180 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. ralph

    Do you know where I find old photos and history of the former I Magnin Building?


  2. Naomi Schiff

    I would start with the Oakland History Room of the Main Library. But also, there are several books on Art Deco that may include pix of the store. You might also see if the Art Deco Society would be useful: http://www.artdecosociety.org/index.htm

    Also: http://www.tileheritage.org

    Are you looking for architectural history or cultural history, or building permit kind of stuff? The architects were prominent: Weeks & Day

    If those sources don’t pan out, the City of Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey will have info. bmarvin@oaklandnet.com

  3. annalee allen

    May I suggest joining one of the free downtown walking tours, http://www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours. The I. Magnins Building is one of the highlights on the Uptown to the Lake Tour. These tours are continuing through the summer. We’re fortunate to have a great group of volunteer guides who lead these tours.

  4. len raphael

    Got a call from Oakland Rising last night. An “opinion survey on Oakland budget”. Since the caller asked for my son, i didn’t participate.

    Sounds like they’re using the tried and true “we’re taking a survey” to educate voters as to their point of view. Anyone go thru the phone interview?

    -len raphael, temescal

  5. Ken L.

    Oakland Rising called our household as well last week. It was 8 pm and I was reading to my 6-yr. old son, so I hung up on them!

  6. Ravi

    “Potential methods of dealing with crime in Oakland, South African style.”

    Nice. As I understand it, during the Third Reich, there wasn’t much crime either. Except for the crimes of the state.

  7. Dax

    Interesting information about council member De La Fuente.
    Seems his income will be approximately $191,959 for 2011, possibly greater.

    I thought council membership was perceived as a fairly full time position.
    I’ve always known he had some duties with his VP union position.
    Now we see he is also working for Don Perata.

    From Perata’s “Hope 2010 Cancer Cure” operation he got $12,500 so far in the first three months of this year.
    From the union position he gets $107,198.
    From the city council he gets about $72,241

    Total, almost $192,000

    I guess the council isn’t that “full-time”.


  8. len raphael

    Dax, you must be the only knowledgeable resident who thought that about the CC position.

    Their compensation sb increased to something in the low 100′s to attract people and get 150% of their attention, who are not retired, independently well off, or mediocre. I’d assume some of the existing members do put in 37.5 hour work weeks, counting hearings etc.

    Until we pay a lot more than we are, i don’t begrudge any of them their other occupations.

  9. Dax

    Len, sorry, but $72,000, plus some $500 per month auto allowance, plus full health care, dental care, and vision, as well as pension.
    Or to put it another way, about 15% more than the average California teacher makes.
    About 33% more than the average Oakland teacher makes.

    It may not be that high, but its hardly chump change. BTW, its not meant to be a career. Four years, eight years, move on.

    Look around
    Hayward City Council, $25,000
    Berkeley City Council, $29,000
    San Leandro City Council $18,000
    Add all three up, to equal just one Oakland council member’s salary.

    Think about performance. Do you really think a given Oakland City Council member is doing more than all three of those council members.
    Look at Oakland and the way the council has run its finances the past 10 years.
    I don’t seem to find a relationship between pay and performance. Pay and judgement.
    Pay and professionalism.

  10. ralph

    Read 8 hours between June 18 and Aug 13 and win a prize at the Oakland Public Library. 4 hours a month, 1 hour a week and 8 minutes a day. Clearly, Oakland is not the city that reads.

  11. len raphael


    At least for the next two years we have ourselves a young old school journalist, Evan Wagstaff, who amazingly cross checks the stories that politicians tells him with primary sources.

    He caught our Mayor in a flat out lie about her meeting during the City Council session with the two gang members.

    “The same night the Council was considering financing for the injunctions, Michael Siegel — Dan Siegel’s son and an associate lawyer at Siegel & Yee — joined two men identified by the police as gang members, Ruben Leal and Michael Muscadine, for a meeting in Quan’s office.

    Leal’s record includes a pending case on a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon, and on July 12, 2009, the police found him covered in blood at the scene of a stabbing, according to Douglass Keely, a gang expert at the Oakland Police Department. Muscadine’s record includes convictions for accessory to felony robbery and possession of a firearm for sale and two convictions for misdemeanor vandalism. Both men admitted belonging to the Norteños, according to the police.

    Quan told reporters that her husband, Floyd Huen, had taken Leal and Muscadine to her office because he was moved by their testimony before the Council. The two men told Council members that they had turned their lives around and been unfairly singled out by the injunction.

    “At the time they came in, I actually did not know that one or both of them were in the injunction,” Quan said. “I didn’t have any idea who was or not.” She said she learned only after she asked them about their history.

    In interviews, Leal and Muscadine recalled the meeting differently.

    According to Muscadine, the mayor spoke primarily to Michael Siegel and asked him which gang injunction the men were named in.

    Leal said the mayor took no position during the meeting.

    “She was good at staying neutral and staying in the middle,” he said. “I think she should take a stand, but I think she’s trying to please everybody.”

    Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/12D3G)”

    I’ve lived in Oakland so long that i’ve lowered my standards for journalism to somewhere below the belt. The few good media reporters around here are endangered species. Enjoy the new kid until he leaves the farm team for an internship at the nyt mother ship.

    Meanwhile our Mayor has earned the coveted Weiner Prize.

    -len raphael, temescal

  12. Livegreen

    Len, The shame is a Tribune reporter was right there and never broke the story. And will Don Link ever criticize the mayor when she undercuts the policies both he and the Police Chief support, or support her regardless?

  13. Max Allstadt

    I had multiple conversations with Mr. Wagstaff on that story.

    LG, were you there when Floyd Huen left the Mayor’s office, entered council chambers, and emerged with Siegel and the two young men? I was. So was Sean Maher of the Trib and Matthai Kurivila of the Chron.

    I tweeted what I saw at the time: http://twitter.com/MaxAllstadt/status/70722777518309376

    Wagstaff wasn’t actually there when it happened. He called me about the tweet several times in the past three weeks, and it was clear to me he was cross checking everything thoroughly for a bigger story.

    I don’t think it’s fair to call him an old-school journalist. He did his fact-checking in a time honored way, but it’s aslo clear he’s reading #oakmtg hashtagged twitter posts, which is rather new-school. Best of the old, best of the new. Somebody get this kid an award.

  14. livegreen

    Yes, thanks Max. Changing topics, the Tribune interview with Barbara Lee is so shallow, so superficially political and repetitive of current event headlines, so lack of depth on any topic, it makes one wonder why they even bother?

    Will we ever get around to discussing meaningful solutions with our political leadership? Or have the media outlets and politicians become a political gossip circuit that swaps one party for another endlessly and without purpose?

    I’m glad I read this online without having to pay for a subscription.


  15. livegreen

    Max, Back to the Mayor mtg with the Gang members and Michael Siegel, any thoughts as to whether this might violate the “firewall” the judge accepted? I guess they might say a meeting does not = legal actions…

    From Oakland North:

    “Russo had previously clashed with several city officials over whether the Siegel and Yee law firm should be allowed to represent injunction defendants. Russo argued it presented a conflict of interest because the firm employs District 1 Councilmember Jane Brunner and because attorney Dan Siegel is an unpaid advisor to Mayor Jean Quan. In February, a county judge ruled that the firm could do so, saying that Brunner would recuse herself from injunction-related decisions and that the firm had created a “firewall” between its legal work and the city’s actions.”


  16. Dax

    Shades of SF Muni at Oakland Finance Committee meeting.

    “No justice, no peace,” the crowd chanted as it stormed into the room. “We all vote!”

    Where the only ones completely out of the loop are the residents of Oakland who aren’t city employees.

    For them, all we hear are about the only specifics ever discussed, a 5 year, $80 parcel tax.


    Isn’t that article a classic for Oakland city government?
    Just when do you suppose the public will be told about what is being proposed by the various sides?

    The ONLY clear points I seen are a $80 parcel tax and “perhaps” the police paying their 9% pension contribution.

    OK, SEIU Local 1021, IFPTE Local 21 and IBEW Local 1245, tell us what you are offering. Let the public know how far you’re willing to go in order to save jobs and programs.
    5% lower total comp, 10% lower total comp, 15% lower total comp?
    Changes in the pension? Work a 40 hour week?

    All we hear is shouting such as the absurd
    “No justice, no peace, We all vote!”
    What does that even mean? Sure you vote, perhaps as many as 2,000 of your 3,400 members. Guess what, the city has 200,000 eligible voters.
    Should the other 99% of voters stomp around town shouting “No justice, no peace, We vote” and disrupt meetings?

    When will the Tribune give us the 5 main points each side is offering?
    Something with some tangible meaning instead of angry groups chanting slogans.
    Is this 2011 or 1971?

  17. livegreen

    Here’s where ONLY social programs, no enforcement (police), lead to. When even the supposedly positive programs are helping peace by staging a gun battle.

    “Lapse in Judgement” for sure.

    Drummond: Staged gunfight a lapse in judgment

    “police deserve to be commended for exercising calm and restraint”. Exactly. Something we rarely get coverage about. Only the exceptional lapses get reported (another point about “journalism” today).

  18. len raphael

    My annual request for residents to stage a demonstration on City Hall steps before the next City Council budget meeting. Sb easy to come up 5 budget related demands.

    Contact me if willing to meet a couple of times before and on the steps.

    Ideally we’d get Russo’s magic 50 number, but I’d settle for 5 participants.

    email cpas@cparaa.com

    -len raphael

  19. MarleenLee

    Appropros public art, having little or nothing to do with Oakland, except that it is on the way to Oakland from San Francisco – stop off on Treasure Island and visit Bliss, the temporary art installation on Avenue of Palms, previously at Burning Man. Daytime or night, she is impressive!

  20. livegreen

    The News from Elsewhere feed looks like Deja Vue…All over again. Kind of funny actually looking at that blast from the past.

    Maybe we should do it on the budget? (More like never ending…)

  21. V Smoothe Post author

    It happened again? I noticed it the other day, and thought I fixed it. It seems to be working again now, hopefully it will not be an ongoing problem. It was kind of interesting looking at all the old stories.

  22. len raphael

    The Chiodo Creature Has Escaped!

    I took an older buddy to see the CC (aka Oakland’s Mt Rushmore) today but all we found was an empty site with some strange footprints leading away.

    Even though my friend born and lived in Oakland entire life, hasn’t been to DTO in many years.

    I wanted to take him to one of the new foodie places but couldn’t find one open for lunch on a Saturday except for Dougie’s.
    (suppose i could have go to the Lake Chalet, but the thought of how much money the City sunk into that place would ruin my appetite for an expensive hamburger)

    Ended up at Ratto’s which is kinda depressing albeit their sandwichs are better than Genova’s.

