Nothing’s inspiring me today, either in the news or at the Council. (Concerned citizens may want to check out the emergency meeting of the Measure Y Oversight Committee tonight, but I’ve already written about that.) Anyway, in lieu of spending time searching for something to complain about, I thought I’d share some stories about other places that I’ve found interesting recently and made me think of Oakland for one reason or another. Happy reading!
- Oakland has problems. You know who else does? Paris. Yikes. Yet another series of riots in Paris has prompted renewed calls for community policing.
Advocates for a more holistic approach to law enforcement blame the riots on city police’s hostile treatment of the residents of Paris’s banlieues, heavily minority neighborhoods marked by overcrowding, poverty, and unemployment.
- Beverly Hills tries to lure holiday shoppers by bribing them with free parking. The sense of entitlement displayed by shoppers asked to comment on the move is fairly astounding, but Oakland’s own elected officials might do well to consider this attitude before they start whining about how they don’t want to spend RDA money to build a parking garage in someone else’s district as part of a strategy to attract regional serving retail to Oakland.
- Food banks throughout the country are having a rough time keeping up with demand, partly due to a healthy agricultural economy that’s providing few surplus crops for purchase at a discount rate, as well as decreasing federal support and changes in grocery industry inventory tracking practices. The reasons are interesting, but mostly, it’s just sad. Might be a good time to send that check to the Alameda County Food Bank.
- Denver is hoping to revitalize a one of its streets using similar planning techniques as those proposed by the Conley Consulting Group for Broadway’s auto row. The strategy has already attracted a number of new businesses and crime in the area has dropped significantly, but some longtime residents worry about losing the unique character that made the street charming in the first place.
- Think Oakland’s anti-growth club is annoying? It doesn’t get any better if you go somewhere else. Environmentaly conscious development isn’t any easier to get approved in the suburbs. Apparently, density is a four letter word no matter where you are.
- A new study from McKinsey & Co claims the US could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than a quarter with few costs and few advances in technology, simply by getting people to make better choices.
- A town in New Jersey has subpoenaed Google for records that would reveal the identity of a pseudononmyous blogger who has written critically of local government. They have demanded that in addition to revealing the blogger’s identity, Google provide them with “contact information, blog drafts, e-mails, and ‘any and all information related to the blog.’ ” Creepy!
- Personally, I always thought it felt kind of off how your bank can just sell your mortgage to whoever they want. This article details how the increasingly common practice has contributed to the housing slump and is causing widespread uncertainty.
- We aren’t the only ones banning plastic bags. It sounds like officials in Kenya and Nigeria are doing it because they need it, though, not just to get their name in the newspaper.
Pictures from the Oakland Holiday Parade below: