Only a few fleas at new market

The launch Saturday of a flea market in the parking lot at College of Alameda wasn’t exactly spectacular. Perhaps it was the holiday weekend, perhaps the fog and chill, or the maybe it’s simply too soon for word to have spread, but the sparse number of vendors we’re packing up to leave by 1:30 p.m.

Can’t blame them. As business people, they need customers. In the early afternoon there were very few. As in, maybe six or eight people. Maybe a crowd came in the morning, but if it did, something must have changed significantly in the afternoon.

But, hope springs eternal. A man, who seemed to be a customer, was telling his friend, who seemed to be a vendor (it was so quiet that some vendors were taking breaks away from their booths) that it just needs time.

“It’ll grow,” he said. “More people will hear about it and it’ll catch on.”

It certainly caught on at Laney College, where the same operator runs a swap meet. But there is more competition in Alameda, with yard sales, the monthly antique fair, and thrift and antique shops. While it’s tempting to hark back to the days when hundreds of people roamed around the former drive-in parking lot (now a housing development near Marina Village) bargaining and buying everything from dishes to furniture, our market may just be glutted.

We’ll hope for the best. Interested consumers need to bring a buck to get into the weekly Saturday sale. Maybe next week there will be more interesting items; the opening day mainly offered belts, wallets, purses, food and a sprinkling of used electronic items. If we are to hark back to the thriving flea market of our past, we’ll need more in the way of furniture and other household items.


Meeting tonight about SunCal development at Alameda Point

As you may or may not be aware—we are all busy with so many things, no?—tonight Alameda’s City Council (sitting as the Alameda Redevelopment and Reuse Authority) will hear from SunCal, the company that is working on a plan for developing Alameda Point. Michele Ellson over at The Island has a clear and helpful presentation of the type of development, plans for funding the development, and so on. You can read (or skim) the SunCal plan here and there is some discussion of the ads put on by a group advocating for a different solution to development at the point, here and here. (You can see the ad put out by the new David Howard-spearheaded group, “Save Our City! Alameda,” here.)


To lowly me in Alameda, Comcast staff reaches out

Yesterday, I had four…make that five different communications from Comcast staff, each one a Comcast employee wanting to make sure my phone service had been properly restored. The first, around ten in the morning, was a phone call from a customer service manager in Hayward. He and I spoke at length about the timeline of my wait Monday. I explained the conflicting messages I got from Comcast folks. He explained how their system works. I asked for a day’s credit for the day without phone service, he said Continue Reading


In Alameda: My comcast phone service repaired around 6:30 p.m.

When the Comcast repairman arrived just as we were eating dinner, he was friendly and kind. It took him about a half hour of moving here and there in our house (he said that there was a short on the line…though, in the years we’ve lived here we’ve never had any difficulties at all) to restore phone service.

He only showed up two hours outside the window THEY told me, about six hours after I expected him, based on my first conversation with my first Comcast rep of the day. My favorite part about dealing with Comcast is that no one appears to be accountable. I called Comcast four times today and spoke to four different operators in four different cities. There is no way to speak again to someone you’ve already spoken to, and there is no way to make contact directly with any of the people relevant to the situation—the local dispatcher, the local technician. How hard would it be to set up a system where customers can call their local dispatcher to find out where their technician, and when s/he might be expected? Each time I called Comcast, the phone call took more than eight minutes. And, I got to do my favorite (in the sense of not favorite) thing which is enter my phone number on the key pad and then tell it again to the operator when I speak to them. Ergh.


New Year’s shooting at Fruitvale BART near Alameda

All over the news is the story of the shooting of a young, unarmed man at the Fruitvale BART in the wee hours of New Year’s Day. News coverage here and here. If you watch the KTVU news report’s footage here,—the shooting is about two minutes in, and it is disturbing, be warned—it looks very much like the officer simply reached for his gun, stepped back, and shot. Then he puts his hands to his head, in what seems like a gesture of distress. What was happening? Did he think his gun was his taser? Did he momentarily lose his mind? What else happened in that scuffle that we could not see? In any case, Oscar Grant, 22, is dead, and many other lives have been ruined. The abundance of video taken of the event prevents what might have been, in decades past, a coverup. The facts will likely be known—whatever sad version the truth is.


Alamedanet.net email down

Email was inaccessible this morning when I, up early, tried to download my email at 5:00 a.m. A friend and neighbor, who said she did get some emails through this afternoon, said it was also inoperable late Saturday night as well.

My mid-afternoon phone call to the ‘transition hotline’ number cost me 20 minutes on hold. When I finally got through, a young man in Concord said that Comcast had just learned of the problem a few hours before. Which, if true, made me sad, because email had been down for 12 hours at that point. Internet access remains live at my house, as does cable TV. When will the email come through again?


Alameda holiday home tour this weekend

In 2008, the Alameda Family Service League’s tour features five holiday-decorated residences. Organizers hope to raise more than last year’s $40,000 on this annual peek into the decked out homes of others. The money goes to boost Alameda Family Services‘ coffers, especially important as the economy continues its slide south.

This Bay Area Reporter story features the home of David Gaskin and Phil McPherson, one of the first newer homes (theirs was built in 1965) ever featured on the 38-year-old holiday event. From The Reporter story:

“This is why we bought this place – that view,” Gaskin said, indicating the lagoon flowing behind their house. A visitor takes in the view through sliding glass doors that open onto a back yard filled with trees.

Inside the room, which features African tribal masks and animal skulls, there’s also a Christmas tree decorated with 130 munecas – small blue, purple, and green paper mache dolls from San Miguel de Allende, the Mexican town where the couple lived and ran a guesthouse complex for four years.

McPherson and Gaskin, like four other Alameda families, will open their homes this coming weekend. For tickets and more tour details go here.


Alameda doctor dead in San Francisco

[Dec. 4: Updated info about Dr. Kliman’s local presence here, from Stop, Drop and Roll.]

Daniel J. Kliman, 39, an Oakland resident who had a medical practice in Alameda, was found dead in San Francisco on Monday. Kliman’s body was found by inspectors at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the nine-story Sharon Building on New Montgomery.

Kliman, who apparently plunged to his death on Nov. 25, was a co-founder of a group called S.F. Voice for Israel, which demonstrates regularly on behalf of Israeli causes. He was a member of the Orthodox Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland.

[Edited 12/3: More details here.]