Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
Hopefully we can all look forward to days when the "Black Lives Matter" protests will live only in yellowed newspaper clippings, along with articles about the Black Panthers, Weather Underground, Symbionese Liberation Army, KKK and The Unabomber. Surely there will be a day in our future when all races assimilate to become a nation of citizens who work in harmony rather than striving for divisiveness.
I caught a program this morning that featured a focus group and one of the issues discussed was "Black lives matter" A black woman spoke up regarding the subject and said the following and I will paraphrase. " Why is it that black lives matter only when a white cop shoots a black person and not when 80% of all black murders are black on black crime?"
It is interesting to see that tenant rights have been increased, and property owners rights have been decreased. If a tenant can get away with not paying rent for over 4 months, and is taken to court and the judge gives the tenant another 5 months without paying rent before having to move, then I would say something is extremely wrong with either the judge or the city. I am all for tenant rights, and do not want to see owner exploit tenants, but we should all look at reality sometimes to make sure we do not go overboard.
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Vincent, your perspective gets way too much time in the media today. Adapt or perish, it's a story as old as time. The galleries are there because the rent is CHEAP, because policies and bad planning created an economic desert in Downtown Oakland. Oakland use to be a tourist destination with destination hotels and restaurants. Up until the very early 70's Downtown Oakland was the third largest retail sales district in the State of California. If these galleries don't plan for rising rents they contribute to creating, then they will die -their cheap rent advantage wasted. Be happy our downtown is starting to recover and pay for the services that so many depend on. Have a Happy New Year, or try.
Oakland pays out so much tax-payer money for various studies along with tax payer money for excessive force settlements, bike accidents due to pot holes, falls due to broken sidewalks, 5 million dollar parking fee give aways to Lew Wolff, etc.
How many streets could be paved for the 1.1 million dollars spent on this study? How many gardeners could have been hired to maintain all city parks, including Lake Merritt, for the millions spent on accidents due to the many pot holes on Oakland's streets?
Oakland could use the outrages amount of money designated for this "study" in a much more cost effective way which would then end up saving the city huge amounts of money in the long-term.
How about a little less money for studies and give aways to billionaires like A's ownerLew Wolff, and more money for roads, bike lanes, beautifying and maintaining street medians, maintaining Lake Merritt and other city parks, keeping the streets and medians free of litter and making facade improvements for struggling small businesses.
Oakland needs to use its scarce resources in an effective and responsible manner to fix the basics. Let's start by paving the streets and fixing the infrastructure before our streets resemble the dirt roads in some impoverished third world countries.
"But that effort is just getting off the ground, with the city earlier this month approving a $1.1 million study on impact fees with the goal of approving the recommendations of that research in early 2016."
So, a year later, and $1.1 mil in consultant's fees, we still don't have a commitment for a decision on impact fees. Why not build some accountability into this splurge, first? And second, why hire someone for $1,000,000 when you can hire a good data analyst for $100K who will do what you say? Third, isn't there already impact fee studies that have been performed for other California cities that might be instructive? Fourth, has anyone reviewed the existing literature to see if such a study could be scaled back or eliminated?
Yes, this entire neighborhood will "blow up" in the next few years, and it'll be surprising if the galleries and bookstores that made the area so great will survive. Developers, realtors, and landlords don't give a crap about art or books. Only $$$. And the fact that most Oaklanders are in the service industry and make about $9/hr doesn't translate into art buying, which is, face it, a luxury. As a "middle-aged, not-emerging" and financially-strapped artist who lives within two-three blocks of these galleries and bookstores I am overjoyed to see this flowering of DIY culture happening. Art Murmur stopped being about the art several years ago and the galleries there are almost all commercial (won't be showing the majority of work being made in the East Bay). Thankfully most of these storefronts aren't zoned for eateries, otherwise 15th St would turn into another Gourmet Ghetto/Uptown swank. We all know artists are the "antennae of the race," doing all the dirty work before the developers move in. I wish all these gallerists and bookstore owners the best of luck. I will do what I can to support them.
If you live in a cheap place, because it's screwed-up in some significant way... well, someday people are going to try and fix it. If you've made no plan for that, then you're going to be in trouble. Everyone is responsible for anticipating change. Expensive places can go bust, and inexpensive places can see a boom. People need to access how much income their skills can earn them and then focus on a place where those skills can afford them to buy property.
The only real beer in the world is brewed in Germany. Not in US or anywhere else-
You do realize that the kill switch enables law enforcement to turn off everyone's smart phones to the detriment of free speech. This has already happened to livestreams of protests. It can also happen when citizens are attempting to livestream incidents of police brutality.
My wife (an OUSD teacher), and I (musician) have been looking for a home to purchase for several months. The problem is not so much wealthy Tech professionals who also want to move here, but foreign investors who are overbidding and paying cash for homes. I don't see any way to dissuade wealthy people from wanting to move to Oakland, because you know, it's the f'ing greatest. But can't we at least do something to keep the foreign investors from flipping houses any making everything worse?!
Every year the city of Oakland collects a fee of $30 per rental unit for its Rent Adjustment Program. Rental income is also taxed at $13.95 per $1,000 or 0.01395%. How is this money spent? How much of these taxes go towards affordable housing subsidies? How much towards propping a bureaucracy? Who is responsible and accountable? Many 2 - 4 unit rental properties are owned by individuals not corporations. These taxes add to operating cost, money that could be used to make property improvements.
1.1 million dollars for an affordable housing "study", really? Mayor Dellums commissioned an affordable housing task force in 2006 who developed a set of comprehensive recommendations for affordable housing. At the end of the day, the City Council did nothing because there was no political will to have the hard conversations required to make it happen. Specifically, that the only places that an affordable housing inclusionary requirement may make any economic sense for developers is in Jack London, downtown and North Oakland (Temescal and Rockridge), where land values are higher. Of course the folks in North Oakland do not want to have that conversation and there is no leadership on the City Council to drive the issue. I would suggest that not much has changed since 2006 and spending 1.1 million dollars is a waste of money. Reminds me of how paying William Bratton 250K was supposed to fix the Police Department. How did that work out?
One other thing: the biggest proponent of the twin tunnels, Jerry Meral, is also on the board of the organization (the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin) that's been most vocal about removing the oyster farm. The cognitive dissonance is enough to make a person's head explode.
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