Archive for the 'Our Opinions' Category

25
Sep
11

Another Death On Grizzly Peak Boulevard

On Saturday, just before noon, a 53-year-old bicyclist lost his life on Grizzly Peak Boulevard.  The unidentified accident victim was riding with a group, fell as he pedaled downhill, ditched his bike and then got hit by an oncoming car.  Apparently an uphill driver had rounded a blind turn, with little time to react.

Here’s the grim news, first reported by the Oakland Tribune:

The collision happened at 11:30 a.m. on Grizzly Peak Boulevard about a mile west of Claremont Avenue, Oakland police acting Lt. Robert Chan said. The bicyclist, who has not been identified pending notification of his family, was pronounced dead at the scene at about 11:48 a.m., Chan said.

We could argue about whether the driver was cruising too quickly to take action.  Particularly on nice days, like Saturday, Grizzly seems like the filming location for car commercials that warn “professional drivers” only.  The boulevard invites speeders beyond the 25 mph posting, so this driver could have been above the limit.  However this accident happened right after a blind spot, which makes the speed issue a bit moot.

More importantly, there’s a history of near-misses, bad accidents and deaths on Grizzly.  Remember last year, when a women drove off the ridge and died, due to fog and slippery conditions?  There could be more barriers to prevent drivers from falling down the ravines and hills.  Maybe there could be more signage, too.  It’s hard to know exactly how to fix the winding road.

Grizzly Peak Boulevard is a marvel, with amazing views and a feeling like you almost live in the mountains.  Anyone using the curvy or exposed portions of this ridge line road surely knows they are accepting higher risks and responsibilities up there.

23
Aug
11

Identity Crisis: Oakland Has No Daily News Presence

The Oakland Tribune will soon be transformed into The East Bay Tribune.  According to the Bay Area News Group (BANG), our city paper and several other Alameda County dailies will get integrated into one masthead.  The planned November change tries to please all, but may please few.

This newly-named paper doesn’t actually cover the whole East Bay.  More importantly, it wipes out Oakland’s unique presence in the daily news cycle.  In 2010, Oakland ranked as the 47th largest U.S. city with nearly 391,000 residents.  Shouldn’t there be some identification of our metropolis?

It’s all dollars and sense.

Sure, newspaper economics have changed for good.  As circulation and ad revenues continue to decrease, it’s not surprising that print editions are merged and staffs are reduced.  Marketing and branding decisions impact results too, and we don’t understand why leaving all that Oakland awareness and goodwill makes economic sense.  (BANG executives likely have their rationale.)

In the digital era, we do know that it’s important to coordinate off-line and online identity.  You attract traffic by focusing on your targeted readers, geography and beat expertise.  Since the Tribune gets re-directed to Inside Bay Area, Oakland has been downplayed for a while:

If you clicked, then you didn’t see any Tribune links.  And the “Oakland” results could improve if the brand lives, the domain (online address) changes, and archives are available to index.  Online audiences may not save the print business, but it’s possible to attract more traffic and related online revenues.

Like all news junkies, we are saddened by our reduced local coverage.  Plenty of people want to know what’s happening in Oakland versus the half-East Bay.  Our neighbor cities can still get covered as editions.  In our humble opinion, removing Oakland’s news identity doesn’t seem to pass marketing or financial muster.

Update:  On October 27th, the Bay Area News Group (BANG) announced their decision to keep publishing The Oakland Tribune.  Good move.

28
Apr
11

Why Not Overstock.com Coliseum?

Yesterday, Overstock.com announced that they will spend over $7 million for naming rights!  The Coliseum will be officially called the “Overstock.com Coliseum,” at least for the next six years.

This hits home for yours truly, the original Today in Montclair blogger.  First, I’m an Oakland loyalist who is currently living in Utah.  Second, I ran marketing for Overstock.com nearly a decade ago.  While Utah-based Overstock has become a well-known national brand since then, getting more Bay Area exposure could be a smart move.

According to Overstock Chairman and CEO, Patrick Byrne:

Overstock is thrilled to become a part of the City of Oakland and Alameda County.  The Overstock brand is a perfect fit with the excitement and culture of the area.  We look forward to becoming part of the community and doing our part to give back.  Residents of the area can look forward to many great events taking place in the Overstock.com Coliseum.

More importantly, CEO Byrne follows his beliefs.  While I was working at Overstock, he launched Worldstock to help distribute goods created from third-world workers.  The department still exists today, and has given back directly to NGOs and workers around the world.

Start thinking about how Overstock might help Oakland…an interesting opportunity.

