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Showing posts from July, 2008


On CNN there are extensive reports of a 5.8 Richter Scale Earthquake, centered in Chino Hills, about 29 miles south of LA. The quake wasn't large enough, fortunately, to cause major damage at least as reported thus far. A water main broke, but traffic's still moving through LA. And now the earthquake was reduced to a 5.4 Richter Scale quake in size by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan Will Cause Development Dollars To Flow From Oakland

Maria Ayerdi Will Cause Development Dollars To Flow From Oakland When the currently proposed new Transbay Terminal comes to reality, you can thank the direction of one person for its completion and subsequent drawing or more development dollars away from Oakland: Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan. Who? Kaplan is the Executive Director of The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) , the organization responsible for the development and financing of this massive project, which was featured in this video I created last year: The authority's work will result in the tallest building ever constructed in San Francisco, over 1,000 feet tall and a retail and mixed use complex of over 2 million square feet of space. Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan's resume is perfect for the role. She was Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan is the Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) and a former TJPA Board Member. A member of the State Bar of California, Kaplan has served as the Mayor of San Francisco’s ..

Robert Scoble Michael Arrington, Other Bay Area Web Techs Give Political Advice

I present my long form video documentary of the TechCrunch | August Capital Party held Friday, July 25th 2008 at August Capital and hosed by TechCrunch Co-Founder / Editor Michael Arrington. First, let me thank Michael for the opportunity to do this at his event, as well as the time he gave me. Second, let me thank all of you who gave me your time at the party, which was the vast majority of you. I set out to form a pattern of opinions on what the Democratic Party and Senator Obama should address on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. I also tried to give a view of what people were working on in the tech / web community. There's a lot here. But I also tried to make something fun to watch, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The video is 41 minutes long and some of the highlights: TechCrunch's Michael Arrington explaining that he hope Barack Obama sicks to his concern for "net neutrality" as well as his hope that issues regarding H1 Visas, the FC

John McCain's Bay Area Visit To Be Met With Protests Today

Senator John McCain has a big-ticket fundraiser of 100,000 per person and held at the Fairmount Hotel to add to the public money he's already using to run for President. I figured an anti-war protest must have been planned and I was right: there's one according to SAN FRANCISCO -- Grassroots campaigners are planning to protest the continuation of the Iraq war Monday outside a fundraising event at a San Francisco hotel for Republican presidential nominee Arizona Sen. John McCain. Members of No Soldier Left Behind will rally outside the campaign fundraiser and collect petition signatures calling for a responsible end to the war, according to Peace Action West, an organization that fosters civic activism. Protestors will hold signs advocating the end of the war and well being of Iraqis and Americans in the region. "Sen. McCain is here raising money in support of an Iraq policy that will be a continuation of the president's fail strategy," Peace Action West

Oakland's Bay Fung Tong Seafood Tea House and Grégoire Restaurant Robbed - SFGate

I saw this news at : (07-28) 06:26 PDT OAKLAND -- Oakland police today are investigating two restaurant robberies that occurred within minutes of each other on Sunday night. The first robbery happened at about 9:35 p.m. at the Bay Fung Tong Seafood Tea House at 1916 Franklin St. in downtown Oakland. Three armed men robbed people of their cash or wallets and took money from the business, police said. No one was injured in the takeover robbery. At about 9:42 p.m., a man robbed the Grégoire takeout restaurant at 4001 Piedmont Ave. One person was hurt during that robbery but did not need medical treatment, police said. No arrests have been made in the robberies, and it was not immediately known whether the two cases were related. I think the main issue is stopping crime before it starts. Both of these incidents happened around the close of business. Why no cameras in either place? What about other deterent devices? Or is this a time to encourage gun ownership?

