Tag Archives: history

Skyscraper Index: Oakland Edition

Otowers

Oakland, back in the yuppie ’80s or was it ’90s, was to have had erected a 30- or 80-story tower. Right at Broadway and 10th or 11th Streets, or some other street on the Oakland Chinatown village border. Asian money from Hong Kong or nearby was to have funded it.

And after reading about the Skyscraper Index am I ever glad that it didn’t get built! The least of our problems would have been a helpful nudge into Rush Hour II territory: yet more people belching forth onto Broadway, 12th Street BART platform and into shiny people-movers that maximally hold five American-sized adults (legally). But maybe Jackie and Chris would have made a cameo. Oakland should be so lucky. Continue reading

What we had before AC Transit busses: the future?

The only constant in life is change.

How did Oakland look before Government Motors (aka GM) and Standard Oil (aka Chevron/Exxon/Texaco…) had their way with it?  And will we ever get it back?  Other US cities have gotten their mojo back — Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Charlotte to name a few.  Others are working on it — Detroit, Atlanta stand out in my mind.  Oakland can’t seem to get its transit act together although we DID have it together at one point.  Take a look after the jump.

Here’s a shot of today’s Sear’s and 20th Street “bus stop row” aka Thomas Berkeley Street between Broadway and Telegraph Ave, looking East.  Click below to see how 20th Street used to be.  (Hint: no bare Sears windows and blank walls!)

Continue reading

SF Weekly says “SF badly run city”

So if you thought Oakland had its share of corruption, surprise, so does SF.

At least according to the SF Weekly.

Singular problems, or structural dilemma? Among the choice money quotes:

“You can’t get San Francisco running efficiently, because that would require large numbers of unionized city workers to willingly admit their redundancy and wastefulness. Inefficiency pays their salaries. ‘It’s been going on for decades,’ Peskin says.”

“…San Francisco is shedding its middle-class population at double the state rate. The city, however, is not losing low-income people at nearly the state’s pace — and is gaining wealthy residents at far more than California’s overall rate. In short, we are replacing our middle class with a rich elite and a burgeoning underclass. Watkins’ research also reveals that San Francisco is going gray. The number of city residents between ages 45 and 64 has climbed, while the count of those aged 20 to 44 has dropped. The city, it seems, has become a target destination for the wealthy and retirees. These are not the people who want to make sacrifices now to shore up the city’s future.”

The above sounds just like London, Mumbai or… Cambodia.  What’s new? White flight has reversed, and cities like SF and Oakland are ground zero for the returnees. Meanwhile, the poor displaced are having to move out to outlying, cheaper areas such as San Leandro, Vallejo or Union City.