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Showing posts from December, 2010

Oakland's Tiki Tom's Restaurant - The Last Video - Part One

On October 7th, 2010, Oakland's Tiki Tom's Restaurant burned down in a blaze of fire that rang up an estimated $750,000 worth of building damage. There was, and still as of this writing, no known cause of the fire. According to several sources, the building was chain locked, and while the power had been turned off, PG&E reported it wasn't their doing. The fire was officially labeled "suspicious." Everything was burned, including the boat, a Tampa 66 Chris Craft according to Tom Davies AKA "Tiki Tom", docked on the Oakland Estuary, and in back of the eatery. The restaurant that was located at 329 29th Avenue with the frog on top was at the center of what it's owner, "Tiki Tom" called "The Oakland Riviera" during a video tour. This blogger was taken there the day before my 48th birthday on August 4th, and by long-time friends Bob and Barbara Schock, who are new Oakland District Four Councilmember Libby Schaaf'

NORAD Santa Tracker - Christmas Eve Santa Tracking

This year, 2010, once again this blogger is following (kinda) the Santa Tracker, but while tree trimming, wine drinking, and talking, and listening to Nat and Frank (Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra).  But here's my NORAD Santa Tracker Video, because I just had to! This business of going to the NORAD website to track Santa Claus' trip around the World is rather cool, but I'm in the middle of watching It's A Wonderful Life , so I decided to embed the tracker right here in my blog: As of 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST, Santa Claus is , well, he's moving really fast! (If the embed doesn't work in your browser, click on the NORAD link.) Merry Christmas!

Oakland News: Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente Gets DUI Arrest

Sad news. According to the San Jose Mercury News , veteran Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente (pictured) was arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Thursday night at 7:30 PM. Nacho was arrested, booked, released, and given a future court date to appear. The CHP (California Highway Patrol) Officer said something that can and should do him in, in court: that "he believed De La Fuente was speeding" and that the officer "noticed impairment." So, let's see here. First, the CHP officer didn't have a speed gun to have evidence to back his claim of speeding. Second, the officer didn't have a Breathalyzer to record Ignacio's blood - alcohol level to back his claim that Ignacio was "impaired." What the hell was this CHP officer doing?  No speed gun.  No Breathalyzer.  And he just hauls Ignacio in, anyway.  Near Christmas.   Nuts. I don't care - not a big rats butt - if it happens to everyone; it's not su

Oakland News: Top 21 Oakland Christmas Gifts

Merry Christmas Oakland! Normally, this would be a "top 10" list, but we have so many well deserving Oaklanders, and people who do business in Oakland, that I expanded it to 21. Why 21? Because once I started thinking about who deserves an Oakland Christmas Gift, the list just kept going on and on. It's the by-product of knowing a lot of people in this town. A lot of people who deserve positive recognition. I could have gone on to 40, but had to cut it off at some point. Here's the list! 1. For former Oakland Mayor and now California Governor-Elect Jerry Brown: patience and focus. He's going to need both. 2. For Oakland Teachers: $500 more per teacher, per month. That would help many, many well-deserving and hard working teachers in Oakland. 3. For Mayor-Elect Jean Quan: A Green Oakland Mayor's Bus so she can travel free of parking ticket worry, and get around in a socially-responsible way! 4. For Al Davis and The Oakland Raiders: A N

Santa Baby 99ers Christmas Unemployment Song

Presenting the Santa Baby 99ers Christmas Unemployment Song , or The Santa Baby 99ers Song , on Christmas Eve. Donalee King (in photo from, who goes by Paladinette, at , created this variation of the classic Christmas Song Santa Baby. King, a blogger who also has her own blog called Jobless Unite ,  is one of the so-called "99ers," those who's unemployment benefits have ran out after the 99-week limit, and seek an extension of benefits, or better yet, a job. In seeking both, the San Diego resident has become a tireless advocate for the jobless. Her work on this song landed her notice by the LA Times . The video is below, followed by the lyrics, which are graphic but worth reading and singing...if you dare! (In fact, if you're in Oakland, California, print out the lyrics, take them down to The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue , present them to Rod Dibble at the piano, and ask he would accompany you in song. Santa Baby is a song he k

Festivus 2010: No Mediaite Festivus? What Gives?