    Any suggestions for Sat or Sun lunch outside of Chinatown?

    -len raphael

  23. V Smoothe Post author

    Downtown lunch on a Saturday? Off the top of my head, there’s Plum, Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, Prospect Park, Tamarindo, Farley’s, Xolo, Breads of India, the Terrace Room, and Brown Couch Cafe.

  24. Navigator


    Lake Chalet is a great spot and shows off Oakland’s beauty. I’d recommend sitting on the dock on a nice sunny day. All the other restaurants V mentioned are also wonderful. I was downtown on Friday and was amazed at how vibrant all the neighborhoods were during lunch hour. Old Oakland was hoping with the farmer’s market. City Center and Frank Ogawa Plaza were filled with people and the sound of music. Uptown had people sitting outside at Xolo’s along with people at Rudi’s while the sidewalks were filled with people. Chinatown looked like a scene from a neighborhood in Manhattan with dozens of people crossing those staggered and colorful intersections. Lake Meritt was sparkling with its paths filled with walkers and joggers. All in all it was a great screne on a gorgeous day in what is fast becoming a jewel of a downtown.

    It it weren’t for the slanted SF reporting, downtown Oakland would be filled with even more people and corporarations like Pandora. As an example of the bised crime reporting the SF Chronicle is downplaying the shooting of five people on Market Street in downtown SF in an arera were Twitter is relocating to. The Chronicle says that “three out of town people” were shot. Isn’t strange that even though one of the wouded innocent bystanders in from Emgland and another from Florida, the word “tourist” is not used in the article.

    Also, the Chronicle and other SF media have been going out of their way to explain that ” this had nothing to do with the upcoming Gay Pride celebrations.” This of course is accurrate, but if this happened in Oakland during a major festival or event, we know that no apologies for Oakland would have been offered. Instead we’d have a column form Chip Johnson on how “dangerous” Oakland is. As I’ve been telling J it’s about perception and image and Oakland has no control over both.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/26/MN9T1K2SG1.DTL

  25. zac

    OK folks–here it is. It’s time to let you all in on the contract that Local 55 (fire) has negotiated with the city. Ready? Go!

    As you know (hopefully) Local 55 is already paying 13% of our salary towards PERS. This is far over and above any other bargaining unit in the city. And we’ve been doing it for years, saving the city lots of money. We also reduced the amount the city paid for our medical coverage two years ago. Next, two years ago we agreed to work four hours per week for free. We’re still doing that. This was effectively a 7% cut in pay. I’ve heard a lot of people say that that isn’t a cut to work four hours per week for free. But imagine if you are a 40-hour per week employee and your boss told you that you had to come to work every other Saturday, all day long. For free. It would probably feel like a cut.

    Anyhow, that’s what we did before. Here’s what we’re proposing now:

    Three year contract
    8.85% pay cut
    Give up 2 Vacation days per year
    Freeze the city’s contribution to our dental plan
    New hires go to 3% at 55 for pension

    An 8.85% cut plus a loss of two vacation days is equivalent to 10% of our total compensation, or 9.57 million dollars. Two vacation days might not seem like a lot, but we work 24-hour days. Most folks in the dept get either 7 or 9 days, so a loss of two days is a significant chunk.

    So there you have it (for the first part at least; there’s more). Ten percent. Boom. In the form of a 9-ish percent cut and two vacation days. This is on top of the 13% contribution to PERS and all that other stuff. It saves the city 30 million over the life of the contract, and the change in retirement calculation saves millions more down the road.

    But wait, there’s more…In the second year of the contract we give the city the option of browning out two companies. The city is quite eager to close/brownout firehouses. We insisted that each neighborhood share the pain. So to that end the brownouts will roll through the entire city. We have 32 rigs and 2 will brown out each day, beginning July 2012. Essentially, each company will be closed one sixteenth of the time. This saves the city 4.4 million dollars per year.

    So there you have it. A 10% cut directly out of the firefighter’s pocket. Ten million bucks a year. And two years of brownouts. It’s not anybody’s dream, but it’s a solid concession and we’re proud to do our part to help the city through this rough patch. I also feel compelled to point out that this concession far exceeds what any of the council members asked us for in their budgets. Going off of V Smoothe’s analysis, IDLF wanted 3.7 million from us; the Kaplan team wanted 12 million from ALL UNIONS COMBINED; and the Reid group didn’t really seem to be asking for any concessions at all. At any rate, we tripled the concessions that IDLF asked us for, and his seemed to be the most concessions-based budget.

    Bottom line is that it’s a solid deal in a shaky time. We hope all of the other bargaining units will make similar concessions so that we can get this city moving again. It’s a pleasure working for/with all you fellow Oaklanders and I hope you feel OK about this deal.

    And now: fire away! I’ll take your questions.

  26. Dax

    Do you ever wonder what percentage of the Oakland City Council’s, and the Oakland mayor’s time is spent focused on the salary, benefits, and continued employment of Oakland’s city employees…


    How much of their time is spent focused on making sure the conditions are optimal for the retention and creation of jobs for the other 97% of the city’s residents.

    It would seem that they value the city’s public employees and their economic prospects far more than the rest of the population’s job environment.

    Or is there someone here who views Oakland as a “job friendly” city?

    To borrow a phrase from a recent Dan Walters column (in the Sac Bee)

    “If California (Oakland) cannot attract job-creating investment and begin to recover, we’ll just be fighting over scraps of a shrinking pie.”

  27. BarryK

    The last speaker at the Council meeting tonight, was that David Mix (sp?). I’ve heard him before. He brought up the issue that the City Council received 1/2 their pay from the General Fund and 1/2 their pay from the Redev Agency. He theorized that with the ReDevAg cut, they would have to lose 1/2 their salaries (about $36K). He also suggested this was a reason they would fight the State (and Jerry, as Quan calls him) over the cuts; to their salaries first. Comments please!

  28. ZeroTech

    I have one question. Why did the council take the extreme solution with the libraries? Why did it have to be all or none? Was closing NO libraries a concession to the unions?

    It seems that closing one or two libraries could have brought us up to more than the projected 568 cops (under one scenario) after a couple of years. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have concocted a mix – reduce library funding just a TAD, keep a few more cops. Why all one or the other. Betting it was part of the union negotiations, because otherwise it makes no sense. (Wait a minute. This is Oakland. Of COURSE it makes no sense…)

    I also found De la Fuente (or as Reid persists in calling him after how many years? “De la Fuentes”)’s attitude about cop manpower guarantees incredibly dumb. “We don’t guarantee no layoffs to city workers, so cops should be treated the same. Equal treatment.” bla bla. He seems the one council member with no clue that a guaranteed number of cops is for the benefit of RESIDENTS. Really surprising, given his former pro-law enforcement stance.

  29. BarryK

    I’ll see your “Fuentes” and raise you by one “Gopher” as in Tuesday night with “Fuentes” questioning the Master Fee Schedule and the golf fees stating “I’m not a gopher..”

    Now, how do we cut Council salaries?

  30. len raphael

    Dax, a client of mine recently moved his large small business high tech company to Oakland. Even bought a building here.

    Wouldn’t you think he’d have gotten at least a form letter welcoming him to Oakland and offering assistance with getting permits etc.


    The advice he got from existing Oakland businesses was that the feeling is mutual: stay away from Oakland city government because all it wants to do is figure ways to extract fines, penalties, and registration fees out of you.

    Ask not what Oakland can do for it residents or it will notice you.

  31. Naomi Schiff

    Zero, under the terms of Measure Q, if you cut the libraries’ support from the general fund below a certain threshold (and they are very close to that threshold now), they’d have to give up all the Measure Q parcel tax funds
    . So a small cut could trigger a huge closure, and there weren’t choices that fell in between. V explained this in some detail in a post about library and budget.

  32. Daniel Schulman

    Len, I think it is great that your client decided to relocate to Oakland. I would like to extend my appreciation and best wishes for success.

    I think your idea of form letter to businesses is a good one. In fact, I think the city should include a one-pager with the business license renewal every year detailing services available to businesses and important contact numbers.

    We should also have a mechanism where City Councils members get informed about new businesses in their districts. That way, they can personally welcome them.

    I do think your characterization as the City only being out fines, etc. is a bit of a broad brush. The city is not an actor per se, but it is composed of various staff people. While I have had my own run-ins with obstructionist individuals, I have also seen staff members go to great lengths to help businesses meet design requirements and qualify for tax credits.

  33. ZeroTech

    Len, Great idea about the letter. But they’re going to need someone to purge the grammatical errors like the ones that are all over the CEDA blight notices…Had dinner with a real estate agent friend last night. He had some choice words for CEDA building and inspection services compared to the other local cities he deals with. He’s in and out in a couple of minutes to do “x” in Pleasanton. In Oakland, he waits 20 minutes just watching the clerks chew their gum, take their break, or whatever else they do while they ignore you. The culture stems all the way down from the top.

  34. ZeroTech

    Naomi, Thanks for the explanation about the extreme library solution. I didn’t understand the Measure Q constraint.

  35. ZeroTech

    Why can’t Measure Q compete with Measure Y? CC broke the law on Measure Y. Supposed to have how many cops – a minimum of 803 or something? And what are we down to now, 640, and Measure Y be damned? Well hey, just use the same “legal strategy” for Measure Q. The city knows how to get around these minor details. Close a couple of libraries, save a couple of cops. You can have libraries at the same time as a bare modicum of public safety. Doesn’t have to be both. I no longer feel safe in Oakland…haven’t for a long time. If the number of cops drops even lower, as the *&^^ CC seems willing to let it (and I’m with Jim Dexter on this – for shame), I’m outta here.

  36. V Smoothe

    ZeroTech, Oakland voters approved an amendment to Measure Y last year that removed the minimum staffing requirement. The only way to cut library funding would be for two-thirds of Oakland voters to approve continuing the Measure Q parcel tax, but without the General Fund floor.

    I suggest that before making any more budget suggestions, you read through the archives here to up to speed on these issues, which have all been discussed at great length.

  37. ZeroTech

    V, That’s the “legal strategy” I was referring to. And the truth is, they were already breaking the law on MY before the vote. The vote just made it legal. Even though it may seem so to you, I’m not really a total ignoramus.

  38. ZeroTech

    So in case I was unclear: if they can get rid of MY so easily, why is MQ sacrosanct. The CC and Quan seem to have a warped view of what their hard vs. their soft constraints are. Anything they favor: that’s a law that can’t be broken. Anything they don’t: simply ignore it, break the law, and if people complain, why, just find a way to get rid of the law.

