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Showing posts from December, 2007

YouTube's Chad Hurley & VC Tim Draper at BizWorld Lunch

I had the pleasure of attending a great lunch event. YouTube Co-Founder Chad Hurley was the featured guest at the luncheon on December 4th, 2007. He was introduced by MySpace Co-Founder Brett Brewer and interviewed by Tim Draper, VC & Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. In the talk, Draper asked Hurley questions surrounding YouTube after its acquisition by Google, and really focused on the changing landscape of the online advertising industry and how YouTube was responding to it. Hurley said that Youtube's success rests in the constantly growing inventory of video content that people want to see. As for the Google relationship, Hurley commented on their food and the large resource base that they have at their disposal for growth and for legal protection, although he didn't say that directly. Hurley also pointed to YouTube's new relationships with educational institutions like UC Berkeley and MIT, where students can view class lectures online.

Montera Elementary School - In Trouble? Times Have Changed!

This is news to me. In the 70s and 80s, Montera was a well-regarded school. Not any more. I think many of the school problems have to do with a lack of money and a too-easy society that let's kids go without any discipline or comment. New principal brings order to Montera Direct approach to difficult issues at Oakland school paying off, parents say By Katy Murphy, STAFF WRITER Article Last Updated: 12/23/2007 02:38:39 AM PST OAKLAND ON A COOL evening in early November, dozens of elementary school parents gathered at Montclair Elementary School to hear a sales pitch from the man who could soon be their children's middle school principal — if they liked what they saw. Russom Mesfun is the new principal of Montera Middle School, an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse school in the North Oakland hills. A native of Eritrea and a former assistant principal at Skyline High School, Mesfun returned to Oakland after a one-year stint as principal of Christa McAuliffe Middle Sch

Easy Lounge Owner Calls - Took Care Of Situation - Thanks From OaklandFocus

Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to the owner of Easy Lounge on Lakeshore and where I had the very unpleasant encounter which I openly attributed to racism. Without going into detail about the conversation, I can happily report that the matter was taken care of. But there's one thing I have to adress, as the owner asked me "Why did you assume racism?" My answer was long and heartfelt. I explained that first his employee's treatment of me was exclusive to me -- not anyone else -- and I'd just arrived. Second, we'd never met before. Third, it was dismissive. Fourth, racism is a form of rejection and given that I had no other personal reference point with him, and a lot of experience with racist episodes that were similar in profile, I felt justified in my conclusion. He understood. I think Kolin, who owns Easy, is a good person who's trying to have an estatablishment that's a positive part of the Lake Merritt and Oakland experience.

Hot Pink Feathers Christmas Video From Cafe Van Kleef

Hot Pink Feathers is the popular dance group that performs at Cafe Van Cleef (on 1621 Telegraph in Downtown Oakland) on the first Saturday of each month. This video -- their "Christmas Video" done by me -- is based on clips made at that event. Come see "The Feathers" at Cafe Van Kleef or whereever they appear. Visit their website at

Oakland's Burckhalter Elementary School and Sankofa Academy Remain Open - Tribune

Two Oakland schools escape closure District postpones decision to close Burckhalter, Sankofa for another year By Katy Murphy, STAFF WRITER Article Last Updated: 12/20/2007 06:19:56 AM PST OAKLAND — Burckhalter Elementary School and Sankofa Academy will remain open through the 2008-09 school year. School district staff, who had originally recommended that they be closed, decided it would be best to postpone the decision for at least one year. After hearing some of the community input and the remarks from the board, they sat down and decided to re-evaluate, said Troy Flint, the school district's spokesman. Last week, during an emotional meeting at the district office, many speakers urged the district to keep the schools open. Many argued that the closures in recent years have disproportionately affected African-American families. Sixty-one percent of Burckhalter's students and 92 percent of Sankofa's students are African-American. A staff report on recent school closures supp

