Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for December, 2008

Banyan 14: new on the downtown block

By awoodall

Even night owls need diurnal nourishment so I thought I’d post this, esp for the downtown workers.
Banyan 14 just opened a week ago at 578 14th St. (@ Jefferson) serving what its menu describes as traditional Thai and Vietnamese street food with a fresh California twist.  The woman handing out menus in front of City Hall said the Web site goes live soon: www.banyan14.com.

Posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008
Under: Night Owl, restaurants | 1 Comment »
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Drinking, dancing, making and sights to amaze Santa

By awoodall

The Stupendous Boiler Bar Holiday Party

 The Stupendous Boiler Bar Holiday Party
8 pm-2am Saturday
2600 Magnolia at 26th street in West Oakland
$5-10 donation to support the Golden Mean
Santa and his helpers get a free drink


Posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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Ajuana Black & Black Out

By awoodall

Celestine’s and Reflections In Rhythm present Ajuana Black & Black Out
Join dynamic songstress Ajuana Black and her band Black Out Saturday for a night of heartwarming songs from the soul Saturday December 13th at 9p.m. at the Bay Area’s newest entertainment spot, Celestine’s Fine Dining and Entertainment 8475 Edes Ave. Oakland. 510.632.4504 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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Farley’s East

By awoodall

Farley's Cafe in Potrero Hill


Speaking of openings: Coming to your friendly Oakland Uptown District — a coffeehouse that will feature local artists and events. 

Farley’s, the long-time coffee house on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, will be celebrating 20 years of business this Spring and has plans to open “Farley’s East” in the Uptown district of Oakland. Farley’s East will carry on the tradition of making its neighborhood a better place to live by providing a comfortable space with exceptional coffee and food where people can connect, create, contemplate and build community. The new Farley’s will resemble the original Farley’s and carry a light food menu as well. Farley’s East will open at 33 Grand Ave this Spring. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (I grabbed this untitled, unauthored photo from Farley’s Yelp! page so let me know if you’re the photog and I’ll add credits.)

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Uptown | 3 Comments »
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By awoodall

So now that Mua has been open for a while I’d like to know how people are feeling about the lofty (as in archicture not attitude) restaurant over on Auto Row at 24th and Webster. I still haven’t made it over although I was eager for it to open. The owners seem to have taken their super low-key approach from Soizic and applied it to Mua. The only sign that it’s a restuarant (lunch, dinner, bar) rather than the owner Hi-Suk Dong’s painting studio (his art is on the walls) is a graffiti-style tag reading “We are open” or something like that on the sliding metal door like on garages, which is what the space used to be once upon a time in Oakland. They even left the original signage up instead of plastering MUA on it. They stay open late (bravo) and after 10 p.m. a DJ takes over.

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, restaurants | 2 Comments »
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Berkeley City Council avoids knee-jerk reaction on John Yoo resolution

By kbender

The Berkeley City Council waded back into national affairs Monday night.

But unlike last time, when the board called the U.S. Marines “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” angering the right, the left, the middle and even radicals nationwide, the council handled a resolution about former President Bush advisor and torture memos author John Yoo without a knee-jerk reaction.


Yoo is the former Justice Department attorney who wrote memos advocating the possible legality of torture of terrorist  suspects  and denying enemy combatants protection under the Geneva Conventions when he worked for the White House from 2001 to 2003.


He is also a tenured professor at the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, teaching constitutional and international law, though he is currently on a year-long visiting professorship at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif.


The council (which now includes new member Jesse Arreguin, a progressive, and new member Susan Wengraf, a moderate) was considering five measures against Yoo sent over from the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, the same group that last January asked for the ouster of Berkeley’s  U.S. Marine recruiting center, creating a national uprising against Berkeley and its’ city leaders.


But this time around, just hours before the meeting, Mayor Tom Bates, and council members Linda Maio and Laurie Capitelli submitted a substitute motion that was seemed more sensible and reasonable. Council resolutions are purely symbolic, though the council routinely spends doznes of hours each year considering items that have nothing to do with Berkeley.


This time around, the Peace & Justice Commission was demanding the council’s support for Yoo being charged with war crimes. It also wanted the council to order UC Berkeley to offer alternatives to the courses Yoo has taught for 15 years.


The council decided, after emotional speeches by more than two dozen people, including some wearing black hoods and dressed in orange jumpsuits reminiscent of the Iraqi prison issued garb, to accept three of the four substitute motions.


The council voted to send a letter reaffirming the March resolution supporting prosecution of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials, including but not limited to Yoo, and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee. The letter would go to the new incoming attorney general and the U.S. Attorney for Northern California.


The council also urged UC Berkeley to terminate his tenure in the event that he is prosecuted and convicted of human rights violations for drafting memos authorizing the use of torture on behalf of the U.S.government. The council also voted to call on the U.S. Congress for the removal of  Bybee, Yoo’s boss and a current U.S federal judge on the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals if Bybee is convicted of human rights violations for his participating in drafting the torture memos.


Here is what the Peace & Justice Commission was originally asking the council to do:


The commission was calling on the city to sign a letter to UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau from the San Francisco Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild calling for an investigation of Yoo.


The commission also asked the city to make a statement that no UC Berkeley student should be required to choose between taking a course with Yoo or waiting another semester to take and complete a required course. As council members pointed out, other qualified professors teach the same courses as Yoo so students would never be “forced” to take a course by Yoo.



To be clear, any move by the council will not have any bearing on UC Berkeley’s policy with regards to Yoo. But of course, that never stopped the council before. Maybe they have learned a lesson in keeping up town-gown relations a little more solid.