Festivus, that annual celebration for the rest of us, is upon us, once again. But in 2010 Festivus just don't feel like, well, Festivus. The idea was first introduced in Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld's long-running television comedy, as an alternative to what some perceive as the commericialization of Christmas. But this time, Festivus doesn't feel like Festivus, and maybe that's because the idea was started by a long-cancelled TV show, rather than a religious event? At any rate, I know Festivus isn't as huge this year, because Mediaite's not mentioning it at all. Last year, the online media watchdog publication had a Mediaite Festivus of the top 50 media influencers in 2009, and that I talked about in my vlog here: This year, zip.  Nada. And while Festivus is a Google Trend, some of the blogs and articles don't seem to be focused on it in the title heading.  Festivus is more the day that, say, an NFL football game is being played. I think AOL

Oakland Twitter Tweets For Wednesday, December 23rd 2010

There's so much going on in Oakland, it's hard to represent it all in just one blog post.  The Oakland City Council approves use of up to $750,000 for an environmental study for a baseball stadium for The Oakland A's.  The City of Oakland sues three sub-standard hotels said to be prostitution dens.   The Oakland Raiders get ready to host The Indianapolis Colts.  It's all here, and more.   A newsletter is just a static report, too. So how does one best capture all that's happening in Oakland? A Twitter Tweet stream like the one below. What's neat is you can see the changing news scene in Oakland, as well as what's happening off the mainstream media path. Check it out: Read more:

Rosati's Is One Of The Best Pizzas In The World, Next To Zachary's

Ok, Rosati's Pizza is the best in my World, but what's the difference between it and Zachary's Pizza? As this blogger writes this post, it's Tuesday morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near O'Hare Airport. It's snowing outside. And I'm looking at the remains of a Rosati's Deep Dish Pizza I ordered last night. I grew up in Chicago, so Zachary's Pizza in Oakland's a welcome reminder of Chicago-style pizza. That is, until you've had Chicago-style pizza. The difference between the Rosati's Pizza and Zachary's Pizza? The sausage. The Rosati's Deep Dish Pizza has that insanely great Italian sausage and a lot of it and in large portions. That's it. Really. That's it.   Other than that, So, come on Zachary's Pizza in Oakland, up that Italian sausage count!

Christmas Travel: Stuck At O'Hare At A Crowne Plaza Where The Phone Failed

Well, here's another blog post in the annals of Zennie's air travels: stuck at O'Hare Airport (again), but this time in a Crowne Plaza where the room phone doesn't work. That's right: this blogger can't call out or in. Thankfully cell phone and Twitter make up for the phone fail. What happened was United Airlines flight UA 102 made it to Chicago from San Francisco and landed in what at first was a relatively typical snow for Chicagoland. That was 6:12 PM CST; as the night got older the snow got worse, and eventually O'Hare took on the look of The North Pole, complete with sightings of Santa Claus outside. And, yes, the weather outside was somewhat frightful. A good 24 degrees. Yes, it's been colder than that with the wind-chill, but the snow's snarling travel. And as is my generally bad luck, the connecting flight I was to get on to Atlanta was delayed. And then delayed. And then the United gate reps explained the airplane we were t

TRON Movie Review At The Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA.

The first review of TRON from this space was more about its similarities with 2001 A Space Odyssey , and called Tron Legacy: 2010: A Digital Odyssey , and why it was disturbing to this blogger.   But this is to explain that TRON is a good movie, not a great one, but good, and that you should see it at The Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA. The Grand Lake Theater, at Grand Avenue and Lake Park Ave near Oakland's Lake Merritt, has existed since 1926 and features an enormous main viewing room that represents the best of the old theaters. The friends I saw it with thought TRON was outstanding and, as the video shows, would definitely see it again. However, the 3D element was disappointing. Again, converting a 2D movie to 3D is something that should be done with care and consideration. It had to add something to the film experience. The TRON 3D effects don't add much to the film. I was constantly moving my 3D glasses up and off and back over my eyes again to tel

