New blog design, updated blogroll & plenty on the City Council agenda

28 Feb

If you’ve been to the Living in the O site since Sunday, you’ve probably noticed that I finally updated the look and navigation of the site. I picked this theme because of how it features photos and how it fits so much but doesn’t feel cluttered. I hope you like it.

If you haven’t been to the site (and I know from stats that most of you read via RSS feeds), take a minute and check it out, as I also updated my blogroll, which I haven’t done in a very long time. I added a bunch of Oakland, California, and transportation blogs I read regularly. If you’re looking for new blogs to read, check some of them out.

I also added an email subscription feature. Several readers have asked me for this, but I hadn’t had time to get this up and running. You can subscribe by entering your email address at the top right hand corner of the page, underneath the Facebook and Twitter icons. Is your email too cluttered already? You can also follow Living in the O on Facebook or Twitter – I link to every Living in the O post in both places.

The header of the blog is still the same, mostly because I didn’t have time to change it, but I plan to swap out some of the photos soon. My wife and I were talking last night about this and had many ideas, but let me know if you have thoughts of photos that would visually describe this blog.

When redesigning this blog, I went through a bunch of archives and realized I missed doing the weekly events round up that I did religiously for more than a year. Sadly, I just don’t have time for that anymore so I’ve been trying to highlight some of the most interesting and important events when I can. There is one part of the weekly round up that I intend to get going again – the brief summary of what’s going on at the Council meetings every two weeks. Even though the agenda’s online, I know most people don’t think to seek it out. Also, if you’re not familiar with Council meetings, they can be hard to read.

This week seemed like a good week to start, as though tomorrow’s agenda isn’t very long, the Council will be discussing some important and contentious issues. First up, the Council will be voting on the zoning update. While the vast majority of the zoning proposed is not contentious, there are a few corridors that are, and if the Community and Economic Development meeting discussion of this is any indication, this will be a long and heated item.

Next up will be the less contentious discussion of the Oakland Energy and Climate Action Plan, which covers just about every issue you can imagine that effects the climate or energy – transportation and land use, building energy use, and material consumption and waste. I was only listening on and off to the discussion at Public Works on this, but it sounds like there’s wide agreement on most of the plan. The one issue I remember arising is whether food issues should be included in the plan.

The Council will then shift gears and discuss purchasing equipment for the Oakland Police Department. This seems like a simple item, but I didn’t see the Public Safety meeting so it’s hard to say.

To end off the night, the Council will discuss everyone’s favorite topic – parking meters! Ever since the Council voted a couple years ago to rescind the extra hours for parking meter operation, which had been extended from 6pm to 8pm, they’ve been struggling to fill that budget gap. At the time, they said they’d fill the gap by installing more parking meters. But every time staff proposes actual meters to install, someone complains about them or says there’s not enough parking demand. The problem is that we don’t know what the parking demand is almost anywhere – all of the comments are anecdotal. I hope the City Council instructs staff to move forward with a parking demand study for the City. Without this study, it will always be difficult to install new meters and to figure out how much to charge for parking.

See the full meeting agenda and check out my post about how to watch and understand City Council meetings if you need some guidance on how or where to view the meeting. The non-consent calendar part of the meeting start at 6:30pm on Tuesday evening in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

2 Responses to “New blog design, updated blogroll & plenty on the City Council agenda”

  1. Naomi Schiff March 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Looks fine, and I congratulate all of us on moving past the zoning update meetings. Onward!

    • Becks March 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      I’m so glad to be moving past that.

      But the end of the Council meeting tonight suggests it will be a LONG time before we’re past meetings on parking.

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