Education in Oakland

Archive for the ‘Going Out’ Category

The Lies That Matter

Posted by novometro on February 9, 2007

Guest Blogger: Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar

Why is it that some lies are so much bigger than others? I’ve been watching the amount of media attention Gavin Newsom’s affair has been getting, and frankly, I’d much rather the same amount of attention was showered on something that actually affected the lives of more than 10 people. I understand why more people would care about this affair than just Newsom, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, and Alex Tourk. He is the mayor of one of this country’s loveliest cities, he is good looking and wealthy, and yes, he did have sex with his friend’s wife who also happened to work for him (that makes for a good story). That might be a lousy thing to do. But things happen.

If it is “an asshole thing to do,” as a friend put it, there are a lot of other things that qualify as “asshole things to do”.. and everybody’s doing asshole things. Besides, I’m a strong believer in seperating people’s personal and professional lives — and so long he didn’t fail at his job, it still isn’t affecting more than 10 people.

What, however is a big deal, in my opinion, is….. fake handicapped parking permits. Yes, I’m sure you’re saying ,”What?” But please, why does someone’s sex life matter more than the dozens of lies that I see hanging from the rear view mirrors of cars and SUVs that no handicapped person is driving. These cars block the best parking spaces in downtown Oakland for hours. So, if someone’s really handicapped, or if someone wants to park legally in the area– by actually feeding the meter coins every hour — they’re going to be very frustrated.

And towards the end of the day, I often see someone very healthy (they may have other health issues, but obviously none that impair their walk) walk to their car, get in without much effort, and zip away. And we’re talking about Mercs, BMWs, and other gorgeous auto creations. Surely, they can afford to park in the garages across from their office buildings? Or maybe that eats into the car payments?

And these fake placards, I promise you, affect more people than some politician’s sex life. Some cities have set up teams of volunteers who cite parking permit offenders. We need to do so. A walk down Broadway and/or Franklin will convince you.

When I was growing up, I often heard people say a white lie is better than a thousand truths. Now if you want to know what a white lie is — it’s one that does no one any harm, that preserves peace, and perhaps even helps someone. Maybe the doctor that issues these fake health certificates thinks he’s helping someone. But he’s hurting a lot more people than he’s helping.


Posted in Going Out, Mayor, NovoMetro, Oakland, Opinion, Politics, San Francisco, Traffic, Traffic Stuff | Leave a Comment »

See You on November 15

Posted by novometro on October 26, 2006

We’ll be taking a hiatus from the blog for the next several days as we prepare for the launch of our new site. We’ll be back with a new look, and many more stories about this great city from a new crew of writers, bloggers, and reporters on November 15. Drop us an email if you think there is something we should be covering, or you want to come to the launch party.

Posted in Events, Going Out, NovoMetro, Oakland | Leave a Comment »

Eat This Book

Posted by novometro on October 2, 2006

The person in charge of securing a victory for Oakland’s first library bond since the late-1940’s told me I’d begin seeing evidence of the campaign this week. Sure enough, a volunteer rang the bell Saturday afternoon with a handful of Yes on Measure N signs and a pamphlet detailing the many ways the bond would improve the Piedmont branch.

The literature emphasized the local benefits and soft-pedaled the $148-million bond’s chief element: A new main library in the shell of the shuttered Henry J. Kaiser auditorium. The woman who came to my door said the new library and the adjacent Oakland Museum of California would form a kind of “cultural district” on the south shore of Lake Merritt. If the bond passes, the quarter-mile stretch between Oak Street and Peralta Park may one day brim with culture, but it will be empty of people. I’ve been to the museum on a Sunday afternoon. And I’ve been to the library on a Sunday afternoon. There are usually more people eating dim sum a few blocks away in one Chinatown restaurant than in both cultural institutions combined.

Chinatown’s Sunday bustle ought to provide inspiration for the city as it decides what to do with the Kaiser should the bond fail to win the necessary two-thirds of the vote. The library option emerged after the City Council scotched a last-minute push from the port to install a permanent world trade expo in the Kaiser. But why are we forced to choose between a library and an ill-conceived world trade center? At the moment, there is really no place to enjoy a good meal and a view of Lake Merritt at the same time. A creative remodeling of the Kaiser could remedy that. Think San Francisco’s Ferry Building meets International Boulevard.

Oakland’s best taquerias, pho parlors, dim sum spots, injera makers, and sandwich shops could share space with upscale patisseries, cheese mongers, and wine sellers. At last, Oakland’s two greatest assets – natural beauty and delicious food from all over the world – would be brought together in one place.

But what about the library? What about the future of literacy in Oakland? Perhaps the Measure N campaign spokesperson was mindful of a Public Policy Institute of California study released in September that showed the majority of voters in California are over 45. She said it’s important that the paramedics who respond to 911 calls are able to read. I don’t care if the paramedic can read so long as he can drive fast and knows how to restart a stopped heart. Either way, a new library in the Kaiser won’t do much for the state of literacy in Oakland.

Measure N supporters will tell you that it would cost more to renovate the current main library than to erect a swank new flagship in the Kaiser. That’s true, if the renovation includes a $13 million parking garage and other features whose absence would not be missed in a perfectly adequate main library. But we don’t need a fancy library. We just need a library that serves downtown, houses the historical archives, and maintains the bulk of the library’s reference materials (a section of increasing irrelevance thanks to the Internet). The excess books that circulate to other branches can be kept in inexpensive warehouses.

