New York, NY - On Tuesday night, the Oakland, California City Council passed a resolution to study configurations for, but not build, an AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit system through Oakland's spine from Telegraph Avenue to along International Blvd. Even though the resolution was supported by the Oakland City Council, it was not without a fire-breathing argument from legendary Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid.
Reid and his constituents feared that a dedicated bus transit lane set would turn International into a kind of "freeway" that divided East Oakland. Reid said that people from North Oakland would not travel down to East Oakland to spend money anyway. I watched the City Council hearing from a distance back east and with sadness because it looked like a terrible racial issue, with older African Americans arguing that their neighborhood was essentially being invaded and destroyed by AC Transit.
This blogger completely understands Larry Reid's fears, but urges that he and his staff look at what's being done in Seattle and New York. The code-word is flexibility. In Seattle, BRT is used as part of its new light rail system, the Central Link. In New York, there's an ambitious plan to created a "greener, pedestrian-friendly" 34th street, and Bus Rapid Transit is a central part of the idea.
According to The New York Times, transit advocates and residents don't have the concern that the neighborhood will be divided. The point is, Oakland AC Transit BRT could be a way to encourage a more pedestrian-friendly International Boulevard, perhaps even a car-free one along some stretches.
AC Transit BRT's study should be seen as an open-door to consider ways to reshape International Boulevard into the kind of street that helps, not harms, the East Oakland neighborhood.
Jahvid Best seemed relieved to have gotten over with the whole thing. Plus, note Cal Alums that Best was wearing a RED TIE! More on that below, because I got after him about it.
Here's the transcript of the interview, with some corrections to match the video above that the FastScripts people missed:
JAHVID BEST: I feel great. This is a dream I've had since I was a little kid growing up just to play in the NFL. So this moment here, just experiencing it with my family and my friends and just getting selected is just amazing.
Q. What about (Cal Defensive Tackle) Tyson (Alualu) going ahead of you?
JAHVID BEST: I'm happy for him, but I almost stood up cheering when I heard his name called. He's a great player and so this is a good pick for him.
Q. Did you know it was you they were coming after?
JAHVID BEST: Actually the phone rang and the TV didn't even say they traded a pick yet. They were like, why is the Lions calling me when it's not their turn and they told me they were going to trade and I got really excited. I was so excited, I can't even have words for this moment right now. It's hard to express my feelings.
Q. How would you compare yourself to other running backs?
JAHVID BEST: It's hard to compare myself right now because I haven't played yet, I haven't even played a down yet. I just have to go out and work hard and make a name for myself in the NFL because everything I've done up to this point is irrelevant.
Q. You said yesterday that you had not had much contact yesterday, are you surprised?
JAHVID BEST: Yeah, I'm surprised. I had a great conversation at the Combine but after the Combine it just stopped. It was a little bit of a surprise for me but it was a great experience.
Q. Around the Internet, people are saying that the Lions were targeting you.
JAHVID BEST: Yeah, I was aware of it. (Correction: Best said he was not aware that the Internet chatter was that the Lions were going to draft him; I made the statement.)
Q. Who was on the phone and what did they tell you about the reaction there?
JAHVID BEST: Everybody came on the phone, and they just told me when they got the green light to pick me that the room just erupted being everybody was excited about it.
JAHVID BEST: He texted me before the Draft and he was at home watching, too.
JAHVID BEST: I'm just going to be a back ‑‑ whatever they need me to do, return game, I can be an every down back for them. I can definitely bring the home run ability to the offense and just make it a more high‑power offense. I'm definitely going to bring some things to the table.
Q. What about the concussion ‑‑
JAHVID BEST: I've seen so many doctors, definitely, I think I'm passed that.
JAHVID BEST: I'm excited, those are two guys I used to watch all the time and those are great players right there, so just adding myself, and then Suh, he went earlier. That's a couple of names that added to that team.
So we might be able to do some things.
Q. You come from a great tradition in Cal, successful running back; how did your time there prepare you for the next level and how do you feel you'll do once you get there?
JAHVID BEST: My time there? I mean, the running back coach, he prepares us ‑‑ he prepares us like nobody else. All of the running backs I was talking to, Justin for Seth when I was training for the Combine and everything, and he was telling me if you just listen to Coach G., you'll be fine when you get to the next level because Coach, he prepares all of his running backs to play in the NFL.
