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Readers Say the Darndest Things: People and Places 

Best Academic Program
Contra Costa College, San Pablo
Dedicated faculty and staff keep educating and preparing students as their top priority. — Kathryn Levine

Oakland School for the Arts Circus Arts School
OSA has the only Circus Arts School at a middle/ or high school arts school in the country. How cool is that! — Victoria Angello

Stanford Online High School
Then again, that's not really East Bay. — chloebe

Best Community Garden
Occupy the Farm
Sparking an urban land reform movement, from the East Bay — that is the meaning of revolution. — Gopal Dayaneni

Best K-12 Teacher
Mike Cooper
This fourth grade teacher at Otis Elementary in Alameda seems to have the love of his students and the respect of his co-workers across the district. Formerly a much-lauded principal at both Encinal and Island High Schools, Cooper has returned to educating, with a combination of common sense, gentle guidance, and treating kids as active partners in learning. — Dan Abbott

Mrs. Suntrup at the German International School in Berkeley
You can't wish for a more caring classroom teacher who loves and supports each and every one of her students. — Kirstin

Rachel Porzig
One of the most patient yet funny folks ever, she is a natural with disadvantaged kids . — David Prosper

Rebecca Young
How does she do it? Not only does she deeply know and respect each child in her class, her teaching style is continuously being adapted to meet the individual needs of her children. A million thanks. — Sonja Cahoon

Best Neighborhood
Albany
Best as in quietest? Most boring? Least threatening? — Sam Khandaghabadi

Dimond
I love Dimond. Everyone is so nice and friendly and they are willing to roll up their sleeves to make the neighborhood better. — Shari Godinez

East End, Alameda
It's idyllic here — kiluma

Eastlake - San Antonio
Cheap. Safe. Good. Tacos. Pho. — Chris Voss

North Berkeley
I know, it's an obvious one. But it deserves it. — Matti Klotz

North Oakland
Diversity without pretense — Jabari Jones

Piedmont Avenue
Nice and charming atmosphere. Almost no big chains present, but they still have "everything."— Charlotte Kubiak

Temescal
Bakesale Betty, Pizzaiolo and Doña Tomas all on one strip; now add all of the great coffee and a farmer's market to boot. — Naomi Alysia

West Oakland
Get what you need there. — mike punky

Best Nonprofit or Charity
Alameda County Community Food Bank
Handles and distributes huge volumes of fresh and packaged food [quickly] and efficiently. Their staff treats volunteers with respect and gratitude so that we return week after week feeling we are doing important work on flexible schedules, getting exercise, and doing so among friends. — Lloyd Lavagetto

BERKELEY FREE CLINIC!
Very friendly staff and personnel always willing to help those in need. They have community/nonprofit referrals in the Bay Area to get individuals the care that they need whether it be food, shelter, dental, etc. — Chantal Coronel

Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic in Oakland
Provides alternative care to low-income women diagnosed with cancer — MSL

East Bay Bicycle Coalition
They've done more than any other group in the East Bay to shift transit policy — and therefore quality of life — over the last forty years. Bicycles on BART? Thank them for that. — Alden Mudge

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
People-powered, community-centered force for good in the bay area, California, and the world! — Owen Li

KPFA Radio
In spite of everything. — Ann Garrison

Mandela Marketplace
Mandela Marketplace is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low-income communities. — Mariela Cedeno

Best Pick-up Spot
Berkeley Bowl
Have you ever tried cooking (fill in the blank)? — Ana Raz

Berkeley Poetry Slam
Poets tend to be very slutty. — Zaira Fargo

My parties
— Mike Ortega

Starry Plough
I love how all the girls wear glasses! — Josh Kemper

Tourettes Without Regrets at the Oakland Metro
Tourettes brings out a crowd of attractive, intelligent, educated, open minded people with a sense of humor. I like all those things — Matthew Fubar LaPlaca

You mean trash pickup? Everyone should be doing this.

jim smith

Best Place to Hang Out
In front of the house with the neighbors
— Patrick Friedman

Saul's Deli
As a single person, there will always be an interesting conversation to eavesdrop on. Excellent chopped liver sandwich. Pretty good cocktails. — Kathryn Levine

Telegraph
Beer garden! — Hollie Hardy

The Piedmont Cemetery (Mountain View Cemetery)
It may sound morbid but it is beautiful, has great hiking and views, and when you are done you can snag a drink at the tiki bar or great ice cream at Fenton's. And of course one should always pay homage to Mac Dre when visiting. — David Prosper

