet; it is quite another to promulgate half-truths and then suggest that shoddy reporting is acceptable because of a deadline. At the very least, the article could have been updated the next day.

    This is the reason that V’s blog attracts such attention, while the Oakland Tribune struggles. Readers know the difference between fact and fiction. And when you begin purveying fiction as news, you become irrelevant.

  47. navigator


    I think Angela does a good job reporting on positive cultural events going on in Oakland. I’m sure Angela is as frustrated as anyone else with the limitations of Oakland’s “hometown” paper and the industry in general.

    The truth is that Oakland basically has no local paper or any significant mainstream media. The Oakland Tribune is a shell and is split up into many different papers which are tailored specifically for the targeted areas and communities. Oakland issues are often taken out of sister papers like the Contra Costa Times, the Tri-Valley Herald, etc. Oakland has very limited reach to the outlying suburbs precisely because of this. By contrast, the San Francisco Chronicle projects San Francisco issues and San Francisco cultural events to the entire Bay Area and Northern California.

    Also, Angela asks a good question. Where was Chip Johnson on this? Chip is always ready to throw out the fear card with irrelevant crime rankings and sensational crime stories. Unfortunately, when something positive happens in Oakland, Chip skips out for a smoke. If it doesn’t involve fear mongering about Oakland, Chip isn’t interested.

  48. Dave C.

    Sheesh, no good deed goes unpunished. Given the Tribune a break, seriously. This was a little feature story about a street fair, not a big investigative piece on political corruption or a major breaking news story. They make an effort to get something into Friday’s paper, despite an awkward deadline, and they give it incredibly prominent, positive play with two, count ‘em two, front page photos, and instead of commending them for it, we accuse them of journalistic malpractice for failing to update the crowd number over the course of the evening.

    If anything, I think the Trib’s coverage of Uptown Unveiled in the past several weeks has erred on the side of too much boosterism, not too little. A lot of papers might have just stuck a photo somewhere inside the paper and called it a day with no article at all. I say kudos to Woodall and to whatever editor decided to dedicate half of their front page to the event…

    As Navigator says, the Trib is something of a shell, and it’s frankly a pretty sad excuse for a newspaper sometimes, but of all the things to bash them for, their coverage of this street fair is near the bottom of my list.

  49. Ralph

    Since Angela visits ABO, I am going to go on the record and say bravo, good coverage. it was posted and online before the event closed and you informed readers that there was still time to head on down to the festivities.

    As for Chip, he is a columnist not a reporter. So I wouldn’t hold him to the same std. The Chron does have a reporter other than Chris who covers Oakland. So why wasn’t he there?

  50. V Smoothe

    I don’t get why people would expect the Chronicle to write an article about a street festival in Oakland in the first place. I don’t recall any articles about the Solano Stroll either. Both are nice events, but I don’t think either really qualifies as regional news.

  51. Patrick

    I appreciate what both of you are saying, but I happen to vehemently disagree with you both. The fact that this story was written, by her own admission, at 6:39 pm could have EASILY been worked into the story. But, no. Instead, the story leads anyone who read it, but did not attend the event, to believe that there were only 100′s of people there (which the story STILL states), rather than the thousands that actually attended. And I repeat, the story was specifically crafted to appear as if it were written after the event. That goes beyond misleading and into irresponsibilty. It puts every thing written in the Tribune into question.

    Navigator, I’m most surprised at you. For someone who constantly stands up for Oakland on the SFGate boards, how can you give this a pass? Because it’s “our” paper? Can you imagine the comments if this story had appeared in the Chron? I can – “Wow. Oakland’s riots are better attended than their festivals.” Furthermore, this isn’t about Chip Johnson, it’s about truth-in-reporting, newspaper responsibility, Angela Woodall and the Oakland Tribune.

    And Dave C., I realize this is “only a little feature story”. But, since it’s ONLY a little feature story, why not write it from the point-of-view of someone who’s there at 6:39 pm? The planned events were already well-known at that time; only attendance was not. And what if someone had gotten shot? Oops.

