Monthly Archives: April 2010

Historical photos of Oakland pre/post industrial hub status

Clues perchance of future Oakland… not?

Downtown scene during last year of World War Two. Notice the SF-style streetcar on Webster. Booze and magazines for sale, reminiscent of De Lauer’s Magazine shop or Farley’s East. Hm…

Downtown Oakland 14th and Webster 1945

Here’s a shot of Lower Rockridge’s main street. Note the old streetcar rails in the ground. This is a solidly Italian neighborhood of 1906 SF’s earthquake refugees. Photo taken during Christmas holiday season in 1930, during the US’ 1920-1933 Prohibition era when alcoholic beverages were ILLEGAL. And that was as effective as DMCA/RIIA lawsuits against Napster, or the so-called war of drugs.  Merchants: liquor and cigar shop, ice cream saloon, hardware store, shoe store, and a “piggly wiggly” grocery chain store. Nothing really changes.

College Ave Looking North towards Shafter 1930

Chevy plant on what is now Eastmont Mall, a ghost mall.

Chevrolet Plant, 73rd and Foothill 1917

Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt and the "Contra Costa Range" (The Hills) 1890

Just go check these photos out already.

McGarden [Uptown Fox Farmette] checkup #2 w/ photos

What I’m calling “Fox Farmette” is an empty City of Oakland-owned piece of land bounded by four streets: Telegraph to the East, Rashida Muhammed(sp?) to the West, William to the North and 19th to the South.   It’s the bare brown square next to the red letter A on this map.
View Larger Map

It was supposed to be a lot filled with Forest City-developed condos (and yes FC got a free 99-year lease from the city, and FC also gave generously to Jerry Brown’s State AG run) but now FC has no money so no condos.  The city then thought of repaving the dirt again to build a 1-story parking lot downtown. The public said no so now the lot sits fallow. I’ve been working my magic there though. Behold, baby steps to community gardenhood.

Photos from Saturday at Fox Farmette.

Kentucky Pole Beans.


Sweet Clover

Young trees…


Apple seedling

Another tree, with clover ground cover

You will notice there are no raised bed vegetable gardens.  No corn, sunflowers or squash. So far this has been a one-man project.  I can use your help.  Your time, knowledge, seeds, soil, wood, nails, money, whatever you fancy.  It’s fun to garden and the soil is rocky. It’s also a dog run.

Saturday I planted some white clover. Clover fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil through symbiosis with bacteria who do the real N fixing. P and K are harder to add but not impossible, especially if there were composting toilets around.

Future plans: would like to add 1-2 raised beds, sunflower patch, corns-beans-squash rows.  All gardening would need to be drought tolerant since there is no irrigation.  There are plenty of weeds in the “empty” Uptown lot… dandelions (or look-alikes?) and other things I don’t recognize.  Will post those up later.

What I’m doing is not unique. Two people have said it’s like the Octavia/Fell/Hyde Street gardens in SF that got publicity recently.  To me it is similar to the Garden Boyz project on the east coast or the shrinking and bulldozing of Detroit into a smaller, manageable city, or similar greening of cities in former East Germany.

a must read

Looting Main Street:

“We’re like a guy making $50,000 a year with a million-dollar mortgage.”

does this sound like City of Oakland or what? and when you read the article, the author even mentions Oakland specifically.

the little lawsuit John Russo filed probably only made a small dent in the profits of these big banks considering their anti-trust bond deals with Oakland and other shenanigans. but even without this 1990s Russia-style fraud, we’d still be in the midst of our pension ponzi schemes.

are all you “liberal” and “conservative” Oaklanders still banking with JPMorganChase and BofA (used to be good ole bank of italy, now a POS) and the rest?

another great write-up by former eXiled writer Matt Taibbi.

Tour of downtown Oakland

Everyone loves photos.

Here are some snaps from the past few weeks.

1. Raw sewage notice at Lake Merritt, 3/23:

Continue reading

Oakland’s future: Bicycle City

I’m probably far from the first to use this term both here and in comments over at ABetterOakland — I’ve called out Oakland’s future as that of a “bicycle city.” Maybe that is not very visionary at all. Continue reading

Classified video of US Army helicopters shooting civilians

This is bullshit. 17 minutes of video showing US Army helicopter crews playing shoot a duck in a barrel.

Killing Reuters journalists, civilians, injuring children. Wonderful, MyLai and Gary King all over again.

If you think the US military can’t be used here in the US against Americans you are wrong.


This is what our federal income taxes pay for.  Hicks playing socialist (paid for medical, housing, transport, etc) cowboys on our dime and others’ lives so we can comfortably drive our private Le Sabre, Prius, New Beetle and Impreza WRX automobiles up and down Oaktown.

In weird, unexpected and COMPLETELY UNCONFIRMED news, US accused of causing Haiti earthquake.

Now this is something I’d read about in the day or two after the quake–that the British Naval fleet near Haiti had left in the days before the quake, which has supposedly never happened in Haiti’s history for the last 99+ years.  If true, this is the equivalent of a nuclear attack and as morally wrong as nuking another country.

Wouldn’t be surprised if this weapon existed, as implausible as it seems.