Tag Archives: parking

Marla Wilson: Building a Better Broadway – Signs of life along Oakland’s Main Street

15 Dec

This guest blog post was written by Marla Wilson, Sustainable Development Associate with Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s advocate for open spaces and vibrant places. She has served on the Community Stakeholders Group for the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan since the planning process began in 2008. Oakland is one of Greenbelt Alliance’s top priority cities for infill development in the region.

It’s easy to miss anything that happens this time of year. Things fall through the cracks in the crazy crunch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. That’s why you may not have noticed that the City of Oakland has released a key document with a vision for revitalizing a neighborhood that has, like several parts of the city, fallen upon hard times.

From the beginning, the City’s stated goal in creating the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan has been to address Oakland’s retail “leakage” – the fact that only $1 of every $3 an Oakland resident spends is spent in Oakland. The City’s goal has been to create a district similar to San Francisco’s Union Square or Emeryville’s Bay Street, with at least 1 million square feet of retail – that’s equivalent to roughly 2.5 Bay Streets!

Without leadership, this vision will not happen. Property owners would prefer to sell their land for uses like housing that command a larger price tag, not to mention that there are 140 property owners who need to agree in order to assemble sizable properties necessary to attract major retailers. Yet, the economic downturn has meant that this stretch of Broadway, between Grand Avenue and 580, has become more desolate, with many “Auto Row” car dealerships leaving or going out of business. Some new businesses have arrived, like 3000 Broadway and Shashamane, but they could really flourish if more people lived nearby. Meanwhile, online sales continue to rise, leaving retailers reconsidering the role of bricks and mortar locations.

Earlier this year, Greenbelt Alliance teamed up with several other organizations to announce a bold yet realistic vision for a better Broadway. This fall, we recognized and applauded the positive impact this vision has had on Oakland’s Draft Plan Concept for the Broadway-Valdez area. Sure, there is lots this plan does not yet describe, including policies to attract quality jobs. Although it’s still largely at the 30,000-foot level, the plan is definitely headed in the right direction. Continue reading

PARK(ing) Week in Oakland

13 Sep

If you’re interested in parking or PARK(ing), there’s plenty for you to do in Oakland this week. You might have heard that this Friday, September 16th is PARK(ing) Day, “an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.” Oaklanders have participated in PARK(ing) day for the past several years, and I’ve heard about some awesome plans for this year.

PARK(ing) Day is all about re-appropriating on-street parking, but off-street parking is also important to our city. On Thursday night the City is holding a workshop on off-street parking. From the email: Continue reading

Parking meters not just “cash cows”: City Council discusses parking demand management

7 Mar

As I mentioned in a previous post about last week’s City Council meeting, the meeting was full of important discussions and decisions. Though most attention has been paid to the zoning update and Energy and Climate Action Plan – and rightfully so considering how long the City and the Council has been working on those items – the discussion I found most interesting was the one on parking at the very end of the meeting. Continue reading

A busy #oakmtg – BRT, zoning, parking & more

3 Mar Internatonal TOD Map

Tuesday night’s Council meeting was full of important discussions and decisions. The Council finally voted on the zoning update and the Energy and Climate Action Plan. They also had a somewhat maddening but also very productive discussion on parking. I’ll have a post up sometime in the next week with video, but for now, here are the #oakmtg tweets, courtesy of Ruth Miller and I. And if you’re not already following Ruth @mcplanner on Twitter, follow her already! She’s been doing a fantastic job tweeting Council, committee, and Planning Commission hearings. I hope she keeps it up! Continue reading

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. Continue reading

The Blogoaksphere in 2009: The Biggest Stories

2 Jan

You’re probably wondering what happened to the three-part series I promised about the blogoaksphere in 2009. Well, I was initially hoping to get this post up on the 31st, but it turned out to be a much bigger project than I had realized. There were hundreds of blog posts to pour through and many of the big stories of 2009 were heavy and filled with emotion. I pushed on and finally finished the post yesterday evening, but when I hit publish, I received an error message and my many hours of work over several days disappeared. I have no idea how this happened because WordPress automatically saves drafts as you write, and I’ve never lost more than 10 minutes of work in the past.

Unfortunately, there’s no way I’m going to be able to recreate that post. It took an immense amount of energy and time to write, and I just am not up to doing all that research and writing again.

But I’m not looking for sympathy here; I’m looking for help. Something that happened this past year, which I had not seen as much in previous years, is that big stories emerged in the blogoaksphere. In some cases, a couple bloggers would pick up the story and then many more would join in (like the Uptown parking lot fight), and in others, everyone jumped in at once (like the shooting of four Oakland police officers). What amazed me is how many different perspectives were shared on issues and how much these perspectives filled in the gaps of reporting in the mainstream media.

Here is the list of what I thought were the biggest blogoaksphere stories of 2009.

  • Riots in response to the killing of Oscar Grant (January)
  • The Oakland Airport Connector boondoggle (February-December)
  • Tragic shooting of four Oakland police officers (March)
  • Stopping the Uptown parking lot (March-May)
  • The abrupt closure of the Parkway (March, ongoing)
  • The parking rebellion & its aftermath (June, ongoing)
  • New restaurants opening & thriving throughout Oakland (Yearlong)

Since I’m not going to be able to fill in the dozens of links and excerpts that I originally compiled, I’m asking you for some help. You’re a blog reader and probably remember some posts written about these stories. Post links, excerpts, or just thoughts on these stories (or other stories) in the comments below. If you’re a blogger, feel free to post links to your own blog posts about these stories.

I’ll get this started by posting an excerpt to one of my favorite blog posts of the year, “Thoughts on a fractured city” at City Homestead, which reflected on the killing of Oscar Grants and the riots that ensued in downtown Oakland:

The shooting and its aftermath disturb me deeply on so many levels. There are countless layers to it: fear in its many forms, anger, prejudices and quick judgments, weighty decisions with life-altering consequences. We may never know exactly what was going through that officer’s mind in those early morning hours. Although the many videos make it clear to me that there was no need to fire, those of us watching on YouTube have the benefit of hindsight. We’re not standing inside that scene, weighing our options, uncertain. That’s not to say the officer is any less accountable for his actions, as we each live our lives by the decisions we make in the instant. It’s only to say that we may never know what emotions ran through his mind as he made that choice or in the moments afterwards.

I never expected what followed, though. The protests and vigils made sense, of course: BART’s leadership was remiss in their initial response to this tragedy, I think, and in the months to come, the agency will probably dissect these days one by one, trying to determine what might have been done differently. And given that the shooting happened in Oakland and BART’s headquarters are here, it was only logical that gatherings should be here as well. But the riots stunned me. How can the destruction of our neighborhoods possibly further the cause in any way? What’s worse is that the riots do not even seem to have been wholly Oakland-grown—many of the media reports and images profile young people from San Francisco and Berkeley and places farther afield attacking OPD cruisers, torching dumpsters, smashing windows. “I feel like Oakland should make some noise,” one protester from San Francisco told a reporter. “This is how we need to fight back.” And of the Oaklander whose small business had just had its windows smashed: “She should be glad she just lost her business and not her life.” This is the way to fight back? Is the killing of a young black male truly avenged by the destruction of black-owned businesses—and in someone else’s city, no less?

She continues, reflecting on all the positive things that Oakland has to offer and ending by explaining why we continue to live here:

To the world: we are not trapped here in this city; we have chosen to be here. We are here not because it is the only place we can afford living, but because it is the only place we can imagine living. I believe in this city, in its vast potential and its vibrant communities—and I love it, with all its imperfections. As a community, we will work through the anger and the violence, unearthing the very roots of it. Then, together, we will rebuild trust across the city and create from the fragments a single unified community. There’s a long road ahead, but I have faith that it is one that the people of this city will travel together.

It is Oakland, after all.

