Morcom Rose Garden is blooming! What a nice place and we probably should go more often.
Good time to go is now and I guess the next couple of months (probably was nice 2-3 weeks ago too). Full on bury your nose in these soft petals is kinda nice — some are faint smelling and others are pretty fragrant.
Green collar jobs are blue collar jobs in green businesses – that is, manual labor jobs in businesses whose products and services directly improve environmental quality (Pinderhughes, 2006). Green collar jobs are located in large and small for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and public sector institutions. What unites these jobs is that all of them are associated with manual labor work that directly improves environmental quality.
We've been hearing about Green Collar jobs in Oakland for quite some time — because of Van Jones and the Ella Baker Center which is on 40th Street, a little over a mile from where we live. The rest of the country is going to hear more about it so might as well link to the source of the Green Collar job concepts.
Our last major home improvement for our very simple 2 bedroom 1 bath home in Oakland is the bathroom. When we bought the house, the bathroom and kitchen were new but done very cheaply. We remodeled the kitchen last year, and we did landscaping the year before that.
We're going stay in the same style and period for our bathroom remodel which is a bungaloid — a house kind of like a Crafstman style bungalow but not exactly. We're going to with a 54" clawfoot tub from Sunrise Specialty in Oakland. We'll probably go with wainscotting, a basketweave tile floor, a Toto toilet, and we have to replace the sink, vanity, and window. We may redo the drywall and add insulation.
Sunrise Specialty only sells to dealers and so we'll probably get our tub and all the fittings from Acorn Kitchen and Bath in Oakland or Omega Salvage (super cool place) in Berkeley. The tub will run a little over $2,000 new. The fittings will run another $1,000.
We hope to start work in June and get everything done as soon as possible.
I can tell you about the gunshots we heard the other night, it was a car jacking on MLK. But I'd rather show you that our North Oakland/Temescal neighborhood is truly getting better. Above, was the worst house on the block (before pic: it was abandoned, burned out, windows boarded up) and now it's one of the better houses on the block. All new everything — roof, interior, exterior, landscaping, garage, windows and it's 3 bedroom 2 bath. This upgrade may have prompted the neighbors across the street to finally paint their house (a nice warm green). The fixed window effect. Even in this market, this house will fetch between $525k to $625k.
North Oakland is an historic neighborhood, it's where the Black Panthers were founded. Our part of town was also upended for many years because of the MacArthur maze or the intersection of highway 24, 580, and 880. So there's a ways to go to get the North Oakland/Temescal community of Oakland going again.
There's a lot of "urban infill" projects that are happening and it's great to see. I'll take some pictures of Bushrod park and post them up too.
Also, the Oakland North blog and A Better Oakland blog trump the Oakland Tribune, and I care more about what V Smoothe has to say than Chip Johnson. Seems like we're organizing ourselves online as well.
Five Oakland Construction Projects that are really interesting. I check out the progress during my long runs. More info on other Oakland developments here.
1. 1100 Broadway – The green building plans for this building are great: solar panels, efficient lighting, efficient HVAC, rain water recapture and reuse. It would be cool to actually own this building. This one hasn't gotten started yet so not sure when it's going to go up.
2. The Cathedral of Christ the Light – the new Catholic Cathredral in Oakland. I wouldn't mind being buried here, there's a mausoleum down there. Should be completed by Fall 2008. It's an interesting/modern design for a Catholic Cathedral…and boy does the Catholic Church have money, this one is expensive.
3. Fox Theatre renovation – "Uptown" Oakland is going to be crazy with Fox Theatre, UpTown apartments, all those new condos e.g. Broadway/Grand, and it's a stones through from Oaksterdam :-) This one has another 100 days until completion if they're on schedule.
4. Jack London Square Market – This one is supposed to be a Pike's Market maybe Faneuil Hall knock-off. The bones are up, probably another two years before it's completed.
