Apr 212016

Hello Everyone,

I feel compelled to comment upon the loss of both Prince and David Bowie in this short period of time this year. Perhaps my most immediate reaction this afternoon to the news of Prince’s passing has been to stagger backward a couple steps recognizing what a colossal artistic void is left in his wake after his passing, much like I did after I heard the news of David in January. And as the confirmation of the news streamed in through my usual sources on the tv and the internet I found myself acknowledging how so many people around the world will endure feelings of bereavement on this day. Many will leave work early, I think. Many will contact family and friends to share in the mourning, just as we do when a beloved family member dies. In these moments in families many members mourning the loss no doubt think of how this void can possibly be filled ever again. Many perhaps recall suddenly trivial yet vital parts played by that person and wonder things such as who will play Santa for the kids this year? Or who can even hope to bake all those pies at Thanksgiving? Indeed, with such a void, with such a gap now created that cannot possibly be filled by any single one of us, how do we bridge this loss? How do we help the young ones to understand, many will find themselves thinking.

It’s this sort of family loss that seems like the only psychological template that comes even close to matching up in these cases for many of us. For me, with David Bowie it’s always been the Ziggy Stardust record that I know best. It’s one that I played exceedingly frequently during a certain time of my life. Even now, when I hear “Ziggy played guitar. Jamming good with Weird and Gilly, and the Spiders from Mars…” I laugh and think of how the personifications of “Weird and Gilly” and I strummed guitars sitting in my living room many times at various different times in my life. And with Prince I recall feeling sparked by the lyrics “You don’t have to be rich to be my girl. Don’t have to be cool to rule my world.” And then in the last verse, with the ferocity of an unquestionably riled-up African-American woman, and in an upper vocal register I cannot even begin to hit, he exclaims: “Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with!!!” Well, you know the rest. “I just want your extra time, and your kiss.”

Wow. These poetic musical moments and so many more by them both have stuck with me for many years, and I expect they’ll be around in my mind’s theater for many more years to come.

So I see these two passing as a great loss. It’s something I feel compelled to comment upon, and it’s something I think the artistic community in particular must view as one where they wonder who among them can possibly even hope to bridge the void now left in their wake. It’s a tremendous emotional experience for many of them, I believe. And I think as this mourning and acceptance sinks in with artists around the world, they will— as artists will do— respond to their emotions by creating art. Much like we saw after David Bowie’s and other artists’ passing, there will assuredly be numerous tribute performances made by many musicians. But what I suspect, and what I hope for, as we all right now feel the whoosh from the cosmic wake of the appearance and passing of these incredible talents, is that artists around the world will respond less by performing tributes of Prince and Bowie songs, and MORE by producing NEW WORKS of their own perhaps inspired by the emotions they feel— inspired by their gratitude at sharing a moment in the continuum of time with these legendary artists.

Just as with the loss of a beloved family member, we ultimately recognize how blessed we’ve been to share time with that person, for however long it lasted in life. Their wakes are often bigger than we think we can endure sometimes when they pass, and they seem to come when we think we are prepared for them least. And in the case of the passing of these two giants, I think the legacy each of them would most likely prefer to see bestowed upon them is that we commemorate their loss not by dwelling in what they take with them (and away from us), but in what NEW each of us might create that is perhaps inspired by our sharing a place in time with them. “Go be YOU,” I think they would say. You know? It comforts me to think that’s what they’d want.

Rest in peace Prince and David, and heartfelt condolences to all who love them.

Sep 022014

Hopefully we’ll see ’em in mid-November on Telegraph!

