Rediscovering downtown Oakland… again

29 Nov

Nearly three years ago, after dozens of downtown establishments were vandalized after Oscar Grant protests, I started a series called “Rediscovering Downtown Oakland,” in which I highlighted Oakland businesses that I loved in hopes that others would support them. Since I ended that series, so much has changed downtown. Many of the businesses have closed or moved, and so many more have popped up in their places. Looking at my post on where to grab drinks after work made me realize just how much downtown has changed, since I rarely go to any of those places anymore, and I have a full new rotation of bars I frequent.

I’ve been meaning to rewrite the series for at least several months, but I never got around to it. For the past few weeks in particular, I’ve been realizing I really needed to restart this series.

But something happened last night that pushed me over the edge. A group of people brought a resolution to the Occupy Oakland General Assembly calling for the active support of local businesses.

Here is the text of the resolution (I apologize for the caps, but I didn’t have time to retype it):

OCCUPY OAKLAND HEREBY ENDORSES AND CALLS FOR ACTIVE SUPPORT OF THE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN.

OCCUPY OAKLAND ASKS SUPPORTERS TO PARTICIPATE BY BOYCOTTING CORPORATE STORES AND BUSINESSES, AND TO ACTIVELY PATRONIZE THE 99% IN OAKLAND. THIS INCLUDES LOCAL INDEPENDENT MERCHANTS, SHOPS, VENDORS, CAFES, RESTAURANTS, AND BUSINESSES, ESPECIALLY THOSE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES SUCH AS OAKLAND GROWN THAT ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT. OCCUPY OAKLAND ASKS SUPPORTERS TO PLEDGE TO USE CASH OR OAKLAND GROWN GIFT CARDS INSTEAD OF CREDIT CARDS, TO KEEP MORE MONEY IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY.

OCCUPY OAKLAND AUTHORIZES THE LOCAL BUSINESS LIAISON COMMITTEE, IN COOPERATION WITH THE MEDIA COMMITTEE, TO PROMOTE THE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN BY PUBLICIZING IT ON THE WEBSITE, ENDORSING ACTIONS AND EVENTS THAT PROMOTE THE LOCAL ECONOMY, DEVELOPING SLOGANS, PUBLICITY STRATEGIES, AND PUBLISHING A LIST OF LOCAL BUSINESSES THAT ARE SUPPORTIVE OF OCCUPY OAKLAND.

OCCUPY OAKLAND INVITES OTHER OCCUPATIONS AROUND THE NATION TO JOIN US IN ENDORSING AND ACTIVELY SUPPORTING THE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGNS IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES.

On Twitter I heard that the resolution got about 75% of the vote (I think about 90 people voted). The vast majority of people at this very small General Assembly voted to support small businesses, but since resolutions require 90%   support for passage, it failed.

I wasn’t surprised. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it really didn’t matter. People supporting local businesses – even those involved with Occupy Oakland – can and should organize outside of OO for support of independent Oakland businesses.

To do my small part, I’m restarting the Rediscovering Downtown Oakland series. This time though, I’d love your help. What type of businesses have you been trying to find downtown? What’s your favorite restaurant or store to frequent? Let me know below and I’ll include your suggestions in the forthcoming series.

For now, feel free to check out the initial series I wrote in 2009 (though be warned that several of the businesses have since closed):

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21 Responses to “Rediscovering downtown Oakland… again”

  1. Gene November 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I vote for updates on bars and vegetarian restaurants

  2. John Knox White November 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    In the future, highlighting the text and hitting shift-F3 will convert ALL CAPS to All caps. (and vice versa).

    • veronicabeaty November 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      That is a fantastic thing to know. Thank you!

    • Rebecca Saltzman (aka Becks) November 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

      Is that a Mac thing? Because I just tried it in three different programs and sadly it didn’t work. Thanks for the suggestion though.

      • Rebecca Saltzman (aka Becks) November 30, 2011 at 9:48 am #

        Or is it just in Word? I don’t have Word on my home computer but I just tried it at work in Word and it works.

  3. Jasmine (@thebestjasmine) November 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    If there are any great bookstores downtown, I’d love to hear about it.

  4. cathy November 29, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    how about coffeeshops? with room to sit in?

  5. veronicabeaty November 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    I look forward to reading this!

  6. maureen November 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    where does Downtown Oakland start/stop?

  7. Brian November 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    It’s no big deal, but I wonder why 25% voted no?

    • Brian November 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

      I’d like to see one on cafés/coffeehouses.

  8. Karen Hester November 30, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    glad you’ll be doing this–I’d love to see you do one on the best places to dance and the best places to hear live music

    My absolute favorite place for both right now is Disco Volante where I recently heard a great New Orleans brass band and a Latin jazz band.

    Also a rundown of current queer places would be most helpful–which nights where? The Den, Uptown, Bench and Bar, Oasis, House of Music (?) I heard there was a lesbian scene there but I think it’s pretty underground and I can’t tell. BTW, if you want company to check out the scene sometime, let me know :)

    • Kevin Cook December 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      Karen,

      Thanks for supporting DV. As for dancing in a queer friendly scene, you might want to check out DJ Lady Ryan who will be doing our New Years Eve party and every 2nd Saturday starting in February. It’s all vinyl, all love and a lotta dancing.

  9. peggychinn November 30, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I love the new Rudy’s in the Fox building. I used to go to the Emeryville location, but since I live in the Uptown I was thrilled when they started getting ready to move in. Great food any time of day, and of course great beer and a bar too. Reasonably priced and a convenient meeting place.

    I also like the new Xolo’s next door to Luna. Another great spot to meet, with wonderful Mexican food that is not the usual fare.

  10. ladyolow November 30, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    What about retail? There’s been a lot of coverage already on the popuphoods in Old Oakland but I’d love to learn more about other places I can buy gifts on my lunch hour.

    • Rebecca Saltzman (aka Becks) November 30, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      I’ll definitely cover some retail. Unfortunately there’s not a ton of it, but I’ll cover what I know of. I might even do a whole blog post on florists, as there are several great florists downtown.

      • erocking December 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

        Yeah, I’d love to hear more about retail. Music (some people still buy CDs), books, outdoor equipment (REI alternative in Oakland), etc).

  11. Elusis December 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    A friend and I went and ate at Hibiscus a couple of weeks ago after being at a CUESA event at the Ferry Building, where we ran into an acquaintance who works there and at Make Westing and St. George’s in Alameda. We asked her if Occupy was hurting business and she said the biggest hurt was from people cancelling December holiday bookings out of fear after the articles quoting the “business district” people came out in the press. [spits]

    So we decided to go support DTO/Uptown businesses because we believe in both them and the Occupy movement.

  12. Rachel January 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    We love Hibiscus too! And of course if you haven’t already covered it: Flora.

    It’s a good question…where does downtown Oakland end? I would actually cast a vote for the shores of the Lake Merritt. The Scottish Rite Temple and its annual hosting of the Christmas Revels has been a part of my family’s life for 9 years now. So on that note, performance spaces to know and love downtown (or you could transfer that instead into to art deco high points of Oakland) would be another subject area to do a series on (Fox, Paramount, Scottish Rite plus all the buildings. My personal favorite is the Magnin building).

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