06
Apr
11

Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, RIP

The Oak Knoll Naval Hospital’s carcass will be demolished this Friday, sometime between 10:00 am and noon.  There’s been an awful, silent and ignored hulk shadowing the Oakland Hills for 15 years.  Good riddance, we say.

According to the Oak Knoll Coalition, a group of neighbors, the main hospital will be exploded this week.  They reported that developer SunCal will raze all the remaining masonry buildings by year-end.  However Club Knoll, a relic of the country club which preceded the hospital, will be saved for later refurbishment.

Over the past few years, there have been several visitors to this supposedly off-limit place.  Check out the fascinating coverage (part 1, part 2), images and videos which document the derelict hospital compound — and also honor what once took place on the hill.

The hospital base was opened from 1942-1996, which means the East Bay’s filled with former workers, their families, patients and even those born there.  Please visit the Facebook petition underway to create a fitting memorial on the hillside.  It’s a nice idea, we think.

So what’s next?  After the demolitions, we wait for new homes and a little open space.  Presumably housing developers will get capitalized again, whether it’s SunCal or someone else — though nothing is truly known or scheduled at this point.

Update:   Courtesy of The Bay Citizen, here’s a video showing the hospital implosion.

for Oak Knoll Naval Hospital Memorial

26
Feb
11

More Parking Meters, More Love

Did you hear about the extra parking meters that Oakland’s going to install in Montclair?  There will be 25 metered positions on Mountain Avenue, placed between Snake and Scout Roads, and another 25 units positioned on Moraga Avenue, over on the Montclair Park side.

It’s been a long time since Today in Montclair has touched on that touchy subject:  parking in the Village.  The last time we asked you about parking, rates were raised, and times were extended and later rescinded by Oakland’s City Council.  However concerns about our village vibrancy were never really addressed.

District 4 Rep Libby Schaaf has expressed her concern about these extra meters.   The decision to add these and other city meters happened last year, and Schaaf will protest them as unnecessary at the next Council Meeting:

Our office convinced staff to limit the Montclair meters to the east side of the street only.   While I must respect the need to generate revenues already budgeted for, I have many concerns about this proposal, which I’ll be voicing when this issue comes to the City Council this Tuesday, March 1st at 6:30pm.

Parking meters shouldn’t be [a] cash cow; they only make sense when part of a thoughtful policy of managing parking availability in support of our commercial districts.

If you want to hear the live Oakland City Council meeting, then plan to visit KTOP online or Comcast Channel 10 on Tuesday evening.  Also please check out out the upcoming Council Meeting Agenda, to figure out when the topic might come up!

Update:  Here’s a little good news.  At Tuesday’s meeting, Council Rep Schaaf was able to reduce the new meter count from 50 to 22, split by the two locations.

31
Dec
10

How 2010 Fared For 94611

To celebrate the last day of 2010, we decided to peer over our shoulders.  Denizens of Montclair fared pretty well, because there were no major natural or man-made calamities.  After some intensive analysis, we noticed an even distribution of highs and lows worth recapping for you.

Was it the economy, stupid? The recession hit individuals differently and privately. The Village took hits more publicly, with longer vacancies. Eventually, a couple new eateries opened their doors to keep us local. Thefts in the hills became more creative, arriving in small and very concentrated waves.

In Village politics, non-canines ran but a dog won the mayoral race because we didn’t take risks. It was exciting to consider a rat or two, but the classic chocolate lab, Murphy, is now in charge.

Montclair was fairly quiet, except for the arts, family, food, and holiday street fests — and we still like this mellow place in the city.

24
Dec
10

The Country’s Catching Up: Gay Rights

In the Oakland Hills, we have already evolved in our acceptance of gay rights.  A large percentage of our population is gay, relative to other parts of the country, and the idea that gays don’t have equal rights just seems backwards to us hills-dwellers.

Outside our bubble, the lame duck Congress repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this past week.  That’s a pretty big milestone, since homosexual military can just focus on their service to the country — and not carry the additional burden of hiding in clear view.

On today’s Good Morning America program, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden went another step further.  While he’s a known talker, Biden said a few words about anti-Proposition 8 rights that are hardly outrageous to us:  gay marriage is inevitable.

Watch the video interview between Biden and host George Stephanopolous.  Near the end, there’s talk of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal and a segue to gay marriage.  “The country’s evolving,” declared Biden.  “I think there’s an inevitability for a national consensus on the subject of gay marriage.”

Of course, Biden quickly covered his tracks and added that it’s his opinion which may not reflect President Obama’s view.  Still, we’ll take this Christmas Eve gift as a sign of good things to come.




October 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Welcome to Montclair, Oakland

We live in the city yet are invaded by nature - or perhaps it's the other way around. Stop by often, and find out what's interesting to 94611 denizens.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: