A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ode To Oakland

We just found this lovely letter to Oakland, written just last week by an Adams Point resident who posts at Philosophy and Letters.

Here's an excerpt. Please visit her blog for the whole post:

To the City of Oakland:

During the sunset, sunrise or when I look at the trees turning into shade of autumn, or when I see the busses or look at the lake, or even when I’m on my way to work that I have the urge to tell others how I feel about you. However, I don’t know who I should talk to. The trees? My reflection in the lake that’s clouded and green? The crackheads the street or the normal ones standing on the corner of 14th and Broadway about how much I love you? I don’t know whom I should talk to, anyone or anything, so I’m writing you a letter and posting it on this blog, just to tell you know how much I adore you.

On the brink of graduating and participating in the VISTA program I decided to nestle and make my home in Oakland (or the Bay Area in general) because my former supervisor said that the programs are more refined in that part of the state, and it’s the city that reminded me most of Chicago. I know it seemed weird, and most people don’t understand it, unless they’re native s of Chicago. I felt an immediate kinship with the city. Possibly because it was larger than Oceanside, or Riverside, but it wasn’t as large as London, which made me feel alienated for how big it is.

"I love being here for other reasons. Like that there are so many different kinds of people, neighborhoods and things. Outsiders who have never been to Oakland are surprised when they meet people who love it out here. It’s because it’s a gem, and not all parts of Oakland are created equal. It’s mostly known for its violence (I think it’s the 4th most violent city in the nation), particularly in East Oakland, but no one talks about the Taco Trucks, the Old School ice cream trucks that serve Mexican ice cream and soft serve (sometimes in the same truck!) or the sense of community. There’s the Oakland in Glenview (the rich wannabe Piedmont part), Oakland in Downtown (the nightlife part), Oakland by the lake (the central part with the Famer’s Market), Oakland in the West (another residential low income part that’s much like East Oakland, but slightly quieter and where folks say good morning to each other), Oakland in Temescal (where the Berkeley-esque people kick it), Oakland in Montclair (see Glenview) and Oakland and Piedmont — which is actually not Oakland, but they can use our libraries. Each of these neighborhoods are distinctive in different ways, so of course the most common question Oakland residents ask one another is “What part of Oakland do you live?” where it’s ok to represent your address. Believe me– I get a lot of props for living in Adam’s Point even those I may have to leave that neighborhood sadly :-(.

It’s a place where people jog the lake wearing wife beaters, nylon running shorts and gloves or mittens to protect their hands from the cold. It’s a place where people wander the farmer’s markets with their yoga mats and struggle to find the freshest organic produce at Whole Foods. There’s the Oakland where the rich play and the East Oakland which everyone joke about avoiding. There’s College Ave with posh shops, boutiques and restaraunts and International Blvd. which is notorious for having bad things happen to good and bad people alike. But the Oakland I love is when these two worlds meet. The other day I saw a teenager with dark wash skin tight jeans, Kool Aid red extensions and an airbrushed jacket sporting a LIVE FEED bag from the Whole Foods. Those are times when I love this city because how would a tourist know that site even exists?"

photo courtesy of Brad Greenlee and Flickr

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Speedy Graffiti Removal

Hours after we posted a picture of this utility box covered with graffiti (see below) it had been cleaned up. Thanks for the quick response!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Neighborhood Watch Meeting Dec. 16

The first of two meetings to organize new neighborhood watch groups in HarriOak/Adams Point will be held on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the library of the Westlake Middle School. If you'd like to form a neighborhood watch group and get neighborhood watch signs on your block, you must attend these meetings and bring at least two of your neighbors (and preferably more). The second meeting will be on January 20 at 7 p.m. in the same location.

Oakland Online

Six months ago we got all excited about the increasing number and quality of blogs about Oakland. Since then, the online media landscape has gotten even richer. A Better Oakland, the doyenne of Oakland bloggers, did a round up of her favorite blogs in a recent post that just made my morning and inspired our new sidebar. You can get depressed about crime and our incompetent city council if you'd like, or you can cheer yourself up with OaklandGoods' report on Ozumo, a new restaurant in HarriOak (or Uptown if you really want to be technical), learn more about the Port of Oakland at Oakland Streets' Dredge Report, let Chloe Veltman convince you to buy theater tickets or network with urban gardeners at Ghost Town Farm and The Inadvertent Gardener. There are blogs about local real estate and a growing number of Web sites dedicated to community organizations, like our Beat 8x neighbors in Greater Mosswood and KoreaTown. All these online publications have one thing in common: They celebrate Oakland's rich and vibrant culture and highlight it musical, artistic and intellectual passion.

HarriOak Feeds 60 Families

Belinda Gilchrist-Day said the Darreis Project was able to feed sixty families a Thanksgiving Dinner thanks to the generosity of the local community. "It was beautiful," Gilchrist-Day said. "We had lots of elderly people who really needed help. No one drove up in a Mercedes Benz."

Photo courtesy of cobalt123

New City-Wide Crime-Fighting Organization

The United Neighborhood Councils of Oakland, of UNCO, was officially formed on December 9. The organization brings together Oakland's 52 neighborhood counci in order to advocate for issues of concern and to facilitate and promote full implementation of community policing as laid out in the City Council of Oakland Resolution 79235 CMS. UNCO will have three officers: a chair, a vice chair and a secretary, who will be elected by the delegates at the first of four annual congresses. Delegates will be chosen by their neighborhood councils (also known as NCPC's or neighborhood crime prevention councils) and there will be one delegate from each council. More information can be found at the Google Group.

Graffiti Clean Up

We are making good progress cleaning up the graffiti in the neighborhood. Graffiti has been removed from 85 Garland (repeatedly), 264 Oakland Avenue (repeatedly) 306 Oakland Avenue, 3333 Harrison Street and 201 Orange Street, and the city has been notified about graffiti on signs on Oakland Avenue, including 381 Oakland Avenue, 355 Oakland Avenue and 155 Pearl Street.

If you see graffiti on public property please report it to the city, which will send someone to clean it up. You can call 510-615-5566 or just snap a picture with your phone and e-mail it, along with the property address, to pwacallcenter@oaklandnet.com.

If you see graffiti on private property, please remind the property owner that they are responsible for cleaning up the graffiti or they can be fined for violating the Oakland Municipal Code. (See the copy of the code below.)

The problem-solving officer has taken a look out the graffiti, and it is not gang graffiti, but it is blighting the entire neighborhood. Graffiti hurts.

Oakland's Blight Ordinance - Get more Business Documents

Dellums Fires Staffer After She Hugs a Relative

Chip Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle, who has been doing an tremendous job reporting on the disaster of the administration of Mayor Ron Dellums. Today he writes that Anne Campbell Washington, the highly competent and widely respected assistant city administrator was fired after she gave a hug to an elderly relative who spoke at a city council meeting against one of Dellums' appointments to the city housing authority commission in early October. (Campbell Washington was one of city employees who has helped HarriOak navigate the city bureaucracy in our fight for traffic-calming measures.)

Chip writes:
"The goings-on in Oakland City Hall these days are absolutely repugnant and in no way representative of the way open government is supposed to operate.
Sadly, as Oakland residents have reeled under the leadership of the Dellums regime, there has not been one voice of dissent from any elected official in Oakland government. Nothing, nada, zip. Not even a peep.
Not one of the city's eight elected council members has ever summoned up the gumption to call the tea kettle black, and there are a myriad of reasons given."

That includes Nancy Nadel, who represents HarriOak on the City Council.

More information on a movement to recall Mayor Dellums is at www.recalldellums.com.