Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices

Archive for July, 2010

BART and the Public Relations Battle

Posted by Roobs on July 23, 2010

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?

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West Oakland Development

Posted by Roobs on July 21, 2010

For some time I have been contemplating West Oakland development sites.  In college, I wrote a small research paper on possible effects of gentrification in West Oakland as it related to current development.  Most recently, I have talked with more than one person about developing some kind of research facility in the neighborhood.  I usually pointed to a bio-medical research facility but it was never set in stone that it had to be bio.  Nevertheless, I still think that it would be a great location for some new job sector to take root in Oakland.
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Detach and Evade – Oakland Worthy of Better

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.

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Uncertainty for North Oakland, Berkeley Transit

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.

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Patch of Green in Emeryville

Posted by Roobs on July 15, 2010

I work at a law firm in Emeryville that specializes in real estate development law.  I often feel it’s not by accident that my bosses located the firm in Emeryville. This city keeps developing more and more from the city that my parents knew when they lived in Alameda back in the early-mid 80’s.  Emeryville is one big development site where old factories and warehouses have been transformed into trendy urban lofts and townhouses.

Emeryville is a pretty successful commuter city with the Emeryville Amtrak station taking workers to and from San Francisco or Sacramento.  Pixar Animation is headquartered two blocks away from my office building and even they are expanding on their own property.  Bayer Health also calls Emeryville home and has a large research facility about four blocks from my office building. And one block from me?  Well, Peet’s Coffee has their headquarters as well.  I do love the smell of fresh coffee in the morning.  Although, I wish their headquarters also doubled as a coffee shop.  They give tours but don’t sell coffee.  Rude.

Sherwin-Williams Development Site

The general focus of this post is a site behind the award-winning Emeryville Warehouse Lofts building (my office building).  It is known simply as the “Sherwin-Williams” site because it is the site of a former Sherwin-Williams paint factory.  A lot of people might know it as the area on the other side of the tracks behind Ikea and the Bay Street parking structure.

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Hump Day Fun

Posted by Roobs on July 14, 2010

Taking a break from politics and planning issues, i just want to share two commercials over the past few months that actually make me laugh. They’re funny!

The first is a commercial from Taco Bell where a woman at a club brings a “Bacon Club Chalupa” as a fragrance to attract men. All i have to say is, i love bacon. Mmm… bacon. If i was straight, i might be inclined to go over to her table too. Who doesn’t love bacon? vegetarians and vegans don’t count. Not to mention, the guy on the far left is really hot. If we could successfully manufacture a bacon-esque fragrance product, i can’t say i wouldn’t be in line to buy it.

This next commercial is brought to us by the people at Bing – Microsoft’s new and very successful search engine. It basically mocks the Spanish language telenovelas, which, trust, isn’t that hard. Anyone in the Latino community who thinks this is offensive has obviously never seen a telenovela. They are absolutely ridiculous! This commercial doesn’t really make fun of the culture behind the telenovela but just pokes fun at its fabulous over-the-top and dramatic rediculousness. Here is the commercial. Enjoy!

I think the Latino community should be more upset with those stupid “Old El Paso” Taco Shell commercials. Those things are NOT representative of Latino culture at all. Hell, the “crunchy” or “hard” taco isn’t even a Mexican creation. Now those commercials perpetuate a stereotype. But does anyone complain? Nope. Instead, they complain more about a little dog. Ay dios mio.

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Progressives, Liberals, Moderates, Oh My!

Posted by Roobs on July 13, 2010

There are a lot of labels that associate with political parties.  On the Democrat side, we have “Progressives”, “Liberals” and “Moderates”.  The Republican side as “Conservatives”, “Neo-Cons” and now awkwardly introducing “Tea Partiers”.  However, a recent Gallup poll shows that the majority of Americans don’t know what the term “Progressive” means.

Gallup polling reveals widespread public uncertainty about the “progressive” political label — a label recently embraced by no less than Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. While Kagan described her political views as “generally progressive” during her Senate confirmation hearings, fewer than half of Americans can say whether “progressive” does (12%) or does not (31%) describe their own views. The majority (54%) are unsure.

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November Preview, Jerry Brown and WordPress

Posted by Roobs on July 13, 2010 is really rude in the fact they won’t let me embed video from  There was a great episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews on Friday where in the first 30 minutes, Chris Matthews is joined by Howard Fineman and Richard Wolf to discuss how the environment is shaping for the November election. This was a great discussion on Obama’s possible campaign strategy going forward.

In the second video, Chris Matthews interviews California Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.  From the UC Berkeley Campanile in the backdrop, it looks like Brown took the interview from here in the East Bay!

As I said, WordPress doesn’t want me to embed the videos.  Luckily, as webmaster of the East Bay Young Democrats website (we use I can give you the link to check out the videos as well as take a glimpse of our website.

Click the link to open up the EBYD post!

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