  39. V Smoothe

    ZeroTech, in order to follow the Measure Y example, as you appear to be suggesting, the library system would have to be basically shut down for a period of several months. Measure Y provided a small portion of the police funding, but Measure Q provides the majority of the library’s funding.

    Again, this has all been discussed at length here. I again suggest that you do some background reading to learn the fundamentals about the city’s budget issues. It will answer your questions. You also have my contact information. Feel free to email me and continue the discussion offline if you have further questions about the basics of voter approved taxes in Oakland, and I will be happy to answer your questions.

  40. Antwone

    I finally made it to the main library for the first time today.
    Ironically, after all the library hoopla, it was probably one of the worst public libraries Ive ever been to.

  41. V Smoothe Post author

    The San Jose library is beautiful, but it also isn’t really a fair comparison, since it’s actually a university library.

  42. ralph

    The main Oakland library looks like a relic from the 19th century. It is simply dated and too small to serve the needs of a community of 400K people.

    When we get the money to replace it, I would like for it to be a true community space – rooms for community gatherings, a coffee bar, a place for 3 piece combo to perform. I want light shining through the building.

    It also needs to have a health center/social service worker. As we all know libraries are serve as shelter to those without a home. There is at least one library co-located with a health center, but we need to go the last mile and add a social service center.

  43. Naomi Schiff

    The library staff and admin. and many patrons would very much like an updated main library facility, either improving or replacing their 1950 building. A ballot measure (Meas. N) proposing reuse of the HJKaiser Conv. Center as a new library a few yrs ago did not get enough votes. An overarching dilemma is that even when we come up with bond or redevelopment money for a building, you can’t spend that money for staff. Staffing and books and computers and dvds and electronic subscription access must come from a different type of budget. That means Measure Q or general fund money, unless we pass yet another library-focussed tax (with a 2/3 vote requirement). As others have posted, it might be wiser if we didn’t fund our civic improvements piecemeal with a thousand separate parcel taxes. In the meantime, support the libraries directly through the excellent Friends of the Oakland Public Library or the various branch Friends groups, all-volunteer efforts which channel substantial funds ($156,000 last year) directly into materials and equipment purchases. An easy way to do this is to donate unused materials to The Bookmark. (But cash contributions are even more welcome!) http://www.fopl.org/

  44. Charles Pine

    One problem with Measure N in 2006 was that Quan and company tried to sell it with a near-lie, namely, that it would help the branch libraries. The reality was that most of the money was to go for a palace library downtown, away from most of the youth whom Quan hides behind, while each branch would have gotten on average two cents per bond dollar.

    Voters did not like the misrepresentation, and with good sense they rejected the idea of encumbering the City with $148 million of new debt.

  45. annalee allen

    for those who think our main library doesn’t cut it, I know nothing I say would ever change their minds. I appreciate it’s simple lines, tall metal sash windows, and even the flanking colorful murals at the front entrance (added in the 80s). I also like the way the building compliments its neighbor, the county courthouse (also a Moderne style landmark). I’ve been using the History Room for years and as someone who is deeply interested in the city’s history, I appreciate what can be found there. So in that sense, it serves my needs quite well. Idea: we could have a coffee cart and tables & chairs out on the terrace next to the West Auditorium. Right now it is just wasted space. On certain days the Bookmark folks could display a sample of books for sale on that terrace.

  46. ralph

    AA you are right there is nothing you can say that will change my mind about the main library, but I do like the way it complements the courthouse. Someone should destroy that Alameda County building which looks so out of place.

    A coffee cart on the terrace would be like putting lipstick on a pig.

    I love neighborhood libraries, but a city the size of Oakland should have a library that is the envy of all the other libraries.

  47. livegreen

    Speaking of Libraries, here’s what the story on the left says Piedmont will pay Oakland for library use:

    “The City Council on Monday voted 4-0…to pay Oakland $350,471 for 2010-11 for library services. Originally, Oakland was asking Piedmont to pay nearly double that amount to fall in line with what Oaklanders have to pay for service.”

    This makes it sound like Piedmonters are paying less than we are, and are a bit greedy. Or at least their elected leaders are. True or not?

    Or are Oakland leaders poor negotiators?

  48. Naomi Schiff

    LG, Piedmont threatened to not pay anything and give up on the library arrangement altogether. They do get a pretty darn good deal. I hope some Piedmonters are contributing to FOPL at least. We should probably try to encourage them to do so!

  49. len raphael

    Is there a complete list of properties owned by the RDA? in particular, does the RDA own the former Zhone building near the airport

  50. Naomi Schiff

    Help fight the clearcutting of 14th Avenue! 38 huge mature trees along Highland Hospital don’t have to be chopped. Thursday, July 14, 7 pm, Highland Hospital Cafeteria. Save an important urban asset!

  51. ZeroTech

    What kind of trees are they? Why are they being cut? Is the City doing it, and why, if they have no resources for tree maintenance except in emergencies? (Sorry if I’m not up to date on this and am asking dumb questions.)

  52. ralph

    ZT, those are not dumb questions; even for a tree lover like me, it would certainly be helpful to have more information.

  53. Patrick M. Mitchell

    It seems they’re also tearing down several older wings that are really quite beautiful. Although huge, the current configuration of Highland Hospital blends fairly nicely with it’s residential neighbors; the new tower is a pretty standard issue/tacky white surface and glass building that will dominate the neighborhood.

  54. Naomi Schiff

    Here’s the story: This is a County project. City of O. has no power over it. Original EIR explained the need to demolish some of the old wings to do state-required seismically sound construction. Although terribly unhappy about these demolitions, in the end Oakland Heritage Alliance did get some mitigations in the form of studying the historic landscape, retaining the old entry buildings, and, among other landscape features, preserving the trees along 14th Ave. There is a census of the trees toward the end of the draft SEIR noted above. The consulting arborist addresses the danger of the trees entirely within the context of digging a utility line under them and building very close to them, which is not the only way to do the project. Public notice on this SEIR has been feeble, which is why I am trying to put out the word. These trees are big, mostly well over 100 feet, and some of them a century old. They are prominent as you drive or walk on 14th Ave, and help to screen the hospital campus and its soon-to-be-built humongous acute care tower from the neighborhood. It would be great for those inside the hospital to be able to look out at them. It may be more convenient for the builder to knock down all 38 trees, but it would take many decades to regrow replacements, if that is even feasible. Let’s keep the trees! Meeting on Thursday in Highland Cafeteria at 7 is billed as a “workshop” but there hasn’t been a lot of discussion or notice that I’ve seen. This is in Pat K’s district, and in Keith Carson’s supervisorial district. Please help by writing to them, and please come on Thursday. It is fine for the county to replace its seismically inadequate and unattractive hospital tower with a seismically strong and functional (if still not beautiful) facility; but the county should keep their promise to retain the trees, a key feature of the San Antonio neighborhood. I’ll try to post a photo on Sunday or Monday and will put a link here when I do. Thank you for your interest!

  55. annalee allen

    Re: Highland Hospital Trees: Naomi, I will check with the folks on the PRHC, they are supposed to be monitoring this. As you know, I am no longer on this Board, but will see what they’re up to and urge them to speak up.

  56. Daniel Schulman

    Thanks to the support of the League of Women Voters of Oakland, other groups, and some interested individuals, the curtailing of the KTOP schedule did not proceed unhindered. Tomorrow night’s (7/11) City of Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board will be broadcast and streamed to your Internets.

    We got a great agenda for you too! While the ever popular discussion of commemorating Bruce Lee’s time in Oakland is continued to September, there are several other items that might strike your fancy.

    First, we have an informational presentation on requirements of the Brown Act and Sunshine Ordinance from the City Attorney’s office. While I can make no guarantees, the board has requested a more substantive presentation than given in the past.

    Next, there is the Landmark of the Month presentation on the Hotel Oakland. You will learn all about these impressive building’s history and its contribution to the development of Oakland and Western Expansion.

    As we move on to the action items, we will discuss the 325 7th Street Project. Much as been made of the design of this project, but we will be reviewing the historic impacts and proposed mitigations. I am a little surprised that given the size of this project, there hasn’t been more discussion on a variety of related topics. This proposed project includes not one but two of the tallest towers in the entire city (one at 20 stories and the other at 27).

    The next action item is a Landmark Design Review of the rehabilitation of an entire block in West Oakland along 7th Street. The project calls for renovating this building to its historic character while upgrading important systems. At the end, the project team envisions over 20 second floor offices and several new commercial ventures on the ground floor.

    There will be even more fun stuff happening at the meeting, but the list above will hopefully whet your interest.

  57. Naomi Schiff

    I’ll be there in person, but I am delighted to hear that KTOP will be there too!

  58. len raphael

    Took a break from work and this stuff to sit down and enjoy our own Annalee Allen’s book “Selections from the Oakland Tribune Archives” .

    Definitely a keeper for my shelf of Oakland books.

    I’ll have to save another of her books, Oakland, Postcard History till late summer.

    AA, where are the rest of the Tribune photo archives now?

    -len raphael, temescal

  59. annalee allen

    Hi Len ~ thank you for your post. I really enjoyed working on that book. The story of the photos is, when the Tribune was sold in the early 90s, the Oakland Museum was offered the opportunity to go through the photo files and select ones for their collection; quite a few were moved over at that time. However, when I came aboard as a columnist, I discovered that many file drawers remained. For the book, I chose ones from those drawers. It was so difficult to limit the number (for the book). It would be great to do a second one some day.

  60. annalee allen

    Daniel ~ Yes, it is great news that KTOP will be continuing the broadcasts of board/commission meetings (such as Landmarks). We should give all you commissioners a pat on the back for volunteering your time for these meetings. I enjoy the “landmark of the month” segment of the agenda. Oakland has a very impressive list of landmark buildings and I think it is a good thing to take time out to showcase one each time, and talk about why it made the list.

  61. Dax

    Regarding the new contract with the 1,400 SEIU Local 1021 employee union members.

    1.) “The new contract calls for workers to contribute an additional 4 percent to their pension plans on top of the 8 percent they already pay.”

    So, as I understand it, they will now be putting 12% of base salary as their share of the contribution. Correct?

    2.) “The new contract also revises pension benefits for new hires.”

    Does anyone know what this means?
    The details? Are they reducing the 2.7% back down to the 2.0% where it was for decades prior to the pension boost in 2004?
    For “new hires” beginning when?

    3.) ” Members must also take 15 unpaid days off per year.”

    Does this mean there will be 15 furlough days each year for the next couple years?
    About one each month, with another 3 added in somewhere.
    Taken in unison rather than being spread out with a few employees off each day?

