(Note: includes updates as of 3:53 pm EST.)

Greetings all! It’s Oakland News, and a lot of it since I took time away from focusing on this for a bit. As some of you know, I spend a lot of time in Georgia keeping my Mom company. I’ve not moved away from Oakland, as some have thought I did (for some weird reason borne of someone who didn’t know to just ask me, but told other people I moved), but its family first, and for me, that means my Mom. She and my stepfather Chester moved away from Oakland in 2002 and to Atlanta, and then he passed due to prostate cancer in 2005. Some of you know may have known the late Oakland Accountant Ralph Grant – well, he was my Mom’s step-son-in-law. But, I digress, these days it’s making sure Mom is fine and keeping her company.

Oakland Minimum Wage Law Press Conference

The new Oakland Minimum Wage Law went active this month. On March 4th Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf held a press conference to express her support for the new directive. Held in front of Farley’s East Cafe at 33 Grand Avenue between Webster and Broadway, she was joined by Chris Hillyard, Owner, Farley’s East, Sal Bednarz, Owner, Actual Café, Kiara Gomez, employee, Farley’s East. I also interviewed Charley Hallowell of Penrose Oakland. The following video playlist includes seven video interviews from that event:

Oakland Department Of Race And Equity Proposal: Noel Gallo’s Epic Rant

The Oakland City Council is considering Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks’ (District 6) proposal for a department of race and equity. On that, fellow Councilmember Noel Gallo (District Five) gave this totally epic rant on February 24th on the proposal when it was presented before the Life Enrichment Committee. Basically, Councilmember Gallo was trying to say that Oakland, by its diverse city council, already is aware and active to repair inequities in the distribution of city resources with respect to race. While Gallo may have changed his mind on that claim since this video, the blast is worth seeing:

Now, for some contrast, here’s Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen (District Two) from the same meeting:

Brooklyn In Oakland: A History And A T-Shirt By Old School Copes

I used to rant against Oakland being called Brooklyn, but Jim Copes (aka Old School Copes), who has a long history in this town, and can be seen on Lake Park Avenue with his Oakland-centric t-shirts for sale, reminded me that Oakland annexed Brooklyn, California. Check out my interview and then go down to Lake Park Avenue near Lakeshore and in front of the Heart and Dagger Saloon, and get your own “Brooklyn in Oakland” t-shirt!

Air Force One In Atlanta: Zennie62 Was There

A news changeup, but to share Zennie62.com’s first coverage of the arrival of Air Force One, in this case at Atlanta Harsfield Jackson Airport. Here’s my video playlist of an incredible event, and thanks to The White House. It starts with my announcement of coverage. But I have to jump ahead and show you my favorite video from the list:

Here’s the full video set:

Oakland Home Break-In Attempt In Adams Point: A Note From Nextdoor

I received this note from a Nextdoor user who lives in Adams Point. I post this as a reminder to not just be careful, but also to install webcam cameras so we have visual evidence of these problems:

Hi all,
Just wanted to let everyone know that someone/s tried to break into our house yesterday at 2 PM. They tried to enter through a ground floor window at the back of the house, set off our alarm (which has a very loud out door bell box), got scared and split. Our house has had five break-ins/attempted break-ins. Now all our immediate neighbors know that our house seems to be targeted, and someone called the Police right away, and they responded quickly. I think if more than one neighbor calls the Police, they respond more quickly. They do not come when the alarm company calls them to come. I filed a Police report online – just wanted to make sure that everyone else who has been listing break-ins, car thefts, etc. has been filing Police reports – when I looked up crime history for our neighborhood, it did not match what I’ve been seeing on this discussion board! Please file reports – it’s really easy to do online.

Oakland Marathon!

The Oakland Marathon and Oakland Running Festival is this Sunday, and starts at 7:30 AM at 19th and Harrison (Snow Park) and for that I interviewed it’s race director and my friend Gene Brtalik. As he explained in the video (way) below, there’s no change in the race course for the second time in as many years. But what’s changed is that the event is now part of the fabric of Oakland life.

Let me put this event in perspective. I’ve lived in Oakland since 1974, when we, my Mom and I, moved here from Chicago. For most of that time to about ten years ago, Oakland was always the place you lived in, but you ate, drank, and partied in San Francisco. The only exception to that rule was if you were visiting with high school friends like mine from Skyline High (class of 80), and then would meet at a place like Crogan’s, or somewhere else in Oakland.

