Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for January, 2009

Berkeley Police Department to get bomb robot

By kbender

There’s a new member of the Berkeley Police Department and this new member comes with a six-year warranty.

On Tuesday night, the Berkeley  City Council authorized the city manager to spend about $214,500 to buy a remote controlled bomb disposal robot. A combination of grant and city money will cover the costs of the robot, a warranty and parts.
Police spokesman Officer Andrew Frankel said the department hasn’t settled on a name. But officers are happy to have him (her?) on board.

“It’s a cool because it’s a lot of money to be getting for the robot. It’s certainly a nice resource to have and any time we have a tool to help us and keep the public safe, it’s a good thing,” Frankel said.

In a time when police departments are strapped for cash, short staffed, overworked and under fire (for sure), the federal government is actually requiring that all civilian bomb squads have a remote controlled bomb disposal robot as part of their equipment inventory. Go figure.

Berkeley police have had their own bomb squad for more than 30 years and each year respond to a handful of calls for service involving suspicious packages, suspected explosive devices and recovered explosives, police officials said.

Six people will be trained on the robot, which is operated using a radio, tethered cable or fiber optic cable, police said.

Posted on Thursday, January 15th, 2009
Under: Crime/Courts | No Comments »
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Word of the year: (drum roll please) bailout…

By kbender

The American Dialect Society has spoken and the word of the year for 2008 is bailout.

In the specific sense used most frequently in 2008, bailout refers to the rescue by the government of companies on the brink of failure, including large players in the banking industry.

But you knew that already.

“When you vote for bailout I guess you’re really voting for ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ too, ” said Grant Barrett, chairman of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. “Though you’d think a room full of pointy-headed intellectuals could come up with something more exciting.”

Those are Barrett’s words, not mine.

The Word of the Year isn’t necessarily just a word. That would be too simple for the pointy-head intellectuals. It can (and has been) words or phrases.

The word bailout beat out Barack Obama, lipstick on a pig, change, and game changer for the win.

There were other categories too. The most useful words of last year were Barack Obama, while the most unnecessary was moofing, which means “mobile out of office,” or working on the go with a laptop and cell phone. In journalism we sometimes call it MoJo or mobile journalist.

I wanted to pick a word of the year for Berkeley and tossed out some suggestions: “tree sit,” “Pink Ladies,” “unwelcome intruders,” “Dumpster Muffin,” “entombed,” “sustainable,” “public commons,” “inappropriate street behavior,” “carbon footprint, ” “green corridor,” and “solar financing,” but I just couldn’t quite decide.

The word of the week in downtown Oakland last week following the aftermath of the BART shooting was riot. But you knew that already too.

Members in the 119-year American Dialect Society are linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In other words, folks who way too much time on their hands.

In conducting the vote, they act in “fun” and do not even try to pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. That’s good, because who wants to hear bailout or Dumpster Muffin again this year.

Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
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Geoffrey’s Inner Circle closing

By cburt

I’ve watched and written about the closure of a number of popular downtown nightclubs that catered to an African American clientele… Mingles, Simone’s, Zazoo’s, Sweet Jimmies, @17th. But it’s still a shock to hear that Geoffrey Pete, a well-respected Oakland insider who could operate a school in how to run a successful nightclub, is throwing in the towel.

He would only say Tuesday that Geoffrey’s on 14th Street is closing and he plans to lease the space to a church and non profit. For what purpose, he didn’t say.

Pete has been going back and forth with the Oakland police department over the unruly and sometimes violent crowds leaving his club after the monthly First Saturdays events, which tend to draw a younger scene. There have been fights and gunfire, and 30 cops plus Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were called out early Sunday morning to stop  fights and disperse a crowd of about 500 people in the intersection of 14th and Franklin streets in front of Geoffrey’s. At least that’s what the police log said.

Pete said “OPD didn’t do anything,” that his security team dealt with the incidents before the police arrived, and that he runs a safe club. That’s true. Nearly all the violence that led to Sweet Jimmie’s, @17th and Mingles closing down had happened outside, usually after large crowds converged at closing time.

Why is it that folks can get along inside, where the liquor is flowing and everybody is dancing, but forget about being a law-abiding citizen once they hit the streets?

Dorothy King from Everett and Jones Barbeque (her spelling) said that some of the younger people hitting the clubs nowadays don’t care and don’t respect the way things used to be.

If that’s true, then why is it that Kimball’s Carnival, Maxwell’s, Air Lounge and several other downtown caberets, including King’s own Q lounge, which showcases jazz and blues on weekends, manage to run their clubs and send their patrons out in a happy, not fighting, mood?

Just asking.

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
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Hello again

By awoodall

Back from an extended break, what did I find but a CD from Los High Tops, those surf-a-billy dudes who showed up at The Uptown when I was celebrating my first day free of crutches. They have weird timing since this time I’m recovering from the auto collision. So, here we are again. On the less happy side, rumor has it that Geoffrey’s Inner Circle is fighting for its survival (again) after a brawl broke out, putting the club in the sights of OPD et al.

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Under: Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife | No Comments »
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