JAHVID BEST: He was on me on the field but off the field he was also on me as well, everything about me, my lifestyle, what I eat, constantly on me. So I kind of see him as a father figure, just always making sure I'm doing the right thing no matter what I'm doing besides the football, just making sure I'm in the classroom and just doing everything right.
Q. Do you think about inspiring people in the whole economic climate and giving them a reason to come to Ford Field on Sundays?
JAHVID BEST: Oh, yes, that's part of our job as athletes is to bring excitement to the city. I plan to do my job and do that in Detroit, as well.
Q. Do you think you'll have a chance to make an immediate impact?
JAHVID BEST: Yeah, definitely, I think it will, but there's a lot of things I have to work on still. I have to go in and work real hard to get on the field so I'm not going to be ‑‑ I'm not going to be expecting to be given anything.
Q. What was your day like today? What did you do to pass the time?
JAHVID BEST: I woke up real slow. Just took it kind of slow. I got about 20 people here supporting me and we all went to eat lunch and then I got dressed and then came here.
So it was a real slow day.
It's kind of in between, some parts feel like a dream, some parts feel like reality, so just going to ride the wave a little bit.
Q. Did you think it wasn't going to happen tonight?
JAHVID BEST: For a second. It was in the back of my mind. Me and my agent kind of had teams we felt like were our best candidates and those teams were passing, so I was thinking about that. I wasn't really too worried about it, because at the end the day, all I need is an opportunity. But then the Lions gave me an opportunity so I'm going to take it and make the best of it.
Q. If you could play offensive coordinator, how many times would you touch the ball per game?
JAHVID BEST: As many times as I need to win? It's all about winning. I don't really care about numbers, I don't really care about stats. I just care about winning.
Q. You don't care about stats? You're an explosive guy. Do you expect friends who play fantasy football to start calling you now?
JAHVID BEST: I'm pretty sure they.
Q. What are you going to tell them?
JAHVID BEST: I'm going to tell them to pick me.
Q. Do you have any thoughts in the back of your mind, growing up and playing college ball out west in California and now going to the Midwest, different climate and lifestyle in general, do you think about that or just thinking about football?
JAHVID BEST: I'm just thinking about football right now. I'll deal with that when I get out there but I'm pretty sure it won't stop me from playing the game.
Q. Do you have to go back for classes?
JAHVID BEST: I'm going to get the classes whenever I can. It's not a high priority, because obviously I came out early, so my priority is football right now. Down the line, at some point in the future, I intend on getting my degree, so that definitely is in the plan.
Q. Can you talk to Kevin Johnson or Russell White ‑‑ inaudible.
JAHVID BEST: I haven't talked to any of the legends but I've been talking to a lot of guys in the NFL right now, Justin for Seth, I was talking to ‑‑ mostly those two guys and they were just giving me advice on how to handle this process.
Q. Barry Sanders is here tonight, did you meet him at all?
JAHVID BEST: Not tonight, I met him yesterday but it was just a brief meeting. He didn't have time to give me words of advice.
Q. You mentioned Jackson, did you ever race him in a sprint and if you did who won?
JAHVID BEST: We raced one time. We run two separate sides of the field so from my angle it looked like I was, and when we walked to each other, he said he was.
Q. If there's one thing you could tell the fans what would you say?
JAHVID BEST: Go get season tickets.
Afterward, Jahvid Best went to the backstage media room for more talk, and thanked Cal Football fans for "having my back all those years" but it was clear he moved on. I teased him about wearing of all things a red tie! He chuckled about that, but to Cal Alums like me a major Cal star like Jahvid Best sporting a tie and shirt that match the rival Stanford Cardinal cause me to ask if Jahvid Best really enjoyed Cal at all.
I make this statement because at NFL Play 60 on Wednesday, Jahvid Best said he would miss his players and coaches, but said nothing about Cal itself. In retrospect I hope I'm wrong about all this, but I doubt it. My impression is Jahvid Best didn't enjoy his Cal experience as much as this Cal Alum hoped he would have. Ok, one doesn't have to be a rah-rah person, but I do think Cal athletes should show some school sprit.