    I’d love to see your reactions if VSmoothe put up a post stating that all that information she provided about Oakland vs.Bay Area salaries was simply a fabrication. I guess you would be ok with that because, hey, it’s only a blog. Right?

  52. Steve Carney

    Angela is a great asset to Oakland and her coverage of Oakland’s continued Downtown/Uptown/Temescal arts and entertainment renaissance is very well done and much appreciated. Thank you, Angela.

  53. navigator


    I think the “hundreds” attending should have had a disclaimer as of a certain time of day. I feel it was a mistake. But, I’m not willing to forget the great positive work on cultural events and cultural issues that Angela Woodall does in Oakland. Angela does a great job. She’s the only positive voice in the Bay Area media regarding Oakland. Unbelievably she’s been criticized on this forum in the past for “boosterism,” while Chip Johnson’s constant fear mongering is considered positive and constructive.

    V, I’m not concerned with the Solano Street fair because Albany is not a major issue for the San Francisco Chronicle. Albany is not used by the Chronicle to sell papers. Albany is not sensationalized. Albany doesn’t press the buttons like “Oakland” does. How about a little balanced reporting? That’s all I’m asking.

  54. Patrick

    *sigh* Obviously I’m the outcast here. It saddens me to see such low standards applied to the media. But based on everyone’s responses, there is obviously a threshold for accuracy and honesty of which I am unaware.

  55. Anglela Wodoall

    Hey, the timing issue actually was a way to reflect what I saw as a growing crowd while dealing with a ridiculously early deadline. I wrote that as the evening went on the crowd grew. It’s what I saw. I could have added, “As of 7p.m…”
    But, really, I think you’re actually just looking for something to pick at. Overall, the story reflected the sentiment that people had that night: they were excited and really pleased the district had come so far from the days when a merchant called the Fox “the largest outdoor urinal in the world.”
    This is such a crazy time for Oakland and newspapers and everyone! But amen on the comment about reporting the crime AND the cultural events etc. Thank goodness for blogs!

  56. Patrick

    Angela, as a personal aside, I also truly enjoy your reporting. You ARE a booster for our city and as an Oakland resident and homeowner, I thank you profusely.

    However, as you stated, you could have added “As of 7 p.m….”. But you did not. I simply think you should have.

  57. Robert

    I find it astounding, and sad, that some folks can take something that is positive such as Angela’s report and turn it into a negative because it wasn’t perfect according to their personal standards. I think that the Uptown event got a significant psoitive write up is a tribute to Angela Wodoall and the Tribune. I was there from 5:30 to about 7, and I would say that Angela’s write up was a pretty generous description of the event and crowd.

    As to why the Chronical did not report on it? I really don’t think that the event organizers did a good job of publicizing it. The only reason I knew of it was this blog. I spoke with several folks at dinner in Oakland the next night, and only one of them, the bartender who lives is West Oakland, even knew about it. Poor outreach to the community. And if they ignored the Chron, a primary regional source of entertainment info, in publicizing the event, why woud the Chron think it was any different than any other street fair in the area, of which there are several every weekend. And those street fairs do not get news reports written about them. Let’s not take the paper to task for something that likely was not their fault.

  58. VivekB

    navigator, I got a question to ask you offline, can you email me? It’s vivek@ the site you go to when you click my name. I don’t want to type it out here as it’ll get picked up by spammers. Thanks.

  59. das88

    To understand the context of ABO discussions, I think it helps to get out and about in the city. Fortunately, we are in the midst of Summer tours and walking season. Several organizations including the Oakland Heritage Alliance, the City of Oakland, the Sierra Club, and the Art Deco Society offer informative and fun filled tours. Some of these are free and others charge $10-$20.