Another Rosamunde Sausage Grill is coming to Oakland. The popular grilled-sausage-and-craft-beer eatery founded in San Francisco’s Lower Haight is planning a new location in the up-and-coming Temescal neighborhood. Owner Josh Margolis, who opened his first East Bay Rosamunde in Old Oakland’s Swan’s marketplace last year, confirmed he’s taking over the Good Bellies Café space at 4659 Telegraph Avenue, a stone’s throw from popular restaurants such as Burma Superstar, Doña Tomas, and Pizzaiolo. “We were eying the four- to five-block stretch of that neighborhood even before we moved into Old Oakland,” Margolis says. “With all the activity there and the other restaurants, we think it’s a great place to be.” Source: Inside Scoop SF

Sep 022014

Looks like we’ll be seeing them in the Lionel J. Wilson Building near city hall:

Laurel Book Store has been an important venue for community events since its launch in 2001, and is well known for its selection of independent and locally published books. However, the store recently announced a move from its namesake district to a larger space in downtown Oakland. The bookstore will keep its name — owner Luann Stauss credits her friends and customers in the Laurel district as the reason for the store’s growth. The new space is expected to open in October, at about the same time as the business’ thirteenth anniversary. The bookstore also has launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that will run through September 24 with a goal of raising $50,000 for the move.

Source: East Bay Express

Dec 172013

Thought this article in the East Bay Express represented some good progress for helping families with food insecurity:

Nationwide, school cafeterias waste more than $600 million worth of food each year, according to a 2002 USDA report examining “plate waste” — the most recent of such studies. “I imagine that it’s more than that now,” said Kelly ErnstFriedman, program director at Food Shift, an Oakland-based nonprofit that manages a school lunch recovery program with the Oakland Unified School District.

Most extra food produced by schools in the United States ends up in landfills, including whole fruits, hot foods, and unopened milk cartons. That’s because strict federal meal program rules concerning the handling of cafeteria food prohibit schools from giving away most food, even if it’s uneaten or untouched.

For anyone who has ever volunteered or worked at a school lunch, it’s appalling to see just how much food cafeterias throw out every day. Even unopened, unexpired milk is tossed out. And in an effort to avoid cartons going into the landfill, “someone had to open milk cartons and dump it out,” said Nancy Deming, Sustainability Initiatives program manager at OUSD. “It’s become a morale issue.” Custodial staff, teachers, parents, and cafeteria workers would stand over buckets after lunch period, open cartons and pour milk out.

One way to sidestep the conundrum is to donate leftovers to a nonprofit. OUSD, as a result, has partnered with Food Shift, which focuses on reducing food waste, feeding those in need, and creating jobs.

During the last few weeks of school last spring, Food Shift piloted a food giveaway program at two schools. In just 5 weeks, volunteers collected 3,000 pounds of food and gave them away to 49 families. Parent volunteers gave away packaged burritos, chow mein, broccoli, beans, hamburgers, bagels, crackers, applesauce, cookies, whole fruits, and milk to families after school.

“This is one of the first steps we can take — recovering the food and giving it away,” said ErnstFriedman. Organizations like Food Shift are covered under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, which limits the liability of donating food to nonprofits and those in need.  Link to article

Dec 022013


Took this shot on Thanksgiving Day (at sunset, obviously) from the deck of a family member’s home.  (You know who you are!  Thanks again for a very fun holiday!)  Hoping everybody had a chance to visit with family and friends this past week, which also coincided with Hanukkah this year for the one and only time in all of our lifetimes, apparently.   So, wow!  Thanks also to some friends in Walnut Creek for coming up with a great idea to celebrate with a pre-Thanksgiving dinner on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Love that idea, and what a fun time that was too!  Heard a great tip this year at Thanksgiving dinner that I’ll share with you all:  Especially if you’re having trouble sleeping, take a moment each evening before going to sleep and write in a journal five things you are grateful for before turning off the light to doze off.  It’s a great key to happiness to be grateful for, and to fill our minds with, that which we HAVE— rather than what we don’t have.  Seemed like good advice.

Best wishes to all as we head into this year’s holiday season!

