downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Oakland wants YOU to help downtown

January 16, 2009

As the Oscar Grant / protest / riot situation simmers, City Councilmember Pat Kernighan, who represents part of downtown, expressed her outrage at the vandals and her sympathy for the residents and businesses who have been working to transform the DTO, only to see their property destroyed by out-of-town “wannabe revolutionaries.” Her balanced essay is a must-read for concerned citizens. She highlights the unfairness of negative media attention when the vandals were not residents, and promises to help spread a more positive message of Oaklanders coming together to support their community.

To show solidarity with local businesses damaged by this and last week’s rioting, Oaklanders have organized two events designed to bring folks to the DTO. Tonight, blog commenters have declared a Night Out, and are encouraging everyone to spend the evening at one of downtown’s many restaurants, discos, and cultural venues. Tomorrow (Sat Jan 17 2009), merchant groups throughout the city have organized 17th on 17th, a mini-festival celebrating downtown’s charming block of shops between Franklin and Webster Streets, from 2 to 5p. When was the last time buying a smoothie and a handbag was such a good deed? I look forward to seeing you there.

2 comments

1 Gene { 01.17.09 at 12:19 am }

I had lunch today at Henry’s Gallery Cafe. Still some broken windows, but several places were being repaired as I walked by.

2 Maggie { 01.21.09 at 3:20 am }

Thank you for posting this essay. As a concerned (new) resident of Oakland, walking by the smashed windows on 14th street, it took me days to realize the fact that Kernighan points out–that those who took the protest in a destructive direction were largely not from Oakland. Her message was an important one for me to hear. I just wish more of the outside world realized this.