Exactly. So please join in below and share some of your favorite posts of the year on these big stories, be they inspiring, funny, informative, or simply enjoyable. It would be a huge New Years gift to me and would help me forgive WordPress for eating all of my work.

October 19-25 Oakland Political & Community Events

19 Oct

Tuesday, October 20th – Oakland City Council Meeting

Woo! The Council has been having a series of long and intense meetings since recess, and this week’s meeting looks like it will follow in that pattern. First, the Council will swear in Police Chief Anthony Batts. Then, among other items, they’ll be receiving an update on the municipal ID card program, voting on amendments to the MOU with the Oakland Police Officers Association, discussing new business incentives, receiving an update on H1N1 prevention, and, believe it or not, discussing parking again.  Both items were introduced by Pat Kernighan – one seeks to make enforcement of the violation of parking in the wrong direction on narrow streets the lowest enforcement priority, while the other seeks to explore increasing time limits at meters in certain parts of the City. 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-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Tuesday, October 20th – 40th St Bikeway/MacArthur BART Bicycle Access Improvements Community Meeting

The City of Oakland is seeking to improve bicycle access to MacArthur BART between Piedmont Ave, Kaiser Hospital, and Emeryville. The current recommendations include a proposal to add bicycle lanes on 40th St by narrowing the median from Yerba Buena Ave to Martin Luther King, Jr Wy and from Telegraph Ave to Webster St. There are also complimentary recommendations for 41St St and W MacArthur Blvd.  City Staff have worked very hard to come up with these recommendations that will narrow some of the street medians, maintain the number of car travel lanes and parking spots, add bike lanes and enhance street greenery. Organized by the Longfellow neighbors, Tuesday’s meeting will focus entirely on the proposed project, including next steps in working with the community. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm at the North Oakland Community Charter School, 1000 42nd St at Linden St.  Jason Patton, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager for the City of Oakland will be presenting the city’s proposed plans. You can find more details about this project at the City’s website.

Tuesday, October 20th– Free Urban Bicycle Safety Class

This class, hosted by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, consists of a 3.5 hour Traffic Safety 101 Classroom workshop (formerly Day One Street Skills) and a 6.5 hour Traffic Safety 101 Road Class (formerly known as Day Two Road I class) of on-bike instruction. We encourage you to take both Day One and Day Two and to entice you to do so, we’ll give you a free front/back bike light upon completing the class. If, however, your time is limited, sign up for a Day One class. You can always take a Day Two class later. The class will take place from 6-9:30 pm at Kaiser Medical Center, 3801 Howe St, Fabiola Building Room G65B. Register online at: www.ebbc.org/safety.

Wednesday, October 21st – Laurel Outdoor Movie Night on the Patio

Oakland Food Connection and Trattoria Laurellinos welcome the return of the Laurel Outdoor Movie Night on the Patio. This month they will be featuring a great food justice documentary entitled FOOD FIGHT! A film by Chris Taylor, the documentary discusses how industrialized agribusiness is taking over the American food system and how grassroots organizations and community groups are working to change that. After the film there will be a brief discussion with members of Oakland Food Connection and California Food and Justice Coalition. The event will be held from 7-10pm at Trattoria Laurellinos, 4171 Macarthur Blvd. Popcorn and refreshments will be provided. Suggested Donation of $5.

Wednesday, October 21st – NAPAWF BENEFIT for Disaster Relief Efforts

Please join the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, NAPAWF Bay Area for the Bay Area relief efforts to support the people of Indonesia, Philippines, Samoa, Vietnam, and areas that have been affected by the recent earthquakes and typhoons.Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines with severe rains and flooding Sept. 26, followed by Super Typhoon Parma Oct. 2. These two storms left major damage to the region’s infrastructure and the increased flooding is expected to breech dams already at overflow capacity. In Indonesia, more than 80 percent of the local structures including schools, hospitals, local buildings and shops have been destroyed. Cumulatively, the typhoons have killed more than 3,000 people and injured thousands in calamity affected areas. Communities all around the country are standing in solidarity for our brothers and sisters who are still in the struggle for adequate shelter, food, water, and family reunification. A generous sponsor has agreed to match total proceeds for the night so please bring your friends, colleagues, and community. The benefit will be held from 5:30-9:00pm at Somar, 1727 Telegraph Avenue. Find more details and RSVP on Facebook.

