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Showing posts from October, 2009

Free Chipotle burrito at Chipotle Mexican Grill for Halloween - viral?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Ok, Chipotle Mexican Grill offering a free Chipotle burrito is nice and great for Halloween. If you walk in with a costume, you get a free burrito. But how did this message, this keyword, go viral? As I write this, it's the number 2 most searched Google Trend. I'm not kidding. The source city for this search was Minneapolis, MN, with five percent of total traffic. But think about what that means. It means that in some way Chipotle Mexican Grill was able to send press releases and activate a small number of blogs to push that result and then once it hits Google News, the other newssites will pick it up. Of course, one has to have some kind of national event to be able to trigger such a search, as well as a national brand. Chipotle Mexican Grill qualifies here. This is no small event folks. Anyone who pays attention to online marketing trends should look a

Oakland parking problem: Noel Pinto, Susan Bergmann's upset with you!

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I got the email below from Susan Bergmann, who's a very upset Oakland small business owner, and especially with Oakland Parking Director Noel Pinto. Susan Bergmann gave me permission to present the email in full to you and she wants Noel Pinto to see it. (I'm telling you, she's really pissed). I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's really in a lather about the City of Oakland's " misery industry ." If you have a problem with Oakland parking you want to share with the World, send it to me at with the words, "please print for your blogs" in the subject heading. Hi Zennie, I am engaged in a battle with Noel Pinto, new head of parking. He insists on giving me parking tickets on MacArthur Blvd, in front of my office, for violation of 2 hour parking, despite the fact that I come and go all day long.

Bay Bridge Closure - Caltrans should not rush repairs to bridge

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit The latest news in the Bay Bridge Cable Collapse Disaster is that CalTrans spokesperson Bart Ney told KRON-TV that the Bay Bridge could reopen under a "best-case scenario" Thursday if repairs and bridge testing were completed in time. My response: please don't rush this. Let's get it right. In fact, it's not even a good idea to put out the message that this process could be done in a jiffy because if it is, the bridge is re-opened, and we have another Bay Bridge Cable Collapse Disaster, it will be a life-changing event for drivers, passengers, and California. Everyone would call for the heads of the people ruining CalTrans, and the next "F-U" letter sent by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be to Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki. The quality problems my blogging friend Yobie Benjamin points to should be adressed as part o

Bay Bridge Closure - BART must offer 24-hour service

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Kudos to BART for offering "beefed-up" service with extra trains in the wake of the Bay Bridge Cable Collapse, according to BART spokesperson Linton Johnson , but what's really needed, and we don't have, is a 24-hour BART schedule. There's no real idea when the bridge is going to be fit to be opened and Henry K. Lee's article explains that it could be days before that happens, especially with these high winds impacting the bridge not to mention making sure this accident does not happen again regardless of conditions, so a major part of what (even with this recession) still is our economic engine is crippled. Some Oaklanders, for example, work in San Francisco and don't get off until midnight or later - just when BART has stopped running at midnight even with this closure. So what we face is a period from midnight to 4 am when we can

Does Oakland Councilmember Jean Quan care more about Oakland or being Mayor?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Yesterday I received an email from Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan (District 4 - Oakland Hills, Montclair) regarding her decision to run for Mayor of Oakland .  Here's the text from that email: You are receiving this because you are a subscriber to my newsletter.  A few times a year I send out separate political blasts.  You may know by now, I have launched a run for Mayor for November 2010.   We've formed an Exploratory Committee and have met with hundreds of Oakland residents in house parties and other events to hear what they want the next Mayor to do and to share my vision and passion for the Oakland we love. My family has lived in Oakland for over a 100 years; I've raised my family here and love this city. For more than 20 years I've fought for Oakland, working with people at the grassroots to rebuild our schools, save our libraries and the arts,

Oakland parking ticket hastles on the day after; looking for interns

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I spent so much time dealing with the Oakland Parking ticket and tow situation that I lost time working and some sleep too. Today was the day I caught up with work, but frankly I'm totally overwhelmed. I'm also not looking forward to returning to the Oakland Parking office but I'll have to bite that bullet I suppose. I've got an occupational life beyond any one blog; it includes my simulation games for the classroom and the work I do for clients in building new media platforms for them. So if someone reading this - it's on a bunch of my blogs - wants a small-expense pay internship learning and doing blogging, vlogging, and new media in general, drop me an email and a resume. Ideally I'm looking to restart my "SBS Personalities" program of bloggers but expand it to my Zennie.62 blog network, so up to five people will work. If you want to ge

Noam Chomsky compares right-wing media to Nazi Germany in San Francisco visit

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I happened on this YouTube video where famous intellectual, author, and spokesperson on the media and politics Noam Chomsky talks about right-wing media during a recent visit to San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. I've always felt Chomsky had his pulse on the zeitgeist of what's wrong in America. My favorite was his take on mainstream media , and while it was over a decade ago, it still applies today in a way. For example, he wrote: The elite media set a framework within which others operate. If you are watching the Associated Press, who grind out a constant flow of news, in the mid-afternoon it breaks and there is something that comes along every day that says "Notice to Editors: Tomorrow’s New York Times is going to have the following stories on the front page." The point of that is, if you’re an editor of a newspaper in Dayton, Ohio and you don’t