Nov 252013


Heidi and I had a very fun and relaxing drive down the San Mateo County coast yesterday, and this pic above is one I took as the sun went down on our journey.  Beginning with a stop off to get some picnic supplies at New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay we continued on to San Gregorio Beach where we found a more than pleasing spot on the beach to eat lunch.  The temperature must have been in the mid-60s, the sky was as clear as a bell, and there was virtually no wind by coastal standards, for sure.  Such calm moments by the ocean are gems all by themselves, and to enjoy the sun and the ocean on a late-November Sunday afternoon is just yet another of our amazing opportunities here in the Bay Area.  Our journey after lunch continued on to a stop at San Gregorio General Store— located in the town of San Gregorio, and a place that truly shouldn’t be missed on a drive down this particular stretch of coastline.  Great live music fills the room of this wonderful establishment that enables shopping for such a variety of items ranging from cookware to hats, to cards and books, to general hardware and frontier supplies— all with a full bar and great coffee!  And lastly along this coastal drive, on the way home it was a lovely stop-off at Moss Beach Landing for the sunset pictured above before a northbound Highway One drive back through San Francisco on to Oakland.  Oh, and can’t leave out a tasty bite to eat at Oakland’s Plum Bar before arriving home.  Had a great burger and got introduced to an Italian liqueur called Fernet Branca, which made for a great digestif after dinner, I thought.  It was a great time on a Sunday, and one that I think sincerely captures the “WeekendWanderings” concept!

Sep 262013

Oh my goodness…from the East Bay Express citing our friends at Zip Realty:

The price shot up from $245,000 in mid-August of 2012 to $432,000 in mid-August of 2013. Homes are going quicker, too. As of August 15 of this year, median days on the market were 13 compared to 19 the previous year in Oakland.

Be sure to check out the map with median home sales itemized by zip code.  Wow!

Jul 262013

Good to see this local favorite back so quickly after some vandals set a fire in their dumpster.  From SFChronicle’s Inside Scoop SF restaurant blog:

Nearly a week after vandals set fire to its trash cans and essentially shut down the restaurant, Oakland’s Hawker Fare will reopen tonight.

Chef-owner James Syhabout, sounding relieved, says PG&E came first thing Monday morning to repair the torched electrical meters. The cooks got back in the kitchen yesterday, and following a day worth of prep work, they plan to reopen for dinner service. Going forward, normal hours will be in effect.

· Previously: Oakland’s Hawker Fare closed indefinitely following fire set by vandals [Inside Scoop]

Hawker Fare: 2300 Webster St., near 23rd St, Oakland; (510) 832-8896 or hawkerfare.com

Image credit: hawkerfare.com

Jul 262013

Some pretty interesting accommodations at Treebones Resort in Big Sur:

Our exclusive HUMAN NEST offers one of the best views at Treebones. Are you ready to go beyond the comforts of a yurt and fall asleep cradled in a human-sized nest?

Extreme ”eco- sleep” is here!

This unusual work of woven wood-art was created & built by Big Sur artist Jayson Fann. Bring your own sleeping bags & other gear for this night aloft.

This is a walk-in campsite which includes private use of the wood-woven nest, and comes with a picnic table & nearby access to water. The nest has a wood ladder access,  and there is a full sized futon mattress perched inside it. You haul your own sleeping bags and pillows up the ladder to nestle in for the night (weather permitting).

Image credit: treebonesresort.com

Jul 262013

Diablo Magazine reports it’s looking like it’s on its way!

That’s right Chow fans, looks like the popular elevated comfort food restaurant could be coming to Oakland. Owner Tony Gulisano, who has opened Chow locations in Lafayette and Danville after launching the original two in San Francisco, is in negotiations to purchase a new space on Piedmont Avenue. The deal isn’t quite finalized, but according to operations manager David Speyer, the goal is to take over the new location and open by the summer of 2014.

Image credit: chowfoodbar.com

Jul 182013

From the crowdsource site created to help Oakland waiter Drew Cribley recover lost wages and pay his medical bills:

Many of us were upset about the Zimmerman verdict, and many of us registered our concern in responsible ways.  But one masked thug decided to take a hammer to the face of lifelong Oaklander Drew Cribley (Flora/Fauna waiter), who was just doing his job that night.

Luckily Drew has health insurance and he’ll recover from this attack.  But his insurance won’t cover all the emergency and followup costs from this brutal assault.  Join Oakland Port Commissioner Bryan Parker and community leaders to help raise $6,000 to help defray the medical costs.

You can learn more about how Drew is doing with his recovery in this story.

Also, please join us at Fauna (sister bar to Flora) on Wednesday, August 24, 2013, from 7-9p for cocktails and to support Drew and the businesses impacted.  1900 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA.