Thursday, October 22nd – San Leandro Community Forum on Bus Rapid Transit

San Leandro will be holding several community meetings over the next few weeks to discuss AC Transt’s bus rapid transit (BRT) project.  Though these meetings will be focused on the San Leandro segment, since Oakland’s community meetings have not yet been scheduled, this will be a great chance for Oaklanders to learn more about the project. At the upcoming San Leandro meetings, AC Transit will provide detailed information on the San Leandro draft plan for BRT and collect feedback to present to policy makers. Light refreshments will be provided and there will be a drawing for free AC Transit bus tickets. The meeting will be held from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, with the presentation at 7, at San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue. The library is very easily accessible by the 1/1R or the San Leandro BART station.

Saturday, October 24th – BEAST Bloggers Camp

Get together with other East Bay bloggers for a day of workshops, meetups, and talk. Learn hands-on skills with multimedia, talk about growing your community, and ponder making money. This day-long meet up for new and experienced bloggers will feature time to mingle and hang out, but also offer practical, hands-on workshops including:

  • Investigative Reporting basics
  • Using a FlipCam and adding more video to your site
  • Making more money from your blog (case studies/strategies that work)
  • Getting started with Blogging
  • Adding photography to your site through other social media outlets (e.g. Flickr)
  • Local Blogger Directory and Discovery (share what your neighbors are doing)
  • Drupal vs. WordPress technology discussion

The camp will be held from 10am-5pm at at TechLiminal, 268 14th Street in downtown Oakland. Registration is $10 and you can register online.

Sunday, October 25th – Oakland Civic Orchestra Free Concert

The Oakland Civic Orchestra opens its 2009-2010 season with Concert Romantique at a free concert. The program includes Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No 5 in A Minor, featuring guest soloist Alina Ming-Kobialka, a finalist in the Oakland-East Bay Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition; Bizet’s L’Alesinne Suite No 2; and Berlioz’s Love Scene & Queen Mab from Romeo & Juliet. The concert will be held at 4pm at at the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore Avenue. Admission is free.  For details, call 238-7275 or  check out their website.

October 5-11 Oakland Political & Community Events

4 Oct
Monday, October 5th – Commercial/Corridors Technical Advisory Group Meeting

Thus far, the TAG has reviewed a framework for ten new zoning districts for the City’s corridors and commercial. The TAG has also reviewed detailed activity tables and design regulations for each of the proposed zones and a framework for appropriate height limits. At this TAG meeting, staff will present a conceptual map showing the proposed location of these new zones and a methodology for determining the location of the different height areas. The next meeting will be devoted to a discussion of a proposed map of height areas. The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, in Hearing Room 4 (this is on the 2nd floor). For more information, visit the Zoning Update website.
Monday, October 5th – Title IX: Gender Equity in Sports & Educational Programs 37 Years Later, We Still Have a Way to Go

Diane Milutinovich had served as a coach and athletics administrator at California State University Fresno for 22 years when she was told her position was being eliminated due to budgetary reasons.  Yet in the next 2 years, the university’s athletics budget went up $2 million, and they added 17 new positions.  Spending per male athlete went up $17,000; for female athletes, $8! It took 5 years, but she won her gender discrimination lawsuit.  Diane will share her experience and paint a broad picture of the state of compliance today.  While she will focus mainly on sports programs, she will also discuss the other areas Title IX covers including admission to universities, sexual harassment, and discrimination due to pregnancy or marital status. This event takes place from6-7:30pm at Buttercup Grill, 229 Broadway at 3rd Street. The event is sponsored by the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Tuesday, October 6th – Oakland City Council Meeting

