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OaklandSeen - Aimee Allison & Zennie Abraham on KPFA

OaklandSeen is KPFA 94.1 KPFA Morning Show radio personality and twice candidate to represent Oakland City Council District Two (now-Councilmember Pat Kernighan won the race), Aimee Allison's new show where she talks about what's happening in Oakland. This was an interesting show in that it was produced at a makeshift studio within Revolution Cafe at 1612 7th Street in West Oakland, and across from the Oakland Main Post Office.

(As an aside, the cafe's real cool and has a nice collection of couches and overstuffed chairs. My only issue with Revolution Cafe is, at an 8 PM time, it closes too early. 10 PM would be great.)

Aimee Allison's 85-minute plus show featured Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners' member and 2nd Vice-President Margaret Gordon, Ronnie Stewart of the Bay Area Blues Society, Erica Torrence of People's Grocery, Aimee Allison, and me, Zennie Abraham. (The meat of the video starts about 20 minutes in; you can see and hear us set up before the actual show starts.)

The idea of this segment was to focus on problems and issues in West Oakland and Margaret Gordon , Ronnie Stewart, and Erica Torrence, who are activists in the area, were perfect. I learned a lot from them, but first and foremost I realized that the same problems we were working to solve in West Oakland during the 90s are still with us today: poor grocery stores with substandard food offerings and gentrification.

But it's also clear that in small ways West Oakland's becoming a better place to live and to be. As a result of Margaret Gordon's work, trucks must have special emissions-reduction retrofits before they can move through West Oakland. And more people like the owners of Revolution Cafe are discovering that they can do good business there. West Oakland is not, as some have said, a dumping ground any more.

We also talked about Oakland's World Cup Soccer bid and I learned that while 50,000 signatures are needed by December 4th, only about 2,500 have been collected. Margaret Gordon said that more people have to get involved in Oakland if Oakland is to improve.

While most of the time was used to talk about West Oakland, we also talked about the Oakland Parking problem and I explained that just yesterday a woman who drove down to Grand Avenue with her child watched in horror as her car was towed away for too many parking tickets; she was left to figure out how she was going to get her kid back home. (Remember, the "tow trigger" is five or more tickets and the City of Oakland's giving out more and more of them.)

I also talked about the Oakland Parking Initiative and what we were trying to do, but I didn't get enough time to talk about that more in depth.

(As a note, you should turn your speakers way up for the video.)

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