5. The Ellington – New condos in Jack London Square right across the way from Everett & Jones barbecue. This one is just another massive condo complex that's in the luxury range. The supporting neighborhood might not appeal to the clientele yet so that business area needs to pick it up. Downtown Oakland needs more companies to locate there too. We need more tech companies in Oakland.
There's Flora Restaruant, B Restaurant, and some new restaurant that just opened up near Jack London Square (folks from San Francisco) that I can't seem to find, that I want to try. Flora is in my favorite building (blue Art deco across from the Fox Theatre) in Oakland, that I'd love to own one day. We tried Sura restaurant, a relatively new Korean restaurant on "kimchee row" on Telegraph, and it was pretty good. Good soondobu.
The (household) consensus is that the best restaurant in the East Bay is Rivoli.
Went for a stroll to The Wine Mine, which is just a block away. Wine Mine is an alternative to Paul Marcus wines in Rockridge, cozier and cooler than BevMo, and is another one of those "yeah, this is Oakland…people just don't know" type of places (good, substantive, real deal).
They have $1 wine tastings and really good and nicely priced wine from all over.
Across the street is Casper's hot dogs (really good old school hot dogs and milk shakes). Next door to Wine Mine is Cafe Mariposa, this gluten-free bakery. They sell their food to a lot of places including Whole Foods.
Fortunately, I have a full range of run routes with the house as a starting point. I can run into Berkeley towards the College or the hills, I can run towards Emeryville (and then into Berkeley or Oakland), I can run into the foo foo Oakland neighborhoods like Rockridge, I can run through the 'hood, I can run towards Lake Merritt, or I can run to downtown Oakland.
There are a lot of condos and I mean a lot of condos popping up in downtown Oakland.
The art deco buildings in Oakland are gorgeous and some just need to be polished. I hope some of the new buildings get some character too instead of looking San Jose-ish.
A lot of people seem to be coming back to urban centers from the boonies. The commute I think has just been killing people.
There needs to be a few more grocery stores in downtown Oakland. I'm guessing the new Ferry Plaza like market in Jack London Square will be it. But hopefully something pops up near the Sears building.
Downtown Oakland was hit pretty hard with the '89 earthquake. I think we're just turning the corner.
Temescal is really nice. People will start taking notice as more businesses pop up. Temescal is like an early phase Rockridge/Elmwood/Piedmont Ave.
Every store in Emeryville should also be in downtown Oakland. And Downtown Oakland needs a few anchor tenants — Sears is not it. We need to go the urban boutique route to make some inroads. The Sean Johns and the Ecko need to set up shop downtown.
Not downtown but new. Trader Joe's just opened up in Rockridge near Zachary's Pizza. Very cool.
Clearly, I love Oakland. Probably because, like me, we've got a chip on our shoulder to prove that we're actually not bad. We got a lot more going on than people think.
I do these runs that are between 3 – 6 miles (6 on a good day) in the mornings. I call them "good morning" runs because I like to say good morning to whomever I run past. Sometimes I just say good morning to buildings or landmarks too, there's a lot of cool buildings in Oakland and Berkeley.
I also like running to see my neighbors and to see what's going on around the neighborhoods (like that 2 bedroom house that's for sale for $789,000! yikes!). It doesn't seem like much crime happens in the mornings. I'm not sure why that is, and maybe I'm wrong, but that's what it seems like.
I'd like to think I can be Mayor of Oakland one day and run the streets surveying the City on my morning runs. People will come up and say, "good morning, Mayor" and I'll say "good morning" back. Maybe when I'm 70 :-)
I do these good morning runs twice a week and then I try to do a longer run on the weekends. That's pretty much my run program. Running can be good for the soul too.
In summary, we have better weather in Oakland but we're illiterate, bad at math, and we're stressed because we don't vacation enough. However, we do have a Racial Diversity Index of 651.5 which might be the highest in the Country. 100 is National Average, San Francisco is at 267, closer to 0 is a more homogenous population. Interesting data.
To improve Oakland, we need to understand what the metrics are so that we can actually improve them.
I'm reading Implementation and hope to finish it in the next couple of weeks.