For decades entrepreneurs, real estate developers, and elected officials tried to establish different ways and methods to get Oaklanders to spend money in, and just have fun around, Oakland. For example, there was the Shop Oakland program spearheaded by Alton Jelks, my friend who worked for then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris in 1994. And there have been many attempts at festivals and events and venues, but nothing really took hold save for the Art and Soul Festival, which was once The Festival at The Lake, and the movement of Yoshi’s to Jack London Square, and Uptown, and the development of that area of Oakland.

But there was no Oakland event that was anything like the San Francisco Bay to Breakers, not even on a small scale.

Today, and thanks to the almost-single-handed work of Gene Brtalik and Lee Corrigan, his boss at Corrigan Sports, that has changed. The Oakland Marathon / Oakland Running Festival has become a mainstay, and now San Franciscans come over here to eat, drink, and party, which they will do this weekend.

For that Gene and Lee should be treated with much respect. Instead, to be honest, their work, and the success of the Oakland Running Festival in promoting Oakland, has gotten short-shrift from Visit Oakland, the organization that was once the Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau. You’d think a visit to that organization’s website would highlight the Oakland Running Festival, right? Nope. Now, if you go to VisitOakland.com right now, and type “running” in the search field, you get the Oakland Running Festival, but you would have to know about it to even think of doing that in the first place.

The talk is that because Visit Oakland has changed to focus more on promoting the Oakland and not on promoting events in Oakland, that the Oakland Running Festival has suffered. Whatever the issue, the problem should be solved before 2016.

(Right now, I’m a tad upset with Visit Oakland, and so this isn’t the only blast you’re going to see from me about the organization in this Oakland News entry. Stay tuned.)

Here’s my talk with Gene, and welcome by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, followed by more race-related (no pun intended) information:

First, you can still register to run in the Oakland Marathon – which is more than just a 26-mile run: it’s a half-marathon, a 4K run, and a kids fun-run all built in – just not online. You have to go to the Kaiser Permanente Race Expo at the Oakland Marriott City Center between 9 AM and 5 PM on Saturday, which is tomorrow. But if you don’t want to run, you can still participate by just picking a spot to hang out and watch the runners go by.

As the Oakland Marathon itself spans the City, you can pretty much find an eatery or cafe in your neighborhood and drop anchor, or yourself, in this case. My personal favorite places to be are the Lake Chalet Restaurant and Crogan’s Montclair, but I’d love to be at Brown Sugar Kitchen, too for a changeup. But last year, 2014, I was in the race press truck, and got a rare perspective on the race. From there, I recorded a series of 23 videos, which is in this following playlist of 37 videos total. So, if you want to have a good preview, and have some time to kill, here it is:

Oakland Running Festival Street Closures

As the City of Oakland has written, there will be street closures. The full list of them is here: http://www.oaklandmarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015StreetClosures.doc.pdf

But the most notable are Broadway between 13th and 20th Streets between 6 AM and 10 AM; Telegraph Avenue between 14th and 20th Streets; 14th Street between Franklin and Clay; College Avenue between Keith and Claremont – all between 6 AM and 10 AM. Also, note that Grand Avenue will be partially closed during that time, and around Lake Merritt between Harrison and Mac Arthur.

Oakland Non-Profits Benefit From Super Bowl 50

Hats off to The San Francisco Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and the 50 Fund! Already, Oakland non-profits like Youth HUB Oakland and Acta Non Verba have benefited from the effort to make SF Super Bowl 50 the “most giving and philanthropic” Super Bowl ever. Oakland itself can help match this effort; my plan for hosting the 2005 Super Bowl projected $4.4 million for local Oakland charities. That can be achieved via earmarking a percentage of revenue from Super Bowl-related events in Oakland to a special fund. But that calls for a plan…

Which brings me to…

Visit Oakland And SF Super Bowl 50, Or WTF Are You Doing?

The 50th Super Bowl will be held February 7th at Levi Stadium, and the San Francisco Super Bowl 50 Host Committee is deep in preparation for all related events. There will be, I estimate, about almost $200 million in spending in the Bay Area due to the Super Bowl, and Oakland will see about $20 million of that, but it could realize $60 million if we HAD A PLAN.