The commission also wanted the council to ask the U.S. Attorney for Northern California to bring charges of war crimes against Yoo and send another letter in February, 2009 to the then-Attorney General of the United States asking him/her to bring charges of war crimes against Yoo, if such charges have not yet been brought. That letter would have also gone to Birgeneau and the dean of the law school. The council scratched that motion completely because they felt it was redundant.



Posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
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Chron’s Sunday Oakland story

By awoodall

The Chronicle’s “Insight” insert in Sunday’s paper is badly named. At least after this Sunday’s edition, I am calling it the “Misguided” section. Or maybe the “Thinly Reported” section. Okay, those are probably fighting words in the journalism world so I will revise my statement and just ask what the hell their editors were thinking when they slapped the headline on the cover page (“Crime and Exodus: When a Love of Oakland Can’t Take it Anymore”) and allowed an opinion piece about how horrible it is to live in Oakland to stand with nothing about how the population has increased and restaurants and cafes are opening at an unprecedented pace, including several SF ones that have opened Oakland branches?
Instead, Chip Johnson added a flimsy column: “Violence — Oakland’s Most Dubious Honor,” in which he claimed that many people are surrendering and leaving Oakland because of the rampant violence that is terrorizing them.  He cites two people and doesn’t bother to back up anything.
I’ve heard more than my share of laments and oaths to leave the city at East and West Oakland murder scenes. So I am very aware of the crime and violence in Oakland, as well as the entertainment — “positive stuff,” as people like to say.  But I’ve never seen Chip Johnson anywhere near a crime scene or anywhere else in Oakland, for that matter. And I do get around, from the nicest to the worst parts of this city during all hours. You’d think I’d run into him sometime.
Gluss had some harrowing experiences with crime and stray shooting of Chris Rodriguez in a piano school on Piedmont Avenue near her home drove her out. I understand…I was burglarized four times in two years in Berkeley, not immune by any means to terrifying gangs and violence. In fact, that’s why I moved to Oakland, where in all my years in just about every corner of the city including East Oakland and Lake Merritt nothing has ever happened to me. No such experiences seem to qualify as valid for the Chron’s coverage. That’s what they did after the takeover robbery in te Rockridge in the spring. Their reporter wrote an ominous piece about how the district was under seige and people were afraid to go out. It just happened that I was driving down College Avenue the evening (oooh scary!!!) the story ran and restaurants, bars and cafes were jammed with people, who were spilling out onto the streets. How was that under seige? Maybe the reporter didn’t spend quite enough time to report the facts.  
 I get it that Gluss and Johnson are pointing fingers are Dellums and not Oakland. But both are building some mightly big mountains on top of sand. I think the paper was irresponsible in the way it presented the story: sensationalized.   
For one thing, Oakland residents are not fleeing in droves, as Johnson infers. Moving vans bring new tenants into my building by the week. Oakland’s 1980 population was 339,337. On Jan. 1, it was 420,183, according to the California Department of Finance. If they are leaving at all might not the housing bust have something to do with that?
Burglary is not the kind of violence that the Morgan-Quinto Report ranking includes and that Johnson cites as roof of the city’s lawlessness. It is an oft-used but controversial measure. Every reporter knows that. But should we also dismiss as Chip did the ranking Oakland at No. 5 — down from No. 4 last year? What if it was No. 6 then No. 7 and so forth in subsequent years? I definitely wouldn’t berate it as is done in Johnson’s column. 
Secondly, why does the Chron trot out these Oakland articles and not focus the same energy on diving into problems of crime in its own backyard? Is Hunters Point better now than when an old girlfriend of mine lived there and was afraid to let her three children out of the apartment to play in the open?  She, who was no stranger to some bad neighborhoods, left four years ago as soon as she could get out. SF’s murder rate is not far behind Oakland’s. (Why is it, my boyfriend asked, that people talk about Oakland as a problem city whereas crimes in SF are defined as happening in Hunters Point, etc?)
I left SF in 1993 because I wanted something new and the city was too homogenous. But a lot of people find comfort in being around people who look and act like them. That is why I think Oakland gets singled out as a set for “Mad Max: The Remake” although its problems are not so different from other cities. (Except it is way saner and safer than others I’ve spent time in, such as DC or Baltimore.) In other words, Oakland is not confined to a white middle- to upper-class. It’s not all Rockridge and Montclair.

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2008
Under: Night Owl | 4 Comments »
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No mountain is too high…

By awoodall

The Way Bobby Sees It: A documentary about falling down seven times and getting up eight.
Santa Rosa – Tuesday, 12/09 – Rialto Cinema – 7:30pm
Oakland – Wednesday, 12/10 – Grand Lake Theatre – 7:30pm
Larkspur – Thursday, 12/11 – Lark Theater – 8:00pm
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl | No Comments »
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From the dept. of grateful

By awoodall

Have A Cup of Coffee — just thought I would share in the midst of this mind-boggling time.

A group of friends got together for a visit with their old university professor. The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal – some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite. Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee.
When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering… ”You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking
cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems.”
He continued…”Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups. Then you began eyeing each other’s cups….”
”Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God (can substitute with spirit, universe etc acc to your belief) has provided us… God brews the coffee, but he does not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!”
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have… So please remember: Live simply. Love generously. Care Deeply. Speak Kindly. Leave the Rest to God.
And remember – the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

Posted on Sunday, December 7th, 2008
Under: Night Owl | No Comments »
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Oakland author, Oakland book party

By awoodall

Mark your literary calendars for Dec. 13 when the Washington Inn will be hosting a book release party for the author of How to Make a Cupcake. Correct me if I’m wrong about the title (was mentioned in passing by a third party).

Posted on Saturday, December 6th, 2008
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Old Oakland | No Comments »
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