Zenophon Abraham Jr. The Partying Playboy According To TangoDiva

Zenophon Abraham Jr. The Partying Playboy According To TangoDiva Wow. Ok, according to TangoDiva I'm now a "Partying Playboy" but I'm not sure if I'm right up there with Hugh Hefner or not! Here's what TangoDiva wrote (oh. Ok. I answered the questions and they put them out there!): The Man Issue 08: Zenophon Abraham By Tango Diva Name: Zenophon Abraham Hometown: San Francisco, California Occupation: CEO of Sports Business Stimulations 1. Where do you like to flirt? Pretty much anywhere. Bar, rapid transit, football stadium, dark part of a dive place. 2. Where's your favorite table for two? - I like the 21 Club in New York, The Alley in Oakland, and The Balboa Cafe in San Francisco -- three different places but all have history and two are darkly romantic (the Balboa's too well-lit). 3. Where should we stay when we visit (besides your place)? Hmm. I like the Claremont Resort in the Oakland Hills. Great views, pool, tennis, and food, too! 4. What qu

CNN's "Black In America" Does Not Show Middle Class Blacks

CNN's Black in America is a welcome addition to TV, but it has a major problem to me in that it does not represent middle class African Americans. Much of the telecast shows Blacks who are downtrodden, or have had something "done" to them by the "system." It's a one-sided view of Blacks that does not help in really understanding African Americans. Not every aspect of Black culture or the life of those of us who are is negative, and I feel that the general life of middle class Blacks was ignored. (Post also at Zennie's Zeitgeist)

Port Of Oakland Protest Draws 2,000 Calling For Port Action on Truckers

An estimated 2,000 people marched at the Port of Oakland on July 22nd in a call for the Port to force independent truckers to be hired by the trucking companies, thus causing them to provide benefits. Although the protest was also to call for clean air, it's not clear to me what the protesters want the Port to do in that area.

Oakland Police "Smoke" Pot Growers

Oakland police make major marijuana growing bust - Tribune By Harry Harris and William Brand, Staff Writers Article Launched: 07/24/2008 09:14:20 AM PDT OAKLAND _ Police broke up one of the largest marijuana growing operations they've seen in recent years, raiding three homes Wednesday night and seizing more than $225,000 cash, arresting four people and confiscating $60,000 worth of marijuana. It was a bust that extended to Mendocino County where some of the marijuana was grown. Police said the suspected ringleader, Theodore Christos, 29. grew marijuana on property he owns in Mendocino County and at a house in the Oakland hills where 151 young plants were seized at a house Christos owns in the 500 block of Crestmont Drive. Oakland Police Sgt. Oritz said all the marijuana transactions were made at a house in the 1000 block of 56th Street in North Oakland. Christos kept records of his sales at his home in the 3500 block of Harrison St.

Judge Barbara Miller Grants Cal Right To Replace Trees - But Opponents Have One Week To File Appeal

Well, the war for the right to alter Cal's Memorial Grove continues; score this battle in the war as a win for U.C. Berkeley . Alameda County Judge Barbara Miller granted Cal the right to replace the trees on Tuesday, but also gave their opponents one week to file an appeal. This has been a long, hard, emotional battle between Cal and The Tree Sitters, who still remain in the trees. I captured part of that battle in a three-part video series . For their part, the Oak Grove Tree Sitters plan a march to Berkeley City Hall Thursday. Here's the schedule from their website (with spelling corrections) : Oak Grove Supporters Plan March to City Hall Thursday July 24th On Thursday the Berkeley City Council will presumably make it’s final decision on pursuing an appeal in the UC stadium case. Supporters plan a rally in front of the City Counsel. The plans include: 3:33 pm Meet at Oak grove 4:00 pm March from grove to Council 4:44 pm Rally in front of Counsel Building 5:00 pm

Oakland City Council Kills Kids Funding Program Compromise For Ballot Measure

I can only hope Kids First passes in November because the City's budget problems are so potentially bad that this "zero-sum" choice was presented: pay for more youth programs, and cut jobs, or don't and wait to see if the Kids First Initiative passes in November, and save City jobs. Here's the Trib story, in part.. OAKLAND — The City Council rejected the idea of a compromise ballot measure Tuesday that would have increased funding for youth programs, but not as dramatically as a separate initiative expected to qualify for the November ballot. A majority of council members worried a ballot-measure compromise could seriously dent the rest of Oakland's budget. The meeting came on the heels of another blow to the city's finances: The council voted unanimously early Tuesday not to collect $12 million in increased Landscaping and Lighting Assessment District fees after officials faced questions about whether the new rates would have held up in court. The decisio