Any amount will make a huge difference, and send a clear signal that Oakland takes care of its own.

~Bryan Parker, campaign administrator

Jul 182013

According to DataQuick, cited in this article, this June is up 33% versus the same time last year.  Sheesh!  From InsideBayArea.com:

A record jump in prices was paired with a surprising drop in home sales in the Bay Area in June, according to a report released Thursday.

Prices rose at their fastest pace on record in June, according to DataQuick, increasing 6.9 percent from May and a record 33 percent above median prices in June of last year. The median sales price for all types of homes in the nine-county Bay Area rose to $555,000 last month, according to real estate information service DataQuick.

That’s the highest median price in nearly five years, although it is still below the peak of $665,000 reached in mid-2007, DataQuick said.

Jul 182013

Looks like there’s a good chance it’s on its way.  From the East Bay Express:

According to KQED’s Bay Area Bites, the market aims to offer local and organic produce in addition to a deli, bulk foods, and a community meeting space. It could also serve as a one-stop shop for goods from Oakland-based businesses like Blue Bottle, Urban Legend Street Cellars, and Linden Street Brewery.

Portside Community Market is still in the initial planning stages; you can track its progress on its website, as well as keep abreast of future events and ways to donate money toward its construction. There’s also an online survey — available until Tuesday, July 23 — for residents, workers, and visitors of the Jack London area to offer input on what they’re looking for in a neighborhood market.

Image credit: PortsideMarket.com

 Posted by at 12:16 pm
Jul 182013

From KTVU.com:


A new open space area opened along San Francisco’s waterfront Wednesday morning, July 17th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the music of Otis Redding.

The Brannan Street Wharf, a 57,000-square-foot park south of the Bay Bridge between Piers 30-32 and 38, features a 400-foot-long lawn area, a waterside walkway and a small dock for kayaks and other small vessels.

Image credit: SFport.com

Jul 152013

From the San Jose Mercury News:

“Lead poisoning has been the longest-running epidemic in American pediatric history, and is a silent, ongoing tragedy,” David Rosner, a Columbia University professor who will be an expert witness for the governments, said in an email exchange.

Led by Santa Clara County, local governments sued the industry in 2000, alleging paint manufacturers knew of the dangers of lead paint as early as the late 1890s and yet peddled it to consumers without warning for decades. Alameda, Monterey, San Mateo and San Francisco counties are among the players in the case, as well as the cities of Oakland and San Diego and large counties such as Los Angeles.

Public officials will urge Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg, who is hearing the case without a jury, to find five paint manufacturers, including Atlantic Richfield, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams, liable and order them to remove lead paint from an estimated 5 million homes in the 10 counties — at a cost of about $1 billion.

“It’s all about fixing the problem,” said Joseph Cotchett, a prominent Burlingame lawyer representing the counties.

Unlike cases involving individuals who sue over health hazards, which can be difficult to prove against an entire industry, California officials have alleged the paint makers violated the state’s public nuisance laws. Lead paint, they argue, has created “a substantial and unreasonable injury” to anyone exposed in an older home.

The case has dragged on for years, twice bouncing up through the appeals courts, which have allowed it go forward over the paint manufacturers’ objections.

Jul 032013

Several related posts here from different sources.  But according to these reports the city has been “looted” by as much as $500 million over the last 16 years, directly contributing to major cuts in city services.

Check out this from ReinvestinOakland.com:

As City of Oakland public officials debate the City’s finances and which services to slash and which bills to pay, workers and the community are calling on City leaders to hold Wall Street banks accountable for their illegal and predatory practices that have cost Oakland taxpayers nearly half a billion dollars. A new report, The Looting of Oakland: How Wall Street’s Predatory Practices Are Costing Oakland Communities Millions and What We Can Do About It, reveals bank profits that are a result of unethical and even illegal predatory finance deals including LIBOR fraud, interest rate swaps, and other costly deals involving the City of Oakland and BART. The hundreds of millions in interest payments and fees collected on these predatory deals are money that should have been invested in Oakland communities, but instead has gone to Wall Street profits.

Oakland residents, taxpayers and workers are uniting around the call to make Wall Street pay before taking a penny more from its residents.