    Is there a website that lays out each of the 5 union contracts? The key features?
    I mean, how is a citizen to know what a contract means?
    Certainly not from articles as limited as this one in the Tribune.
    Is ABO the only site for everyone in Oakland to learn more details as we scour for actual facts?

    What is the option for the other 99% of citizens who don’t frequent this site?
    I suppose they are suppose to just trust the CC and mayor to be their fiscal watchdogs.

  62. len raphael

    Following some of the national budget impasse, reminds me that it is guarranteed ( i like that Oakland merchandizing phrase) that a big chunk of the Federal government’s social support spending is going to get chopped over the next few years in favor of protecting social security and medicare, and keeping effective average tax rates unchanged.

    Would be too much to expect our City budget office to let us know very roughly what our direct and indirect exposure is to big Federal cuts.

    if even a fraction of of Dellums and Lee boasts over the years about how successful they were at bringing home the bacon were true, I would think that Federal spending is a major component of the entire Oakland economy and total City budget.

    In the long run, that might have a worse effect than the real estate crash on City revenue.

  63. len raphael

    was it a couple of years ago, we batted around the idea that we go back to making all CC positions at-large to reduce the balkinizing.

    Was talking to an older neighbor the other day who mater of factly explained that we switched to district voting when african americans gained political power in Oakland in the early 70′s.

    What is the history on both of those changes?

    Don’t know what was cause and effect, but today if we abolished district CC voting, the voting turnout is such that the CC composition would be determined by the well to do sections of Oakland. Racially mostly white, asian, and one black. maybe one Latino, maybe not.

  64. Naomi Schiff

    Len it wasn’t-isn’t only about voters, but about how expensive it is to run a citywide campaign. It skewed the council in the direction of well-heeled businessmen, and I use the term “men” advisedly. If you look, there were very very few women or nonwhite people in evidence in Oakland city govt of that era.

  65. len raphael

    Naomi, a lot has changed since then.

    I’d add that as the entry cost increased for at-large, so would the incumbent advantage.

    I don’t think the change in gender composition would be affected by switching to at-large, except that the percentage of women CC’s might increase. Unions and developers and various PACS don’t care if male or female. If anything the heavy turnout Rockridge and Montclair districts prefer woman over men. :)

    btw, what percentage of votes cast in last election came from those areas? Is there data on male vs female registrations?

  66. Tab

    At-large elections have historically been viewed as diluting the voting power of minorities, sometimes deliberately, and district-based elections have at times (not in Oakland) been mandated by courts as a remedy to the discriminatory effects of at-large ones.

  67. Max Allstadt

    The gender gap appears to be solved. Perhaps over-corrected. In fact, Naomi, there are 11 elected offices in City Hall, and only 2 are held by men. And all 4 of the offices that are elected at-large are held by women.

    Of course Barbara Parker is only the acting city attorney, and was not elected, but it appears that the 2012 race for that office, at least for now, will have two female frontrunners.

    Naomi, should we alter the way council seats are elected to correct the current gender gap? Is 81% female any more acceptable than the other way around?

  68. Naomi Schiff

    It’s about the money gap. That is, should people with more money consistently have better access to holding office? At-large elections are more expensive to contest.

    I believe in equal access but no, for now it doesn’t bother me to have a lot of women in city hall. If it continues for 120 years, women and minorities would have achieved parity with white males.

  69. Max Allstadt

    That’s not how parity works, that’s how revenge works. If you consider equality to include having an equally primitive mindset as the men who ran the world into the mess it’s in, congratulations, you’re on the right track.

  70. len raphael

    Didn’t realize the f/m ratio for elected officials was so lopsided here. What are they for department heads?

    Those ratios neither bother me nor give me a warm comfy feeling about what a wonderfully tolerant diverse city we live in.

    I don’t know how you’d pick apart the threads that lead to that ratio which last time i walked around are disproportionate to resident composition.

    Some of it must be that Oakland women of all races and incomes are more likely to vote than men.

    Anecdotally, I’ve found that women voters here (as do some male voters) assume all politicians are mediocre, but will give women politicians the benefit of the doubt because of obstacles they must have faced to reach prominence.

    Some of it is that women are perceived mostly by local women voters as intrinsically better than traditional male politicians.

    But I think the biggest factor is a combo that there are still more lucrative opportunities for males in other endeavors and most of those endeavors require 150% of your time for many years.

    Which is to say, the relatively better candidates tend to be women.

    If Oakland were perceived as a good launch pad for higher office, maybe we’d get more qualified male candidates. I don’t see that happening.


  71. Naomi Schiff

    Oh, Max, you asked me if I was bothered, and I answered in too flip a manner I guess. No I’m not bothered. But I apologize if I offended you. Of course everyone should have a chance at civic office if they want to try. My point was that district elections made for a more diverse city council, not only gender and race diverse, but slightly (and perhaps it is only slightly) more economically diverse. I do not feel vengeful. I think Len’s mostly right, just above here. Also, women participate somewhat more in many of the nonprofits and civic involvement groups. At least, many of their boards and volunteers seem to be female, for whatever reason. It has been a topic of discussion in some organizations I’ve participated in: how to get men interested, get them onto boards, and get their full participation.

  72. Ravi

    Diversity and equality are important goals, but in Oakland, good governance continues to escape us. Isn’t this a problem with political discourse here? We get so easily distracted.

    Does anyone recall any candidate statements here during the fall election on the need for City Hall to make better decisions and for government to work better?

    And who in government is talking now (or was talking then) about more jobs in Oakland and dealing with violence?

    Let’s continue our weighty reflections on how many electeds are men or women or whether the City Attorney should be a member of the club or his or her own person.

  73. len raphael

    it’s interesting to speculate whether oakland city govt would have taken a different path if it had more male “energy” than female.

    eg. would there have been higher priority put on public security or lower priority for that matter. Would MY and it’s offspring have been put on the ballot by a male dominated CC?

    in a perfectly post feminist world would women politicians be any different from male politicians? Would they be any more compassionate for example?

    What are the ratios in Berkeley govt?

    Doesn’t it feel like Oakland has taken over the mantle of self styled progressive from Berkeley in recent years? Not sure how or if that ties to the female/male politician ratio.

  74. ralph

    “It has been a topic of discussion in some organizations I’ve participated in: how to get men interested, get them onto boards, and get their full participation.”

    One possible thought, ask them. Seems to me that there are men who post here; one may even share some of your interests. But how frequently do you engage them.

    Max has pointed this out more than once but Oakland is becoming a destination for people (old and young) who are non-Bay area natives.

  75. livegreen

    Ralph, That’s what some natives call gentrification.

    Naomi, I know several people who’ve been on Boards &/or Commissions who’ve done hard work and have told me that the Council did not give them the resources to do their job, support with obstructing city staff, and/or listen to most of their recommendations.

    These were hard working, well intentioned citizens of different political leanings. Yet these were their experiences with City Council members who are often set in their opinions and in getting reelected.

    Not exactly an incentive.

  76. Max Allstadt

    Actually Naomi, I think lingering sexism is at least part of the reason that we have more women participating in civic and non-profit groups, along with more women councilmembers.

    Salaries are still unequal. That means men’s time is still worth more on the clock. That means that particularly within a hetero married couple, the incentive to volunteer may be higher for women, because lost wages are often lower.

    The lost wages that happen in a council campaign are pretty substantial. And the salary on the Council is piddling compared to what someone with the motivation and skills needed to win an election could get in the private sector.

    Part of the reason I feel OK with volunteering as much as I do is that I don’t make very much, so lost time doesn’t hurt too much. Also, I’ve got nobody to support.

    Getting more men to participate in volunteer activities and in local politics may hinge on fixing salary inequality throughout society. Make our salaries equal, and the cash value of our donated time becomes equal too.

  77. len raphael

    91 Ravi, Greg Harland made jobs his highest priority speaking at the mayoral forums. Much less so on public security. Early in the campaign he attempted and failed to make the structural fiscal problems an election issue but the mainstream candidates tacitly colluded to avoid that topic like the plague.

    Funny that his excel sheet model predicted the current deficit more accurately than the official City projections.

    While I thought Greg’s promotion of the state economic incentive zone tax incentives to be overblown, he was absolutely correct that Oakland didn’t even take full advantage of that compared to Berkeley and Emeryville.

    After the election he has has put in a lot of effort organizing a food bank in West Oakland and acting as unpaid matchmaker with businesses and the City to encourage them to move here.

    His food bank work has multiplied his conviction that without more blue collar jobs, the crime situation will always be bad, but he also has come around to seeing that without security not only is it hard to attract business’ but life in the poor parts of Oakland is incredibly “short and brutish”.

    Which is why he and I were both astounded that CC and Q approved police contracts that made it certain we couldn’t afford to stabilize the number of cops, let alone increase them to required levels.

    His business development efforts for jobs ran smack into City indifference. The City talks the talk about “business friendly” but it’s all talk unless you want to grow dope.

    (I worked on his campaign until he and I both decided our efforts were better spent helping Perata and defeating Quan.)

  78. len raphael

    Trib did a decent job on the department level part but completely ignored the institutional context.

    Funny how quan claims the department is “understaffed”. That is probably the only fully staffed department in the entire city, not counting the Mayor’s office.

    Undertrained? Mistrained is more like it.

    But the best part is Quan falling back on what stood her so well on the OUSD collapse: blame it on the computer system.

    You just can’t trust them old computer systems.

  79. Ravi

    Len–You are of course right about Greg Harland, whose thoughtfulness I am clear about. My remark about candidates should have been clearer–I meant to refer to the candidates who won election rather than all of them. Don MacLeay, Joe Tuman and other candidates for mayor also made it clear in their platforms that Oakland has real problems for which there are real solutions.

  80. livegreen

    My understanding is the Mayor was alerted to the problems at Building Services. If she hasn’t had time to look at it then it’s by her choice.

    Part of the challenge in Oakland is the politicians are not proactive about addressing the needs of their constituents. They react to organized interests (for profit or non-profit) or those who scream the loudest.

    What might benefit their electorate, but have not been raised as headlines or protests, often don’t get addressed until they become a major headline or a major headache.

    We have a reactive, not a proactive, political class…

  81. Ravi

    Unfortunately, LG, if the CC’s and Mayor’s chief flaws only had to do with their reactive character, Oakland would be much better off than it is now.

    This clique of pols is exceedingly narcissistic. If good, proven reforms are proposed by citizen groups, the reforms are rewritten and emasculated. Several very thoughtful budget reforms have been presented in recent weeks, some with the imprimatur of the Mayor’s Budget Advisory Committee, and the word is that none of them will get past the Council this month. “Not invented here” means the CC won’t do it; it makes them look like they don’t know what they are doing. Guess what?