Oakland City Council Votes Not To Collect LLAD Tax Increase

In what Oakland Residents For Peaceful Neighborhoods (ORPN) calls a "victory for the people" the Oakland City Council voted last night not to collect the increase in the tax for the Landscape Lighting and Assessment District (LLAD) after the Alameda County Superior Court upheld the tax. ORPN reports on this : City Backs Off LLAD Tax Hike At a special July 22, 2008 meeting, the Oakland city council voted not to collect the Landscape and Lighting Assessment (LLAD) tax increase that it previously declared voters had approved. The decision is a $12 million victory for Oakland residents, who expressed broad outrage at the blatant ballot-box stuffing in a mail-in vote that City Hall conducted in April and May. However, no councilmember admitted that she condoned and participated in the vote rigging. Instead, the council took cover under a state supreme court ruling on assessment districts in general issued last week. Before the vote, one resident told the council, "If the pr

Ricky Graham, Acting District Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Should Change Approach

Of all of the news from today's surprise inspection of the California Hotel, comes the shocking revelation that Ricky Graham, the Acting District Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, called Linda Carter, who's a tenants activist, not to express support for the tenants, but to complain to her for the negative press in Oakland Focus. That's sad. This is what Carter reports: Ricky Graham, is described as being in charge of the press and media coverage for Congresswoman Barbara Lee's office in Oakland, and Mr. Graham called earlier today to voice his complaint because I pointed out recently that there has been no visible public support coming from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, that suggests that she supports the rights of the residents to remain in their housing at the California Hotel. Congresswoman Lee has not appeared at any of the recent rallys or protests by the residents of the California Hotel who are being unlawfully forced out of their housing, and I believe that

California Hotel Residents Angry With City of Oakland, Congresswoman Barbara Lee | Surprise Inspection Monday Scared Tenants

California Hotel Residents Angry With City of Oakland, Congresswoman Barbara Lee | Surprise Inspection Scares Tenants UPDATE: Ricky Graham of Congresswoman Lee's Staff Makes Wrong Move I don't know what the hell's going on, but the City of Oakland's looking real bad in this matter with Oakland Community Housing's attempt to unlawfully evict the tenants of the California Hotel . Moreover, and I really like and support Congresswoman Barbara Lee, but her office is not looking good in this matter either. I just got this horrifying email from Linda Carson, which I'm going to post below and send to National Public Radio. I know for a fact that Congresswoman Lee's staff is aware of the bad press they're generating for the Congresswoman because they're leaving their tracks all over my specialized website traffic detection system and several times Monday. Even the Congresswoman's Washington DC office has got into the act -- welcome back! The Oakland

"ED" - Homeless Berkeley Man Commits Suicide

I got an email from a friend who's homeless and reports that a man by the name of "ED" decided to end his life by walking in front of a train one morning at 711 Harrison St, near where she sleeps in her car. She reports that this happens a lot. My fear is that the cities of Oakland and Berkeley are doing nothing to curb the real source of new homeless people: landlord activity in those cities. Just look at the California Hotel matter, which the City of Oakland seems to be a partner in with Oakland Community Housing. It's an outrage.

Councilmember Nancy Nadel Defends LLAD Tax Collection

Councilmenber Nancy Nadel (District 3, Oakland) is catching hell over this exchange with a property owner in her district. The basic news is that she does not see -- and I guess will not look to find out if -- any improprieties existed in the way the Landscape Lighting and Assessment Distict votes were counted. Check this out, which was on the Yahoo Message Board and the HarriOak blog: People may be interested in the following exchange between Nancy and one of our neighbors about the LLAD tax. For those who aren't following this issue, the measure would have been defeated by homeowners who are already struggling with taxes that typically range from $5000 to $12,000 a year. But the city wanted it to pass so it added extra weight to the votes cast by the Port of Oakland and by city-owned properties. Since this surely is illegal, the city is now preparing to be sued. (Which we will also pay for. Dishonest government is extremely expensive.) On top of the vote rigging, the State Supre

