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Showing posts from January, 2011

What the pundits missed.

I wrote this piece on why Batts and other chiefs often don’t last long in that job. Though Batts may be staying, the issues remain. Local pundits, Chip Johnson and Tammerlin Drummond, have weighed in on why they think Anthony Batts wants to leave his post as our new Chief of Police. I’m confused by some of the assumptions they make when trying to second guess the Chief. For one, Drummond and Johnson seem to think that Oakland is suffering from more severe budget problems than other cities. But we also know that San Jose came very close to laying off over a hundred of its officers last year before the San Jose Police Officers Association offered to share in pension costs. If you read the news about San Jose today, you will find that continued budget woes are causing their mayor to consider imposing police layoffs again. Secondly, Johnson and Drummond like to promote the idea that Mayor Jean Quan has always had a “testy relationship” with the police so that’s why Batts might be thinking

Oakland Councilmember Jane Brunner Wrong On Chief Batts

Oakland City Councilmember Jane Brunner (District 1 - North Oakland) is unfortunately just plain wrong in her comments on Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, and shows why many say there has been a "leadership void" that Oakland's elected officials have not effectively filled. This is what Cecily Burt quoted Councilmember Brunner as saying in The Oakland Tribune regarding why Batts elected to try and leave Oakland: "I don't even know if that is the reason. We don't know if there are other issues, it's not clear...He is very popular, we think he is a good chief, but in my opinion, he needs to want to be here. And if there are things that are preventing him from wanting to stay, he needs to be in the room to have that discussion...If he's going to stay, he needs to work with us as a team." No. Councilmember Brunner has it backwards.   It's her job to make sure working conditions are excellent for a person who is essentially one of her

Jerry Brown's Plan To End Redevelopment In California Wrong-Headed

California Governor Jerry Brown is known for attacking sacred cows but sometimes he does so without a clear vision of the real objective and how to achieve it. Such is the case with California Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs), which Brown wants to do away with as part of his State of California Proposed Budget. Governor Brown thinks the move will return $1.7 billion to the general funds of California cities; but such a claim shows Brown doesn't understand Redevelopment, how it works, and what it's supposed to do.  The real objective of returning $1.7 billion will not be done in the way he says, and for several reasons. First, California Redevelopment is designed such that it allows cities to establish redevelopment areas to keep property taxes. And contrary to popular view, redevelopment revenues from project areas can be used to provide services in those project areas. Many cities have done this, including Oakland. Indeed, California Redevelopment Law was used by the C

Pork Loin at Plum in Oakland Good, Overpriced

Pork Loin at Plum in Oakland , originally uploaded by zennie62 . Last night, I paid a visit to the new Plum Restaurant on Franklin near Broadway. It's a new addition to the Uptown Oakland food scene, joining Luka's, Osumo, Pican, Vo's, and Bakesale Beattie's, as well as Farley's Cafe and forming a nexus of food places at Broadway and Grand. Now, I'm not a restaurant reviewer. In fact, I was spurred to try Plum because of Michael Bauer's review at Plus, living in Oakland, I think its important to support Oakland business whenever I can. Now, I've got to put this in perspective. The Pan-Roasted Half Chicken at The Wood Tavern is the best in the SF Bay Area. It's a 23 dollar meal that will more than fill you up; you'll have to take some of it home. I asked what the most filling dish at Plum would be and the patron next to me recommended the Pork. So I ordered it. I inhaled it. It's $18 and yet is the size of a small

Oakland News: Southy New Restaurant, Arizona Shooting, Oakland Raiders

This edition of Oakland News has a lot of information for you. First, if you've ever eaten at the North Oakland restaurant called Wood Tavern at 6317 College Avenue (with the best half-chicken in Oakland, if not the SF Bay Area), then you'll be able to picture it's new spring-off called "Southy." Why that name? Because it's going to be right next door and south of The Wood Tavern. Set to open in about 10 days, Southy's going to cater to a younger crowd. There's going to be a sliding door to deliver take out orders, to which I suggest offering sliders to go with that slider! Also, on the Oakland / College Avenue restaurant gossip beat, if you're wondering how some eateries are doing, I understand that one of them, once a large, popular place this blogger visited regularly, eventually fell off and started "floating" its liquor accounts. Let's say you own a restaurant in Oakland. As I understand it, if you purchase beer, you

San Francisco News: Transbay Terminal Construction Schedule

In this San Francisco News, construction of The Transbay Terminal is under way. This space will have updates from the newsletter of the Transbay Terminal organization. If you're wondering what this is all about, the idea of a new transportation terminal in downtown San Francisco started almost 20 years ago. It culminated in this design competition: From the newsletter of The Transbay Terminal organization: This week at Transbay... Weekend Work (1/7/11 - 1/9/11): This weekend, work will take place on Saturday, between the hours 7:00 AM and 11:00 PM. The contractors will move the crane known as “Big Red” into the west portion of the old Terminal footprint in order to continue demolition of the West Terminal building. Weekday Work: Weekday work between Monday, January 10, 2011 and Friday, January 14, 2011 will focus on the demolition of the West Terminal building using the wrecking ball. Work began on Thursday, January 6, 2011 to demolish the ramp between Howard and Natoma an

Oakland Inauguration: Jean Quan Libby Schaaf and Pat Kernighan Take Office - Part 1

Oakland, CA: Live From The Fox - Today's a special day in the City of Oakland, because Jean Quan, formerly District 4 Councilmember, then the (to some) surprising new Mayor-Elect of Oakland after beating front-runner Don Perata thanks to Ranked Choice Voting, today becomes Mayor of Oakland. Quan started the day with a walk from Chinatown through Oakland, and ending at the Fox Theater, where we are for the inauguration ceremonies. She held an inpromptu "thank you" chat with supporters and onlookers in front of the Fox, and was joined by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson. Sandre, a protege of former Congressman and now outgoing Mayor Ron Dellums, issued what in retrospect, was the first sign that Dellums wasn't going to run for reelection: he announced his support for Quan. Moreover, Sandre's support for Jean never wavered. Now, today, he looks like a proud papa, grinning from ear-to-ear. Libby Schaaf, Pat Kernighan, and Courtney Ruby Take Office Today's