downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — January 2009

DTO reading file: waiting for the Fox

January 23, 2009

Oscar Grant’s death at the hands of a BART police officer, violent protests downtown, and OPD controversies hog the headlines, but there is much more to learn from the news this week. With so much recent discussion about public safety strategies, Oaklanders are increasingly aware of today’s tactics. But Oaklander Online gives us a glimpse of policing in the past, gleaned from her great-grandfather’s diary of walking the beat in 1918′s DTO.

Though transportation giant American President Lines is shipping hundreds of jobs from downtown Oakland to Mesa AZ, Shorenstein paused construction on 601 City Center, and several struggling construction projects finally went into default, other forms of investment are finding the DTO hospitable. Levende East secured permission to serve alcohol with a limited menu at a new cafe in Old Oakland, and it was only one of three such hearings at the Planning Commission Wednesday night (the other permits were granted for restaurants in the Laurel and Eastlake Districts).

Souley Vegan has left 13th St because of code compliance issues, but the owner tells me that she’s hoping to reopen in a better-equipped space downtown this summer. Around the corner, the Trib’s Night Owl reminds us of continuing developments at DeLauer’s Super Newsstand.

Folks continue to discover the DTO’s new restaurants, and even Montclarions are vowing to come down here more. Oakland Goods reviews Ozumo, BixChix visit Miss Pearl’s, Living in the O reviews Dazz Thai and other Thai outlets, and the Single Guy Chef likes the Red Door Cafe.

There are only 12 days until the Fox explodes onto Telegraph, but the week’s news shows there’s much more to the DTO’s growing vibrancy.


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.