Another Senseless Oakland Killing - 16 Year Old "John Doe" - Tribune

This is totally terrible as no one knows who he is. Terrible. Police seek ID of Oakland slaying victim Article Last Updated: 12/18/2007 10:01:27 AM PST OAKLAND — Homicide detectives and the Alameda County Coroner are still trying to identify a young man, possibly between 16 and 18 years old, found shot to death early Saturday. He had no identification on him; no one in Oakland has reported him missing and he had injuries to his hands so fingerprints are difficult, Oakland homicide Detective Sgt. Jim Rullamas said Monday. "We've got nothing on him, no ID, no suspects, no motive for why he was shot," Rullamas said. "He looked young to me, between 16 and 18, he could be older," he said. He was about 5-feet-6, slender build, an African American with medium, light skin, Rullamas said. He was wearing a black jacket and blue jeans, he said. The victim was found in the 2700 block of Harold Street, not far from the Fruitvale onramp to southbound I-580. A passer-by sa

"Oakland Speaks" - Video Interviews On Cost Of Living In Oakland

I discovered this video on called "Oakland Speaks" and not to give too much away, but it's a well-done, heartfelt look at Oakland's culture and housing costs. One woman says there's a connection between jobs and violence -- in other words, we need more jobs. She also says that we're losing people at a rapid pace, every day. Here's the video:

Bloggers Moan Lack of Retail In Oakland During Christmas

Bloggers like Refin and Nancy Friedman have openly pointed to Oakland's chronic lack of retail venues during the holidays. Friedman writes... It's prime shopping season, and my fair city is in a world of hurt. The weekend before last I attended a town meeting convened by my city councilwoman at which a consultant delivered the depressing news that Oakland is losing $1 billion a year in potential retail sales to neighboring cities. (In the trade, that's known as "leakage.") Once upon a time, downtown Oakland was home to four major department stores, a big furniture store, and several swanky boutiques. The tide began turning in the 1980s, thanks to lackluster leadership, rising crime, and general cluelessness. The Loma Prieta earthquake, in 1989, delivered the coup de grĂ¢ce. Some downtown structures were never repaired and remain vacant. Today Oakland, a city of about 400,000, has only one department store: Sears. To shop at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Home D

After A Year, "Easy" Lounge Still Has A Race Problem; Or At Least Brian The Bartender Does

I just returned from a brief trip to Easy Bar on Lakeshore Avenue. I don't frequent the establishment, but time-removed from the opening-day episode where it seemed that the White male bartender employees were being way too macho with their patrons of color, including yours truly, I gradually went back to the place. Easy's got a nice decor and I have personally felt that it's good to support Oakland business, rather than jaunt over to San Francisco. Plus, I had a programming assignment, finished it early, went shopping late, and figured, what the heck, I'll give Easy a try and go home and get some sleep. Well, I walked in sat down, and waited. And then I waited. And then I elected to give a glance and one of the two White make bartenders finally came over and took my order and made the cocktail. Fine. After about 10 minutes of looking at a high movie screen, I had an idea for a political fundraiser that I could do there. So, even though I know the owner's on

A Plea For More Detailed Descriptions Of People By Oakland Neighbors

This Yahoo! Message Board post really bothered me: Around 4pm today there was a young African-American (teenager 15-18yo) on a bike wearing a black jacket and black knit cap. I watched him ride his bike up and down Vernon a few times checking out cars and apartments. I called the OPD non-emergency number just in case for peace of mind. It seemed like he was checking out the neighborhood. Just thought I would give everyone a heads up. That caused me to answer back with a plea for all to first, ask questions. That teenager could very well be someone who lives in the neighborhood who's just riding close to home. I talk to people; so should you. If you're reading this and have some weird racial boundary issues, do us all a favor and get rid of them. Please. Thanks!

Amanda Stokes Missing In Oakland - Worked at Cafe De Bartolo on Grand Av

Amanda Stokes, a 33-year-old blonde white female at 5 foot 4 inches is missing and has been since Sunday, November 25th. According to a flyer that's posted at Oakland's Cafe De Bartolo on Grand Avenue, her car was found at 5000 Park Blvd -- a Black 2001 Honda Accord -- across from the Lutheran Church. If you recognize the photo and live in the Adams Point / China Hill area, it's because she worked at Cafe De Bartolo. If you have any information, please call 404-931-7044. Here are other photos of Amanda with friends.