Category Archives: Events

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

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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

Behind Government Budget Problems

Sutro Baths Steps by sirgious
Sutro Baths Steps, a photo by sirgious on Flickr.

This month’s post by Gail the Actuary explains our country’s (and the world’s) economic situation better than I ever could, so here it is.

This obviously speaks for Oakland as well, since we’re one of hundreds of US cities built upon a once lustrous but increasingly potholed and cracked foundation of cheap (and now all burnt up) oil and gasoline.

We’ll need to find other means of social lubrication, and in the meantime, don’t be poor!

The ramifications touch every part of our society, and thus I’ve tagged this with all categories. Put on your systems thinking cap and get reading!

Mr. Derrick Jones, barber, vs OPD

Update 1:

Although I have thoughts on the matter, I think it’s best for people to get a black perspective closer to the ground. Please read Davey D’s article here.

I will have to research and rewrite this post sometime. (After the jump is my original post, now in the early stages of re-write.) My original post was “colored” by mainstream media reports, and now I’m finally getting to 2nd and 3rd hand non-MSM accounts. Takes time to sort out and don’t have all (or even most) of the facts!

Update 2: SFExaminer: “Not shot in back.” According to the original KTVU report, Alameda County Coroner’s Office conducted the “independent autopsy.” AC is another government agency. How would they be independent? Note to John Burris: the family had better have their own coroner do an independent THIRD PARTY autopsy!!!

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LIVE: City Hall budget meeting, video here

Today’s city budget meetings from 5pm to 6pm and onward are viewable LIVE here via KTOP (and possibly thanks to the city’s Dept of IT)

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Upcoming BusRapidTransit meetings

Repasted from email:

Full View
BRT Public Meetings in OaklandFrom: Samantha Robinson <s.robinson@circlepoint.com>

BRT_Oakland_Post card_Final.pdf (1725KB); BRT_Oakland_Bilingual_Chi.pdf (966KB); BRT_Oakland_Bilingual_Span.pdf (823KB)

Hi there,

The City of Oakland has planned 7 public meetings on BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) for the month of January; see www.oaklandbrt.com. The first meetings are next week! (The final meeting date is not yet on the Web site, but is in the PDFs attached.) Will you please help us spread the word?

Public attendance and feedback at these meetings is critical, as City Council will vote on the project in spring. See below for intro text and attached for PDF fliers. We appreciate any help you can give to encourage Oakland to speak up!

As an FYI, I am contacting other Oakland bloggers too– but I hope you have time to help spread the word.

Cheers, Sam

BRT Project Team

Oakland councilmembers need your input on the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit ( BRT ) Project, a proposed plan for improving transit along Telegraph Ave. and International Blvd. in Oakland. BRT is being used all over the world to make transit faster and more reliable by incorporating a variety of features such as bus-only lanes, real-time arrival information, signal priority, level boarding and more . Compared to the existing 1R service, BRT would be:

– Fast: 20% faster
– Frequent: Service every 5 minutes on weekdays
– Convenient: 50% more stops

Your councilmembers want to hear from you. Attend a meeting on BRT!

January 11, 6-8 pm, Fruitvale Senior Center
3301 E. 12th St., Ste. 201

January 12, 6-8 pm, Eastside Arts Alliance
2277 International Blvd.

January 21, 6-8 pm, East Oakland Youth Development Center
8200 International Blvd.

January 26, 6-8 pm, Faith Presbyterian Church
430 49th St.

January 27, 11am-1pm, Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 2
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza

January 27, 5-7pm, Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 4
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza

January 28, 6-8pm, St. Louis Bertrand Church
1410 100th Ave.

I’ve attached so that you can spread the word about these meetings. Please invite your community to these meetings– your councilmembers need Oakland’s input!

With any questions about BRT , please see http://www.oaklandbrt.com or call the BRT project manager Jim Cunradi (AC Transit) at 510-577-3371 .

Thanks, Sam
Samantha Robinson, Project Coordinator
s.robinson@circlepoint.com * 415.227.1100 x150

CirclePoint
135 Main Street, Suite 1600, San Francisco, CA 94105
Listening, learning, leading … for a better world.

CP must be ACT’s regional transportation consultant. Big bucks eh? 😉

All I have to say about BRT is, to paraphrase a regular bus rider I spoke with: It’s about f’in time!

Is Oakland greener than Berkeley?

Is Oaktown more of a sustainability oasis than Berkeley? Offhand, I’d say no.

It’s hard to beat 10-20,000 college students walking to class or to food, unlike us Oaklanders in our Subarus, Priuses, bicycles and Buicks driving to the Temescal, Saturday Lakeshore and other farmers’ markets.  Plus Berkeley has Biofuel Oasis and those elementary school gardens who provide vegetable matter for diners at Flora.

But maybe that’s not quite fair.  Oakland has more BART stations (though due to larger size) and perhaps more bicyclists than does Berkeley.  Oakland’s population is also 3-4 times bigger than Berkeley’s. I don’t have any figures on the latter, though.  Maybe EBBC’s number crunchers know.

SustainLane.com, a bay area green living guide, is conducting an 8-week sustainability challenge ahead of the December Copenhagen climate treaty negotiations. Cities of Berkeley, SF, Oakland, San Jose all have “top 10 lists” posted of things they’d like residents to achieve.

Interestingly, Mayor of Berkeley Tom Bates is participating directly, and being a good role model by example.  Here he is using shower water to water his garden.  A lot of Berkeley and Oakland residents use graywater systems to recycle mostly clean bathwater.  Time to show your green pride!

Many Berkeley and Oakland folks are already quite green compared to the stereotype of Los Angeles or middle america. Time to prove it!

Let the games begin!