Monthly Archives: January 2011

Yesterday’s Gems

Before we get to resources, here’s some icing on the SF media’s cake.

The day after Chronicle reports on a woman’s body and car being burned in the Lower Haight among other things, they trot out this article on Oakland’s hilly cemetary of unknown buried people by Pleasant Valley Safeway.  I bet the Chron saves up these nuggets for times when SF has truly macabre news in order to deflect the pall onto Oakland, the “dirty” city across the bay which was afraid to be further sullied by a Gentlemen’s Pimp tv show. As if that could even be possible, for that is our reality.

Okay, onto Today’s Gems.

  1. Mapping America – type in 94612 (Uptown) and see what you get. You can see where people of different ethnicities cluster, as well as view population through income and other variables. Look at Oakland. The Bay Area. The nation. >10 minutes timepass.
  2. Strategic Growth Council – a working group created by SB 375, California’s anti-suburban sprawl legislation.

Of local interest:

  • City of El Cerrito – Ohlone Greenway Natural Area and Rain Gardens – $903,721 Create a 2.75 acre riparian forest beneath the BART tracks along an accessible multi-use trail.Contact: Melanie Mintz, Environmental Services Manager, (510) 215-4339
  • City of Richmond – Miraflores Sustainable Community Greenbelt Project – $1,664,319 Convert Brownfield to a 4-acre green space, adjacent to City greenbelt, by daylighting 750 feetof Baxter Creek and adding recreation zones and a community garden.Contact: Natalia Lawrence, Sr. Development Project Manager, (510)
  • San Francisco Planning Department – Cesar Chavez Street Low Impact DevelopmentGreening Project – $1,000,000 Enhance an ongoing, multi-modal transportation project by adding trees, green stormwaterplanters and drought tolerant landscape along roughly one mile in the city’s highly urbanizedMission District.Contact: Andres Power, Project Manager, (415) 558-6384
  • San Francisco Recreation and Park Department – Boeddeker Park and Urban GreeningProject – $493,000 Improve stormwater capture at a one-acre park with climate-appropriate landscaping, bioswales,permeable paving, and an underground infiltration system. Interpretive signage about theproject’s unique green features will also be installed.Contact: Jacob Gilchrist, Project Manager, (415) 581-2561
  • San Francisco Recreation and Park Department – Cayuga Park Renovation – $710,779 Enhance existing green space and improve stormwater capture at City’s hilltop park. The projectwill construct a green roof on the park’s clubhouse and convert 6,500 square feet of street intoadded park space.Contact: Toni Moran, Environmental Specialist-Fiscal/Grants, (415)
  • Golden Gate Audubon Society – Pier 94 [hunter’s point -ed]Restoration Project – $75,000 Enhance native upland habitat to encourage passive recreation in a severely disadvantagedcommunity.Contact: Mike Lynes, Conservation Director, (510) 843-2222

All funded by Prop 84 money.  No money for Oakland. We lack suction?

The Wire

Finally watchin this thing. S 1 D 1. Dope.

Park-o-matic Borg on the Loose?

Oakland’s city planning department as noted on other Oakland blogs has some enthusiasm for surface parking. We’re not sure why. We wish they were bigger fans of say Lady Gaga (coming March to the Oakland Arena) or basashimi (raw horse sashimi). The city has plenty of sunlit Urban Heat Island inducing blacktop already. [Update/caveat: we haven’t verified this alleged enthusiasm ourselves, and are depending on good reporting from other Oaklanders and or Oakland blogs.]

More parking means more cars, more gasoline imports, less space for relaxation, less social life, less “green city,” more “gray city.” Cities are for grid-connected electric vehicles (elevators, streetcars), not horses and cars, silly!

A sampling of downtown’s existing parking lots and parking garages shaded red below. Click to enlarge.

Maybe the city planning department wants Oakland to look like Houston. Downtown Houston looks like it was bombed out during WWII.  At least they did it with their own oil…

Link to Houston satellite photo.

Link to Oakland paid parking lots.

The high cost of parking has been discussed endlessly in planning circles.

Alternatives to surface parking lots w/ examples:

  • Underground parking lots – San Francisco AMC Theater, Kintetsu Mall, Oakland Kaiser Convention Center/City Center
  • Buildings – the rest of Oakland downtown, SF, Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Boston…
  • Sports fields (Americans are out of shape and bored) – Berkeley’s soccer fields by 880 @Gilman
  • Outdoor Concert Halls – Greek Theater, Berkeley
  • Temporary tree nursery lots – SF’s Better MidMarket plan contemplates this
  • Art installations – SF’s mid-market, Uptown’s empty lot fencing
  • “Wild space” – you know
  • Community gardens – plenty of people would want to start/maintain these, ie Hayes Valley Farm, Tenderloin People’s Garden
  • Dog parks – Hardy Park, Rockridge; better than car parks

Are you against adding yet-more parking to downtown Oakland? Find who to contact at A Better Oakland. Let’s stop the CEDA-Planning Commission park-loving borg entity… and actually raise property values and increase human amenities downtown! (Plus emergency capacity.)