Athol Ave Near Parkway Theater Has Rash of Burglaries

It seems that Athol avenue is experiencing a new rash of robberies and break-ins. It's caused a new buzz with people online. This was from the Yahoo Message Board: Greetings Neighbors: My neighbor on the 400 block of Athol was also burglarized on Friday, maybe early afternoon. Similar M.O. They got TVs and laptops. They even left my neighbor's big flat panel TV on the street (their truck was probably already too full of other stuff). This was very upsetting, since they are only two houses away, and either I and/or my assistant were working on the house (the neighbors house is just out of sight). In hindsight, I think I might have seen these guys. I did give them a second look, since they were unfamiliar and driving unusually slowly. I watched but then they disappeared around the corner. So that is very frustrating. I feel very stupid for not taking more action. Here's what I remember of their description (please note, this is a fuzzy recollection based on a very brief vie

Downtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group Want Daytime Street Cleaning

What does street cleaning make you think of? Noise? Dirt? Big trucks? All of the above? Want to hear that at night while you sleep? Well, it's for those reasons that the Downtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group launched a petition drive to have the City of Oakland go from nighttime to daytime street cleaning and got 181 people to sign it. The trouble is that the City of Oakland's stil not implemented the change. Here's the Downtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group's notice on the matter: Good Afternoon, 18 months ago, the Downtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group presented a petition with 181 signatures to the Oakland Public Works Agency and our City Councilmember, Nancy Nadel, requesting that street sweeping hours in our neighborhood be changed from 12AM-3AM to daytime hours. The petition read: "The current street sweeping hours are inconvenient because they occur when the highest percentage of us are home -- the middle of the night. The street sweeping sched

Congresswoman Barbara Lee's Office Said To Be Silent on California Hotel Eviction

In this controversial eviction action by Oakland Community Housing, Inc with respect to the tenants of the California Hotel , some apparently called Congresswoman Barbara Lee's office and got no action at all. This is what they wrote, which I originally placed on the initial blog on this matter, but now I'm repeating here as a post of its own: Update on California Hotel and Drasnin Manor tenants July 19, 2008 Hi Darlene & others concerned... The elderly, disabled and the poor in the California Hotel have been sold out by Oakland City Councilmembers, non profit housing organizations and apparently Congresswoman Barbara Lee who remains completely silent on the issue of their housing plight, so far . (Oakland Focus emphasis) The California Hotel tenants continue to remain in their housing and refuse to move after being doublecrossed by those that were supposed to watch out for their best interests. They have organized themselves to clean the hotel up and maintain it for th

Calfornia Hotel Resident Eviction Calls For City Attorney Action ASAP

Calfornia Hotel Resident Eviction Calls For Oakland City Attorney Action ASAP The California Hotel is the center of a battle between poor tenants and Oakland Community Housing, Inc. The California Hotel is a historic landmark building in Oakland currently owned by Cahon Associates, Inc., an affiliate of Oakland Community Housing, Inc. The building, located at 3501 San Pablo Ave. near the Oakland border with Emeryville, curr has: • 75 single occupancy rooms, • 58 efficiency apartments, • 16 studio units, • a supportive services area, a large lobby and mezzanine, and • several ground floor commercial spaces. UPDATE: Congresswoman Barbara Lee's Office pointed to for inaction on this matter. Here's the problem. Last year, Oakland Community Housing put out this Request For Proposals to find a developer to, as the RFP put it: take over ownership and to convert the existing property into a model permanent supportive housing complex as

"The Dark Knight" Blows Out Speakers At The Grand Lake Theater

I saw the 11:30 Friday showing of The Dark Knight at The Grand Lake Theater here in Oakland's Lake Merritt area, and told a friend how much I liked the second in the newest series of Batman movies. So he goes to see it that night with his wife and reports "I liked The Dark Knight or what I could hear, because the speakers blew out! I'll see it again. Wow. Hey Grand Lake Owner Allan Michaan, time to fix those speakers!