    The recent Grand Jury report on CEDA/Building Services abuses is an echo of a similar report about a decade ago. Nothing was done, and the cast of characters hasn’t changed much in a decade. Nothing will be done by the current gang. The Mayor and CC aren’t reactive, they’re on vacation!

    The CC and Mayor are utter failures at management. Remember Measure Y–800 cops and violence-prevention and youth programs? We’ve got just over 600 cops, and youngsters with guns are shooting up new turf and the killings this year are way up there.

    Transparency and accountability? No specific civic priority list underlies this season’s budget proposals, all of which ere developed in secret sessions.

    I rest my case. If only the CC and Mayor were simply reactive, but were in some ways competent. But they are not competent, nor are they essentially honest.

  82. Dax

    Just curious. I don’t get the physical paper.

    Where did they place this story about the Building Services Dept ? Headline?

    How prominent? Any photos, charts, graphs etc. ?

  83. PaulF

    “Mayor Quan, showing the clarity and leadership she is known for, says that “I don’t think it’s corrupt at this point; at least not at this point” and also that, “I haven’t had a chance to look at it.”

    OMG, who will rid us of this meddlesome, muddling mediocrity?

  84. Dax

    Dave C., Thanks for that valuable link.

    I agree, removing the “most viewed” “most emailed” story from the online edition seems rather unusual.
    You have to wonder who they have working in that job of deciding such.

    I guess they only have so much space for stories and this local story just missed the cut.

    Thank God they didn’t remove important stuff.
    “People: ‘Glee’ creator says 3 stars will be gone after upcoming season”

  85. Oakie

    Congratulations to Oakland!!

    According to this article:

    The UN is reporting the civilian death toll is at an all time high in Afghanistan.

    The total population is about 28 million according to Wikipedia:

    So my little dollar store calculator says that’s a bit over 10 deaths per 100,000 population per year.

    Oakland’s death rate is 25-30 per 100,000 (NYC, by comparison, is 5 — but we shall not talk about how a city makes itself safe, that would be contrary to the desires of the electorate here).

    So, congratulations go to Oakland for keeping it real! Real dangerous that is, and 3 times as dangerous as a country in a state of war.

  86. Ravi

    “Weirdly, the story has already mostly vanished from the main insidebayarea.com homepage, except in the “Most Viewed” list of frequently read articles.”

    “I agree, removing the “most viewed” “most emailed” story from the online edition seems rather unusual.
    You have to wonder who they have working in that job of deciding such.”

    …Quanster and Brunner make a phone call or two…

  87. Born in Oakland

    Ok, someone took the time to paint big yellow rings around the deepest of potholes several weeks ago but no one seems to be fixing them. The yellow rings are helpful though, cars weave in and out around them getting too close to parked cars and into bike lanes and swerve into the other lanes. We aren’t bottoming out on the potholes but putting other vehicles and bicycles in danger instead. Kind of fun driving down a street weaving in and out around the yellow circles but a really stupid way to solve this problem.

  88. J

    Born in Oakland,

    The yellow rings have popped up on Shattuck from 51st to the Berkeley border as well. Though someone else had previously been painting them bright orange. The City and Jane Brunner are well aware of the problem. In fact, when the City was competing for ARRA money from the feds I requested Jane push for funding to repave Shattuck and Telegraph. I have also repeatedly reported the potholes to the City Public Works and have pointed out the liability issue. Ironically, failure to maintain paved areas is one cause for a blight citation. Maybe someone should file a blight complaint against the City. If we could pull just 20-30 people together to file individual nuisance claims in small claims court for the court maximum based on creating a public safety nuisance maybe that will get the City’s attention and they will do something. Not unlike going after a nuisance property owner. One bicyclist taking a spill in one of the potholes and getting run over by a car could cost the City millions in a settlement. But hey the repaving a roads in Oakland is a once in 85 year event. Like police, the City Council and Mayor Quan don’t give a rat’s ass about public infrastructure.

  89. Born in Oakland

    Yep, it is Telegraph Avenue from 51st to the Berkeley border as well. I drive to work on Telegraph. The small claims court idea is interesting. I am also thinking about doing my own painting around the horrific potholes in my neighborhood in Brooklyn….I worry about my car and bicycle travels. Shall we choose a color for guerrilla painting?

  90. annoyed

    Born in Oakland: Have you followed up with a call to Public Works? The Public Works call center telephone number is 615-5566. They are open by 8am, if not earlier. They take calls for pot holes, graffiti, dumping on public property, broken trees branches and fallen trees affecting public rights of way (not sure if these have to be city planted trees), trimming city planted trees, and clogged storm drains.

    They also work with OPD to board up drug houses that required city action and to clean up and remove shrines.

    Staff cut backs make the wait for these services much longer now but they will eventually come and do the work. It might require follow up phone calls. I find Public Works to be one of the most responsive city deparments and I call them often.

    It also helps to be courteous. I find you get what you give.

  91. Naomi Schiff

    I agree, annoyed. It is well worth giving them a call. I’ve had very good results.

  92. Born in Oakland

    Thanks. I am very familiar with Public Works and we call them often and believe them to be very responsive and responsible. Pot holes do not seem to be a priority (I think the expense of fixing all of them is the issue).

  93. BarryK

    J- Skip the small claims and go for big money like many have all ready done. Just get a few lawsuits against the City, then, use the proceeds to fix the roads.
    We’ll make up t-shirts, “Help. I’ve fallen and I can’t get enough money.”

    File # Type Status File Created Final Action Title
    10-0740 City Resolution Passed 6/14/2011 7/5/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Lewis From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Lewis V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG10535198 In The Amount Of $23,500.00 (Public Works Agency – Trip And Fall)

    10-0727 City Resolution Passed 6/8/2011 6/21/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Edward Harder From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Claim Of Edward Harder. In The Amount Of $7,800.00. As A Result Of Bodily Injury Sustained Due To A Trip And Fall On An Uplifted Sidewalk Caused By Tree Roots From An Official City Tree (Public Works Agency)

    10-0724 City Resolution Passed 6/8/2011 7/5/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Shanks From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Shanks V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG10525839 In The Amount Of $80,000.00 (Public Works Agency – Trip And Fall)
    10-0598 City Resolution Passed

    4/21/2011 5/3/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Bernd Fiebig From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Bernd Fiebig V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG10493987, City Attorney’s File No. 27014, In The Amount Of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars And No Cents ($25,000.00). Mr. Fiebig’s Injuries Resulted From A Trip And Fall On A City Of Oakland Sidewalk (Public Works Agency)
    10-0584 City Resolution Passed

    4/19/2011 5/3/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Evelyn Belnavis From: Office of the City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Evelyn Belnavis V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09-489228 In The Amount Of $90,000.000 As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Accident At Near 721 W. MacArthur Blvd. (Public Works Agency)
    10-0489 City Resolution Passed

    3/3/2011 4/5/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Mary Flood From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Mary Flood V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09-455340 In The Amount Of $77,500.00 As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Accident At Near 3878 Fruitvale Avenue. (Public Works Agency)
    10-0481 City Resolution Passed

    3/2/2011 3/15/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Willia P. Renney From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Willia P. Renney V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09-455340 In The Amount Of $12,000.00 As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Accident At 8th Street And Broadway. (Public Works Agency)
    10-0475 City Resolution Passed

    3/2/2011 3/15/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Jami Kaludi From: Office Of the City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Jamil Kaludi V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case Nos. R09-455256 In The Amount Of $75,000.00 As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Accident On Bryant Street. (Public Works Agency)
    10-0447 City Resolution Passed

    2/17/2011 3/1/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – The Case Of Muldrow From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Muldrow V. City Of Oakland, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09483462 In The Amount Of $155,000.00 (Public Works Agency – Trip And Fall)
    10-0446 City Resolution Passed

    2/17/2011 3/1/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – The Case Of McCabe From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Mccabe V. City Of Oakland, Et Al., Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09489050, OCA File No. 27488, In The Amount Of $12,500.00, Arising From A Trip And Fall (Public Works Agency)
    10-0445 City Resolution Passed

    2/17/2011 3/1/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement Doree Johnson From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Doree Johnson V. City Of Oakland, Et Al., Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09-465477 In The Amount Of $35,000.00 As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Accident Adjacent To 4529 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (Public Works Agency)
    10-0440 City Resolution Passed

    2/15/2011 3/1/2011 Subject: Settlement Agreement – Vivian Ferguson From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing And Directing The City Attorney To Compromise And Settle The Case Of Vivian Ferguson V. City Of Oakland, Et Al., Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09-479058 In The Amount Of $20,000.00 As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Accident At 82nd Avenue And International Blvd. (Public Works Agency)
    10-0269 City Resolution Passed

    If you made it this far, that totals: $613,300 just for 2011; only five more months to go!

  94. len raphael

    8 Oakie, you’re not looking at those Afghan stats the way a true Oaklander would. You’re supposed to conclude that if the Federal Govt spent as much money per person in Oakland on anti violence and job training programs, then we would have a low violent death rate also.

  95. len raphael

    Does Oakland have any Foreign Trade Zones?

    If none or few, why isn’t Quan pushing for those here instead of going to China to schmooze?

  96. len raphael

    Anyone know whatever happened to the fiber optic trunk lines that were going to be installed in DTO? Not talking residential comcast ones, but ones that would deliver T3 or so to businesses.

  97. BarryK

    Len, I know of no Foreign Trade Zones or Free Trade Zones in Oakland. However, Quan was instrumental in making Oakland a Sanctuary City with no provisions for excluding criminals. Sanjiv Handa did report that Quan did fail at getting Mrs Quan (Floyd Huen) a post on the Oakland Port Commission; which engages in trade.
    Thanks to Quan’s friends, there won’t be anymore gang injunctions (Gang Free Zones).

    Keeping track of Quan’s self-promoting media tours: NY City; Wash DC; Yosemite; Sacramento; China (multi-city); Detroit; Baltimore; NYCity. (Anyone know if I missed a few? It’s only been seven months since her regime started.)

  98. len raphael

    JQ “assumed chair of the US Conference of Mayor’s (USCM) International Affairs Committee” http://oaklandlocal.com/node/12829#comment-form

    Our reputation from Dellum’s days must have reached other parts of the country. The other mayor’s recognize a city when they see one that doesn’t care if their Mayor spends a lot of time globe trotting.

    Figure she’s building her resume for her move to an Obabama admin position just before Oakland enters Chapter 9 ?