And this from the EastBayExpress.com:

“Our Oakland communities have been robbed blind by the banks and they need to pay back the money they took from the people of Oakland,” said Shirley Burnell, an Oakland resident and member of ACCE during a rally last week. Councilman Dan Kalb, who also spoke at the rally, called the practices of many financial companies unethical. Kalb supports renegotiating bad deals and seeking damages from any bank implicated in frauds that have harmed Oakland.

Over the past five years, dozens of investigations by bank regulators and attorneys general have been launched nationwide into the practices of the world’s largest banks. The probes have revealed numerous criminal conspiracies to steal billions from taxpayers around the globe, but local governments have yet to be repaid, even in cases where fraud has been proven beyond any doubt. In fact, some of the most toxic and fraudulent examples of bank wrongdoing are still affecting contracts and investments on Oakland’s books, constituting ongoing liabilities that reduce the city’s available funds by millions each year.

And this from CalOrganize.org:

Oakland has been hit
hard by the financial crisis. Unscrupulous Wall Street lenders convinced
long-time homeowners to refinance with risky deals and offered equally
precarious loans to new homebuyers. There have been over 10,000
foreclosures in Oakland since the economic crisis began in 2007, leaving
hundreds of vacant, often blighted homes in neighborhoods that have
driven down property values and in many cases changed historically
African American and Latino communities for good. According to a 2011
report by ACCE, Oakland homeowners are estimated to lose $12.3 billion
in home values as a result of the crisis. The crisis is costing the
city, too: Oakland is anticipated to lose $75.3 million in property
taxes and an additional $224 million from the costs associated with
upkeep of vacant, foreclosed properties.

In addition to the loss of property tax revenue, the city of Oakland –
not just its individual homeowners – has also been a victim of
predatory Wall Street loans. The city is involved in an ongoing
“interest rate swap” with Goldman-Sachs that has forced Oakland to
over-pay Goldman Sachs $32 million since the economic crisis began in
2007. Fortunately, Oakland ACCE has been fighting back, winning real
gains for Oakland residents, and setting the pace for fights for
economic justice across the country. Following is a highlight of some of
the many victories that Oakland ACCE has won, making Oakland a national
model for Wall Street accountability.

Jul 022013

Interesting bit of info regarding the deal reached after six days in 1997 to end that year’s BART strike.  From the SF Chronicle:

But Alicia Trost, spokeswoman for BART, said “we’re relying on state mediators to bring the two sides together.” Brown, she said. “can help us by urging the unions to get back to the table.”

In 1997, when Brown stepped in to solve the last BART walkout, its union workers emerged with double-digit pay raises over four years, Trost said. In a 2001 agreement, union employees received raises totaling 22 percent over four years.

“We had to lay off 200 people in later years to pay for that raise,” she said. “We’re looking for a more reasonable way out of this strike.”

Over the weekend, California Gov. Jerry Brown asked union negotiators to return to the bargaining table but did not call for a cooling-off period before the strike went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Willie Brown said he was mystified that political and labor leaders have been unable so far to sidestep a strike that he said is “devastating” to the Bay Area economy.

Jun 282013

Interesting to learn a little more about this case involving AmEx contractee’s restricted right to file for class action arbitration.  From the EastBayExpress.com:

The crux of the argument that Carlson, along with the other claimants in the suit, put forth is that American Express is wielding monopolistic powers by forcing restaurants to pay very high — and often obscure or hidden — fees and then also refusing to allow class-action arbitration. As Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in her dissenting opinion, the most that Italian Colors stood to win from its suit against AmEx was $38,549. However, the cost of putting together an expert report to prove that American Express had violated antitrust laws would have been at least several hundred thousand dollars. “So the expense involved in proving the claim in arbitration is ten times what Italian Colors could hope to gain, even in a best-case scenario,” Kagan wrote.

Despite those numbers, which showed that one-on-one arbitration was essentially untenable for small businesses like Italian Colors, the court ruled that the initial contract — in which restaurant owners agreed never to file a class-action lawsuit — needed to be upheld.