After the last Council meeting, I posted a poll asking if you’d like to see more in depth coverage of Council meetings either before or after them. More than half of you said you’d like to see coverage before, so I’m going to start that feature tomorrow or Tuesday and will cover the full Council agenda in depth. But so you can plan, the two most contentious items of the night are the rollback of parking meter hours to 6pm and a resolution opposing the Oakland Airport Connector. It should be a very long night again for the Council. 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-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wednesday, October 7 – Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Meeting

Every month, the Central Committee meets to discuss party business and to make plans for the future of the Democratic Party in Alameda County. This month’s program sounds extremely interesting and informative – “Eye on Alameda County Water Boards” featuring Andy Katz from EBMUD and Marty Koller from Alameda County Water District. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Democratic Party, this is a great way to do so. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm in the San Leandro Main Library, Dave Karp Room, 300 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro, CA 94577.

Thursday, October 8th – Rebecca Kaplan’s Birthday Party

Celebrate Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s birthday! Join us for a “happy hour’ reception (with great food and birthday cake) to celebrate Rebecca’s 39th birthday!   Socializing, fun people, and time to share in the events of the past year, and hear about Rebecca’s plans for the coming year. The party takes place from 5pm – 7pm atJoyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th Street (Next to Geoffrey’s Inner Circle), near the corner of Broadway and 14th st in downtown Oakland. Suggested contribution, sliding scale $390 – $39. Visit Rebecca’s website to contribute, or to RSVP, contact Earp Events & Fundraising at 510-839-3100 or laurie@earpevents.com.

Thursday, October 8th – Mix It Up East Bay

Join us for a monthly happy hour bringing together young activists, organizers and leaders in the East Bay. The challenges of foster and former foster youth impact communities across the Bay Area. Come out and hear (brief) presentations on the range of local work supporting foster and former foster youth by:

  • Letitia Henderson-Souza, Casey Family Programs
  • Kevin Bristow, Renaissance Scholars Program, Cal State University East Bay
  • Reed Connell, Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance

Mix It Up East Bay is held every 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-9pm at Shashamane at 2507 Broadway. It’s accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 59.

Thursday-Sunday, October 8th-11th – Big Sale at Bookmark Bookstore

The Bookmark Bookstore, operated by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library, will have its 30% off fall sale October 8 – 11, 2009 (Thursday – Sunday). The Bookmark will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day this sale is happening. The Bookmark is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Bookmark is located at 721 Washington St in Old Oakland. When you shop the Bookmark, you are supporting the Oakland Public Library! Call 510-444-0473 for more information, or visit the Friends online.

Friday, October 9th – Special Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Meeting

LPAB is holding a special meeting this Friday to discuss a proposal to “Develop more restrictive Demolition Findings based on Historic Preservation Element.” This is the first step to address demolition findings that along with view corridors were omitted from the recent passage of the downtown Oakland Zoning Update rules. The meeting will be held at 5pm in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room 2.

Friday, October 9th – Estuary Art Attack

First Fridays are not the only day of the month to check out art galleries. Jingle Town and Alameda artists have joined together to start the Estuary Art Attack, a monthly event held on second Fridays to showcase the area’s galleries, restaurants, and bars. The Art Attack will be held from 6-9 pm throughout Jingle Town and Alameda. Check out their website for more details.

Saturday, October 10th – Oaktoberfest

Oakland’s Dimond District hosts this one-of-a-kind Fall Festival, welcoming thousands with entertainment, arts, and ecology. The Dimond continues a tradition as an entertainment destination, begun in the early 1900’s when Beer Gardens and German vacation resorts lined the boulevard. Oaktoberfest will bring world-class beer to the giant tented beer hall, serving steins of traditional German flavors regional brew pub favorites. Highlighting this years festival will be a traditional Biergarten, the Eco Fair, a Kid’s Area with Root Biergarten, a homebrew competition, and vendors from around the Bay. Celebrate Oktoberfest, Oakland style, in the Dimond at Fruitvale and MacArthur. The festival takes place from 11am-6pm on MacArthur Blvd. at Fruitvale Avenue. Visit the Oaktoberfest website for more information.