  99. BarryK

    At last nights’ CC meeting, Sanjiv ran down a list of groups and committees that Oakland belongs to, and, pays for membership in these groups. He listed the US Conf of Mayors and the League of Cities. Did anyone total up the thousands of General Fund $ going to these memberships so the Mayor can travel?

    Both Dellums and Quan were hoping for a spot in DC if Hillary was President. I’m sure Perata can find a nice state job for Quan in two years. Maybe in a prison!

  100. len raphael

    Before our mayor spends any more time schmoozing abroad, she should read up on establishing some more and bigger Foreign Trade Zones in Oakland. There is one very small one here now.



    Maybe it would help if she knew that Ron Paul hates FTZ’s:

    http://www.dailypaul.com/155091/257-foreign-trade-zones-across-america since she seems to be more concerned that Oakland maintains its progressive standing than that it reduces the sky high unemployment in many parts of town.

    -len raphael

  101. livegreen

    In last night’s Rainy Day Fund debate I was appalled by Jane Brunner’s failure to read Libby’s proposal. This is not the first time we’ve discussed Ms. Brunner not coming to meetings prepared or not educating herself on an issue.

    Basically, not doing her job.

  102. Navigator

    Finally some good news for Oakland. The city was just rated # 10 most walkable in the United States. Our hilly, congested, chilly neighbor across the Bay with the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the United States, was rated #2. Go figure.

  103. BarryK

    Navigator- FY 2011 YTD, Oakland has paid out over $650,000 in trip-and-fall accidents on City sidewalks. I’m sure were #1 in this category!

  104. Navigator

    Barry thanks for bringing me back to Earth. Does anyone like Oakland on this site?

    Also, Minneapolis was just ahead of Oakland at number #9. Keep in mind that this is a city with skyways connecting its downtown buildings because winters are so cold. Shouldn’t climate be right at the top of the list for walkability? If SF is #2 with a colder climate, steeper hills, and a higher pedestrian fatality rate, why is Oakland only number # 10. My list would be New York #1, Boston # 2 Portland #3, Seattle #4, Oakland # 5, SF #.

    As faulty as this study may be, the City of Oakland needs to publicize it in travel magazines, and other medium.

  105. annoyed

    I’m no fan of Quan at all but she did get those bandits at the Port to pay their fair share of parking on Port land. It’s only half a million but not bad. I raised this issue a few years ago with the suits and was patted on the head and told that would never happen. So good for Quan.

    And really, I”m not going to have kittens because she is involved with the Mayor’s Conf. Visibility is an asset for our city. You can bitch all you want about Dellums but he raked in a lot of funding for Oakland.

    My only criticism of Quan’s China trip was the timing. The budget crisis should have had priority over a junket.

    I don’t like Quan and haven’t for years but it’s in my best interest as a resident that she not be a dismal failure. You people remind me of the Rethugs who are ONLY committed to making Obama a one-term president. My grandmother called it cutting off your nose to spite your face. When she does something truly stupid, I will be the first one here to jump down her throat.

    And, yes, I like Oakland and that walking designation is a real feather in our cap. Some good news for a change.

  106. Naomi Schiff

    Good things to do for and about Oakland: 1) email ABAG, MTC, and BAAQMD right away, and tell them to locate their new joint offices in Oakland. 2) Join us at the 16th and Wood train station for a community celebration next Thursday, 5:30-8 pm, to kick off an effort to populate, activate, and eventually rehabilitate a great historic building. 3) Take a walking tour of Oakland: http://www.oaklandheritage.org

  107. len raphael

    Naomi, like your points 2 and 3, but whatever for do we want more tax exempt government agencies and non profits in DTO?

    Now, if they were willing to locate in West or East O, roll out the red carpet.

    Last think we want is for them to buy buildings in DTO and take them permanently off the tax rolls.


  108. Patrick M. Mitchell

    @ len -

    But it’s not just about taxes, it’s about the people they bring to downtown. We’ve got PLENTY of space to build more highrises if other, taxpaying corporations want to move in eventually – but we need some activity downtown to keep it alive in the immediate future.

  109. Naomi Schiff

    Len, they ALREADY own a HQ in Oakland. It would be sold, for not much net change in property off tax rolls. What we’d regret is the lost workforce going to SF instead of bringing BAAQMD here. Plus, a majority of the MTC/ABAG workers already live in the east bay, so it would be a transit-stupid move to send them to SF (to a site far away from BART). I’d love to see the abject block of Broadway between 11th and 12th filled in, and the historic building rehabilitated, as is proposed. The block has been blighted since the 1970s, and got worse in stages including 89 earthquake damage. Take a look at it!

  110. Navigator

    Putting ABAG and MTC in San Francisco makes absolutely no sense. Why make 60% of the workforce cross the Bay?

    Let’s see, Clorox is taking a huge portion of its workforce to Pleasanton and may be bought by an outsider with no ties to Oakland. The Oakland A’s may be heading for San Jose. The Oakland Raiders may be heading for Santa Clara. And now ABAG and MTC may be heading across a congested bridge to a very congested and expensive city right in the middle of earthquake country.

    What is going on in Oakland? Doesn’t anyone with money and influence give a damn about our beautiful city? When will Oakland start recruiting companies from SF and SJ? It’s time to start fighting back. Can I hear just one story about a business relocating to Oakland? Just one.

  111. Navigator

    I keep saying this and eventually someone will listen. Oakland needs a major PR campaign. Oakland has the location, the transportation, the climate, the walkability, the restaurants, the theaters, the affordability and yet we walk around with our heads down and a tin cup in our hands.

    We should be the Bay Area boom town. We should also tap into the huge tourist industry. Oakland has plenty of attractions and should capitalize on the fact that it’s the most historic intact city on the West Coast. We need Mayor Quan and the City Council to stand up for Oakland and tell it like it is. It’s time to stop being the scrauny kid on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face by the two school yard bullies.

    Oakland needs to start a media campaign and also stand up to the inconsistencies of the SF media.

  112. JSBA

    have they actually moved to the city yet? aren’t they supposed to be in the big empty market hall building in Jack London or are they in 66 Franklin.

  113. Navigator

    Thanks livegreen. That’s a good start but its only 54 employees and they’re moving from Berkeley. Oakland needs to raid SF’s and San Jose’s corporate cuburckds.

    I was always under the impression that affordability was the main reason tha busineses relocate to places like Texas. Why can’t Oakland undercut the local bullies? Anyone that brings up crime as the reason when the Tenderloin is right next to many corporations and hotels in SF is off track.

    Oakland needs a PR campaign with figures pointing out crime rates, amenities in Oakland’s downtown neighborhoods and then compared them to the crime rates and expense of SF’s downtown neighborhoods. Oakland has to get out from under SF’s boot. It maybe just a glass slipper but it hurts anyway.

  114. Ravi

    “Oakland needs a PR campaign with figures pointing out crime rates.”

    Yeah, let’s do that.

  115. Navigator

    Neighborhood crime rates. Let’s stop pretending that the crime rate in deep east Oakland is the same as in downtown Oakland where corporate headquarters would locate. Let’s also stop pretending that the tenderloin, mid market and 6th street aren’t in downtown SF. We have to understand that cities aren’t dangerous, neighborhoods are dangerous. I’ll stand by my claim that the neighborhoods in downtown SF are more dangerous than the neighborhoods in downtown Oakland. Let’s bring up the crime figures for both downtowns. It’s all about image.

  116. Ravi

    “It’s all about image.”

    Sho’ ’nuff, very simple. Unfortunately, changing an image isn’t.


  117. livegreen

    JSBA, If I’m looking at the right building, looks like some offices upstairs are filled, while others are still empty.
    Nav, DT might be better than SF’s DT, but overall we don’t have a lower crime rate (even if crime is down). Murder is still up.

    The other problem is we’re surrounded by East Bay Cities with lower tax rates. So companies that relocate often keep on going.

    Besides legacy businesses Oakland’s strength is start-ups (online, food, light-medium industrial).

    Then we’ll have to retain them from leaving for Alameda, San Leandro, and Pleasanton like their predecessors did…

  118. len raphael

    34 Patrick, in effect beggars can’t be choosers? More government employees walking around buying a frozen yogurt or eggroll would server the same role as the equivalent of those murals in Old Oakland storefronts for 15 years.

    The difference is that it costs us money to service those commuting brown bagging/inhouse cafetaria eating govt workers with cops, sanitation, fire. They aren’t about to spend a bunch of money at dto boutiques. They’re more a Target/Costco kinda crowd.

    And no one is about to finance a bunch of new high rises any time soon. Better let the commercial rents drop low enough to attract private sector business from SF who will generate heck more tax revenue and jobs than more government and nonprofits.

    35Naomi, is your point that some of these nonprofits/govt entities already own their real estate here, and would only sell to another tax exempt org?

    -len raphael, temescal

  119. len raphael

    Nav, are you gonna let yet another example of Oakland low self-esteem go unchecked?

    Or do think all occupants of DTO commerical space are created equal?

  120. Naomi Schiff

    No, Len, they want to sell for high profit high rise development, actually. Whether they can do that anytime soon I do not know.

    I went to the ABAG meeting. Hey, folks, let’s consider really pushing on MTC!

    Here’s a category of businesses that love downtown Oakland and that we can develop: design-oriented companies like my own. There are quite a few of these: communications, P.R., lobbying, advocacy, web and other types of design, architecture, interior design, advertising, social networking, corporate identity. These are pioneer businesses that like quirky buildings, are a little edgy, and are related to larger business growth and development. They use the internet as a major communications medium so that some of them do a national business. They are often not huge, and you may not know they are there. But there are a significant number of them. Can we grow this category?

  121. len raphael

    Naomi, back to my earlier question: and it’s somewhat of a leading one. Whatever happened to the plan a few years ago to bring ultra high speed high capacity internet lines to DTO?

  122. Naomi Schiff

    Hi, Len, I don’t know the answer! With my office downtown, we’ve already had very fast DSL because the servers were so close by in the ATT bldg on 17th. So for us it has not been an issue, but we are probably comparatively modest users, being a small company. Public Works would be the ones to ask at the city, I suppose?

  123. len raphael

    149 Naomi, i think the answer is that it went the way of most Oakland economic development: if there wasn’t a private company or a city department which could make a buck off of it right away, and had influence, it got tabled for “future consideration”.

    when and if i get a chance, i’ll dig into it.

  124. len raphael

    gotta wonder how much of one of our only two private sector growth industries, the food business, is due to SF’s mandatory health insurance and high minimum wage laws, as compared to say lower rent. And i assume much weaker restaurant union situation?

    I love how our progressive elected officials love to crow about the growth of our foodie sector.

  125. Navigator

    Len, I think having ABAG and MTC in downtown Oakland is a good thing because it makes for a livelier downtown. The more customers for Oakland’s growing foodie industry the better.