    To make it easier to plan for these tours, I put them all on a public Google Calendar. If you use Google Calendar, it is easy to add to your own. For other calendar programs, there are various feeds:

    iCal: http://www.google.com/calendar/ical/rhsn56go9e22bc1q78392oavas%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

    XML: http://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/rhsn56go9e22bc1q78392oavas%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic

    HTML: http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=rhsn56go9e22bc1q78392oavas%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/Los_Angeles

  60. Sussu

    Mandela Foods Cooperative finally opened this month. Who has been? I am going to get groceries there this week.

    I was surprised to see so little coverage on the blogs.

  61. East Lake Biker

    Mandela Co-op is well worth a visit. It’s on the smallish side compared to the 99 cents store, but they have a decent selection of bulk goods and fresh produce. They were still filling the shelves in the cold case and deli area when I went last week.

    ELB, Yelper

  62. Jennifer

    I’ve been to Mandela co-op. It’s a nice little store — like East Lake Biker said, it has a good bulk selection, produce and meat. I’m wondering why they made the decision to go virtually all organic/natural/sustainable? I don’t remember the background on that. I’m looking forward to when they get the deli in — hopefully that will help them to make money to stay open.

    I wish we had a store like this in Jack London Square.

  63. Max Allstadt

    I’ve been meaning to go check that out. At this point, I don’t really care how late their opening was, if there’s good food a bike ride away over level ground, I’m happy to shop there.

  64. Sussu

    Max . yeah, I think looking on the positive side is the way to go at this point. Organic produce and meat in West Oakland is a good thing and I am happy to support them.

  65. livegreen

    V, Have you ever done an organizational or budget overview (detailed or general) of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, or any of the Project Area Committees (PAC’s), where their funding comes from, and oversight & enforcement? (Like you have for the City Budget or AC Transit).

    I looked under your CEDA and ORA subject headings (under Instituations) but couldn’t find anything. If you have, could you show me where to look? Thanks!

  66. VivekB

    navigator: Odd, i’ve been getting emails the whole time. It’s @rockridgeresidents.org, with the stuff before the @ that I previously stated.

  67. len

    The ballots containing Measure D are going out now, and the most likely voters probably will mail them back quickly. So there is not much time to discuss Measure D.

    To me it comes down to most of our council members being more concerned about facing screaming groups of kids bussed in by Kids First, than they are about providing core services to all residents.

    Instead of repealing OO entirely, the council agreed to Kids First greenmail of $11.4 Mill for the next twelve years. Almost half of the oversight board controlling that money will be under 21 year old kids. Most of the funding will go to organizations according to Russo’s summary. I would assume that most of those organizations are non profits because this money is not supposed to take away from existing government kids programming.

    There is an argument on the opd yahoo site from one of the signers of Measure D “pro” that if one opposes D, one should vote for it now and then work to repeal it later.

    Politically that might be feasible say six months to a year from now if we face bankruptcy or laying off 140 cops. But voter ballot fatigue and cynicism, makes that unlikely anytime sooner if voters are pursuaded by Kids First how the main defect of OO was cured by D. That wouldn’t be hard for them to do, considering how easily they convinced voters to pass OO.

    Defeat D now. Send out another ballot in three months later will cost say three months of Measure OO at 1.3 Mill/month and spending another 1.5
    Million (inflated printing costs) on a mail in ballot would be $5.4 Mill. (in
    comparison, next three months of Measure D will cost .9Mill/per month, 2.7Mill.)

    Spending $5.4 Million would be worth it to save the $11.5 which Measure D will
    cost us every year for the next twelve years.

    -len raphael

  68. livegreen

    Question: If measure D gets defeated does the original measure OO with the higher costs stay in place?

  69. R. Kaplan

    Answer: Yes, if Measure D gets defeated, the original Measure OO, with the higher costs, stays in place. This means even worse cuts to basic services.