Tilden
Best park ever. I have been going to the trains since I was a kid — Josh Kemper

UC Berkeley
On a Sunday, when there are no classes in session, it's a great campus to walk, bike, or nap. — Tim Ereneta

With my boyfriend
maizu

Best Place to Hold a Revolution
Apparently, at work ... oops!
Dana Bushouse
Beer Revolution
Yay beer! — Daniel Puertas

Chevron Corporate Offices in San Ramon
Occupy missed the boat/tanker/auto on this one. — Alden Mudge

East Bay Church of Religious Science
To become the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi would suggest. — Violaine Hamel

Frank Ogawa Plaza
That;s where all the action is, beware! — Josh Kemper

Frank Owigawa Plaza
sp? — Kate Klingensmith

In a bank office
NOT Frank Ogawa Plaza — Nance Conover

In your pants! — Arthur Perley
Libya
— Greg Keidan

San Francisco Financial District
You know, where the corporations you're protesting actually ARE, as opposed to my fucking downtown. — JKellY

Sproul Plaza
Where else? — Tom Holub

The voting booth
— Frederic

Walnut Creek
Lots of One-Percenters over there — jim smith

Best Place to Learn DIY Skills
By yourself, wherever you can! Duh.
jim smith

Eat Real Festival
Though it did get a little crowded — Ana Raz

Laney College
Spend $80 for a great class that would cost $400 at the Crucible. — JKellY

Various locations
All manner of gardening and plant-related skills can be learned at the Merritt College Landscape Horticulture department, especially the Permaculture classes. Bike repair skills can be picked up at Street Level Cycles/Waterside Workshops. Carpentry and art at Laney College. Metalworking and welding and bicycle skills at the Crucible. Miscellaneous classes and skill shares can be offered through the East Bay Free Skool, which is DIY and revolutionary through-and-through. And a lot of DIY skills are best learned at the kitchen tables of family members and friends ... — Lexi Babayan

Youtube
— Stephanie Turner

Best Place to Smoke Weed
Any fucking place you want.
Does this need a category anymore? "Medical" marijuana is literally everywhere. If that's your thing, roll up, light up, and get lifted. — popijininsky

All over Oakland, apparently.
— jim smith

Anywhere except in front of kids
Brian Kenny

At home
Stay home if you are a drug addict — Daniel Puertas

Berkeley LOL
— Israel Mcbagel

Frank Ogawa Plaza
In front of riot cops during Occupy. It helps the tear gas go down better. — Jamie DeWolf

Go for a run, instead
— Louback Smith

Grizzly Peak
Everyone smokes along the road it's the place to do it at — Ethan Corley

HOODSLAM!!!
420 FRIENDLY! DON'T BRING YOUR F'N KIDS!!! — Heather Roberts

Illegal!!!
— Max clean

In jail
— Shauna Rabinowitz

IN YOUR OWN HOME!
Keep it out of my park! — David Watson

Mosswood Park
So chill and full of cute people. And it's near BART and nice and flat so a lazy walk is great. And when you get hungry there are all the food options at Temescal and Piedmont Ave. — David Prosper

My hot tub
— Rob Thompson

Patrick's House
Then, we have sex. — Zaira Fargo

Really?
— Lyle Sprague

Your mom's house
— antman

Your mouth
— Greg Keidan

Best Place to Take the Kids
Adventure Playground
What could be more fun than giving your kids a hammer and then letting them climb on stuff built by other seven-year olds and then getting on a zip line that has not been maintained in fifteen years ... all sanctioned by the Berkeley Parks!! Love this place!! — jsimms

Children's Fairyland!
Okay, not exactly revolutionary. — Rachel Gregg

DMV
— mike punky

Indian Rock Park
Climbing and exploring adventures to challenge any age from two and half to twelve, an exhilarating outing. Best Place to Run Them Into The Ground so You Have a Lovely Evening. — Seena Hawley

School!
— Sam Khandaghabadi

Best Political Movement or Group
Is there a good one?
Not that I can think of. Just do stuff. — popijininsky

None
Waste of time — Daniel Puertas

Occupy My Face
— Rob Thompson

Pastafarianism
— Greg Keidan

Best Program to Engage Youth
Give them a skateboard
— jim smith

Kinetic Arts Center
When in doubt, teach them how to juggle and swing on a trapeze. — Victoria Angello

Youth Speaks
With programs in dozens of schools and thousands of kids involved, this truly gives kids a voice. — Jamie DeWolf

Best Protest Event
Occupy my couch and not be an asshole
— eastbayrascal

Original Occupy Port Shutdown
Epically beautiful action before the anarcho-hipster-punks ruined everything. — Mollie Cohen-Rosenthal