Michael Phelps | US Olympics' Star Michael Phelps Is A Cool Muthafucka

I had the pleasure of meeting six-time US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps today at Stanford, California when I was there for The Bank Of The West Classic tennis event, and was impressed that he was such a nice and normal person. So this video is about that and the cool video he made for me -- with my coaching -- at the Bank Of The West Classic. Hey, Phelps may get all the ladies, but that's cool. Michael Phelps is a cool muthafucka. If you see him in Bejing, tell him that. Make a t-shirt saying that. More athletes could take a page from his book, and just be cool and nice people.

Rumor: Recall Dellums Petition Circulating Around Oakland

I just got wind of a new rumor that there's a petition going around to recall Mayor Ron Dellums. I personally don't want this, and prefer the rough-and-tumble of an election to sort things out, but it's out there I'm told. I think Mayor Dellums is trying to do better; to be better. Perhaps this is just the thing that makes a mayor go from not-so-hot, to good. This wasn't the first time someone floated such a recall effort. In fact, just last year in August , word was going around about a then-new website called "RecallDellums" that is not up now. Stay tuned.

Judge Frank Roesch Upholds Oakland Measure Y Parcel Tax Collection

I got this from the City Attorney's Office. I'll post it, then comment. Oakland, CA – For the second time, a Superior Court judge has issued a ruling upholding the city’s collection of the Measure Y parcel tax. On Friday, Judge Frank Roesch ruled that the city can collect the tax approved by voters in the Violence Prevention and Public Safety Act of 2004 – as long as the City Council appropriates the money in accordance with the provisions of the ballot measure. The ruling agrees with an impartial analysis provided by the City Attorney’s Office that was included in the ballot information given to every voter before the November 2004 election. The analysis said that the city could collect the tax so long as the money was an addition to the existing police budget. Friday’s ruling settles one of the questions raised by a lawsuit challenging the implementation of Measure Y. In an earlier case, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith also ruled that the City Attorney ana

Robert Bobb To Return To Oakland As Consultant To Fix Post-Edgerly Mess

It's not often I read that Chip Johnson's happy about something Mayor Ron Dellums has done -- come to think of it, that is true for me -- but in this case, he is. Former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb is returning to Oakland in the form of consultant to fix the managerial system he knows so well: Oakland's. He comes representing The PFM Group , which is a company based around an existing set of public management consultancies in America. His title is "Senior Managing Consultant" and the website has this bio: Robert Bobb is a Director with PFM in the Strategic Consulting practice. He has over 30 years of professional management experience in the private and public sectors at the chief executive level. He is nationally recognized for innovative leadership, with special achievements in public safety, finance, community development, employee development, and community empowerment programs. Mr. Bobb is the former City Administrator and Deputy Mayor for Washington

Steve Heimoff Says Oakland Has Five Cool Places To Hang Out In

Steve Heimoff says Oakland has five cool places to hang out in: Bay Wolf Olivetto's Vine Paul Marcus Wines Nan Yang Just five? Five? I'll add The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue. Cafe Van Kleef on 1621 Telegraph. Flora, the new restaurant up the street from Cafe Van Kleef on Telegraph. The Gingerbread House on 741 5th St. Lake Merritt itself -- one doesn't always have to spend money. The Oakland Museum on 10th Street. Cesar's on Piedmont Avenue. George Kaye's on 41st and Piedmont (a plug for Dave). Le Venende East on 9th Street and Washington in Old Oakland. Come to think of it, Old Oakland itself. There's Zachary's Pizza on College. Crogan's in Montclair. How about Dona Tomas on Telegraph near 51st? Or Cafe Roos on Piedmont. There's Girabaldi's on College Avenue, too. How about Luka's between 5 PM and 8 PM? And then on Tuesday night after 10 PM (I can't deal with the crowds there, because of the occasional knuckle-head fac

Richmond City Council Approves Chevron Upgrade Plan 5 to 4 and Community Plan 6 to 1