    This is why I am voting Yes on Measure D, and ask you to vote for it too!
    Also, there is another part of Measure D which is especially important to pass now. If we don’t amend “OO” then we will be faced with its requirement that we give a percentage of “all funds” the City receives (including new grants) to the Kids First programs. Measure D corrects this problem by changing the percentage to “general fund” instead of “all funds.” We are right now seeking a large number of new Federal grants, and we expect to start receiving funds by Aug/Sept of this year. So, if we don’t amend “OO” now, then each time we receive a new grant, we would be required to give away a percentage of that new grant. However, that would be illegal (not an allowed use of the grant funds) — so instead what would happen is each time we got a new grant, Oakland would have to make cuts to some other public service, in order to give away the equivalent required percentage funds from the grant.

    This is why we can’t wait until the 2010 election to fix it — the Federal grants will arrive this year, and we need the amendment now (in Measure D) to avoid this additional loss of funds.

    Thanks much and best wishes,
    -Rebecca Kaplan

  70. len raphael

    LG, OO remains in force is how I (quickly) read the ballot material. It looked like KK that expired on July 1 2009. But the supersized $$$ part of OO doesn’t kick in this fiscal year.

    if we push our council to sponnsor the repeal of OO, say September 09, what happens with monies approved but unspent? Probably more Oakland legal fees and out of court settlement.

    Still worth doing to save 12 years of providing social services when our core services are put in starvation mode.

    -len raphael

  71. das88

    On the Yes4Oakland website, this seems to be a continuing trend of websites about believing in Oakland and supporting Oakland not using Oakland-based web designers and hosts. According to the Whois record, this site is registered and has contact info for Birdhouse Arts located in El Cerrito.

    Does the whole “Shop Oakland” movement not extend to services?

  72. livegreen

    Len and Rebecca, Since you both answer Yes but disagree, could you give analysis to each other’s statements?

    Len, Isn’t that risky, both for the reasons Rebecca mentioned and because another repeal couldn’t be mounted until the next election cycle or with yet another special election and the costs that entails?

  73. Ralph

    Was there a way to have put both the repeal and this deal with the devil on the ballot? Why didn’t council put the repeal on the ballot instead of the deal with the devil? Council’s polling told them that the repeal would have passed. But if I had to bet council is betting on the general apathy and stupidity of the electorate.

    I truly love the way council phrases Measure D as a savings to Measure OO. Yet, in truth it is a raise to prior year spending. So, while every other service in Oakland takes a cut those meddling kids are getting a raise of $2MM over last year and probably close to $4MM over what they would have under the original Kid’s First campaign.

    I debated not voting on this issue as I don’t agree with the deal and understand the consequences of a no vote. Ultimately, it came down to one vote. If the measure passes by a vote, I’d be upset. Since council lacks the courage to do what is fiscally responsible, I am casting a no vote. I honestly hope the measure fails which will either force severe cuts or council to go back to the people with a fiscally responsible measure. (I am assuming that the one-time cost of another election are a lot cheaper than the on-going cost of Measure D.

    The Measure needs an oversight but the idea that half of the oversight committee is going to be under 21 just bothers me. Do they actually have the mental capacity to determine which programs are effective. Aren’t these are the same braindead children who didn’t realize the consequences of Measure OO.

    Defeat D now.

  74. das88

    @Ralph, I believe the reasoning for most of Council not to put both on the ballot is that they did not want to complicate the issue or have organized opposition. They were afraid of losing all the measures on the ballot if they got up the ire of groups receiving these monies.

  75. Ralph

    @das88, ah, clearly the no camp is a loose confederation of states. the kids first people are definitely organized, would the no camp been able to mount a rally against and force debate, who knows? but that would seem to be more inline with the democratic process than forcing a bad compromise down the electorate.

    i am looking forward to see how many fewer voters go yes on the compromise.

  76. Patrick

    I’ll vote yes on D – as long as I get a promise from a council member that they will work tirelessly to put full repeal of OO on the next ballot. Yeah, and I want it in writing.

  77. VivekB

    I understand and respect what Rebecca is saying (I better, I donated $$ and lawnspace to her campaign:) ), but I believe Measure D is a copout. Len is dead-on, we need to let the burning fires of Measure OO consume us so folks realize that even Measure D which just burns us 90% is still a bad idea.