Saturday, October 10th – Life is Living Festival & 3rd Annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle

Life is Living is a FREE concert and caucus to affirm urban life through hip hop, intergenerational health, and environmental action. Activities will include a concert featuring Phroahe Monch, Kev Choice and Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Mighty 4 B-Boy Battle,the 3rd Annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle, youth town hall on health care sponsored by President Obama’s non-profit wing, Organizing for America, the Official opening of Town Park featuring Hood Games, a Skate and Bike competition, environmental Service Learning project with The Natural Builders, writing, visual Art and fashion Workshops, health screening for elders, healthy food/ healthy planet models presented by the Oakland Food Connection, City Slicker Farms, Food and Water Watch, and The People’s Grocery, and much, much more. The festival takes place from 11am-5pm at deFremery Park, 1651 Adeline St. For more info and to RSVP, see the event’s Facebook page.

Saturday, October 10th – Jane Brunner’s October Community Advisory Meeting: Meet Oakland’s New Chief of Police

This Saturday, Council President Jane Brunner will be introducing Oakland’s new police chief, Anthony Batts, to Oaklanders and he will be there to answer your questions. This meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Peralta Elementary School, 460 63rd Street. To learn more, call 238-7001.

Sunday, October 11th – Sundays in the Redwoods – Ledisi

This free concert features Ledisi. Bring sunscreen, hats and water– it can get very hot in the sun. Gates open at 1:30– concerts start at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Road. To reserve a picnic table, contact Renee Tucker at 238-4720. Find more info at the Sundays in the Redwoods website.

After a two month long recess, the Council is back in action this week and this first meeting is full of important and contentious issues. Among many other items, the Council will discuss and vote on an emergency moratorium on nail salons and laundromats, the Public Works Agency performance audit, the City Auditor’s whistleblower program report, and the authorization of incoming Chief of Police Anthony Batts’s salary. That is, they’ll be discussing all of those items if they can get past the most contentious topic of the night – parking. Pat Kernighan, after being targeted by a pro-parking mob, has proposed rolling back meter hour to 6pm from 8pm. The problem is that this would blow a $1.3 million hole in the city’s incredibly tight budget. Kernighan’s solution is to crack down on disabled placard parking fraud, but staff recommends not rolling back the meter times and Rebecca Kaplan sent the Council a copy of Donald Shoup’s presentation on “The High Cost of Free 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-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

A more rational business approach towards parking enforcement changes

30 Sep

The common refrain in Oakland recently is that businesses are opposed to the meter rate increases and the metering time change from 6pm to 8pm. Several business owners, led by Allen Michaan of the Grand Lake Theater, have spoken out at Council meetings, expressed their concerns to the media, circulated a petition threatening to recall the Council if the parking changes weren’t revoked, and posted a cartoon depiction of what Oakland looks like after the parking changes.

But other businesses are accepting the changes. Instead of scaring customers off by screaming to the media that customers will get ticketed if they come to Oakland (great job Michaan!), they’re educating their customers about the changes so that they won’t get ticketed. Spice Monkey, one of the few reasonably priced restaurants in downtown Oakland that stays open for dinner, put this sign up in their window:

spice monkey parking

If you can’t read that, it says:

NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS: Please be aware of the City of Oakland’s new parking meter guidelines!

Street parking is now $2.00 per hour and enforced until 8 p.m.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Feel free to ask us if there are other parking alternatives available.

Imagine how different the conversation would be if businesses throughout Oakland had taken this tact instead of following Michaan’s lead. Oakland wouldn’t have gotten all this terrible media coverage, and maybe people wouldn’t be so irrationally scared to come here. And yes, this fear is irrational, because people are much more likely to get ticketed in San Francisco and basically every Bay Area city charges for parking and enforces parking violations.

So go to Spice Monkey, buy some food (I highly recommend their salads and grilled cheese sandwich), and thank them for taking such a rational approach to the parking enforcement changes.