    After spendind some time in Austin and San Antonio earlier this month I can tell you how naturaly blessed Oakland is as a city. It’s facinating to see all of these tech companies leaving California and relocating to the suburban Texas sprawl with virtually no amenities in these hot dry regions. These areas feature campus style offices surounded by tumble weeds with nothing within walking distance. The constant relentless heat and dry brush are depressing. There’s more to life than low taxes. I’ll gurantee you that non of the CEO’s are relocating to Texas.

    Oakland has so many advantages and and incredible climate with interesting walkable neighborhoods which don’t exist in these cities. Oakland suffers from low-self esteem and low expectations from years of being marginalized by the SF image makers.

    Oakland also doesn’t pay attention to details. An example is the obvious neglect by Caltrans of Oakland’s freeways and onramps. John Russo had to file suit against Caltrans because the agency wasn’t spending it’s fair share on Oakland freeway maintenance. Anyone driving 580, 880, or 24 in Oakland sees the six foot tall weeds mixed in with an incredible amount of trash. I work in Livermore and drive the portion of 580 along with 680 through the San Ramon valley and I can tell you the Caltrans spends way more time andresouces maintaining those freways. There are no 6ft tall weeds growing out of those highways running through Danville, San Ramon, Alamo and Walnut Creek. The same thing goes for 24 from Walnut Creek to Orinda. Caltrans figures that “It’s just Oakland” and they can get away with leaving the highways and off and on ramps trashed and overgrown. Oakland’s freeways are the dirtiest and most overgrown in the Bay Area. Caltrans also maintains the highways on the Peninsula to a much higher standard.

    Where is Mayor Quan on this issue? If I were Mayor the head of Caltrans would be getting the riot act read in my office. This is disgusting and just another sign of the disrespect that Oakland puts up with. This is the same mentallity that allows a popular national dance show to come to Oakland use the gorgeous Paramounbt Theater and then lie to the world and tell them that they’re in San Francisco. Did anyone from Oakland City Hall contact the producers of “So you think you can dance” and tell them that they are no longer welcome in Oakland and possibily threaten a lawsuit for misrepresenting the location of the Paramount Theater? Of couse not. The producers knew that they could get away with it because “it was just Oakland.” This is the same mind-set that the “Golden State Wariors” have when they hold their press conferences in San Francisco and hint that they really are a “San Francisco” team. Oakland just sits back and let’s itself be humiliated time after time despite having the advantages of the best climate in the nation along with one of the prettiest settings of any city in the country. Go figure.

  126. len raphael

    40 Nav, Oakland is not to be competitive with interior non California states.

    For better or worse, California has very high regulatory standards/processes, plus high wages, plus expensive living costs, plus expensive land, plus expensive power and water. For many industries leaving California it never gets to the question of taxes.

    Oakland has all of the above negatives, plus a few of its own.

    The reason neighbors like San Leandro will eat our lunch on light industry is that they have much better infrastructure plus much lower crime.

    San Leandro for example has massive extremely high voltage power supply lines that were put in when heavy manufacturers like Caterpillar were still there. SL actually operates its own modern sewer system that can handle industrial waste. We simply don’t and can’t afford to do that now.

    Politically the neighboring cities, even Berkeley, don’t seem to be as paralysed by factions as Oakland. There is a price to be paid for being extremely diverse.

    We could try to leverage better off the Port but then we’d run smack into the opposition of community activists who don’t want more truck traffic in West Oakland. Can’t say I blame them, and it can be amelioriated various ways, but ultimately there’s a conflict between industrial no matter how light, and residential.

  127. Navigator


    Oakaland has a far greater quality of life than cities like Austin or San Antonio. Much better climate, much more walkable, prettier, etc. Regulations are a good thing because they protect our quality of life. Corporations leaving California for cheap wages and no regulatory standards are being very shortsighted. That’s capitalism for you. That’s the way they’ve run their businesses into the ground by not accepting change and fighting things like better milage standars while losing market share to more progresive nations. It’s a race to the bottom for these corporations which are only interested in the next quarterly report.

    As far as San Leandro having less crime then Oakland, the reality of the situation is that San Leandro is actually closer to Oakland’s highest crime neighborhoods than downtown Oakland and many other Oakland neighborhoods. We’re again talking about image and not comparing crimes by neighborhoods. Oakland has got to stop dwelling on having crime. Every city has crime. East Austin is filled with crime as is the very poor almost third world looking neighborhoods of East San Antonio less than a mile from downtown and the riverwalk.

    The crime albatross around Oakland’s neck has been put there by the SF media and columnists like Chip Johnson so that Oakland is forced to talk about crime and not economic development and recruiting businesses. If Oakland is talking about crime they’re not a danger to SF businesses thinking of relocating. Oakland has fallen for this stale mindset for many years.

  128. len raphael

    54 Nav, “leaving California for cheap wages and no regulatory standards are being very shortsighted.”

    Careful Nav, that same “shortsighted”, capitalist seeking lower wages and regulations is precisely what motivated many restaurant owners to open in Oakland.

    Let me guess, you’ve never started and run your own business?

    -len raphael

  129. Ravi

    “The crime albatross around Oakland’s neck has been put there by the SF media and columnists like Chip Johnson so that Oakland is forced to talk about crime and not economic development and recruiting businesses. If Oakland is talking about crime they’re not a danger to SF businesses thinking of relocating. Oakland has fallen for this stale mindset for many years.”

    Sorry to tell you that Oakland’s crime problems are real, not just images from however few media there are. The crime is not just in West Oakland and deep East Oakland, but in much of the flatlands outside East Oakland and also in hills neighborhoods. The crime is real and those of us who live here deal with muggings, shootouts, home invasions and a constant stream of perps in cars without license plates cruising our streets looking for opportunities.

    What media there are report only a very small portion of the crime here. Take a look at the Oaklandcrimespotting.org website which shows only incidents reported to OPD, which shows quite enough crime. And there is much, much more.

    Many of the diverse and interesting parts of Oakland, such as E. 14th a mile either side of Fruitvale are heavily crime-ridden. These are great places to walk, shop and eat. They aren’t fancy or of interest to most tourists. But I go to such places all the time and so do other ordinary residents. But we’d much prefer they were much safer.

    Oakland needs to be safer and more accommodating for its own residents, never mind the “tourists.” Oakland’s crime and blight are evidence of community failure here. We can deal with these community failures if we had some real leadership, and, of course, a well-defined vision for Oakland. But we don’t have the government we need; hopefully some people are becoming aware of this and are beginning to act.

    The route to a better quality of life for all of Oakland has very little to do with images in the media, or San Francisco-style tourism or bringing in the “big” job-producing businesses. Sorry, but Oakland already has fiddled around for a long time playing these games. A better life here has to do with focusing on real problems here and actually doing something towards solving them.

  130. len raphael

    San Leandro and crime. Nav got me thinking. Yes, one of San Leandro’s nicest neighborhoods is nuts to butts with one of our numerous crime “hotspots” as Desley Brooks would say.

    I know people who have lived there for years. They seem to have less crime than lower Rockridge. Anyone know the beat crime stats for Estudillo Estates?

    San Leandro btw, has chosen to protect it’s RDA by paying the heft fee to the state. I don’t know whether they chose to waste any money like Oakland on suing Brown and the Democrat controlled legislature.

  131. Navigator


    You will never eliminate crime in Oakland or in any other major city. As long as you have poverty in certain neighborhoods people will be hustling and running an underground economy. Go to the SF crime spotter map and do search for crime for a 1/4 mile radius of Union Square for the last month. It looks like a
    bad case of meseals.

    The problem is that when you’re a city without its own media you have to hope that the media in the competing city across from you has a since of fairness and is unbiased. Clearly that
    s not the case in the Bay Area. I was watching the mini riot in SF on KTVU. It appears that 45 people were arrested. I was flipping the channels and when I got to KRON I was waiting for the obligatory helicopter shot that follows all Oakland demonstrations for hours. Not only was there no helicopter in the skies of SF but KRON acted like this was going on in Afghanistan and had only a reporter on the phone. It’s the same thing they did when they hid the riot in the Mission after the giants won the World Series.

    Anyone who thinks that crime reductions in Oakland leeds to a better image and therefore a better economy, doesn’t get it. You don’t understand the media dynamics in the Bay Area. I visited a restaurant in East San Antonio with two armed guards standing at the door a mere mile from downtown and the riverwalk. When I was in San Antonio a young woman was shot twice in the back and run over by a pickup truck.

    Ravi , there’s crime everywhere, the difference is that Oaklanders have been beaten over the head for so long by our selective friends across the Bay that they’ve become paralyzed and have developed an inferiority complex to go along with the low self-esteem.

    Yeah deal with crime, but don’t be consumed and paralyzed by it. We have to understand the real problem and why Oakland is singled out. It’s about marginalizing the city and keeping the Bay Bridge filled with traffic headed for SF.

  132. len raphael

    Nav, here’s your big opportunity to put a positive spin on what that SF centric Oakland Trib said today “”In addition to the coffeeshop shooting, there were at least six other shootings from North Oakland to Jack London Square between 8:20 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, police said.”

    How about

    “We’d like to remind our readers outside of Oakland that most crimes in Oakland only occur in parts of town occupied by poor people of color. Tough luck for them, but if you live in the nice parts, you’ll probably never have any contact with bad people.”

    or maybe:

    “It should be noted that crime in Oakland is concentrated in just a few hotspots. Some of those hotspots cover areas with thousands of residents. From time to time, the criminals break the rules and hopscotch out of the normal hotspots, much like a forest fire, to pop up in the good parts of Oakland like Piedmont Avenue and Rockridge. eg. “the three-gun armed robbery at the gas station on Broadway (corner of Broadway Terrace) at 8:30 pm last week….AND the three-gun holdup of a school girl at 2:30 in the afternoon (broad daylight) on Hudson and Shafter last week”

    -len raphael, temescal

  133. len raphael

    Here’s the source for the school girl armed incident

    “RNWN (name-redacted) post on RNWN on the 2:30 pm holdup on Hudson:
    “On Friday 7/15 at 2:30PM our 19 yo daughter was robbed at gunpoint while walking alone down Shafter near 57th[note: this is an error, it actually occurred near Hudson]. Three African American girls, about her age, approached her from behind and asked for her purse. My daughter said ‘no’ and then one of them pulled a gun on her. She handed over the purse. They ran north on Shafter and jumped in a car parked around the corner. My daughter was not hurt, just shaken.”

    Hey, not hurt. Oakland muggers are much nicer than SF muggers.