    Too bad we’re organizing this late, we need to build up an organization that gets ahead of these things, and reviews them in time to have them placed on the official ballot. Anyone know when the ballots are in people’s hands, and get mailed back? We could whip up a few anti-D lawn signs right quick that folks could order themselves (ie, cafepress.com micro-site).

    (Len – i’m still in favor of creating a RAT-PAC, the rockridge&temescal political action committee. That name is just too cool :) )

  78. Naomi Schiff

    I’m voting yes on all the measures, and I hope you will too.

    Measure OO is structured, as Rebecca says above, such that it would put us in very sad shape, and a repeal effort is no guaranteed thing. An element unmentioned above is that the Alameda County Labor Council are willing to support D but I believe they were unwilling to sign on to total repeal. That would have made a repeal campaign very difficult. Like it or not, unions have a certain amount of sway, and this will be a low-”turnout” (mail-out?) election. It would be easy to market repeal as “voting against incredibly cute children.”

    I agree that the whole issue should be revisited, but we cannot take the risk of waiting. Vote YES ON ALL THE CITY MEASURES! It is not the end of the story, nor the end of the budget woes. But it will help us to keep some of our city services from being decimated even more than currently planned. PLEASE VOTE YES, AND SEND IT IN EARLY.

  79. Charles Pine

    What slavish excuses from Kaplan, Quan and others for accepting the Measure D giveaway to a handful of poverty pimps.

    We’ve seen a lot of emergency rule changes in this time of financial crisis. A City Hall committed to stopping the money grab by Kakishiba and his cohort of self-appointed privilege could easily do it.

    Remember, the city council still maintains the Landscape and Lighting Assessment increase passed, despite all the exposure of vote rigging. It is pure hypocrisy for a councilmember to whine there is nothing to be done to get rid of Measure OO.


  80. livegreen

    I have to agree with Rebecca and Naomi on this one. While I agree that Measure OO is the wrong measure at the wrong time for the financial reasons you all have said, the net result of voting against Measure D is supporting OO.

    Importantly there’s no proof that putting a full repeal of OO would actually pass. After all these warnings were there before and it still passed.

  81. Ralph

    VivekB, the ballots are in people’s hands now. I feel you on cafepress; I have an anti Measure D website but don’t publicize it. Council is pretty much banking on the fact that the smart people that they know that they screwed over won’t cut off their nose to spite their face. I certainly hope council has something special in mind for the citizens that they are screwing over. Maybe a special old movie and dance for the seniors that will lose services. Maybe special library hours for soon to be unemployed to perform unlimited computer job searches. Maybe an apology to the rest of us.

    In a completely unrelated note, I just saw the State Farm commercial post MJ passing – it feels different.

  82. len

    LG, no disagreement about the short term costs of defeating D. Where I clearly differ w RK is that she assumes that we could not afford the 1.5Mill cost of another mail-in special election, so she assumes we would keep paying 11.4/mill per year price of OO till the regular election cycle in 2010 to repeal.

    It seems like the council put this election together rather in just a few months. Why would a repeal ballot have to wait till 2010?

    What isn’t clear is whether RK agrees with me that OO should be repealed. She never came out with a position on OO when she was running for office. She did not vote with DLF and DB this time to repeal OO.

    Her point that one big flaw of OO is fixed by D is correct, but that flaw was well known before the OO election last November. Repealing OO, instead of a patching it the way RK and the other council supporters propose via D, would have cured that defect by killing the OO parasite completely.

    I hope RK and the other council members can explain why they think Measure D expenditures will have sufficient oversight of their over $136 Million = 12 years x 11.4Mill/year. That lack of performance based independent oversight is another huge flaw in D that should give pause even to people who think making grants to kid oriented non profits is a core city service.

    The Measure schedules the review 12 years from now. It won’t be this city council’s problem.

    -len raphael

  83. len

    LG, of course there is a risk of failing to defeat D.