Jun 282013

Seems worthwhile to remind everybody that you can ride up and down the Broadway corridor in Oakland FOR FREE on this shuttle until 1am on weekends.  Great chance to check out lots of great restaurants and bars along the route and have a free ride to do it!  From MeetDowntownOak.com:

Offering fast, free connections from BART, the San Francisco Bay Ferry and Amtrak Capitol Corridor to downtown Oakland offices!

Hop on the “FREE B” to explore Oakland’s restaurant and nightlife scenes!

image of the Free Broadway Shuttle bus

Now Running Friday & Saturday Nights until 1am!

Board the Shuttle wherever you see a sign with the green “B on Broadway” logo shown in the upper left corner of this page.

All Broadway Shuttle vehicles are wheelchair accessible and include passenger lifts.

Weekday Service (Orange route)
Mondays-Fridays 7am-7pm between Embarcadero West (Jack London Square) and Grand Avenue. Shuttles run every 10 minutes during commute hours and lunchtime; every 15 minutes other times.

Weekend Night Service (Blue route)
Fridays 7pm-1am & Saturdays 6pm-1am between Embarcadero West (Jack London Square) and 27th Street. Shuttles run every 12 minutes.


Jun 282013

I’m a big fan of this concept.  Let’s bring mental nourishment and physical nourishment together all summer!  From the EastBayExpress.com:

Two years ago, Lindsay was approached by the Alameda County Community Food Bank about the possibility of serving food at the library to youths under eighteen, in partnership with the City of Oakland. “The executive director said that in California, 75 percent of school kids who get free lunch during the school year don’t get it during the summer,” Lindsay recalled. The percentage is slightly less in Alameda County.

The food bank’s summer lunch program began distributing free lunches at parks and recreation centers, churches, and other places throughout Oakland 28 years ago. Libraries were a natural fit. “We see the spike in childhood hunger each summer when school lets out and children lose their free or reduced-priced lunch and breakfast,” said Allison Pratt, the food bank’s director of policy and services. “This is an added burden of ten meals per week per child for a family already struggling to put a healthy meal on the table. We have found over the years that the best strategy to connect children to the free summer lunch program is to offer the program at places where children naturally gather during the summer months. For this reason, libraries are very attractive locations.”

Jun 272013

Looks like Hutch— right behind the Paramount Theater— is going to be one to check out, according to SF Weekly:

The Bay Area’s boomlet of Southern cooking continues directly behind the Paramount Theater in Uptown Oakland, at Hutch. Across the street from a defunct wig store, this is a restaurant worth getting on BART for.

From bar snacks like pimento cheese up through the raw bar — with its $18-per-person platter of oysters, shrimp, salmon, crawfish remoulade and anchovies — and into the entrees, Hutch has something for every palate and at every price point. The buttery smoked salmon is a perfect example. Served on a mound of citrus-y shaved fennel and dotted with hot mustard and rehydrated with bourbon, it’s excellent, it’s presented as a Rorschach test — I saw a crawfish — and it’s only $8, which is actually almost shocking.

Jun 262013

Prop 8 appeal denied because of “lack of standing” of petitioners. From TalkingPointsMemo.com:

In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court dismissed California’s Proposition 8 because the petitioners lacked standing, or the right to participate in the case. That means a lower court ruling that overturned the ban remains in effect. The outcome means other states remain free to allow or prohibit gay marriage, leaving intact the bans on gay marriage in dozens of states.

“Petitioners have no role — special or otherwise — in its enforcement. They therefore have no ‘personal stake’ in defending its enforcement that is distinguishable from the general interest of every California citizen,” Roberts wrote for the Court. “No matter how deeply committed petitioners may be to upholding Proposition 8, that is not a particularized interest sufficient to create a case or controversy under Article III.”

Roberts’ opinion was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kegan — a mix of conservatives and liberals.

Jun 182013

The Department of Housing and Urban Development study finds that LGBT people face significant discrimination in housing.  Via ThinkProgress.org:

In the first study of its kind, a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that same-sex couples experience unfavorable treatment in the online rental housing market as compared to opposite-sex couples. Across all 50 metropolitan areas studied, inquiries sent to housing providers advertising their rental properties on the Internet were significantly less likely to receive a response when the applicants were listed as a same-sex couple.