The staff of Visit Oakland has met with members of the SF Super Bowl Host Committee, and is on it, but done nothing to communicate what all of their food and drink and hobnobbing mean for Oaklanders. Right now the answer is nothing. It’s as if they’re lining up to make sure they get to go to the hot parties and land their Super Bowl tickets, and that’s it. As of this writing, Visit Oakland has nothing on its website that even points to any events related to the SF Super Bowl that would be in Oakland. No proposals. No way that Oakland business can be involved. No partnership with the Oakland Chamber of Commerce (and what are they doing?).


I’m sweating Visit Oakland because the way I was treated by members of their board at the Oakland Running Festival Luncheon of two years ago, and when I talked about how Oakland almost landed the Super Bowl, is still fresh in my mind. They never once asked me a question about what I did, or now I marketed Oakland, and seemed to be dismissing me, which only caused me to talk more about what I did. The only Visit Oakland person who was paying attention that day was Kim Bardakian, Visit Oakland’s PR Director. But my overall feeling about Visit Oakland after that encounter was pretty bad. And that’s too bad considering that it was the Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau that helped me get hotel contracts out and signed for our 2005 Super Bowl bid.

Here, I not only started Oakland’s first and only sports commission, and wrote Oakland’s Super Bowl hosting plan, and the drawing concept for the Oakland Coliseum seat plan, but have attended many NFL owners meetings, ten Super Bowls to date, and know a number of people involved with Super Bowl-related events, and here, I was and have been treated with nothing but disrespect by a group that seems more interested in their own objectives rather than what’s good for Oakland.

What gives? Visit Oakland’s trying to establish a sports commission, but it’s been eight months, and they never called to even ask me for advice. Talk about reinventing the wheel and taking forever to do so! And when it became clear that San Francisco would host the 50th Super Bowl, you’d think Visit Oakland would call me for my take on what Oakland should do, right? Nope.

So, in many ways, I’ve worked around them, and in a couple of cases I will not mention here, did their work for them.

It was that experience I just shared which caused me to make the Super Bowl: Oakland website – as a way to fill the information void left by what has been their gross inaction in preparing Oakland for SF Super Bowl 50.

Ok, with that rant done, here’s my idea…

My Super Bowl Oakland plan called for a place for events and concerts. A special area. In my plan, it was called Jack London’s NFL Village. The main plaza area would be a place for concerts by Oakland bands and other events related to the Super Bowl. I’m certain the Oakland Raiders would love to help with this.

And consider something else, too: the date of the Super Bowl means that Friday, February 5th would be Art Murmur / First Friday in Oakland. Well, why not work right now to make that area special not just for that day, but for Super Bowl week? We can call it “Art Murmur / First Friday Oakland Celebrates SF Super Bowl 50”. If we start now, and come up with a plan over the next two months, we can then promote the event period starting in August. That means everything from street closures, to bands, to marketing space as available for private parties, to, well, you get the idea. And all of this can be bound together by one marketing approach, with a logo, website, and set dates, and a task force.

Just an idea.

And a great something for Conrad Meyers and the Oakland Art Murmur Board to consider.

Oakland Coliseum City Update

Raider fans, or some of them, have started to tweet requests for my take on the Oakland Raiders quest for a new stadium.

The latest update is the presentation of a 24-point plan that includes tasks to be done regarding financing. It’s still too little too late; the formation of the task force to bring all involved in this under, if you will, ‘one whip’ has not been done.

Still, I’m not afraid that Los Angeles will beat us to the punch of building a new stadium. The reason, which I will elaborate on in another post, is that there are too many competing interests:

And here’s my primer for Oakland Raiders fans on the stadium issue to date:

Annie Campbell Washington Community Office Hours

Annie Campbell Washington, the new Oakland District Four City Councilperson has posted her community office hours:

SUNDAY, MARCH 29th from 10am-12pm at the Montclair Farmer’s Market at La Salle Avenue and Moraga Avenue. Every last Sunday of the month.

SATURDAY, APRIL 11th from 10am-12pm at the Melrose Branch of the Oakland Public Library at 4805 Foothill Blvd and 48th Ave. Every second Saturday of the month.

SUNDAY, APRIL 12th from 10am-12pm at The Hive in the Dimond District at 2139 MacArthur Blvd and Fruitvale. Every second Sunday of the month.

Stay tuned.

By Zennie Abraham

Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.