    But the high cost of DD is a certainty, while its delivery of effective services is also highly likely based on its oversight being performed by its own clients.

    Opposing D is not some purist tilting at windmills. It is a bad law, proposed for bad reasons, by some of the same insider groups that have run Oakland into the ground over the past 20 years.

    RK, did the council pay for a poll of likely voters reaction to repealing OO ? Are you aware of the results of one prepared by any other organization?

    LG, i wouldn’t call the Nov 2008 passage of OO by a small majority, proof of its invincibility. That election occurred before most residents understood the impact and size of the city’s deficits. (yeah, i know, they still don’t get it, but they will this summer when the garbage in the parks piles up and the pools are closed etc.)

    The city council put more effort into supporting D than they did to defeat OO. Basically they put 0 effort into defeating OO.

    So I’d agree with you LG and RK that if the city council won’t energetically work to repeal OO it will be hard to repeal. But it’s worth doing without them.

    -len raphael

  84. len

    if you agree that D should be defeated and that the council should start the repeal of OO, send an email to every Oakland voter you know to explain why it should repealed. There is maybe a 2 day window to reach likely voters.

    -len raphael

  85. len

    Ralph, how about posting your No on D website url? I promise i won’t criticize it’s graphics or it’s contents.


  86. livegreen

    Re. Perata, I was going to ask if anyone knew what he stands for. Then I saw V’s link to his website and yeah, she’s right, it’s truly awful.

    Based on it, the excerpt that best answers my quest, and might emerge as his slogan:

    “No one is sure who or what to believe.”

    Say what? I can’t even believe they wrote this…

  87. Naomi Schiff

    Hey folks, please. Our sometimes hapless city council has been doing better with the budget than you might expect. Please vote YES on all 4 measures for Oakland. Then let’s have a calm discussion about how to proceed. I do believe that OO was wrongheaded and does not get us what we need for our kids; a dysfunctional city isn’t going to serve young people adequately, no matter how well-funded a few nonprofits are. So agreed, we should solve the problem. But a no vote now can cause some fairly irrevocable damage in the meantime. Why go there? The “schoolmarm” approach of punishing some governing body does not seem useful. Creating a disaster so you will force a solution? That very rarely works. It reminds me (okay, I’m ancient) of the old 1968 idea to vote for Nixon so as to hasten the grand revolution.

  88. Patrick

    A “calm discussion”? You mean like the potential hoodlums who threatened mayhem upon our city if we didn’t accept Measure D?

    Naomi, I must disagree. Measure D is being presented by the Council as a SOLUTION – which it is not.

  89. Ralph

    Len, the spot essentially contains the same stuff I have written here wither fewer references to nimrods, braindeads, and idiots. It is more like a comment on a blog entry than a laid argument.

    re: email No on Measure D – good idea. grassroots.

  90. len

    NS, what irrevocable harm would be caused by paying OO’s ransom for say 4 months until a special election mail ballot was counted? Oakland has wasted hecka more than 3.8Mill (11.4/year for 4 months) on dumb programs and the sky hasn’t fallen? And if the people who say vote yes on D now, and later we’ll work to repeal or change it at the ballot box, then you can’t count the 1.5Mill cost of another special election as a consideration.

    Nope, I’m not working to repeal D and OO because I think it will “raise the contradictions in the system” or punish council members.

    Fix this small portion of the system now so we’re not drained by this for the next twelve years. Very doable, just takes enough residents who say enough is enough of our mediocre muni government.

    -len raphael

  91. Ralph

    I believe RK’s words when answering one of those meddling kids was Measure OO was irresponsible and this is not the change Obama sought. Above all else he required that we be responsible and accountable. I am having a hard time seeing where the proposed alternative is reponsible. And our politicians must be held accountable. Poor decisions have consequences.

    len, if it does pass maybe you and I can open our own after school program and get on the dole

  92. Naomi Schiff

    I don’t believe that voting yes on D precludes getting OO repealed. In fact, if the city budget takes further whacks (it will, as the state continues its slide. . .) it may become more politically viable to get a repeal passed. In this town it is hard to go up against those pix of cute kids, even when said kids’ images are being used to do unwise things.

