Just yesterday, the BART Board of Directors approved an alternate funding plan for the controversial Oakland Airport Connector after being denied $70 million from the Federal Government. They said BART had violated civil rights laws by not considering the projects impact on the low-income communities that the project must go through. But like a petulant child who can’t take “no” for an answer, BART refuses to give up on this monorail. In every interview I see with them they appear to be unapologetic about every action. So that got me thinking, is BART winning the public relations battle and, more importantly, do they even care?
Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’
Posted by Roobs on July 23, 2010
Posted in Politics, Urban Planning | Tagged: BART, Kenneth Katzoff, Living in the O, Next American City, OAC, Oakland, Port of Oakland, Public Relations, San Francisco, Streetsblog SF, Transbay Blog, Youtube | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Roobs on July 20, 2010
I have come to view Twitter as a great resource for news junkies. The increasing number of people I follow on my account include many bloggers, columnists, reporters and news sites. It’s rather exciting for someone like me who enjoys getting almost real-time information from these news purveyors because many columnists and reporters will actually update their Twitter accounts before updating their websites. So it’s no surprise yesterday that i first learned of Oakland’s past 24 hours of crime ridden incidents on Twitter: Sniper shot at police from rooftop in West Oakland, Man with body armor shoots at highway patrol on I-580, Gunman shoots and kills visiting tourist for less than $20. But this post is not about how awful those individual incidents are. This post is about how, frankly, I initially was unphased. And frankly, so was everyone else.
Posted by Roobs on July 19, 2010
Over the weekend I joined many Democrats in San Jose for both the CDP’s and CYD’s Executive Committee Meetings. While there, I met up with a representative of AC Transit at the hotel bar (because that is really where the business of the Democratic Party goes down).
After overhearing a conversation I was having about the recent BRT debacle in Berkeley, The AC Transit rep came over and we talked a bit more on the subject. Once we moved past our shared frustration with the politics of Berkeley, I asked him what the future of transit was looking like for Berkeley and North Oakland. His up-front honesty was refreshing but also troubling given his comment. He told me that AC Transit’s BRT route will terminate somewhere in Oakland. Period. Whether that be in Downtown Oakland or at MacArthur BART station is still up for grabs but nevertheless, Temescal and Berkeley will be left out of BRT and all of its glorious economic and street-scape benefits.
Posted by Roobs on July 2, 2010
Proposition 8 – California’s constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage – passed in California back in November of 2008 reversing a previous court ruling. While Prop 8 did pass in the state, it is important to recognize that Prop 8 met a thunderous defeat in Alameda County 62-38%. In Oakland alone, Prop 8 went down hard.
Melanie Shelby, a candidate for Oakland City Council, District 4 is well known, both in and out of political circles, for her support of Proposition 8 back in 2008. The fact that she is a Prop 8 supporter, though disappointing, is not the main issue per se. The big issue is that she is running for a city council position in a city that heavily voted down the gay marriage ban. So the question that comes up early in this race is this: Is Melanie Shelby really the right person to represent her district?
To help answer this question, i sent an email to Shelby on Monday, June 28th asking for comment on her past support on Prop 8 and current position on same-sex marriage. To date, i have received no reply. This is unfortunate as i now must begin the task of speculating based on my conversations with other political observers.
Posted by Roobs on June 18, 2010
This is a follow up to my previous post “Why Berkeley is Wrong on BRT“
Somewhere along the line, you would think that the constant barrage of facts and studies would prove some point. Whether you are for or against something, the general train of thought is that the “correct” argument is the argument that has the most support (data, literature, etc) behind it. Bus Rapid Transit is a positive thing for the neighborhoods and cities it serves. There are numerous examples of BRT all around the country and the world. BRT is nothing new and has been around for decades. So you would think when Berkeley was asked to consider studying the construction of a fully tricked out BRT system they would take to heart all these examples and past literature and data to make an informed decision. But Berkeley has its own rules and so does Berkeley City Counciman Jesse Arreguin.
Not since John Kerry’s infamous flip-flop during the 2004 presidential campaign against George W. Bush have we seen an example of moving back and forth on the same issue as we see with Councilman Arreguin on BRT in Berkeley. Except in this case, Councilman Arreguin first didnt vote for anything, then indicated he would vote for it before finally voting against it.
Posted in Economic Development, Politics, Urban Planning | Tagged: AC Transit, Berkeley, BRT, Bus Rapid Transit, East Bay, Jesse Arreguin, NIMBY, Oakland, Public Transit, San Leandro, Urban Planning | 9 Comments »
Posted by Roobs on May 28, 2010
This year, Oakland will host its First Annual Pride Festival since 2004. Oakland has the third-highest concentration of LGBT people in the nation, only behind San Francisco and Seattle. So why shouldn’t we have our own Pride? There is a lot to be proud of in the East Bay, such as great weather with REAL seasons (i.e. Summer?).