John Russo On Oakland Gang Injunction and Gangs in Oakland

This video blogger talked with Oakland City Attorney John Russo about his response to a video featuring Michael Siegel of the Oakland civil rights law firm Siegel and Lee , and the focus of a blog entry of last week. One that got under the skin of Russo and his assistant Alex Katz. Within two days, John and Alex called to ask for this blogger to come and conduct a video interview to get their side of the Oakland Gang Injunction issue. The result is the 20 minute video. In 2010 Oakland became the third city in the San Francisco Bay Area to implement injunctions against a specific set of street gangs, the North Oakland Crime Organization and another called The , which, according to Russo, is a terribly violent gang. What Is A Gang Injunction? To start, we got out of the way just what a gang injunction is. "A gang injunction is a civil court order that the city pursues against a uh, known criminal enterprise," Russo said. "It's defined, the term "gang"

Yelp Hammers Oakland Parking Service

Yelp has become the go-to site for ratings on businesses of all types, including the "City of Oakland Parking Service System." That's everything from the Parking Department Office at City Hall Plaza, to the parking enforcement employees on the street, and everyone in between. The collective gets a nice "one-star" rating on Yelp . And the comments are something to read. Here's a sample: Several weeks ago I received a parking ticket for parking at an expired meter in Oakland. When I went to pay it today, I was surprised to see another citation that was past due associated with my license number... Then I remembered: many months ago, I found a parking ticket on my car when I failed to move it for street sweeping. The next day, I tried to pay for said ticket, both online, and using the over-the-phone method. Neither worked. Several days later, I tried once more to pay the ticket, again to no avail. I was told several times that no such ticket existed in t

Oakland, CA Parking: Still Predatory, Getting Worse

This is yet another email sent to this blogger about the Oakland Parking problem. From the way it reads, Oakland, CA's predatory parking practice (say that three times fast), where the city aggressively tickets and tows cars, is still with us. Hello, I am speaking out because this just started this past Tuesday. Please see all the pictures and my letter to the Parking Citation place. thank you.There are 6 - 12 cars parked here 7 days per week. i have lived here for 6.5 years and NEVER gotten a ticket here until NOW. we all are getting tickets daily. Double Parking in a Culdesac? this is unjust. how do we fight this now? How sad that the City Of Oakland would stoop this low to get money. and calling the number to get help is a waste of time. Please let me know if you can help or what we can do. There are a few of us here in the neighborhood that are disabled. AND people who work and visit people at Highland Hospital park here. they also get tickets. hmm.. the parking people ON

A's Stadium San Jose vs. Oakland update: SJ Council approves Gen Plan

ALERT! A's Stadium San Jose vs. Oakland update. A quick follow-up on yesterday's post r egarding opposition to the San Jose effort to build a stadium for the Oakland A's (Athletics): the San Jose City Council passed it's much discussed amendment to its General Plan. What that means is more housing where industrial property is currently situated, and more urban costs and less tax increment revenue generation from a tax base that some San Joseans feel has already suffered a "death by a thousand cuts." This decision is a major blow to the city's ability to afford a stadium for the Oakland A's. That is, of course, assuming San Jose withstands a court challenge from both the San Francisco Giants and The City of San Francisco, as well as The City of Oakland. Stay tuned.

A's Stadium has opposition in San Jose: Better Sense San Jose

Over all of the talk about an Oakland A's baseball stadium in San Jose instead of Oakland, the San Jose Murky News failed to mention the organized opponents in the form of Better Sense San Jose .   Better Sense San Jose describes itself as: a community based all volunteer organization founded to promote open and transparent government, and sensible, prioritized spending in the City of San Jose. It has a simple position on the Lew Wolff proposal, stating that San Jose can't afford it, and that it's a "poor economic deal" for the city and a lousy investment. Here are the reasons Better Sense San Jose gives : - land purchases and infrastructure improvements for a stadium will cost San Jose an estimated $100M in present value initially, plus a loss of roughly $1M a year from foregone property taxes. - the net ROI (Return on Investment) for San Jose is 2% or less, while the Redevelopment Agency bonds supplying the capital cost 5% or more per year. A bad deal.