According to the report:

Same-sex couples are significantly less likely than heterosexual couples to get favorable responses to e-mail inquiries about electronically advertised rental housing. Comparing our gross measures of discrimination, heterosexual couples were favored over gay male couples in 15.9 percent of tests and over lesbian couples in 15.6 percent of tests.

Jun 182013

Oakland REALLY has its work cut out for it to possibly keep the A’s.  From the SF Chronicle today:

(06-18) 12:26 PDT SAN JOSE — The city of San Jose sued Major League Baseball on Tuesday in an effort to move the Oakland A’s to the South Bay, a lawsuit that challenges the Giants’ claim to the region and MLB’s monopoly over the business of professional baseball.

The San Jose City Council voted behind closed doors Tuesday morning to file a lawsuit. Attorneys for the city then filed the claim in U.S. District Court in San Jose.

The suit follows years of political wrangling by A’s owners John Fisher and Lew Wolff to move the team out of the O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

The lawsuit claims Major League Baseball and its commissioner, Bud Selig, have violated state and federal laws regarding unfair business practices and anticompetitive conduct. It also challenges the exemption to antitrust laws that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld for Major League Baseball in 1922.

Jun 132013

Check out an East Bay Express review here:

Another day, another sausage slinger rises in Oakland. This time it’sBrotzeit Lokal (1000 Embarcadero), a new sausage-centered restaurant and beer garden from Chop Bar’s Lev Delany, which will softly open on Thursday, June 13.

Delany, Brotzeit’s chef and sausage-maker-in-chief, spent two years working at a bar in Berlin, and he said the thing he loved about Germany was how everywhere you went outside of the city, you could always find a beer garden — a friendly, casual place to eat and enjoy a beer. When the space that formerly housed a seafood restaurant called Oyster Reef became available, Delany finally had his chance to bring that kind of place to the Oakland waterfront.

And check this part out!:

4) The restaurant’s outdoor patio (which will seat about seventy) should offer some fantastic views of the water. Perhaps Brotzeit’s most unique feature is the fact that you can actually access the restaurant by sea. Delany’s partners, Krista and Tony Granieri are boating enthusiasts who have rented a few berths in the marina that will be available to customers arriving in sea vessels of various shapes and sizes — ”paddle boards, battleships, you name it,” Delany quipped. The Granieris’ 45-foot Delta cruiser will also be available for rent. Call the restaurant (510-645-1905) to inquire about rates and availability. According to Delany, it’s about an hour each way to sail to Treasure Island and back. Coupled with a casual sausage-and-beer lunch, that sounds like a pleasant summer afternoon to me.

Jun 132013

From the East Bay Express this week where you can read the rest of the review:

As for the food, Tribune Tavern’s classed-up reinterpretations of obscure (in the US) pub classics like Welsh rarebit and Irish colcannon won’t disappoint, and the Guilty Fries (topped with carnitas-style roasted pork) are the very definition of a crowd-pleaser. But it’s in the shareable small plates — asparagus topped with hard-boiled eggs and house-made pancetta, say, or silky and unctuous grilled oxtail — that chef Huw Thornton really shows his skill and creativity.

Visit TribuneTavern.com


Jun 132013

From SF.Eater.com:

Encuentro Café and Wine Bar is taking over a space six blocks away in Jack London Square where they will be relocating this fall with a expanded menu. Partner Linda Braz gave us the news today, noting that the new Encuentro at the corner of Second and Clay Streets “will have the same yummy vegetarian food you have come to expect with an expanded menu, including full entrées and pizza!” Construction begins in a few weeks, and they hope to be open by November. The current, compact Encuentro at Second and Jackson will remain open as a wine-and-beer bar with a limited menu of small bites, and a new name that’s still TBD.

Jun 122013

From today’s SF Chronicle:

Thousands of San Franciscans could become first-time homeowners while also contributing an estimated $20 million for affordable housing under legislation given initial approval Tuesday by theBoard of Supervisors.

