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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Walk to End Poverty this Saturday, 9am

May 30, 2009, 9am-2pm at Oakland's Lake Merritt

Register 8.00 a.m. at the Lake Merritt Bandstand, across from the Garden Center at 666 Bellevue. The Walk begins at 9am. For more information: www.OaklandCAP.org


The Oakland Open Proposals 2009-2010 program will commission multiple public art works for Oakland’s neighborhoods.

Eligibility: Oakland-based artists, in collaboration with local communities
Total funding available: $100,000
Application deadline: June 29, 2009

If you are interested in applying there is a workshop tonight: May 28th from 6:00 - 7:00 pm and Tuesday, June 2nd, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m in Oakland City Hall.

RSVP: Please call or email Steven Huss at 510-238-4949 or shuss@oaklandnet.com if you’d like to attend.

Full details on the Open Proposals program, including workshops and application procedures, can be found here. Or for a quick breakdown of important points V Smoothe summarizes here.

Oakland Open Proposals is a program of the City of Oakland Public Art Program, Cultural Arts & Marketing Division, Office of the City Administrator.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Help Save Lakeside Library

This is a guest post from neighbors who are trying to keep the Lakeview Library open. Please read:

Lakeview Library is desperately scrambling to stay alive. The city
wants to cut its services in half, open only 3 days a week, even though
Lakeview's patronage exceeds that of four libraries which are used far
less. Our neighborhood uses Lakeview: More than a third of the April
petition's signatures were collected at Lakeview.

We're collecting and consolidating our community's voices, and have

Lakeview Library's Blog http://lakeviewlibrary.wordpress.com/

This blog will collect library stories and e-mails to city officials
and use them to demonstrate that our neighborhood wants and needs our

1. Tell Us Your Your Library Story
ories/> .

Why is the library is important to you? Use your own story and add a
personal flavor to our community'sentreaties. Did you meet the love of
your life there? Get coached for your citizenship exams? Learn to knit
or play chess? Discover a new genre of book or music? Send you and
your kids home every week with a new batch of bedtime stories? Tell
your story!

1. ELECTRONICALLY : Tell Us Your Library Stories as a comment to the
2. ON PAPER: For those who prefer crayon, ink, photographs, there's
a printable PDF. Just drop the completed form in Lakeview's drop slot.
3. Save Lakeview Library Blog

There's no dedicated e-mail address for Lakeview Library's Friends
group...yet. Until we get one, please take a moment to paste your
e-mails, letters or faxes to our mayor and council into the comments
section. ( You can print your letter or e-mail and drop in at Lakeview
if you prefer)

Please take a few minutes to visit the blog:
---cut-and-paste your letters to the city
---take a few more minutes to add your library story


Photo courtesy of Sean Sullivan

Garden Jubilee Celebration June 7 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You are invited to "Rediscover the Green Heart of Oakland," seven acres of themed gardens in Lakeside Park, on Sunday June 7, starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. There will be gardening demonstrations, children's activities, art and food. For more information please contact gardensatlakemerritt at gmail dot com.

Photo courtesy of Gwen.

Budget Town Hall -- Tonight

City of Oakland Hosts Televised Budget “ Town Hall ” Meeting

The public is invited to participate in a live televised " Budget Town Hall " meeting tonight night during which KTOP viewers can call in to have their budget questions answered on-air.