  134. len raphael

    Nav, btw, i have crosschecked the Hudson girls with gun attack with someone present at the Rockridge ncpc “Capt. Tull, at Thursday’s meeting, commented that street robberies are being committed by youngsters in groups, sometimes on bicycles, sometimes armed; they are apparently directed by adults.”

    Now we’re getting dickensian.

    This is not the Oakland you left behind when you moved to god’s country. Are you getting a clearer picture of the reality on the ground vs the image?

    -len raphael, temescal

  135. Ravi

    “You will never eliminate crime in Oakland or in any other major city.”

    I did not say anything about eliminating crime. I wrote about making Oakland safer. A reasonable goal for, say, homicides, would be to reduce them in Oakland to about the same rate in comparable California cities. The Oakland homicide rate is about 25 per 100K residents, which is five times the homicide rate in San Jose, Fresno, San Francisco.

  136. J

    Navigator I find your obsession with the alleged media biases to be fascinating, important, yet at the same time in my opinion incredibly misguided.

    “Anyone who thinks that crime reductions in Oakland leeds to a better image and therefore a better economy, doesn’t get it”.

    One could just as easily write, “Anyone who thinks that crime reductions in Oakland doesn’t lead to a better economy, doesn’t get it”.

    Oakland’s media image has been fueled by real crimes and a persistent and ongoing crime problem that has been troubling Oakland year after year after year. Give the media the brazen crimes carried out by young thugs and the images of dead bodies that pile up year after year and you have a certain image. Glorify the kiling of cops, the hatred of cops, and the thug lifestyle with 40 ouncers, pit bulls, gold grills and guns and you have you an image for the media. This is the hard reality of Oakland. We live in a City and are defined by the City. We are not defined by just a few relatively crime free hill neighborhoods.

    Your anectdotal assessment of the media biases against Oakland are hardly scientific. Why don’t you ask the victims of horrific crimes committed in Oakland whether there is a media biase?

  137. Ravi

    As J points out re Nav: “Your anectdotal assessment of the media biases against Oakland are hardly scientific. Why don’t you ask the victims of horrific crimes committed in Oakland whether there is a media biase?”

    I would just add that the focus on the problem as one of media is also an ethical failure. The people in the heavily-violence-affected parts of Oakland really DO suffer personally, socially and economically. The people in the less-violence-affected parts of Oakland also suffer. Nothing like getting mugged in the morning in your driveway while changing out the child seats in your car–it certainly “makes your day” in a very poignant way. This happened to a neighbor yesterday. Similar things happen all over Oakland, not just in Deep East or West Oakland.

    All of Oakland is affected by Oakland’s crime. For just one aspect of crime, the cost of policing, the cost is borne by the city of Oakland as a whole.

    One can make a somewhat scientific, or at least evidence-based, assessment of the relative amount of crime in Oakland vs San Francisco. You can look at both cities’ Crimespotting web pages and compare the overall views of each. One needs to select the same period for crime reporting, say a recent week. Looking at San Francisco as a whole, crime is concentrated (the crime location markers make a solid mass) in about 25% of the area of the city, or about 12.5 square miles. In Oakland as a whole, crime is concentrated in an area of about 80% of the city or about 55 square miles. The markers in San Francisco are largely green, representing property crime. The markers in Oakland are dominated by red, representing violent crime, including assaults, murders and robberies.

  138. livegreen

    So the MTC voted to spend $180 million in SanFran over $155 million in Oakland. Not including moving costs…

    Is this fiscally prudent for a Govt. agency in a down market? .5 miles away from BART vs. a building right above BART: is this good for public transport OR open access?

    I understand Oakland City Govt. has more problems than SanFran but, even so, this makes no environmental or fiscal sense what so ever.


    Of course I guess it all depends on the rent projections…

  139. Naomi Schiff

    Seems like a terrible idea to me! I imagine some real estate speculation plot in the background, but I don’t know anything. 390 Main is not an extremely lovely building. It is a converted military warehouse subsequently used by the post office.

  140. ralph

    Sounds like the limiting factor for an Oakland building is the lack of demand for office space. This deal appears to turn on the ability to let office space. In the years that I have lived in Oakland, very few big employers have located here. Oakland needs to be open for business.

    Naomi, seems like 390 Main is just the type of building you would love if it were on this side of the bay.

  141. Naomi Schiff

    Touché, but take a look at it if you get a chance, Ralph! The 1100 Broadway project would restore the distinguished and historic Key System building,as well as constructing a new 20-story tower. I hope they find a commercial taker if this govt consortium doesn’t want to do it. 390 Main might have some historic value (I have no idea), but it lacks glamour, to say the least. But mostly, it is not particularly close to BART, makes the commute harder and more expensive for the 60% of the employees of the agencies live in the east bay. MTC wants to do the un-green thing with this, for SF-centric reasons.

  142. annalee allen

    I’m with Naomi, I was really hoping they would choose the Oakland option so the long empty landmark Key Building could finally be restored.

  143. Dax

    A excellent summary of the new Oakland city union agreements.


    Why the union concessions are not a “Fair Share”

    Again, WE, the PEOPLE have not been able to see the actual wording of the agreements. I doubt our “representatives”, the council, have read and understand the entire documents.

    I might add that for the large Local 1021, the huge “fix” in the future pension plan is to make “future hires” get less service credit for each year worked.

    How much less you ask?.. Did they reduce the pension plans to their former “still generous” levels before the jacked-up 2004 leap? NO.. They did not return to the sustainable levels that had served Oakland staffing well for decades. NO
    Instead, after leaping up from 2.0% to 2.7% in 2004, ( a 35% pension increase), they have now agreed to take “future hires only” back to ….wait….huge decrease, NO…back to 2004 levels…NO…
    They have lowered the future hires to a 2.5% service credit.

    Meaning after increasing the pensions by 35% in 2004, then realizing that is insane, they have now lowered them by 7.4%.

    Wow, that should really do the trick.
    This is Quan’s version of pension reform.
    Changing from a model that was unsustainable to another unsustainable model.
    Note, some other cities and agencies have made real efforts by going back to the well tested historic 2.0% service credit.
    For decades Oakland was easily able to staff the city with a 2.0% service credit.

    But I guess Mayor Quan is counting on the huge economic turnaround during her term(s) of office.

    Watch now, she’ll be telling voters to do their share by giving her another $80 each year. NO. 66.6667% yes vote, no way.

  144. livegreen

    Well, they got the changes to Measure Y through that way. Look for them to do it again with each unions paying for mailers to “avoid drastic cuts to Libraries, Parks & Rec, Programs for Youth, Police, etc.”. We might not believe them, and the broader public didn’t for $360. But for $80 they might…

  145. BarryK

    Dax: “But I guess Mayor Quan is counting on the huge economic turnaround during her term(s) of office.”
    ***Mayor Quan is counting on the huge election fraud that is common place during a mail-in election. (Not to mention the $1M gamble with our General Fund $$.)

    Livegreen: “Look for them to do it again with each unions paying for mailers…”
    Also, the many NGOs funded with our taxes dollars from Measure wh(Y) and BB and KidsFirst. There are a lot of NGO funded positions that back these taxes too.

    NO Quan tax!

  146. Charles Pine

    “I guess Mayor Quan is counting on the huge economic turnaround during her term(s) of office.”

    Presumably written with tongue in cheek. The housing market and hence property taxes will slowly rise, but does anyone think there will be another bubble, like the one that burst four years ago, in the next two decades?

    In addition, City Hall’s own estimates of the funding gap are about twice the loss of tax revenue since the bubble.

    One should dismiss any argument that talks about “preparing Oakland to be poised to take off when the economy recovers.” (Quan’s argument for the parcel tax)

  147. Ravi

    “The housing market and hence property taxes will slowly rise…”

    Or not.

    And we don’t know just why the MTC chose S.F. rather than Oakland, although we can speculate, as above. The reason we don’t know is all about transparency. And about competence in City Hall (exactly what was MTC looking for and exactly what was Oakland pitching?).

    In general, though, one might safely say that many thoughtful people throughout the Bay Area consider Oakland a failing city. This is very much not the perception of S.F.

  148. MarleenLee

    Let us not forget that Oakland was broke long before the bubble burst. How quickly you forget. In 2004, when the housing market was still on fire, Oakland was so desperate for cash that they begged us to vote for a 10-year parcel tax to fund police. So even in 2004 they admitted they didn’t have enough money to fund basic services.

  149. BarryK

    Right on the mark Marleen! Also, in 2004, hills residents were subjected to the new Fire Assessment District (tax!).


    “The assessment district was for five (5) years and lapsed in 1997. Voters did not move to re-establish it, so during the years from 1997 through 2003, the City was able to maintain brush removal and inspections only through temporary and sundry sources of funding. In 2003, all sources of funding were exhausted…”

    Approximately $1.8 million per year would be generated, and the district would expire in 10 years.

    The City Council approved this proposal and mail-in ballots were sent out on November 6, 2003 to property owners in the proposed district.
    Approximately 50% of the ballots were mailed back to the City.
    On January 20, 2004 , the City Council voted to establish the fire prevention assessment district.

  150. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Speaking of taxes…I see that the California Supreme Court has ruled that California taxpayers may seek refunds from cities and counties, ruling that a claim of an illegal local tax can be pursued as a class action on behalf of everyone who was overcharged.

    Anyone else receive their water bill yet?

  151. len raphael

    How about a Quan sponsored contest for elementary school kids in the flatlands’ schools to enter an essay on why they feel safe living in Oakland.

    On the topic of unreported crime and Quan/Kaplan’s dope growing as economic development, a friend of mine in the biz was telling me that (assumedly before their bust) that last year the Nut whatyamacallit Gang had invaded and taken over one of the mj grow live work spaces on E14th. Every grower was relieved at gunpoint of everything. No one reported it to the cops.

    Akin to the underreporting by illegal immigrants. I’d guess that some or all of the growers were growing over their plant limits?

  152. Dax

    “Quan/Kaplan’s dope growing as economic development”

    What brilliant planning by Oakland’s naive leaders.

    So they issue permits. Allow 4 or more large indoor grow facilities, very costly and energy intensive.

    Then say, Fresno County, decides they’d also like more tax revenues, so they allow farmers to grow up to 100 acres of pot each.
    Almost instantly Oakland growers are out of business, unable to compete with real farmers who have untold acres, water, and free energy (solar….meaning sunshine).

    Mayor Quan’s and the others ability to count on such folly as they project out into Oakland’s economic future seems beyond mere ignorance. They seem to willfully avert their eyes from obvious realities as well as the simple laws of supply and demand.

    Why the next thing you know, Oakland will encourage development of a ice skating rink.