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17 August 2005

Trib Op-Ed

Todays' editorial from the Oakland Tribune shows optimism in the ballpark plan, but withholds judgment on it until more details come out. An important issue that is brought up in the piece is the High St/880 interchange. Will it have to be revamped to handle additional residential, commercial, and event-related traffic? Would the same have to happen for the 66th Ave overpass as well? One of the few good things about postgame traffic from the Coliseum is that the cars in the north lots have to exit via 66th Ave, while those in the south lots exit via Hegenberger Rd, splitting traffic. That wouldn't be the case with a new ballpark whose traffic would be largely centered around 66th. A new thoroughfare could be constructed to take northbound traffic to High St, but that traffic could end up running through a residential neighborhood, which isn't ideal.

There's also a larger philosophical question here: Does this mean Oakland is near the end of its image as a blue collar town? While it's possible that not all of the businesses that would be displaced would leave Oakland completely, the plan is a classic case of gentrification. Like many other cities with a long manufacturing and industrial heritage, Oakland has been struggling for several years with the idea of gentrification (and the economic benefits it brings) against maintaining its gritty image. Many of the food processing companies that once called Oakland home, such as Mother's Cookies and Fleischmann's Yeast, left long ago. Colombo Baking may leave as well. Some may bemoan this major change as the loss of Oakland's soul. Others may welcome it, saying it's a better fate than that suffered by Detroit or Cleveland. Considering the fact that yesterday, 12,000 people lined up outside the nearby Wal-Mart in East Oakland to apply for only 400 openings, perhaps progress isn't the such the bitter pill many make it out to be.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oakland is considered "gritty" more or less because it's a heavily African-American populated city. Oakland has always been a great place to live because of the weather, views, central location and diversity. Not to mention having the most professional sport teams in the Bay Area (3). But the fact that 3/4 of the population is minority, Oakland has been looked down on. This coming from a minority.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment. Im white and live in Oakland, I think that is where a lot of the negative stereotypes Oakland exist. People think of it as a Black town, they equate that as ghetto, or gritty, or economically depress. I know this isn't a forum for this, or is it? I Wolff wanted to build in Walnut Creek, would we have to hear about how many fortune 500 companies SJ has over Walnut Creek. I don't think so. Walnut Creek is safe, sanitized, white. I get so tired of the slams of Oakland's businesses. I'll take Oakland's Port of any of SJ's failing computer industry any day. Larry Stone's constant bashing of Oakland is petty and inmature. Heaven help me if ever meet. If this gets done, I will do an Irish Jig, wearing my OAKLAND ATHLETICS jersey on city halls front steps.

Marine Layer said...

It's unfortunate that race has to be inferred so often these days. My post had nothing to do with race. It was a remembrance of what Oakland has long stood for - a solid work ethic. The Port and its longshoreman will still be there 40 years from now - that much is clear - but what about the heavy industry that was such a hallmark of Oakland for decades?

The irony is that to save baseball in "gritty" Oakland, we may be actively removing a part of Oakland that makes it the place it is. Sure, the area isn't pretty, but there are proud small business owners all over. Many of those firms are minority-owned and run. We all know about the manufacturing drain from the US, and this is just one more acknowledgment of it. Should the ballpark and village get built, it will be a notable turning point for the city, for good (economic development) and bad (loss ofidentity).

As for the "failing computer industry," I'm doing just fine in a tech firm and will continue to do so for some years to come, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marine Layer,

No one was "inferring" anything from you about race. You may not understand my point because maybe you haven't lived in Oakland. But I've had experiences from people in other parts of the Bay Area and once I mention I am from Oakland they gasp, get wide eyed, laugh, some even make rude comments. So no one was trying to make this a race forum, we were just responding to the "image" you had spoken of in your comment about the Tribune. I know you weren't playing the race card, and neither am I, I understand and agree with the "industrial image" but you have to understand that as Oaklanders we know the whole image thing goes way deeper than that.

From,
11:48 AM poster

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, but I just wanted to make one correction. Mother's cookies is still located here in the city of Oakland. It is Sunshine cookies that has since closed shop and left. As did Granny goose and Corn Nuts.

Marine Layer said...

You're right, I did get that confused. It was Sunshine that moved away. Mother's Cookies did get bought out by the Italian food conglomerate Parmalat, and because Parmalat filed for bankruptcy, it sold Mother's and another cookie brand to a U.S. holding company. But the cookies are still made in Oakland, thank goodness. I show my appreciation by buying a package every few weeks. How I wish they still made oatmeal chocolate chip...

Anonymous said...

I'm a white male and live in central Contra Costa County. I'm amazed at the lack of Knowledge about the city of Oakland by many people in Contra Costa County. I mean, if I had a vibrant city with tons of things to do in my back yard I'd show a little more interest. I think it's the fact that many people in the suburbs have their collective heads up SF's rectom. They don't even realize what Oakland has to offer.

Oakland is a great city and it doesn't need to apologize to anyone. Oakland has so much going for itself. Oakland offers great weather, great views, the best Zoo in the Bay Area, the best Space & Science Center in the Bay Area, a great Museum etc.

This "gritty industrial" image is not an accurrate description of the city of Oakland in the year 2005. Anyone who's familiar with College Ave., Piedmont Ave., Lake Shore/Grand, Montclair Village, Adams Point, JlS, and now even Fruitvale, knows that Oakland in not a "Gritty Industrial" city.

Bleacher Dave said...

Oakland's "blue collar" days wound down 25 - 30 years ago with the departure of manufacturing from Oakland, Emeryville, and Richmond. It's interesting that that image and mind-set remain so many years later.