Richmond City Council Approves Chevron Upgrade Plan 5 to 4 After a long and bruising Tuesday night-into-Wednesday morning Richmond City Council meeting, the City Council approved Chevron's Richmond Oil Refinery Upgrade Plan on an emotional 5-4 vote and approving the community development plan 6 to 1. I attended the packed meeting which seemed to draw every media person in the Bay Area to Cutting Boulevard and the council gathering. It was indeed a people-circus, with folks representing those who wanted to save their Chevron jobs (which probably weren't going any where anyway) and others who were in opposition to the idea that Chevron was breathing, let alone upgrading an existing facility. The main issue is the assumed production using crude oil: Chevron says they don't use it at the plant; opponents say they're lying. The project has been the source of much controvery, with California Attorney General Jerry Brown weighing in, saying that the Environmental Im

Vanity Fair's Alex Shoumatoff Mug Shot | Arrested at Bohemian Grove Hiding Behind Redwood Tree

Vanity Fair's Alex Shoumatoff Mug Shot | Arrested at Bohemian Grove Hiding Behind Redwood Tree Exclusive Photo of Vanity Fair Editor Alex Shoumatoff arrest at Bohemian Grove This is a major follow-up to our story on Alex Shoumatoff's arrest at Bohemian Grove yesterday. Wearing what he believed to be appropriate attire to join the rich and famous at the Bohemian Grove, Vanity Fair writer Alex Shoumatoff is seen here in his official Sonoma County Sheriff Department mug shot. He was captured trying to hide behind a redwood tree wearing a Pebble Beach pullover and day-old stubble. This is a sure sign that Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair editor, provided Shoumatoff with what he believes is “west coast attire.” My, how out of touch they both are on the left coast: Everyone out here knows that when you’re powerful and slumming in California you put your wornout Brioni or Loro Piana jacket on and couple it with $400+ jeans or perhaps some Ralph Lauren khakis. Then, should you reall

Vanity Fair Editor Alex Shoumatoff Arrested at Bohemian Grove - Zennie's Zeitgeist

Vanity Fair Editor Alex Shoumatoff Arrested, Embarrassed at Bohemian Grove UPDATE > MUG SHOTS He Plans Hit Piece on Bohemian Club Tree Plans Alex Shoumatoff, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, tried to sneak into the exclusive Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, Calif., this week. He was hoping to get an inside look at the exclusive retreat of some of the world’s most prominent CEOs, business leaders and politicians. Of course, he stuck out like a seersucker suit at a funeral and was promptly handcuffed and arrested . Most embarrassing for him: he was arrested by a part-time security guard whose day job is a plumber . One could say he was arrested at ‘plunger-point.’ Shoumatoff was attempting to sneak in to the 2,700 acre grove. Unfortunately, it’s hard to sneak in when you weight 375+ pounds and are prone to being arrogant and dropping names like dimes. Clearly, when captured, Shoumatoff couldn’t muster the right names to drop and he was detained, handcuffed and arreste

New Yorker, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader Apply Racism Against Obama

In this installment in my video series I discuss the New Yorker cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama and how it compares to Jesse Jackson's "nuts" gaffe of last week (which I contend was not a gaffe and was a deliberate action), and Ralph Nader's most unfortunate statement that Senator Obama was "acting white." I feature New Yorker Editor David Remick's explaination of the creation and use of the cartoon, and provide commentary. I then explain that all three actions were examples of "jumping the shark" -- using race to get attention for their message, but doing nothing to improve the American condition in the process.

Chevron Richmond Refinery Renewal Project - Key Details

Some of you have asked for the basic information on the Chevron refinery project. Well, here it is, right from the Chevron website and the City of Richmond's website: This is from Chevron: Key Facts Chevron is proposing to upgrade and replace equipment at the Richmond Refinery. The Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project is part of our on-going commitment to reliable and efficient operations. The project does not cost local government or local taxpayers any money. Chevron is responsible for the entire cost. In addition, the improvements are expected to create direct benefits to the City of Richmond and the surrounding community including: Reducing overall emissions, making Richmond's air quality even better Replacing existing equipment with new equipment that is more energy efficient and includes enhanced environmental controls Generating millions in new tax revenues for Richmond that could be used to fund essential public services including public safety, street repairs, librarie