Oakland City Auditor's report - a closer look

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit As the SF Chronicle's Henry Lee explains , Oakland's City Auditor Courtney Ruby officially tells us what some Oaklanders have always known: that the City of Oakland's hiring practices in the 5,500-employee organization have the "appearance of favoritism". I didn't need a report to support what I've seen and experienced in the past and the present , but I'm glad it's released. Let's take a closer look. The report, which you can download with a click on this link to the Oakland City Auditor's website , was prepared for Ruby's office by the Sacramento consulting firm of Sjoberg and Evashenk. The 123-page document is not kind to the City of Oakland, and Oaklanders should be concerned with what the comprehensive report reveals. Here's just a taste of what the Oakland City Auditor's report states: 1. People were promoted

City of Oakland's parking czar Claudia Herrera must fix system

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit This week for me in the City of Oakland has been one in hell. First, some housekeeping: for anyone who came to see my experimental Oakland talk show at the Lake Chalet , I'm sorry for not being there Wednesday as I was dealing with this City of Oakland issue far longer than I expected to. I'm going to do it again on Friday at 4 PM. It's one thing to deal with tickets, but quite another to learn that if you pay the California DMV , the City of Oakland will not honor that payment for Oakland tickets if your car was towed. I also learned that its common for Oaklanders to "double pay" - that is pay the DMV first, but then be arm-twisted into paying the City of Oakland for the same set of tickets already paid for at the DMV ! Got that? And while the City of Oakland says it will pay you back, it takes almost a year to do, when it's done! In other w

"Oakland Local" is Oakland's newest blog site

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Oakland Local 's something Susan Mernit has talked about and worked on for the better part of 2009. It's a comprehensive blog in a kind of " DailyKos -style". Now, after a lot of blood sweat and tears, it's done and has gone live this week. Welcome to Oakland, Oakland Local!

CA DMV - Do you know where your registration money goes?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit  DMV: Where's the Money? I just returned from another really harrowing experience with the California Department of Motor Vehicles office on Claremont Avenue in Oakland . Between this and the taxi cab issue, and the Oakland parking problem , anti-car forces should not complain about California not charging enough to operate a car. In fact I've determined that many of them don't own cars; no bumming rides from me in the future, OK? I think God's putting me through this just to shine a good media light on these problems.  So be it.  To that end, I got the email of the director George Valverde which I will not share, the DMV Twitter accoun t, and his Twitter account, which I will share: @GVCADMV . George Valverde Mr. Valverde to date has been helpful in directing my emails, though we've not talked as of this writing, but it's these revelations belo

Angry Cab Driver abandons car - and me - in Oakland

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit UPDATE: Do you know where your DMV Money goes? What happened to me on Sunday October 18th should not happen to anyone in Oakland, or anywhere. I was just going to go into San Francisco to catch up with my friend who was finishing the Nike Women's Marathon.  I called "Friendly Cab" to take me from my place near Lake Merritt in Oakland to 19th Street BART Station in downtown Oakland. I was in a hurry to get there as it was around 3 PM, so even though its just about a mile away I figured cabbing it, as they say, was faster. So the cab - car number 236 - showed up as I was standing out there early.  Well, what happed was the cab driver activated this automated call system that says "Welcome to DDS; your cab has arrived."   Well I went out to meet the vehicle and there was no cab for a solid four minutes of time.  Then he rounded the corner. I go

Mayor of Alameda's big mistake in Alameda Naval Air Station issue

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Tuesday, Beverly Johnson, the Mayor of Alameda, said she essentially went away from the wishes of the over 8,000 people who signed a petition to have the Alameda Naval Air Station / SunCal development proposal placed on the ballot for vote next year. Mayor Johnson has pulled back on her support for the initiative at least for now. According to the blog " The Islands of Alameda " Mayor Johnson based her decision on a city staff report I've not yet seen but reportedly would give the developer more money than the city if the initiative passed in its current form. The blog says: The report’s authors also asked whether the taxes to be collected on the development would be enough to cover an $4.8 million annual hit to the city’s general fund, and it pointed out that the initiative would give the developer breaks on some fees it would normally pay. I write that be

Bay area earthquake? What earthquake?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit According to a number of postings there was a small earthquake near Pleasanton, CA , not far from here as the crow flies. What's interesting is the "Bay Area Earthquake" isn't showing up on the news pages of the mainstream media press in the area but the blog sites have it on Google Trends . Reportedly it was 3.7 on the Richter scale. I didn't feel the damn thing. And from what I've read it happened while I was working on my Phil Matier video blog . I know it's long at 21 minutes, but wow!