That one guy at Shattuck and Center who talks about laser beams and Libya
— Edward Derbes

Best Religious Service
Berith Christian Fellowship
Nonreligious, just straight WORD — missinglinkpimp

Burning Man
I'm pretty sure it's a religion now. — Pedinoff, Rebecca

Church of John Coltrane
Wear a suit — Greg Keidan

Hillside Community Church
Spiritual but not rigid. Open to all faiths, sexual preferences, ages and beliefs. — Eileen Andrade

Salvation Army
— barrett, karen

Best Use of Public Space
Bakesale Betty's ironing boards
Brilliant! — Tom Holub

Bike lanes
Eighteen miles in Oakland this year! — BikeRick

Graffitti
— mike punky

Great Wall of Oakland
Technically, not public, but I really admire Chris Curtis for letting artists use it (and wow! Project Bandaloop!) — Tim Ereneta

Most Courageous Attorney
Anyone who has left the profession
— T.G. Burns

Dan Seigel, Michael Seigel; OR National Lawyers Guild (for all they all do)
No question. Resigned from Quan administration over occupy. Has represented so many Occupy folks as well as others. — Gopal Dayaneni

Joshua Safran
Subject of Crime After Crime and fighter for justice. Took on the system and uncovered massive corruption. Spent seven years fighting pro bono for an innocent woman to be released from prison. — Leah Safran

Most Groundbreaking Idea
I'm going to quit smoking cigarettes
— Mike Ortega

Lolo Health Center's new approach to affordable health care
Best place to feel truly cared for by every kind of alternative practitioner I could ever hope to see — my health is the best it's been in years. This is what health care should be like. — Pamela Norton

People CAN throw off corporate capitalism and scientific materialism and reductionism
And people CAN learn to have far fewer children and live with restraint so that the planet has a chance to restore all life. — Florence Windfall

That we don't need government to do stuff for us.
We're wasting too much money on crappy government that gives us very little benefit. Let them focus on the really important stuff (educating our kids, taking care of our unfortunate), and support our creative class. Local business is making Oakland a better place everyday — does anyone really want to return to the pre-2008 "good economy" days of chain stores on every corner? Not me. — popijininsky

Most Outspoken Activist
Boots Riley
This man showed a bullhorn has more power than a microphone. — Jamie DeWolf

Pancho
Arrested while meditating at Occupy Oakland — Cynthia Cox

Most Outspoken Professor
Amir Sabzevary
He is a philosophy teacher who changed my life at Laney College. He teaches ethics and social problems and world religions. Previous students made a Facebook page for him. Students come to his class everyday who had him in previous semesters because it is like therapy. He is amazing, and welcoming, and a genius. If he wanted to start a cult, he could. — Mollie Ayres

Professor Barrie Thorne, UC Berkeley Department of Gender and Women's Studies

Tears ... she's retiring. Self described "old warrior" in the women's movement. Kind, thoughtful, full of ideas. — Eileen Andrade

Rufus T. Firefly
Look him up on the Google machine. — Steve Raucher

Most Revolutionary City or City Initiative
Berkeley
But of course! — Tom Walton

Oakland
With its occupy movements — Violaine Hamel

Richmond
Green mayor, grassroots effort took over city council despite MILLIONS against them from Chevron. Revolution in a company town. — Gopal Dayaneni

Most Unwavering Politician or Public Figure
Barbara Lee
She has been consistent and supportive of her constituency year after year. — Tanya Leake

Barbara Lee/Nancy Nadel tie
I am incredibly proud to be represented by both these dedicated, progressive-as-hell public servants. — JKellY

Barbaras Lee and Boxer
Yes, both of them. — supergail

Ignacio de la Fuente
He's still in politics? — Lisa Feldman

Patricia Kernighan, Oakland City Council
Fair minded, elevates what's best for Oakland, balances interests without caving to special interests or to loud, rude, and counterproductive grandstanders. — Lloyd Lavagetto

Really?
Unwavering? Why is this an attractive quality? I want leaders who can learn and adapt to new realities, instead of dogmatically pursuing ideas that made sense thirty years ago (or cynically following the wind with no conviction). Unfortunately, I don't have any good examples in mind. :( — popijininsky

Splenduh the Unicorn
— Sarah Al-Kassab

Wavy Gravy
Still waving that rainbow flag unflaggingly long after the Sixties ended; still running a summer camp for kids of all stripes and incomes; still stumping for good causes. — Seena Hawley

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