The legislation would allow about 2,200 tenancy-in-common unit owners who are currently on a waiting list that allows just 200 conversions to condominiums per year to pay a $20,000 conversion fee that would go toward an affordable housing fund. The units could be converted to condos over a seven-year period, with TIC owners who have lost the lottery several times getting priority. The legislation would prevent the lottery from resuming until 2024.

The 8-3 vote, with Supervisors Mark FarrellScott Wiener and Katy Tang in opposition, is enough to override a veto by Mayor Ed Lee, who hasn’t taken a position on the legislation.

“We have for years had an impasse on this issue on the condo lottery, TIC conversations and tenant evictions,” Supervisor David Chiu said. “I think we have in front of us a balanced piece of legislation.”

Jun 112013

If you drive an electric car in California, according to the study cited in this article in the SF Chronicle:

If you drive an electric car in California and recharge your batteries at home, you’re paying about $1.51 to travel as far as you could on a gallon of gas.

That calculation comes from a new federal website, unveiled Tuesday by the Department of Energy, that allows people to compare the costs of driving on electricity versus gasoline.  The“eGallon” site is designed to make one of the bigger benefits of EVs — low and stable fuel costs — easier to understand.

“Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Jun 072013

Private funding needed!  And the festival is in jeopardy of shutting down without it.  That’s the story according to InsideBayArea.com:

Oakland’s nationally acclaimed monthly street festival is at risk because the city will soon stop subsidizing it, and a depleted volunteer organizing committee hasn’t figured out how to make it pay for itself.

After pumping $500,000 into Oakland First Fridays, the city is intent on passing the baton next month to the committee, which is scrambling to line up money and volunteers.

“We’re all just hustling to keep this event alive, but at this point we just don’t have enough money to save it,” organizer Edward Yoo said.

It costs about $20,000 per month to hold the street festival, which includes money for security, street closures and permit fees. Given that nearly 10,000 people saturate five blocks of Telegraph Avenue on festival nights, spending money at vendor stands, bars and restaurants, financing the event shouldn’t be a challenge, experts say.

But organizers have been reluctant to charge vendors other than food trucks, and businesses that benefit from the event haven’t rallied to their side.

It’s taken five months just to raise enough money for one festival. That will be in July after city funds run out.

Jun 052013

It just caught my eye that this beer garden in Oakland called Telegraph has a burger that is half ground beef and half bacon.  You decide:

From an East Bay Express article on dog-friendly bars and restaurants:


2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-444-8353


Hours: Tue.-Thu. & Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1.a.m.

Telegraph may be the best beer garden you haven’t been to yet. All of its seating is outside — some shaded, some sunny. Choose from twelve drafts (local beers included) or three wines by the glass to sip on with your dog underneath an enormous, colorful graffiti mural on the north-facing wall. If you’re hungry as well as thirsty, Telegraph serves up delicious house-made sausages and burgers, including the 50/50 — a burger made from 50 percent ground beef and 50 percent bacon. There are also vegetarian options, like the green-bean sandwich, and a vegan sausage is in the works. It even offers a few options for breakfast. The establishment is low-key and community-minded, featuring poetry nights and a free weekly film screening. You’ll feel as comfortable reading a book with your pooch in the sun as downing pints with a group of friends.


Jun 052013

Interesting venture pointed out in the East Bay Express that enables dog owners some more affordable dog-sitting, and for those who love dogs a chance at some time to play with and care for a dog.

This philosophy is at the core of City Dog Share, a free pet-sitting co-op Husk founded in San Francisco in May 2011. In a town of start-ups, where there is a social network for every need, City Dog Share stands apart. (Think Couchsurfing.orgrather than Airbnb.) Rather than creating micro economies in which neighbors can exchange services for pay — as sites like Rover.com orDogVacay.com do — or following a venture-capitalist model, City Dog Share is a nonprofit whose mission is twofold: to end dog overpopulation and to build communities.

Husk, a social media marketer, runs City Dog Share via localized, open Facebook groups, where members post their needs — whether it’s looking for a pet sitter, a dog to walk, or a pup play date — and other group members respond. The organization has branched out to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and Humboldt County, and will soon expand to San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and Denver. But the Bay Area group is the largest, with 1,200 members, and Husk says about 90 percent of requests in this flagship group get a quick response.