Monthly Archives: August 2009

Awesome new burger joint!

I stopped into Chef Edward’s BBQ this afternoon for quick grub. It’s like a small cozier version of the old Mel’s Diner in Berkeley. The staff are warm, the food is good ‘n hot, and they even topped off my lemonade before i left! Service with a smile baby. (not with a snarl)

I’m not sure why most of the corporate barracks set who live in The Uptown haven’t found out about it yet (surely a couple have). May be that it’s across San Pablo, across a dividing sea of poverty and therefore a heart of darkness or place where few Uptownians dare tread.

Most people living at Uptown walk to and from BART to their dayjobs, or drive to their work, and would rarely be curious enough to jaywalk across to the other side of the street.

San Pablo is to the Uptown complex as 980/24 is to Temescal vs West Oakland. Cross it, and find interesting gems like Chef Edwards.

Like Bakesale Betty, and unlike Black Muslim Bakery, this is a legitimate small business we all ought to be supporting. (like Giant burger but yummier.)

This place isn’t new in any sense except that I found it today; was taken there by a friend is more like it. Reasonable pricing too… you get better food than Subway next door (and a complete ‘meal’) for just a dollar more. It’s been open for I don’t know how many decades… quite a few. Worth a visit!

Another pedicab in Oaktown!

Early this morning I saw yet another pedicab in Uptown.

This one’s red and white striped, with car speakers sticking out each side. The cab appropriately is named Radio, like the goodly two story dance and drink jewel we have on 14th Street by BK.

The guy calls himself “Radio Man.”

Sounds post Post-Petroleum Man to me!

Cafe Zaya

There’s a new cafe in town.

It’s called Cafe Zaya. It’s in a former cafe’s old space, which I forget the name of.

I tried it. There’s now one review on Yelp for it. V Smoothe tried it last month and said “it was okay.”

What do you think of Zaya?

Oakland Pedicabs

Oakland has had and continues to have several pedicabs rolling about its decrepit streets.

  • Oakstercab
  • Some anonymous people I keep hearing about who pass thru Uptown or around Lake Merritt
  • Personal: a salty Oakland GenXer I met once who has a green Main Street brand pedicab to haul his two girls around in

If you see a pedicab, give it a whirl!

sign it- oac boondoggle petition

From Rebecca Saltzman at the Oakland Living blog.



As many of you know, I’ve been working since February to stop the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), a half billion dollar BART project that will suck funding from the core BART system and other Bay Area transit projects. Our coalition of labor unions, transit advocates, and social justice advocates have showed up at every meeting, generated hundreds of emails and phone calls, and expressed our concerns about the project to the press. Still, BART has refused to listen to our requests to study a bus rapid transit alternative, which could be built for a 10th of the cost of the OAC!

We’re nearing the end of our fight, as the Oakland Public Works Committee will be voting on the project on Tuesday, September 15th, and the issue will likely go to full Council after that. Many Oakland councilmembers are very concerned about this project, but we need to show them that they have the support of the public in calling for a more cost effective bus alternative.

So I’m asking you to take 5 minutes to do the following:

  1. Visit now and sign the petition.
  2. Send an email to your friends asking them to sign the petition.
  3. Post the link to FacebookTwitter, your blog, or anywhere else you can think of to get the word out.

Your help will make a huge difference so please don’t delay!

And if you need one more reason why you should oppose the OAC, I have one: It’s even slower than we had initially thought!

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Cows…in Berkeley? Jobs…in Oakland?

Hey, remember when “colored” people were the only ones complaining about jobs? Now it’s “middle class” people too. Except that the latter for now are taking their lumps and paying for their kids’ unpaid internships, stuff-white-people-like style. Nary a complaint, no  [Of course, in the past several years the former have been also complaining about police brutality (Marcel Diallo) or killings within the black community. As the church sign on Telegraph says, “stop black on black violence.” So does that mean start black on  (other) violence?, I had to wonder. Anyway, due to lack of money in the ghetto, it is a bit like watching spiders in a jar. The more you add, the more they start eating each other. It’s genetic. I am ashamed to say I did that once as a kid.]

Big surprise. After 30 years of increasing our debts to “eat the future” and giving away (“offshoring”) our manufacturing base to the world for increased corporate profits, and still with a 70% “consumer spending based” economy, we can’t build/borrow/”innovate” our way out of this mess, much less exit a brown paper bag with arrows pointed toward the opening, or repave Oakland streets properly — that is, to 1940s standards.

Time for triage in Oakland street repaving; time for triage in American job creation. I can tell you one thing. Obama isn’t going to create many long-term jobs. So much for change. Besides repair type jobs, the next big jobs wave will be farming. I feel really certain about this based on all the anecdotal stories about people gardening and beekeeping in Oakland and nationwide more than ever these past few years.

What else do we have really, which could generate enough jobs? Please don’t tell me government. Government and government-run entitities needs to take a severe diet. Car and housing related employment is dead for decades. High tech outsources and centralizes more jobs than creates new ones.

1 in 9 Americans are now on food stamps.

We’re going back to the future, 1849 before Industrialization Part 2 took off in Britain in 1850.

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A streetcar named Oakland?

How much fuel does our city government burn through every day of the week? Oil and gas can only be burned once you know! And fossil fuel is super duper useful. One gallon of gas pushes a Crown Victoria 15 city miles, unless it’s hot rodding through poorer areas. (i wouldn’t blame the driver. driving is much less pleasant IMO than walking or biking a beat)

How many city employees, Telegraph hipsters, downtown office plankton, restaurant day laborers or slaves would you need to push this squad car 15 miles? How much would you pay any of these heathens hourly, vs the mere $2.97 (or $4.22) for four quarts of 87-octane gas? (*facetious answers at bottom)

Once oil is fed to our cars and burnt out our tailpipes–poof. No more “go” until the next tanker truck shows up. In an earthquake, economic collapse, or other situation it might be a while. So when is our Safeway bread and juice reload scheduled for then? How many days of fuel does City of Oakland keep on hand?

I contacted my city councilwoman, the illustrious Ms. Nadel, to ask how much fuel the city has on hand in case of any type of emergency. How many days can the city operate? We already have to ground the OPD “ghetto bird” helicopter (actually it’s a MD 500E that gets 1-2 miles per gallon; 64 gallon capacity; 150mph top speed; 34 gallons per hour*; 1.5 hour range) due to lack of fuel (money… fuel and money, same thing)…

Here’s the response I received from OFD:

The City has a fuel supply of about 12-14 days on hand. [more than most residents. is this normal supply or emergency overdrive high-burn-rate supply?]

Additionally, the City has several agreements with fuel suppliers during emergencies. [who? at what rate?]

I believe that our supply will be adequate as during a major disaster we will begin to receive State and Federal assistance for resources with 7 days. [from schwarzenegger and the kinder, friendlier bush? are you kidding?]

I hope you will find this information useful. [i’m quite grateful; details would be lovely]

Best Regards,


What’s this mean to you? To our city? Will the State of California or FEMA come to Oakland’s aid in a major emergency?

Water is way more important than fuel, but fuel is vital to the movement of food and water into cities…in many, many ways.

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