The controversial Temescal obelisk that the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District (TTBID) and a local property owner were planning to install later this month has been halted — for now. In a meeting on Tuesday, the TTBID decided to postpone further work on the project, which called for a 20-foot blue obelisk with the neighborhood and city’s name to be placed at 52nd Street and Shattuck Avenue on a private lot.
The TTBID said that it plans to hold a community event in order to discuss the contested obelisk at a date yet to be determined.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. A new report reveals that the Oakland-East Bay area is the hottest housing market in the country, the San Francisco Business Times reports. Home prices skyrocketed by 31.2 percent here in the past year — by far the largest increase nationwide. Real estate experts attribute the huge jump to a lack of inventory: There just aren’t enough homes for sale to meet the demand. San Jose ranked second in the nation with a 23.2 percent increase in home prices and San Francisco ranked fourth with a 19.6 percent jump.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Oakland police recovered the Gold Rush-era gold box stolen from the Oakland Museum of California and arrested a man they believe burglarized the museum twice, the Trib and Chron report. On Monday, police found the gold box that was stolen on January 9 and valued at more than $800,000. Police also arrested Andre Taray Franklin, 45, on suspicion of burglary. Police, however, have not yet recovered the gold nuggets and Gold Rush era pistols stolen from the museum in November.
With a coalition of San Pablo Avenue business owners urging approval and graffiti artist advocates asking for a delay while a better law is crafted, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance Tuesday night to enhance penalties for persons who tag properties in Oakland and for property owners who fail to remove them on a timely basis. The new ordinance was developed in the office of outgoing West Oakland Councilwoman Nancy Nadel and co-introduced by City Attorney Barbara Parker during Parker’s hard-fought election campaign this fall.
With Oakland City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf declaring that, “I really get pissed off when people trash my city” and a visibly angry council President Larry Reid inviting fellow committee members to “come out to my district and talk to my constituents” if they failed to take quick action against graffiti, the council’s Public Works Committee sent a modified anti-graffiti ordinance today to the full council for consideration. After the City Attorney’s Office does some more minor tweaking, the council is expected to take up the new ordinance at its December 18 meeting.
Members of the Oakland City Council Public Works Committee held off approval of a proposed new crackdown-on-graffiti ordinance this week, sending it back to the City Attorney’s Office for what staff is calling “minor tweaks.”
A 22-foot-long carved wood panel by African-American sculptor Sargent Johnson, valued at an estimated $1 million, was mistakenly sold by UC Berkeley for a paltry $150 (plus tax), reports The New York Times. According to the article, the redwood relief was initially designed to cover organ pipes at the old California School for the Deaf and Blind. When the school closed in 1980, it was transferred to a university storage place, but when it reopened three years later, it never made it back to the building (another panel, however, was returned). Then, in 2009, the university cleared out its storage and transferred the artwork to its surplus store, where it was sold to an individual for $150 plus tax. Eventually, it made its way to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino, Calif., where it will now be displayed. Although the work was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration and thus under federal jurisdiction, there was apparently a loophole: the federal government does not retain ownership of WPA-commissioned art affixed to non-federal buildings.
Harvey Smith, president of the National New Deal Preservation Association, described UC Berkeley's handling of the situation as “amazing incompetence.”
First, there was just The Shit Girls Say:
Josh Fox, the award-winning director of Gasland, one of the most disturbing environmental documentaries ever made, describes another major threat to North America — and the world — that may be even more devastating than fracking: it's the giant Tar Sands project in Alberta, Canada. To extract fossil fuels trapped in sand, energy companies are destroying a giant swath of pristine Alberta forest that is equivalent to the size of Florida, poisoning groundwater, and unleashing so much CO2 that leading climate scientists say it will make it impossible to slow the course of global warming.
Over the next two weeks, starting tomorrow, environmentalists from around the country will be meeting at the White House for a large sit-in to protest President Obama's plan to massively increase demand for tar sands fuel by okaying the planned construction of a web of pipelines throughout the United States that will ship the fuel to refineries across the nation.
As Fox says in the below must-see video, it will blow your mind:
Based on budget proposals made by councilmembers late last week, it seems obvious that the city council plans to approve Mayor Jean Quan’s plan for the city to sell the shuttered Henry J. Kaiser Center to Oakland’s Redevelopment Agency for $28.3 million. In fact, all of the three budget proposals made by the eight councilmembers contemplate using proceeds from the sale of the Kaiser Center to help close Oakland’s $58 million general fund deficit.