(a message from the City Administrator's office)

What: Televised Budget Town Hall Meeting

Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Where: Live on KTOP Channel 10 (Comcast cable subscribers) ; U-verse

How: Tune in to KTOP Channel 10

Viewers can call in during the show to ask a question: 238-7544 or send a question ahead of time to: budgetsuggestions@oaklandnet.com

Who: City Council President Jane Brunner

City Councilmember Jean Quan, Chair of the Council Finance Committee

City Administrator Dan Lindheim

Cheryl Taylor, Budget Director

The show will be taped live in the KTOP studio without a studio audience. The public is invited to participate by calling in live to the show: 238-7544.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

San Francisco Estuary Project Art Contest

The San Francisco Estuary Project is sponsoring an art contest, with a $1,000 top prize, for best View of the Estuary - original art, in any medium, depicting scenes in/around San Francisco Bay/Estuary. Entries are due August 1. If you have questions please contact Lisa Owens-Viani at 510-622-2337 or lowensviani at waterboards dot ca dot gov

Meeting to discuss Broadway Auto Row Development

There is a public workshop scheduled for this Thursday, May 7 to discuss the Upper Broadway Retail Corridor Specific Plan.

The Meeting will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway (at 26th Street) in Oakland from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

You can read some community comments about the meeting on V. Smoothe's, A Better Oakland blog and bring your thoughts and ideas on Thursday night.

Monday, May 4, 2009

No Need for An Uptown Parking Lot

This commentary was originally published by the Oakland Tribune. It is reprinted with permission from its author.

My Word: No need for 'interim' parking lot in Uptown Oakland
By Shannon Bowman

AMID A staggering budget deficit, stalled development projects, and a mayoral administration perceived as inept, the Uptown area serves as a beacon of pride for Oakland. Three upscale bars have opened in the past month just on the stretch of Telegraph Avenue between 17th-20th Streets. Flora restaurant and Luca's are packed nightly and shine as symbols of the burgeoning restaurant and night life scenes in Uptown.

The Uptown renaissance is occurring despite a huge blemish in the heart of the district — a one-acre mud pit surrounded by an eight-foot chain link fence on the prominent corner of Telegraph and 19th. The future use of this site — flanked by the dazzling Fox Theatre and the handsome Uptown apartments, and located across the street from the art-deco landmark building housing Flora — is pivotal to the continued transformation of Uptown into a vibrant walkable district.

A residential tower has been approved for this lot; but the developer, Forest City, does not anticipate commencing construction for at least three years due to current market conditions.

Some City Council members are advocating for a 120-space interim surface parking lot on the site for Fox concertgoers, despite the thousands of street and parking lot spaces located within blocks of the venue. The 482-space Franklin Plaza Garage, which closes at 7 p.m., could stay open later during Fox events if necessary.

Council members are hearkening back to the 1970s automobile-oriented city planning model, rooted in the belief that drivers should never suffer the indignity of walking more than a few feet from their car door to the front entrance of the final destination.

The parking lot proposal ignores the larger picture. While maximizing parking for the Fox might sell a few more tickets, a surface parking lot consuming an entire city block on Telegraph will jeopardize the revival of the entire district. A one-acre mass of asphalt and sea of cars will deter pedestrians contemplating a stroll up Telegraph to explore the new restaurants, bars and shops.

Shoppers prefer an uninterrupted flow of attractive storefronts and inviting open spaces.

For these reasons, these same City Council members gave Forest City a $60 million subsidy four years ago to eliminate the old surface parking lot at this very site. The previous parking lot was discouraging economic development and investment in Uptown.

Why should we care so much about a temporary parking lot? Because "interim" parking lots often remain for years or decades, depending upon market conditions and developers' whims. The new Cathedral Christ of Light, for example, was built on the site of an "interim" parking lot that remained for more than 40 years.

An alternate proposal for this site is a recreational use, such as a miniature golf course. The city should put out a request for proposals to find recreational operators who could make a profit within three years if the site is leased to them rent-free.

Given that parking revenue over three years is unlikely to exceed the $450,000 cost to build the parking lot, the city will not forego potential revenue by leasing this land to a recreational operator for free. If no reputable operators respond, then the city can reconsider the parking lot.

Another alternate proposal is to lay sod, add lighting, and convert the vacant lot into a no-frills open space and community garden for the public. In an admission that this option is feasible, City Council members Pat Kernighan and Jane Brunner have each stated their opposition to a public open space on the site because the public will grow to like it and "never let it be taken away" to accommodate the condo project slated to be built in three years. This would hardly be a nightmare scenario.

