Oakland News is back but this may not be the last one of 2012 just yet. As this blog is made, this blogger’s visiting his mother in Chicago. Christmas was great, but I digress. Oakland’s never far from my mind, especially when the topic is the top news stories of 2012, from my point of view.
1. Oakland Athletics make the playoffs for the first time since 2006 – Hard to argue that one, considering how it electrified Oakland. Winning sports teams are the perfect tonic for crime problems. Take a look at this:
2. Alan Blueford Murder By Oakland Police Officer – This is the incident that caused Judge Thelton Henderson to take action and appoint a person to oversee the stoppage of police brutality by Oakland Police Officers. Saturday May 6th, Alan Blueford was shot by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso. Masso, who shot himself in the foot, but claimed Blueford had a gun, although many witnesses said he was unarmed. The resultant bungling of information by an OPD eager to have the story go away caused the development of a movement called “Justice For Alan Blueford.” While they’re still fighting, it’s clear Judge Henderson was paying attention.
3. Oakland Police Department Placed Under Federal Judge Monitor – On December 11th, Federal Judge Thelton Henderson took action and enacted an effort aimed at curbing police brutality, specifically incidents like the Alan Blueford murder. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as we enter 2013.
4. Oakland City Council Elects Three New Members – The 2012 Election saw Oaklanders bring in Dan Kalb for District One, Lynette Gibson McElhaney for District Three, and Noel Gallo for District Five.
Counting Councilmeber Libby Schaaf, that’s four of eight councilmembers who’ve been in office less than two years – the council’s first real generational change in decades. And this election ended in the removal of two long-time councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente (District Five) and Jane Brunner (District One) who ran for Oakland City Attorney and lost to Barbara Parker, the incumbent.
Meanwhile, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan beat back a fight from De LaFuente for her At Large Council Seat – and the results were not close, signaling an end to Ignacio’s political career unless he remakes himself for the future.
5. Oakland Art Murmur Grows To Giant Monthly Festival – To some this is the number one story and for good reason. At the first Friday of each month, Oakland artists open their doors, key streets are closed to car traffic, and upwards of 50,000 people come to enjoy looking, walking, eating, and dancing, in a cultural phenomenon that’s transforming Oakland by finally galvanizing multicultural creatives in a way never seen before, and not just in Oakland, but in America. We’re still at the infant stages of what this will become; here’s hoping the City Of Oakland doesn’t try to take it over and manage it – helping it go where it wants to go is better.
6. Oakland Eateries Open At A Dramatic Rate – What was interesting about the so-called economic downturn (it wasn’t) was the rate of new eateries and cafes that have sprang up over Downtown Oakland and along Grand Avenue to a point past Lake Merritt. From the remodeled Vo’s to the much-anticipate Loring, and new popular places like Farley’s Cafe on Grand, there’s finally no shortage of places to enjoy food in Oakland.
7. Warriors, Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders All Stadium Challenged – As The Oakland Coliseum continues to age with no concrete, workable plan for rebuilding it in sight, all three sports teams have been placed in the position of trying to seek new facilities to play in. The Warriors have thumbed their collective nose at Oakland, while the Raiders and A’s have elected to stay and try to make an Oakland scenario work. Let’s hope we retain all three teams in the process – yes, including the Warriors.
8. East Oakland Sports Center Opens – Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid completed this dream facility that was started, really, as a dream almost 30 years ago. It’s completion is due to Council President Reid’s determined and unwavering effort to get it built.
9. The Passing Of Sanjiv Handa – Oakland City Council meetings just aren’t the same without Sanjiv around to remind us all of what’s wrong – or on occasion, right. Sanjiv cared about Oakland – perhaps too much so, but he did care about Oakland. And who can forget some of his funniest stories, like the one about the 40,000 condoms in Oakland City Hall…
Others would point to the crime rate as a story unto itself, but crime has always been a problem in Oakland since the loss of manufacturing jobs in the late 70s. It’s clear that while private sector economic activity has blossomed, it has been largely a whites-only affair.
It’s hard to find an eatery or business that’s majority minority among the group. The growing minority businesses are associated with arts and entertainment, but the City of Oakland has historically and stupidly turned a blind eye to them. Time for a change, as well as the injection of a good, large manufacturing plant.
Oakland NYE Tips
Finally, here are my tips for a great New Year’s Eve 2012:
Just remember to take the cab – don’t drink and drive!
Oakland Local Seeks Donations, But That Business Model!
Oakland Local’s passing the hat for donations to keep its writers writing and its bloggers, well, I guess, blogging. I like the publication, but the truth is, it costs $5,000 per month to run, yet it has drawn just over 1 million visitors in three years, and that averages to a little over 1,000 visitors per month. So it take $5,000 to generate just 30,000 visitors in one month. Buy contrast, this blogger has generated as much as 585,000 visitors in six hours on SFGate.com and 33,000 visitors in one hour at Zennie62.com. Clearly something’s wrong and the something is in Oakland Locals’ business model, one that avoids blogging about Oakland sports or political issues, and one that fails to ad national news to its mix. Then, it doesn’t have a real, credible ad campaign going for it.
If Oakland Local wants to thrive,, and not just survive it’s got to develop a better business model.
In closing, we welcome Make Better Oakland Now! as Zennie62.com bloggers! Welcome!