And just kidding about basashimi. I’d eat fried cockroaches before eating horse, rabbit or dolphin.

Posted from The Punchdown.

Upcoming, Up’n’Came Eats and Drinks

Central Oakland is far from saturation point for good eats and drinks.  I wonder from time to time when we’ll arrive at super-saturation. We probably don’t have to worry about that ever happening. So what’s the new hotness, or, “what’s good?”

Disco Volante – 347 14th Street – beautiful stained glass curtains inside, band triangle, mochi-filled dates (figs?), bacon-y pecan nibblers, more. This baby is open for lunch now, should be open for dinner in two weeks. (Thanks @Vsmoothe for the up to date timeline.) Keep an eye out! FB page

Bar Dogwood – 1644 Telegraph Ave – should be open this spring.

Xolo Taqueria – 1900 Telegraph Ave – should be open by this summer, if not April.

Public Art Plaza – 1901 Telegraph Ave – supposed to launch September 2011. Not an eat n drink “venue” but definitely a place to hang out in the future! Looking forward to it. I might be moving by then.


I’m sure you already know about these new spots:

  • The Punchdown — new wine bar with paninis & soup & wifi, next door to Plum. Great place to hang out! Run by two smart cookies.
  • Plum — haven’t been yet
  • 355 — it was good, but can’t really proffer a ‘fair and balanced’ review based upon  Santa Crawl night ;o)
  • NEX — lovely grub & grog (make sure to ask for egg whites, bitters & ice in your Pisco Sour!)
  • ERA Art Bar & Lounge — awesome old woody ambience upstairs, Gucci Sweatshirt downstairs, lovely live painting and mixology of all kinds
  • No Worries — Veggie Filipino Cuisine — and healthy at that, not the SF SOMA greased out and been layed out all day in a chafing pan fish. First off, they don’t have fish, I’d think.  Second, I haven’t been yet! Need to go…

This is a cross-post from my apartment blog…

Mini-post. ODP Chief handwriting analysis

This is just for fun, a handwriting analysis based on Chief Batts’ signature.

self important
wants the world to give him things
pessimistic, but not about himself
no real physical desires, likely mental and some emotional
free flowing personality with a tad of self destruction

I did not conduct the analysis but did commission it. 🙂

As for Batts wanting to leave, why not? Leave on a “high” or at least higher note — of lower crime statistics during your tenure — move to a city with more money and  less BS city politics, fewer crime problems (I’m assuming), fewer “knuckleheads” as Phil Tagami calls them (no brainer) and more Mexican food. Sold!

Because we play (with) ketchup

We lay down ketchup over greasy french fries and hot dogs.

We (Oakland) also play catch-up to San Francisco, a city twice as dense as us. (SF density: 17,459 per sq mi. Oak density: 7,966 per sq mi.)

They have sports teams; so do we, for now. They have the Infinity; we have The Grand.  They have the Ferry Building farmers’ market; we have the Jack London Square farmers’ market. Our politics are as corrupt and union/business/developer/mafia-influenced as theirs.

So why not copy off our neighbor? Besides, we’ll beat them to the punch on a high value target acquisition: SF Target by 2012. We also got ourselves a mayor-puppet before they will.

Two items I expect we will emulate shortly, below.

Comment: This looks good, can Audi do this on Grand-Lakeshore or Temescal-Telegraph too? I applaud the below action by luxe car company Audi mainly because at the end of the day it is time for them (and us, along with other car companies) to give back to the public realm what they (and we) took away from it. Streets are for people!

Comment: It’s about time! Midmarket needs to lose its crime and downtrodden elements (people who panhandle me daily asking for beer/ cigarette money–screw off!), and add business/ home/condo owners who are invested in its success.

I have a truly long comment for this (you can too), which is posted below. In any case, our “Midmarket” areas for improvement would include: Broadway Auto Row, 16th Street Terminus, East 14th Street.  (Did I miss any spots?)

Continue reading

Oakland conspiracy theories

I was minding my own business searching the web today and found this. Pretty fascinating.

The Man that Nobody Knows in Oakland: Charles Alex Gregory

What do you think of it?