September 21-27 Oakland Political & Community Events

21 Sep
Tuesday, September 22nd – Oakland City Council Meeting

After a two month long recess, the Council is back in action this week and this first meeting is full of important and contentious issues. Among many other items, the Council will discuss and vote on an emergency moratorium on nail salons and laundromats, the Public Works Agency performance audit, the City Auditor’s whistleblower program report, and the authorization of incoming Chief of Police Anthony Batts’s salary. That is, they’ll be discussing all of those items if they can get past the most contentious topic of the night – parking. Pat Kernighan, after being targeted by a pro-parking mob, has proposed rolling back meter hour to 6pm from 8pm. The problem is that this would blow a $1.3 million hole in the city’s incredibly tight budget. Kernighan’s solution is to crack down on disabled placard parking fraud, but staff recommends not rolling back the meter times and Rebecca Kaplan sent the Council a copy of Donald Shoup’s presentation on “The High Cost of Free 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-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Tuesday, September 22nd – Walk Oakland Bike Oakland Meeting

Since attendees of past Volunteer Meetings have asked for more speakers on local bike/ped issues, expect to see more “special guests” at WOBO’s monthly meetings. We’re kicking things off with speaker Joel Peter, the Measure DD Coordinator, who will get us up to date on the Measure DD projects. We’ll also talk about the status of WOBO campaigns in progress and leave time for announcements from attendees (just let us know before the meeting that you’ve got an event or info to share). As always, there will be snacks and lots of bike parking.This meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 pm at Bay Area Wilderness Training, 2301 Broadway, Suite B – enter on 23rd Street. For more info, visit WOBO’s website.

Wednesday, September 23rd – Public Hearings on AC Transit’s Proposed Service Changes

AC Transit will hold public hearings to present its proposed Service Adjustments Plan and gather feedback from the public. If you’re concerned about losing your bus line or just want to hear more about the extensive service adjustments, these will be important hearings to attend. In October, the Board will likely make its final decision on the service adjustments, taking into consideration all public comments received. The Board could accept, modify, reject, or defer each of the proposed changes. If service adjustments are adopted, they likely would be implemented in January 2010. Take the bus: All lines serving downtown Oakland (also BART to 19th Street). The workshops will be held from 2-5pm AND 6-8pm at the AC Transit offices, 1600 Franklin Street, 2nd Floor Board Room. Find further info at AC Transit’s website.

Wednesday, September 23rd – League of Women Voters State Budget Forum

From the League’s website: “At the kick-off meeting on September 15 we will have heard about budget issues from a local perspective. What is the state perspective? We will have a resource person from Assemblymember Sandré Swanson’s office to bring us up to date on the latest information on the state budget. Come learn and talk about what you can be doing to make things happen both here in Oakland and in Sacramento.” The forum will be held from 6:30-8 PM at Lincoln Court Senior Housing, 2400 MacArthur Blvd. (corner of Lincoln and MacArthur).

Thursday, September 24thSpecial Meeting of the Public Ethics Commission

The Public Ethics Commission will be holding a special meeting to discuss proposed amendments to Oakland’s lobbyist registration act. The commission will discuss 1) whether registration and reporting requirements should be limited to paid, professional representatives of an organization or include volunteer representatives as well; 2) should persons who lobby City officials have to communicate a minimum number of times or devote a certain amount of their time to lobbying before triggering a registration requirement; and 3) should people be except from registering if the communications they make are a) made in writing or at a public meeting or, b) made on behalf of certain non-profit groups that operate on City property and provide a public service.These proposals sprang from a commission hearing in May at which John Klein had launched a complaint against Carlos Plazola for not registering with the City for certain lobbying activities. For background, you should read the account by Max Allstadt of the initial hearing and the lengthy discussion that followed it. The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in Hearing Room 2, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. You can read the meeting agenda here.

Thursday, September 24thWellstone Democratic Club Meeting

The Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club will present and discuss”Americans and the Climate Crisis: Attitudes and Social Change” featuring Aaron Pope, Director of Sustainability Programs, California Academy of Sciences. The meeting will be held from 6-9pm at the Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street in Oakland. For more information, visit the club’s website.

