Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Redevelopment Agency

Oakland taxi blues

By awoodall

OK. Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to get a taxi at night in the rain. I am afraid to even try after yesterday. We waited about 20 minutes for a taxi in the rain during DAYLIGHT. The driver who picked us up on Lakeshore Avenue where we were stranded assured me that few want to work at night (they’re scared, he said). So I am assuming night owls in Oakland need patience and good luck — unless they’re downtown. Taxis are plentiful there, at 13th and Broadway. There were at least six when we approached at noon, looking for a cab TO Lakeshore Avenue.  The only one visible when we were ready to make the RETURN trip was a parked cab and another with an old lady in the back seat that we mistook for our own (luckily I was able to look up a taxi company online on my cell phone. Otherwise, how would anyone know what tel# to call?). We came running out of Peet’s in the pouring rain like two desperate taxi rats and the old woman kind of recoiled as we reached for the door handle. She must have thought we were going to hijack the cab. We had heard from the first driver, an Afghan man in Pashtun attire, that business is bad. Well, maybe it would get better if there were more f’in taxis. Hopefully things will improve with the round of taxi-related proposals that went before the council Oct. 21 — including the requirement that companies of 10 or more cars sumbit a plan for 24/7 coverage of the city. I won’t go on too much since it’s Election Day and I’m going to devote more space on Oakland’s taxi service for an upcoming Night Owl column. But who has ever tried to get a taxi at night esp. in West or East Oakland? 
(Speaking of East Oakland, did anyone notice that the city council met with members of the Redev Agency and AC Transit Oct. 21 in closed session to discuss turning 6 acres of land at 66th Ave and San Leandro into a supermarket? Which supermarket?)

Posted on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Under: Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, Redevelopment Agency | 3 Comments »
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O-town tourism

By awoodall

I heard things a little differently about the future of how the Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau will be managed, which is being discussed tonight at the Redevelopment Agency/Community and Economic Development Committee meeting at City Hall. I originally heard that a consortium of hotels, called the Oakland Tourism Business Improvement District, would take over the CVB. But item #3 on tonight’s agenda recommends that the consortium (OTBID), proposed by the Bureau, be city-run.  The CVB, however, is already city-run and that may be part the problem. Oakland doesn’t have the dough to promote tourism well in Oakland, which leads to less tourism. That brings in less money to attract more tourism. If the OTBID could charge a minute tax like in SF to support tourism efforts that might be a prettier picture. And the city would be off the hook for the cash.  I thought the meeting was tomorrow and meant to make some calls, but I just got sent to cover the kick-off party for the Model City Summit on Women (unfortunate grammar choice there) hosted by the Mayor & Mrs. Dellums at 5:45 at the AAMLO. I’ll check it out later.

Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Under: Night Owl, Redevelopment Agency | 3 Comments »
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