If a piece of urban open space becomes popular and well-used, our downtown would be enhanced. And because this parcel is 1.2 acres, a decent urban designer could easily lay out a site plan that includes Forest City's residential tower while preserving a significant portion of the open space.

Over the next three years or longer, a fun recreational use at this site will promote the pedestrian-friendly arts and entertainment corridor that is shaping up on this stretch of Telegraph. A surface parking lot will stymie this progress. City Council members: let's incorporate elements of modern urban design that will promote business activity in Uptown.

To voice your opinion, attend the City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. You can also e-mail Friends4VibrantUptown at gmail dot com.

Shannon Bowman is a member of Downtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group.

photo courtesy of Flickr/Evan Hamilton

Friday, May 1, 2009

Job Opportunity for Journalists

One thing that was clear from the crowded gathering of Oakland Bloggers last night at the Ave/2022 on Telegraph is that Oaktown is overflowing with talented writers. Here is an opportunity for some of you wonderful scribes.

"After-School Days, LLC, founded by a former Los Angeles Times staff writer, is looking to hire unemployed print journalists in California to teach after-school programs. Pay varies according to location. Your commitment is to teach a one-hour class for six or eight weeks. We are starting school newspapers, having preschool and elementary school children make their own hardcover books, and lots more. For more info, please send resume to afterschooldays at gmail dot com."

Art Murmur Time!

I know it’s raining outside and you might be tempted to stay inside – but that would mean missing out on some fantastic Art Openings tonight. We’re lucky to live right in the heart of the Art Murmur happenings, which means we don’t have to travel far.

Here are some shows to check out:

The Red Door Gallery and Collective, 6 to 10pm
Death is Easy; Comedy is Hard – Funny art & performances
416 26th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph)

Rock Paper Scissors Collective, 6 to 9pm
4th Annual Youth Exhibition, Inward to Outward, A Young Artists Exhibition
2278 Telegraph Ave. & 23rd (by Mama Buzz Café and a host of other cool galleries)

21 Grand, 7 to 11pm
9th Annual Benefit Art Sale

"Over 100 works by more than eighty artists in a wide range of types - from dvd's to oil paintings - mostly in an appropriate scale for the apartment-dwelling Bay Area population - with that "affordable price range" to match. Proceeds from the sale provide desperately needed funds to help keep our doors open." The sale continues Saturday, May 2nd and Sunday May 3rd from 2-6pm.

And some new work at Oakopolis as well, in addition to the group exhibition Earth Days that opened last Art Murmur. Check it out if you haven’t had a chance, the show closes May 16th.
447 25th Street – between Broadway & Telegraph by 21 Grand.

Update on HarriOak Street Project

From Christina Ferracane, Strategic Planner on the project. If you were not able to make the meeting on 4/23, here is your chance to weigh in with feedback on the plans, see below.

Thanks to all who were able to attend Community Workshop #2 to discuss improvement concepts for Harrison Street and Oakland Avenue .

If you were not able to attend the workshop, you may view the improvement concepts and other workshop materials here:

www.oaklandnet.com/strategicplanning (Scroll down to “Planning Efforts Underway”.)

During the workshop, three different improvement alternatives were presented for Harrison Street and Oakland Avenue (see “Presentation” and “Alternative Maps” on the above website). Participants were asked to select their preferred alternative along different geographic areas. Participants were able to mix and match, for example, select Alternative 1 in one geographic area and Alternative 2 in another geographic area. Additionally, participants made note of why some alternatives were preferred and how some of the alternatives could be modified.

If you have any additional comments or were not able to attend the community workshop, we would like to hear from you regarding your preferred alternatives.

Please respond to me via email cferracane@oaklandnet.com by next Monday, May 4, 2009.

Christina Ferracane
Strategic Planner