Friday, September 25th – Dancing Under the Stars at Jack London Square

Due to the success of Dancing Under the Stars, Jack London Square will offer an additional four-event series of free outdoor dance classes on select Friday nights through the end of September. Singles and couples alike can practice their sizzling salsa moves, learn new Latin dances like the Cha Cha, or do the Hustle while listening to disco. Live bands will add a new level of entertainment to the program. Novices and experienced dancers are all welcome to spend the evening dancing outdoors on Oakland’s celebrated waterfront.  No reservation is required, and all ages are welcome. Dancing Under the Stars will begin at 7:30 PM for professional dance lessons and 8:30 PM for open dance  at the foot of Broadway. This Friday, they’ll be teaching Rumba and Cha Cha.

Friday, September 25th – Fourth Friday Summer Nights: A Little Princess

This summer, the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate is hosting free movies on the fourth Friday of each month. This month, they’ll be showing Finding Neverland. Via V Smoothe, “The grounds open at 6 PM for picnicking and wandering. Music is provided before the movies, which begin around 8:30, once the sun sets. And if you don’t have a car, no problem! AC Transit line 45 drops you off maybe a 10 minute walk (or less, depending on how fast you walk, I guess) from the Estate and runs until midnight.” The estate is located at 2960 Peralta Oaks Ct.

Saturday, September 26th – Love Your Parks Day

Each year, in the fall, Oakland Parks Coalition (OPC) conducts a city-wide survey of Oakland parks to determine their condition. This year the survey is more important than ever due to the maintenance cutbacks. We need lots of volunteers to ensure that all parks are surveyed. The data from our annual surveys is used as a basis for an OPC annual report, 2007 Community Report Card on the Maintenance of Oakland Parks, which is presented early each year to the Life Enrichment Committee of City Council. The written report and a Power Point Presentation are tools used by OPC to advocate for improved and enhanced maintenance services in Oakland Parks. Meet at 8:30am at the Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland. After a continental breakfast you’ll be sent out in teams to survey 3-5 Oakland parks. To find out more information and RSVP, visit OPC’s website.

Saturday, September 26th – Democratic Unity Dinner

The Democratic Unity Dinner is the county’s largest party fundraiser. This year, speakers include Attorney General Jerry Brown, Lt. Governor John Garamendi, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, and Board of Equalization Chair Betty Yee. The Party will be honoring ACDCC long-time member Maggie Gee for all her hard work on behalf of the Democratic Party over the years. The Oakland United Democratic Campaign (UDC) will receive the 2009 Democratic Club/UDC award recognizing co-chairs Elizabeth Echols and Rodney Brooks in particular for their success. The monies raised for this event helps support our six county UDCs for 2010. Cocktails at 6 pm and dinner at 7:30 pm at the Oakland Airport Hilton, One Hegenberger Road. Find more info and purchase tickets on ActBlue.

Sunday, September 27th – Rockridge Out and About

The Rockridge District Association organizes its annual street festival to attract residents, visitors and new businesses to College Avenue.  For one magical afternoon, 10 blocks are transformed into a street fair featuring live music, cooking demonstrations, artisans and food booths, arts, crafts and kids activities. I’ve always enjoyed this street festival, but this year they’re adding an awesome new feature – a Cookbook Exchange! Bring a used cookbook and exchange it for another (remaining books will go to the Rockridge Public Library). The festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on College Avenue from Claremont to the Rockridge Library, in the Rockridge shopping district. Find more info at the festival’s website.

Sunday, September 27th – Sundays in the Redwoods – The Oakland Symphony

This free concert features the The Oakland Symphony & John Handy. Bring sunscreen, hats and water– it can get very hot in the sun. Gates open at 1:30– concerts start at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Road. To reserve a picnic table, contact Renee Tucker at 238-4720. Find more info at the Sundays in the Redwoods website.