Monthly Archives: May 2011

Oakland’s Bond Ratings: Class Act or Not?

As every adult should know, a “credit” card is really a “debt” card.

In the same way, a “mortgage” is a massive “debt” owed to a bank, and the interest you pay on said mortgage is your “rent” to the bank for the money.  If you don’t own a house free and clear, you are still a renter — renting money from the bank. I won’t get into HELOCs but anyway, debt is debt.

Debt can be useful if you haven’t saved up enough money ahead of time — rainy day fun, savings, etc.  Also useful for putting up huge capital-intensive public works projects in a hurry if you expect future revenue to climb. The higher your “credit score” – aka “debt” score of “how good a debt slave are you” score – is, the more debt you can take on.

Cities have credit scores too – it’s called a “bond rating.” Continue reading

Bitter Tea and Tasty Sandwiches: Yesterday’s MTC “You Choose Bay Area” Workshop and “Tea Party” Eruptions

Attended MTC’s second Oakland spring workshop for Bay Area future planning and visioning tonight, May 24th, 2011.  The visioning process is called “You Choose Bay Area” which is part of ABAG and MTC’s “One Bay Area” project.  You can “vote” on the type of sub/urban future you’d like to see at the YCBA site. The workshop was from 5:30-8:30pm with basic box sandwich dinners provided.  Ham, roast beef, tuna and chicken. Tea was also provided…though not by MTC. I’ll dive into that later.

The purpose of this event (like the oversubscribed May 19th workshop I missed) was for residents of Alameda County to tell the MTC what they’d like their future to be like: Business As Usual or new and different.  How to prioritize land use and transportation options, policies and incentives and tax money.  Everyone did that quite well, though some less civilly.

The night’s most memorable negative feature was the sizable and obnoxious contingent of all-white* folks mostly from Livermore, Alamo, Dublin and other 680/580 suburbs. Some people might call these people “Tea Partyers.”  They were variously very dismissive, distrustful, extremely rude/shrill/loud/uncouth, (think Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin and ten of their dittohead friends in a room), ignorant about fossil fuel realities and were completely “antiMTC, public mass transit, planning, taxes, regulations and density. By re-arranging the letters in WASP, we get SAWP, or Super Angry White People. That’s what they were.

[*5/28/2011: At this point, let’s take a break and discuss race. I couldn’t help but notice that all the people who were loud, or anti-MTC/transit, happened to be white.  Does that mean the tensions in the room were due to race issues? In some people’s minds it very well could play a strong part. In a better read of the situation, it really boiled down to who was from newer  suburbs/exurbs, vs who was from older suburbs and urban cities.  Urban workshop participants were also largely white, but far more racially mixed (Asian, black, etc) given the more mixed demographics of the urban Bay Area.  I’m leaving the text as I wrote it, but keep this in mind. It’s more of a “inland vs coastal” sparring match. In microcosm, the US coasts vs the “heartland.” You can see charts of this I commissioned in 2008 for a city sustainability study.

Inlanders from the 680 valley were defending their car-based single family home way of life against decreased funding for them (which they’ve enjoyed for decades mind you), and increasing funding for less car-based, more “dense and convenient” ways of life.  I also have to note, based on the Bay Citizen story this week, that it is self-serving for Tea Party efforts to be led by a sales commission-based realtor… but still the main tension is over “The Economy, Stupid.” Also, there are no black UN (US) helicopters forcing people out of their SFHs and cars back into cities… economics alone do that. We’re in the “maturity and death” part of our society cycle right now. A new society will be born in the US by 2030. Now back to original post…]

You could say they were the ultimate version of that group of NIMBYs in North Oakland and Berkeley who frown upon any buildings taller than two stories or  Bus Rapid Transit. From talking to other people who tried to engage with them, and seeing their actions and hearing their words, I could see that they were there to get their point across to MTC (fine) but their manner of doing so was extremely rude. “Ghetto” would not be far from accurate. They were a riot. The irony! Continue reading

Let the “gentrification” continue! Until morale improves ;)

Downtown Oakland is really coming up…

When was the last time you went to a bar, lounge or club in Oakland and had to wait in line to get in?? Maybe I need to get out more? I recall doing that in SF back in the day but never here. Everyone from the Bay comes to Downtown Oakland now – from Hercules, Rockridge, Walnut Creek, Berkeley, San Francisco, Hayward….and yes there were lines last night, at Somar Bar and Era Art Bar and Lounge among other spots.

Waiting in Line, SF, 2005, photo by Thomas Hawk (example pic since i didn't take any last night)

It wasn’t an Art Murmur night. No concerts at FOX or Paramount. Just a nice Saturday night in “Tha Town.” It’s hard for me to fathom Oakland’s chilly windy weather at night.  A month and a half ago we had an 85 degree day, which I figured was Oakland’s “summer.” Daytimes are sunny but at night it can get windy and cold around here! Well, that’s gonna change next week, and get ready to party, cuz the lists of places to go are getting longer and longer! Continue reading

Breaking: Groundbreaking: MacArthur Transit Village parking garage

Are any of you going to this?

“If you’re having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online .”
Share This:
345 Spear Street Suite 700 | San Francisco, CA 94105 US

When: Monday, May 23, 2011 from 1:45PM to 3:30PM

Where: 544 West MacArthur Blvd, Oakland

What: Groundbreaking for IKEA-style car filing cabinet in the sky. Will be prefaced by saying good-bye to the low-income Sleepy Hollow Motel and Rio Motel on the southern edge of the existing (massive) BART parking lot. I have lots of good memories of MacArthur BART having lived in Temescal for a while.  I won’t miss these motels much.

If you’re going, maybe I’ll see you there.

Let the Return of the Jedi, er Gentry, continue… I just hope that Union City’s BART station T-O-D redevelopment continues apace too… it’s slowed a bit lately. Continue reading

art murmur resentment?

Seems a small minority of people aren’t Art Murmur fans. Don’t they know they are supposed to love all the things Lanesplitter? Could be a disaffected former fan I suppose… who knows.

Art 1.

Proper grammar and spelling would have been F “the” Art Murmur, not “Murmer.”

Art 2.

Not sure what the tagger was getting at in #2.  Phony Judaism? Phone Israel?

There’s some more at Bibliomania if I get off my ass soon, might record it too.

As far as positive views on the murmur, check out Becks and Gene‘s photos.

Would be more interesting to see an art gallery by the disaffected people called Art Murder but I don’t foresee that happening. I do like the wrinkled forehead egghead tagging on freeways…

North Oakland music

Music from the north pole…