Oakland Pride, Inc. (the business behind the festival) recieved a donation from the Port of Oakland in the form of 4,000 square foot office space in Jack London Square. With only a few months to go, fundraising and last minute organizing has been in full swing to make this first festival one to remember and bring hope to continued festivals in the future.
Oakland Pride is also serving as the vanguard of a full-fledged fundraising effort to create the first All-Inclusive LGBT Community Center in Oakland in collaboration with City Councilmember, Rebecca Kaplan, the council’s only openly gay member.
Posted in LGBT | Tagged: 2010, Activities, Alameda, Berkeley, East Bay, Hayward, LGBT, Oakland, Piedmont, Port of Oakland, Pride, Rebecca Kaplan, San Leandro, Things to do, Walnut Creek | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Roobs on May 10, 2010
Two Thursdays ago, the Berkeley City Council voted on the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) plan for AC Transit’s East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The Council essentially had three options: 1) “Full Build”, as recommended by the city staff, which would mean dedicated lanes running up Telegraph Avenue and “island” bus stops, where passengers could board the bus in the middle of the road, much like you see in San Francisco on Market Street. 2) A “Reduced Impact Alternative” as prepared by Mayor Bates and other councilmembers, which was a watered down version of the Full Build option, but still included dedicated lanes and islands. 3) A so-called “Rapid Bus Plus” (RBP) option which, in essence, is a no-build option because it removed all dedicated lanes and made no lane reconfigurations on roads.
After impassioned, and sometimes theatrical testimony by the public, the Berkeley City Council succumbed to NIMBY pressure and rejected any elements of full-build and endorsed only option three, the so-called, “Rapid Bus Plus” plan.
Before I go into the issues of BRT, let me quickly address the importance of the LPA and why you should be upset that Berkeley has practically killed the BRT project for everyone else. In very simplified terms, the way a project like this goes is that AC Transit puts together an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on how they want the project to run. In this case, they give their preferred route for a BRT system from San Leandro to Oakland to Berkeley. This is then sent to each city for review. Each city then decides what they believe is the best alternative for their city, the LPA.
Posted by Roobs on July 8, 2009
Back in 2003, Orange County completely blew its chance to create its own Light Rail Train (LRT) system connecting its downtown business core with the county’s major airport: John Wayne Airport, due to strong opposition from residents. Coincidently, after reading a San Francisco Examiner article, a friend and I discussed how we see the exact same arguments the residents of Orange County are being made by the residents of the Peninsula area of the San Francisco Bay with regard to the proposed California High Speed Rail (CHSR).
What brings me to this subject today are recent events with California’s current budget mess. Not in my backyard (NIMBY) protesting residents of the Peninsula and their legislative allies have thrown language into proposed budget deals forcing the CHSR Authority to run costly alternate route study. Luckily, the language being part of the greater budget fiasco in Sacramento has all but guaranteed the proposed bill and its HSR language to be vetoed by the Governator. But I feel the need to briefly go over this issue in writing.
Back in November of 2008, over 60% of Peninsula residents voted yes on Prop 1A, which allocated over $10 billion in bond funds for the creation of a HSR connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. Now, residents of cities such as Palo Alto and Mountain View have stepped up their criticism of the proposed route through their towns to the point where there is now litigation between cities and the state.
Some say they don’t want a large train whizzing by and separating their towns with lower grade canals or unsightly elevated tracks. Others fear the threat of eminent domain in areas where the right of way is too narrow to allow both the existing Caltrain and CHSR to run side by side, forcing the state to buy up adjacent land or create those elevated tracks to stack over the exiting lines. Residents also argue that the creation of an HSR through their towns and near their homes would be a nuisance and negatively impact their property values. Most of these arguments are all echoes from OC residents’ revolt against LRT’s.
As possible solutions, the opponents have asked that the CHSR Authority (Authority) run an alternate route study. A possible example would be a route through the Altamont Pass reaching San Francisco through Oakland via a submerged tunnel in the Bay as BART currently does. Another option would be to completely leave San Francisco out of the CHSR picture and end the line in San Jose, leaving the rest of the commute to San Francisco via BART and Caltrain.
First let’s ignore the fact that that these Peninsula residents are opposing something that they approved but a few months earlier, and that they are the cities who lobbied the Authority for a route through the Peninsula vs. the East Bay, and the fact that East Bay cities such as Oakland and Livermore said they would prefer a route through the Peninsula, and the fact that the Authority spent the past decade studying alternate routes, and the fact that suggesting an end of the line at San Jose vs. San Francisco violates the spirit of Prop 1A on a legal level… [Breathe]
Let us look at some of the arguments made by both Orange County residents in the past as well as Peninsula residents in the present.