If the library does move to the Kaiser, don’t expect great things to relocate to the current site. A library employee told me that one tentative plan calls for turning the site into a youth center since it resides in “neutral turf.” Even if the library doesn’t become a place for the Sharks and the Jets to put aside their differences, history has shown it will be hard to raze it and erect something the city actually needs, like more housing. I would be surprised if the application isn’t already filed to designate it a landmark.

The measure N campaign plans to spend $150,000 between now and November convincing us we should spend $40 a year for every $100,000 of assessed property value to support this plan. Like any bond measure, the proposal includes funding for some much-needed projects. Laurel needs a library. So does East Oakland. Improvements and expansions throughout the system are long overdue. But we can do it for less money and in a way that doesn’t waste the Kaiser’s potential.

Posted in Development, Education, Going Out, Housing, NovoMetro, Oakland, Opinion, Politics | 19 Comments »

The Eclectic-est Street You Never Heard Of

Posted by novometro on September 26, 2006

On what other block in Oakland can you get a wig, a tattoo, a bespoke bathrobe, some of the best pho in California, and if you have a medical marijuana card, dope? Maybe its the trees, but the stretch of 17th Street between Franklin and Webster has always stood apart from the rest of downtown Oakland. It’s romantic. On some days it resembles a Saigon backstreet on others, somewhere in Paris. After a decade-long hiatus, merchants on 17th are hosting a street fair this Saturday. The fair begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.

Posted in Development, Events, Going Out, NovoMetro, Oakland | 1 Comment »

Weekend Plans

Posted by novometro on September 14, 2006


WHAT: L’esprit Nouveau: Music by Milhaud, Satie, Poulenc, and Tailleferre
This classical music event is part of the Mills College Concert Series.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Mills College Concert Hall, Oakland
CALL: (510) 430-2025



WHAT: Outdoor screening of ‘The Bourne Identity.’
The 2002 action thriller stars Matt Damon as Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne. You need to bring your own chairs and blankets.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Ninth Street between Broadway and Washington in downtown Oakland
CALL: The Oakland Film Office at (510) 238-4734


WHAT: Opening reception for the “Art of Jingletown Junction.”
The exhibition features artists from the Jingletown Arts and Business Community. Jingletown refers to the area between Fruitvale and the Oakland estuary.
WHEN: 2p.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Oakland Museum of California
Collectors Gallery
Fine Arts Rentals and Sales
1000 Oak St.,
Oakland, CA 94607
CALL: (510) 834-2296

Posted in Art, Events, Going Out, NovoMetro, Oakland, Politics | 1 Comment »

Your Weekend Plans

Posted by novometro on September 8, 2006


WHAT: The Concert Series: Rock and a Hard Place

The line up:
Charming Hostess, a three-women group whose music is somewhere in between acapella and experimental music; electronic performer eRikm; and Yuka Honda, founder of the Cibo Matto band, with Mills faculty guitarist Fred Frith.

WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Mills College Concert Hall, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland.
CALL: (510) 430-2296
HOW MUCH: $12 for general admission, $6 for seniors, and free for Mills students, faculty, and staff.


WHAT: The East Bay Baby Fair
WHEN: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m
WHERE: Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley, CA 94709
CALL: (510) 848-0237

WHAT: Montclair Village Jazz and Wine Festival
WHEN: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: La Salle and Moraga Ave.
CALL: (510) 339-1000


WHAT: The 35th Annual California Fall Boat Show
WHEN: 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
WHERE: Jack London Square
CALL: (510) 834-1000
HOW MUCH: Adults: $10, free for under-15

Posted in Berkeley, Going Out, Oakland, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Fast Links for Friday

Posted by novometro on August 25, 2006

Oakland Finally Gets a Comic Book Superhero

And the Theatre Wants A Higher Profile

Oakland Vice?

Posted in Art, Crime, Going Out, NovoMetro, Oakland, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Oakland Obscura

Posted by novometro on August 24, 2006

Three Things To Do This Weekend That You Don’t Know About – But Should.

Friday Evening
Art: Art Collective Rock Paper Scissors on Telegraph holds a closing for its photography exhibit “Don’t Fail Me Now” on Friday evening. The show is “a photographic tribute to the things that carry us through the day.” In addition to pics and writings from more than 20 photographers, someone will be on hand to play records. “We’ll just be hanging out listening to music,” says RPS’ Mark.

Where: Rock Paper Scissors, 2278 Telegraph Avenue, 510-238-9171
When: Friday, August 25, 6 p.m.
How Much: Free

Saturday Night
Comedy: So what if you missed the first two rounds and the semi-finals? It’s not too late to see the grand finale of the First Annual East Bay Urban Comedy Competition Saturday night at Connolly’s Lounge on Telegraph. To record companies and Madison Avenue, urban means black, but to Nelson Martini, the stand-up comedian who organized the competition, urban means “you can relate to everyone.” Or at least make fun of them.

Where: Connolly’s Lounge, 4822 Telegraph Avenue, 510-654-1423
When: Saturday, August 26, 8 p.m.
How Much: $5

Sunday Morning
Food/Music: Even if all the profits didn’t go to the coolest youth center in the Bay Area, it would still be a good deal. For $16 you can feast on an all-you-can-eat spread of soul food and breakfast fixings Sunday at Youth UpRising on MacArthur Boulevard in East Oakland.

Where: Youth UpRising, 8711 MacArthur Boulevard, 510-777-9909
When: Sunday, August 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
How Much: $16 for adults, $8.50 for kids 12 and under

Posted in Going Out, NovoMetro, Oakland, Politics | 2 Comments »