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From national to local, in the news

Alright, it doesn’t take top bloggers like V-Smoothe and Becks to shame me into posting more. I’m just pleased to be part of the conversation. This blog is FutureOakland: every day Oaklanders make decisions that shape the future. Therefore, the future is the present. Here are some recent news articles, from all over the country, that relate to the ongoing formation of Oakland’s future.

With New York State rejecting $354m of federal matching funds for congestion pricing and transit upgrades, other cities are getting into the mix. Chicago has proposed an amibitious BRT network, and Los Angeles is angling for more money to supplement their record-breaking public investments in transit. Meanwhile, Berkeley residents seek to put all traffic and transit improvements to public vote, to block a regional project that goes only about a mile into Berkeley.

Finally, someone who is already on the City Council (besides Ignacio, of course) talks about the need to implement policing strategies and technologies now commonplace in other large cities! SF’s new crime czar is singing the same tune. It seems like elections bring out the best in politicians, except when they don’t.

Nancy Nadel revealed at the HarriOak / Adam’s Point / WOBO candidates’ forum that Fresh & Easy, contrary to her assertion late last year, will not be coming to West Oakland’s Acorn Shopping Center (they will open a store in the Eastmont Mall). She noted approvingly that Fresh & Easy was rejected by EBALDC, their putative landlord, over wages. “Do we want a grocery store that won’t pay a living wage?” she asked rhetorically. A Better Oakland cites the wage difference that torpedoed the grocery store, which focuses on low-priced but organic goods, at $0.39/hour.

A local blogger invents a pro-Dellums argument out of thin air: because the mayor was in Capetown, South Africa roughly around the same time as a shipment of arms bound for Zimbabwe was turned away from a Durban, South Africa, port, he must have been instrumental in keeping those arms out of Mugabe’s hands! I often piece together superficially unrelated news stories to create a narrative, but I hope they’re a bit more persuasive.

Los Angeles is paying attention to what transit users and pedestrians desire and installing eye-catching, well-located and comfortable street furniture as part of a “Community Living Room” initiative. Apparently the idea started in Oakland, but I certainly haven’t seen anything like that here. Maybe it’s because I live in D3.

Washington, DC became the first US city to implement a citywide bike-sharing program, funded by advertisers (in this case, Clear Channel Outdoor, headquartered in Oakland). Too bad Oakland’s proposed downtown zoning precludes billboards. The proposed zoning would also ban storage, which has been making a comeback lately as an asset class in the form of develop-and-hold REITs, for reasons including the Smart Growth trend toward real-estate downsizing, which creates new storage needs.

Beserkeley announced the results of a city-funded study. It confirmed that, yes, Virginia, there are many artists in West Berkeley, at least according to what they consider art. Though computer-based design doesn’t count according to Berkeley’s strict zoning, yoga studios do, so clearly nothing should be developed in order to protect valuable artists of the “expressive” variety.

San Francisco is relaxing height limits in the lower-rise parts of their city center. A marked contrast to proposals presented by Oakland’s city staff under the direction of Dan Lindheim. Not all of Oakland’s planners seem to be on-message, though.

Sacramento leaders including Governor Schwarzenegger and President Pro-Tem Perata are suggesting expanding the state’s sales tax to services. This could be a great boon to Oakland, because competitive goods are often sold outside the city but services are usually consumed nearby. For example, a woman might buy a pair of fashionable stiletto sandals in San Francisco, but will get her pedicures in Oakland (and the heels will be repaired here as well).

Scraperbikes are cool.

And everyone’s favorite rag the Berkeley Daily Planet goes weekly, starting tomorrow. I will endeavor to be somewhat more constant in my own writing, as well. Thanks for the encouragement!


Posted in berkeley, breakingnews, california, citycouncil, dellums, elections, nadel, oakland, opd.

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2 Responses

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  1. Bobby White says


    My name is Bobby White and Im a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. Sorry to blast this here but I couldn’t locate an email address for you. I’m working on a story about crime in Oakland and how the city has turned to technology to curb a rising tide of violence. Last year, Oakland began using Gun Shot detection technology from Shotspotter Inc., which plants tiny microphones around urban areas to detect and locate shots . Has this technology had any impact overall in your opinion? It would be great to get your thoughts about crime in Oakland and to discuss the city in general. The Journal is expanding its coverage to include more general news, in response I will be writing more about regional crime, including the San Francisco Bay area. I can be reached at 415 765 6112 or via email (

    Hope to hear from you soon . . . Thanx

  2. springboard says

    Bobby. Wasn’t the city’s sniper detector system…um…broken? For at least a short while? Look it up in nexis.

    And Future-O! You didn’t like my story, eh? Ah well…remember, a COSCO ship got busted here in the mid nineties carring something like 2000 small arms (or not-so-small assault guns). The same ordinance we went and got that sniper-scope stuff for….small arms trade is something that hits us here at home too.