Category Archives: ReDevelopment/Land Use

Ospotting #1: Better Bus Bench Ad contest

west o, saturday, 3.31.12

Caption contest. No wait… Better Bus Bench Ad contest. In the advertising industry, people refer to ads you make for yourself when you have no paying advertisers as house ads. And the bench above features one such “house ad.” Sometimes people refer to PSAs as house ads too, even though they are PSAs.

Now, I’m sure you, the smart Oakland blog reader, can come up with a better ad. Examples:

  • Don’t sit here. Moving targets are harder to hit than stationary ones.
  • Sit here. Moving targets are more tempting to hit than stationary ones.
  • Green is clean.
  • I don’t have to bother hunting for a parking spot.
  • Why pay for parking?
  • Sightsee and peoplewatch in Oakland. Only $2.10.
  • Save on gas, buy more greens. [whatever that means for you]

Until the death of online advertising commences, I don’t see bus bench ad agencies getting much business. Since I foresee that happening someday, now would be a good time to get into the bus bench ad business for pennies on the dollar.  Except…for the years of cleaning and repainting the benches while you wait.

On the other hand, this is a HUGE missed branding opportunity for AC Transit. Are you guys asleep at the wheel??  Oddly, I’ve never once seen an AC Transit advertisement for itself a la  SF MUNI or LA METRO.  Maybe the bus bench is the real life equivalent of the468x60 digital banner ad, and no one designs for it anymore…

* * *

On another note, some people recently started publishing awesome photo and transcribed audio interviews taken throughout Oakland. Let’s meet our neighbors, including Gregory and Bird. Thanks Sati and Saskia!

Now show me your engaging house ad concept. Hey DTO510 and Gene and 38th Notes

running for life, recallquan status, bloggers, future

2H March 2012 Update

Tabling for New, Better Mayor

I witnessed two gents tabling for the Recall Oakland Mayor Quan campaign by the Downtown Marriott last weekend.  A good spot to camp out – many Oakland Marathon registrants passed by. Other highlights:

  • Rain
  • plenty of takers though at the booth
  • donuts and cookies provided by moi
  • every weekend at farmers market near you!

==

If you’re into sustainability thoughts and trends, you might read up on how Ancient China kept up its transport mobility mojo in an era of post-asphalt roads during a time when Ancient Europe failed to do similarly. With a Chinese wheelbarrowWell – it’s true the ‘peons used Roman paved roads for a millenia, but it was all dirt roads from there. What’s this got to do with the East Bay? Continue reading

In memories yet green: goodbye Sears, hello Opportunity!

Sears: will it close the Oakland store in Uptown soon?  If so, good riddance!  Read more at sfIST.  (Note: Oakland Sears closing is complete conjecture at this point!)

The best thing that could happen to Uptown Oakland Sears is emptying and gutting it, seismically inspecting it and fixing if needed ($$!), putting in walls and stalls, creating a look down/up atrium indoors like Westfield-Bloomingdales has (Oh wait, we have the Rotunda building already), and turning it over to a mix of Chinatowners, Phil Tagami, Roy Alper and indie businesses a la PopUpHood — creating a Richmond 99 Ranch type mall. Maybe add F21+H&M to attract the “youth” market. And pop those windows for views of Uptown, the Lake and the Bay!

This week’s “big news” from Sears of 100+ store closings is actually a drop in the bucket, as Sears Holding Corporation has been rationing/ portioning out its store closings.  They’re also a mix of “brands” — Great Indoors, Kmart, Sears, etc.  There were actually 100 “other” store closings this year already! Click here for the list of pre-existing store closings.

The writing’s been on the wall for 1st world consumerism since Limits to Growth came out in the 70s. We all just kept spending thanks to increasingly large amounts of credit, now all poofed away.

As for the land itself, it’s potentially quite valuable: located on and above three BART lines (Fremont-Richmond, SF-PB, SF-Richmond), close to many intriguing eating and entertainment venues, and close to many apartment buildings as well as Kaiserville and what passes for Oakland’s Financial District.

Potential future tenants, current zoning notwithstanding:

  • the profitable non-profits of Mayor Quan’s largesse,
  • City of Oakland retirees and other retirees (sound-insulated old folk’s home on top floor or two),
  • lofts for The 5% and their hipster relatives (if retiree pensions get haircuts),
  • Can we all say at the same time: Bowling Alley! 😛
  • All hours Japan-style “love hotel” for nightlife lovers/ couples in the area (perfect: underground parking, close to transit, close to TONS of bars, restaurants and concert venues) on one floor (also sound insulated; no windows — I’d be happy to find some investors for this)
  • Mainland Chinese seeking permanent residency in the US.

What am I missing?  Anyway, Sears will be missed, but not by too many.  Their core demographic now shops WalMart and Target aplenty, sometimes the corner hardware store, and more often than not, Restoration ‘Hardware.’

#OccupyOakland General Strike Recon 11/2

Photos below are from just before noon today along likely General Strike march route.

The port police are ready, OPD is ready. Make sure to stay visible to BART riders. Bring lots of water, energy bars, clothing (will be cold later!!), led flashlights… coordinate with your peeps by social media and RADIO. If police can check up on us with infiltrators, we can do same with police band radio checkups. Perhaps carry fingernail clippers in your back pocket to clip zipties. Onward!

Port police patrolling 7th Street, above.

Below you’ll find OPD squad cars, motorcycle patrolmen, City of Oakland Public Works trucks… all hands on deck today. For better or worse.

Very glad to see and hear today on KPFA that protestors demonstrated in front of all the BIG TAPEWORM BANKS I’ve railed against repeatedly here on my blog in 2008, 2009, 2010.

People are finally getting it.  How many Oakland “progressives” bank with these zombie banks which are sucking us dry?

Lest I repeat myself… big banks who received bailout “tarp” money 2008+:

  1. Bank of America/ Merril Lynch (more recently, $75 Trillion of derivatives moved to “Fed”/Treasury books!! unholy bailout of 2011!)
  2. Wells Fargo/Wachovia (drug money launderers, not to mention mortgage nonsense)
  3. J. P. Morgan Chase  / WaMu
  4. HSBC
  5. ING – another Euro bank we bailed out
  6. CitiBank – massive fail
  7. Societie Generale – FRENCH bank we bailed out due to their own risky “mortgage-backed securities” fraud schemes failing – to the tune of billions of dollars

The elites/oligarchs/plutocracy doesn’t count every vote. They buy votes. What they DO count is every DOLLAR. Move your Dollars!!

2:30PM Update: More great photos from today so far:

Aerial view of city hall plaza

Challenge Corporate Power banner (“skyscraper” format for you ad network folks)

Crowd at Bway/14th this morning

One of two streetlamp climbers hoisting anti-zombie bank banner by CHASE Bank this morning at Webster/20th

And… where is FRANK CHU??? (12 Galaxies)

 

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?

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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