  93. len

    Ralph, lets do it. (either that or open up a veggie dog stand at the old Kaspers).

    I love and treasure kids. Greatly enjoyed the one year part time job teaching preschool.

    Naomi, the Kids First people were much more politically astute than the council members and the electorate. They overplayed their hand with OO, or rather reached too deeply into our pockets with their hands.

    Whatever the motivations of KF and our council members, the effect of proposing D was to co-opt (remember that from the sixties?) the opposition to OO by the very vocal library and park supporters, and by the council members who originally opposed OO. If D passes, those activists will stay on the sidelines, and the council members won’t volunteer to put repeal of D on the ballot unless we’re in really dire financial straits. So opponents of D would have to go thru the whole petition process to get on the ballot.

    If we defeat D now, all of those groups and the council will be highly motivated to repeal OO very very quickly.

    -len raphael

  94. Robert

    len and others,

    Although I don’t agree with your risk assessment about passage of D, I have more concerns your implied risk management (or lack thereof) in opposing D. To simplify, you believe that if D is rejected, it will be easier to get OO repealed than if D passes. And I would agree with you that far. But you also appear to be convinced that if D is rejected, repeal of OO is a sure thing. And I don’t think that repeal of OO can be guaranteed even if D is rejected, due to what will certainly be organized opposition form the Kids First group. And that is all part of the risk assessment, and there is nothing wrong with us disagreeing about it. But, since neither of us is a politician, I am inclined to give some weight to a politician like RK to make a judgment about likely outcomes of the political process.

    But the risk management you propose is where I have concerns. You appear to only be considering the outcome where you are right in your risk assessment in determining the harm (or benefit) to the city. Thus if D is rejected and OO is later repealed, then you are correct that 4 months extra payments is a small price to pay. But the possible alternative is that D is rejected, and then OO is not repealed, which has a long term harm to the city far in excess of the damage of D passing. So unless you are 100% confident that a repeal f OO would sail through, you need to weigh the risk of it failing against the benefit. Think of it as insurance. We pay a relatively small cost (the measure D commitment) to insure against the large risk of failure to repeal OO.

    I support D, not because it is a perfect solution, but because the risks inherent in rejecting it seem too large. There is an additional factor for me. Regardless of whether OO is fully repealed, the Oakland budget will still face major structural problems, partly due to personnel costs but partly also all the ballot box budgeting over the years (Measure Y, OO, LLAD, libraries, etc.). To me the best way to deal with this is a major charter amendment to strip out all the voter prescribed budgeting, and let the city administration and council prioritize spending, as they were elected to do. OO is only part of the problem with the budget, and I would rather that we focus energy on more long range solutions.

  95. len raphael

    The council members who support D have different weighing factors than voter should have. they have their alliances, free campaign labor, endorsements, negative city council photo ops which they have to weigh against short memory of an apathetic electorate in a town with minimal media coverage of local muni finance.

    OO didn’t win by a landslide in an extremely high turnout. It occurred in a atmosphere where most local voters had not yet been smacked by the economic crash.

    Repealing OO would by a mail in campaign. Most voters would probably just throw them out. This time, we put 0 effort swaying the council members. All the effort came from Kids First. Next time will be different if D fails now, because the council members will be very highly motivated to come up with either a full repeal or at least a further cutback combined with full annual performance auditing of the expenditures. Just getting that would be a major step forward for Oakland govt.


  96. len raphael

    Robert, if we defeat D, to neutralize Kids First we would need the pro library people people plus a majority of the council members. those library supporters are tenacious.


  97. len raphael

    Passage of OO occurred in the Obamba pre election eurphoria where voters thought all they had to was wish for something like more money for kids and the funding would come. Obamba and their own loss of jobs and homes has brought local voters back to earth.