Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Must Read: OUSD Has Huge Absenteeism Problem; Nonprofits to Take Over State Parks?

by Robert Gammon
Fri, May 20, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland school district became one of the first in the state to analyze student absenteeism rates, and the results are alarming — about one out of every seven students missed nearly four weeks of school last year, the Chron and Trib report. With chronic absenteeism rates like that, it’s no wonder why Oakland traditionally has had less-than-stellar test scores. There are numerous theories as to why Oakland kids, predominantly those from low-income families, miss so much school, but the Chron highlights an East Oakland principal, Adam Taylor, who seems to be solving the problem. Taylor has lowered chronic absenteeism at Brookfield Village Elementary School from 20 percent of students to 7 percent.

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Meet Harold Camping, the Man Planning Your Imminent Salvation

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, May 20, 2011 at 8:00 AM

So, guys. The Rapture. In case you missed it, it's coming soon. Like, really soon. Tomorrow soon, at least according to Oakland's very own Harold Camping, his Family Radio broadcast network — also based in Oakland — and those ominous billboards you've undoubtedly seen all over everywhere in recent months. We know sixteen hours isn't much time to dispose of all your earthly goods, say bye to your loved ones, and work on a cute icebreaker for when you finally meet God, but we invite you to take a break and read Katy St. Clair's amazing, in-depth cover story about Camping, published in the Express way back in 2003.

Biggest insight: Camping actually already predicted the end of the world, in 1994, and, well, we all know how that turned out. Camping, a Berkeley-trained civil engineer (!), also believes "that all churches — Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, you name it — have been taken over by Satan," and in 2001 urged his followers to quit their churches. There's lots more crazy where that came from; read the whole thing here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yes, Harold Camping Is Cashing in on The Rapture, Folks

by Rachel Swan
Thu, May 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

So, all of you who expressed consternation about the forthcoming *Rapture* and various iterations thereof, consider yourselves validated. Yes, it turns out Family Radio host and self-stylized Rapture prophesizer Harold Camping isn't just a local Cassandra, he's also profiting immensely from this whole imbroglio. As Matthias Gafni reported today in the Contra Costa Times, Family Radio has seen a huge increase in $cash money$ as the day of Judgment approaches. According to tax returns, the non-profit Christian broadcast station raised more than $7 million over the past 7 years, and was worth more than $72 million in 2009, the Coco Times reports. That's not to mention the fact that its ever-expanding empire includes 66 radio stations internationally. Those 5,000 Judgment Day Billboards may have cost millions of dollars to produce, but they appear to be generating new revenue streams for the company.

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Thursday Must Read: Circumcision Ban on San Francisco Ballot; Coffee Helps Fight Cancer?

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 19, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Is banning circumcision yet another example of the so-called “nanny state” run amok, or is San Francisco finally going to shine a light, so to speak, on a barbaric practice? You decide. Er, San Franciscans are going to decide, because a petition to ban circumcision has qualified for the ballot in the city. AP reports that the ballot initiative received more than 7,700 signatures. If it passes, circumcisizing a boy under the age of 18 would become a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or a year in jail. And sorry, you mohels out there, the ban includes no religious exemptions.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Write Too Long: This Week's Feature, Bite-Sized

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, May 18, 2011 at 4:52 PM

This week's feature is all about Richmond's City Manager, Bill Lindsay, who's managed to take what was once a widely maligned, pollution-spewing, crime-ridden afterthought and turn it into a well-run, business-friendly, financially sound city. Also, and infinitely more importantly: the home of Oprah's favorite croissant, Galaxy Desserts' "three-ounce French croissant, which has so much morning goodness in its fluffy folds that Oprah Winfrey has featured it five times on her favorite things list." (OH SNAP! TAKE THAT, BERKELEY!)

Buttery, Oprah-endorsed awesomeness aside, it's a fascinating lesson in local governance, and a look into a city, and a guy, that are are doing it right, despite numerous challenges. Read it all here.


Indie Awards Pics and Winners

Wed, May 18, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Local leaders, derby girls, food vendors, and all manner of indie artists and businesspeople gathered at the Kaiser Center last Friday to declare their collective independence — and throw quite a party in the process. Below, check out pics from the event as well as the full list of winners:

Innovative Newbie
Back to the Roots

Ripple Effect
Mandela Foods

Socially Responsible Rockstar
Karen's Flowers

Oakland Soul
Chamberz Studios

Montclair Vet Hospital
Give Something Back

Rising Loafer
Jamie Vaida

Wednesday Must Read: Oakland Council Tables Third Gang Injunction; SFPD Rocked by New Scandal

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 18, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council narrowly agreed last night to continue funding the city’s two controversial gang injunctions, but decided to table plans for a third — in East Oakland — until a study is completed on the effectiveness of the measures, the Trib reports. The council voted 4-3 to continue paying for the gang injunction in North Oakland and a pending one in the city’s Fruitvale district. Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente, Pat Kernighan, Larry Reid, and Libby Schaaf voted for the injunctions, while Desley Brooks, Rebecca Kaplan, and Nancy Nadel voted against. The council also ordered the city attorney’s office to not seek any more injunctions without council approval. Outgoing City Attorney John Russo launched the injunctions, which have turned out to be expensive to implement, without asking the council.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Post-Rapture Looting, Anyone?

by Rachel Swan
Tue, May 17, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Lest you've been comatose for the last month or so, let's fill you in on the biggest news story of the last —oh— two thousand years: The Rapture is coming. Like, Saturday. The saved will ascend to heaven, the graves will unleash their dead, and the rest of us will be left to walk among corpses and zombies. Sounds like an opportune moment for a little looting, right?

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Tuesday Must Read: Schwarzenegger Fathers Love Child; Oakland Council to Weigh In on Gang Injunctions

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 17, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Now we know why Arnold and Maria broke up. Ex-Governor Schwarzenegger has admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock with a member of his household staff more than a decade ago — before he ran for office, the LA Times reports. His wife Maria Shriver left him last week after learning about it.

2. It’s about time: The Oakland City Council finally plans to weigh-in tonight on the city’s controversial gang injunctions. The council may vote on whether to defund the injunctions, which have proven to be rather expensive, but does not have the power to rescind them.

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Plum: A New Heavyweight Contender on the Local Brunch Circuit

by Luke Tsai
Tue, May 17, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Daniel Patterson’s Oakland outpost, Plum, is the latest local gastronomic darling to turn the attentions of its talented chefs — to say nothing of its sous vide immersion circulators and Pacojets — toward that most maligned of meals: the weekend brunch.

Anthony Bourdain, that curmudgeon of the culinary world, has written that restaurant brunches are “a dumping ground for the odd bits left over from Friday and Saturday nights” and “punishment block for the B-Team cooks.” Fortunately, the Bay Area is chock full of restaurants that fly in the face of that kind of thinking — Canteen in San Francisco and Oakland’s Camino immediately come to mind. And at Plum, where Chef Charlie Parker has been heading up the kitchen since December, the brunch menu is just two weeks old and perhaps a work in progress. But the food, already, verges on magical.

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