Oakland News Coalition Against the Gang Injunctions video interview

The interview with Maisha Quint of the East Side Arts Alliance and Michael Siegel of the Law Firm of Siegel and Yee (Where his father, Dan Siegel and Oakland Council President Jane Brunner are partners), was not conducted by this blogger, but by someone named Kali Akuno who has a series of videos he calls "The Black Agenda Morning Shot." The videos, totaling about 19 minutes of run-time, were not brought to my attention by anyone; I found them on YouTube. I've never met Maisha, and Michael I met for the first time and just after interviewing now-Mayor-Elect Jean Quan at Siegel and Lee during The Oakland Mayor's Race. While I'm personally opposed to the idea of a "black agenda" - because I think a separatist view doesn't help the cause for diversity, and because more often than not, it's not my agenda, and I just don't like being dictated to by the masses, regardless of color - their point of view on how the Oakland Gang Injunction contri

Attacks on Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks unwarranted

Councilmember Brooks A couple of bloggers on Twitter cyber-approached me in an effort to start what, from a bird's eye view looks like a smear campaign against Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks (District Six - Central East Oakland). Both point to a 2006 San Francisco Chronicle article on her by Phil Matier, and on how she allegedly gives City of Oakland money out to friends and allies. My Twitter response was that it's not proper form to use a 2006 issue in 2010. Moreover, there are a lot of people among the masses who dislike people "just because." Yes, it may be sport, but it's not right. Desley may, and at times does, have a prickly nature, but when it comes to the needs of her district, there are many who swear by her. That's why she won the November election. If the attackers have something on Desley, which I doubt, they need to make sure it's current and very substantive, not old and unsubstantive.

Education and economic development in Oakland

This short blog started with a tweet this blogger ran across, and now I can't find because I don't follow the Twitterer who issued it on Twitter. At any rate the message of the tweet was that an education scholar Richard Rothstein, who talked at the California School Boards Association on Friday in San Francisco, made a comment that education and training could not overcome bad economic background. There was no link to the tweet issued communicating that idea, or words to that effect, and the tweet didn't come from Richard Rothstein. Moreover it was all but impossible to find a blog post or news account of what Mr. Rothstein actually said. But it made me think of how economic development and education officials in Oakland don't talk to each other. At all. Yet, economic development planners are supposed to be trying to bring jobs to the same neighborhoods the education officials, and here I mean teachers, work in. Why not talk with them about what the need

Oakland News: Al Davis fires-up Raider Nation, Oakland A's Hearing a success

This Oakland news is from the sports World. A YouTuber that goes by gorilla142 (subscribe!) made the rare video of Oakland Raiders Manager of The General Partner Al Davis stopping to exhort The Raider Nation to fight for the Raiders before Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins at the Oakland Coliseum.  From what could be understood over the voice of the Coliseum public adress voice, from some speaker source nearby, Al Davis, walking with what appeared to be a mix of fans and plain-clothed bodyguards stopped, took measure of his audience, and said "You guys are great...You wear the Silver and Black...Let me tell ya this: we're going to play our ass off today...You gotta fight with us...Pride and Poise. Will to win. And just win, baby." That sent the crowd into a frenzy. Unfortunately for them and Davis, the Raiders got their clocks cleaned 33 to 17. Still, it's nice to see Mr. Davis still has the fire in the belly to win. The Raiders are up agai

Dr. Dean Edell out at KGO Radio

According to Blogger Richard Liberman , Dr. Dean Edell, the popular, long time host of The Dean Edell Show on KGO Radio 810 in the San Francisco Bay Area, has retired as a reaction to learning that his long-running show was going to be relegated to weekend, re-run status. Richard blogs: I'm pretty sure Dean Edell would have preferred a more amiable departure from the KGO microphone after over 30 years at 900 Front, but when his nationally-syndicated show was essentially shut down and thrown to the weekend re-run pasture, Edell announced his retirement. More to the point, Dr. Edell felt humiliated and flustered and told Citadel and new KGO GM, Deidre Lieberman, (no relation,) to stuff it. His last show on KGO is Dec. 10. Liberman also reports that Don Imus may be on KGO in the near future. Personally, I hope not. Stay tuned.