SF Chronicle talk - Phil Matier on California politics and government

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Phil Matier is a friend and one-half of the well-known reporting team of Matier and Ross . I've known Phil since 1993 when I started as a columnist for the Oakland-based Montclarion and he and his professional sidekick Andy Ross were working under the same "Matier and Ross" title. Over the years Phil has always lent an ear and advice. Now, since I blog on the SF Chronicle's website, I figured I'd take time to do something that was always in the back of my mind: make a vlog featuring an interview with Phil. The result is this 21 minutes long video . Frankly, it also a way of paying back those at the SF Chronicle who've given me the freedom to express myself and bring light to some issues that ordinarily would be ignored. Phil and I met at Merritt Station. A local cafe near Lake Merritt in Oakla

Oakland Tribune's parking editorial is irresponsible

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I just read the Oakland Tribune's editorial (Monday, October 12th) on the City of Oakland's parking enforcement policies and the word that immediately came to mind when I was done was this one: irresponsible. Somewhere along the way the Oakland Tribune forgot that it was supposed to represent the needs, hopes, and wants of the people of the City of Oakland, not the City of Oakland. The Tribune editors wrote: Some of the most irrational parking opponents still aren't satisfied. They're demanding — which is utterly absurd — that the council set parking rates at 50 cents per hour, end aggressive ticketing, forgive all tickets issued since July 1 and issue an apology for instituting the parking changes in the first place. Irrational? Under the Tribune's twisted logic, the "Shop Oakland" program of free parking on Christmas holidays is just plain i

Lake Chalet Oakland adds Palm trees on the patio!

The Blog Michael d's Buzz Report features Oakland's Lake Chalet Restaurant in full palm tree mode! My favorite place, for which now after all my self-starting advocacy I'm a spokesperson of sorts, is still drawing great crowds especially for Taco Tuesday's. Here's one of my videos - more to come - on the great new place to eat and hang:

NY Giants clobber Oakland Raiders 44 to 7 - Raiders passing game awful

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I watched as much of the NY Giants' mugging of the Oakland Raiders 44 to 7 as I could stand, even as the CBS Sports NFL group was apologizing for the game! CBS Football Analyst and NFL great Boomer Esiason said it looked like the Washington Generals versus the Harlem Globetrotters, and one had to assume the Raiders were the Generals, which were always beaten by the Globetrotters. Seeing them actually do that was a low point in Oakland Raiders football history, and now we must call into question everything the Raiders are doing on the field. Especially on offense with the Oakland Raiders passing game. I've said and written it before, and I'll do it again. The Raiders passing offense lacks the basic practices used by organizations that install timed passing games. The lack of use of hashmarks as landmarks is just the start of the problem. It's the overall

City of Oakland parking tow sting harms Oaklanders - follow-up

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I've received a lot of comments, calls, and texts since I revealed the City of Oakland's parking tow sting operation on Saturday. Working backward and reading some of them, a friend told me just a few minutes ago that just last, on College Avenue and Kasel, she saw an Oakland parking enforcement person - she used the term "meter maid" but that implies a level of civility of behavior I've not yet seen in the staffers - actually measuring the distance of a car's wheel to the curb and a red zone before giving them a ticket! Now, to say that's beyond the pale is an understatement but it shows just how much the City of Oakland's trying to squeeze money out of Oaklanders where they feel it the most (other than housing): transportation. The other story comes from a reader who explains: Not only is the city selectively issuing parking tickets

City of Oakland parking tow sting harms Oaklanders

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit As Oakland Councilmembers like Jean Quan remind you that on Tuesday they voted to roll back parking enforcement times from 8 P.M. to 6 P.M., a terrible and really hurtful act is being done by the City of Oakland and its harming a lot of Oaklanders. The City of Oakland's instructed parking enforcement staff to just check license plates on cars to make sure the registrations' up to date. If it's not, even if the car's legally parked and regardless of the records error the driver is fighting, they will tow it. This is happening every day and now it happened to me. I had a DMV registration charge that I proved was too high from 2008. My 2009 costs were paid already but this matter has been in dispute and we finally resolved it and at a cost I could afford. Meanwhile I was barely using the car for obvious reasons, and staying around the neighborhood. But, late

Alameda Naval Air Station - time to redevelop it!

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I took a self-created video tour of Alameda Naval Air Station, and I must say that I'm profoundly disappointed that this once great facility, the economic engine of Alameda when it was open and running, is in what can only be called a horrible state of disrepair. In other words, it's blighted. The land that was this great " Aviation Gateway to the Pacific " supports some of the largest buildings I've ever seen in my life. As a member of the first "Alameda Base Reuse Committee", it was our collective dream to see this 1,500 acre monument to America's Military history redeveloped. Now, after years of not visiting the land as extensively as I did Wednesday, I'm really shocked that basically nothing has been done to improve this property and restore it to economic production. A remade and expanded trail is not enough. Even SunCal

Oakland Gang Task Force disbanded

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit The Oakland Gang Task Force , that was the much talked about unit of the City of Oakland's Police Department in the Discovery television series "Oakland Gang Wars", has been disbanded. In fact, this action happened just about a month ago according to sources who do not wish to be named. The reason for the action is a combination of budget cutting and political infighting out of the view of Oakland's City Council. Reportedly, but I offer this is not the exact explanation and only a caricature of entire story, the eight-person unit had one officer who was not well liked by the commanding sergeant, who wanted him reassigned. The other officers involved like and respect the officer and so disagreed with the planned removal. That set in motion a number of actions, some involving high level OPD execs, that my sources did not fully disclose but had something to d