When Cleveland Mitchell first learned in 2011 that Oakland’s McCullum Youth Court was losing funding and on the verge of closing its doors, he could hardly contain his disappointment. Having been involved with the court for years, first in 2005 as a 13-year-old juvenile delinquent and then throughout high school as a volunteer staff member, Mitchell had personally witnessed the nonprofit diversion program help hundreds of kids in Alameda County. In 2012, when the youth court officially shut down, Mitchell was totally dismayed and flabbergasted that one of Oakland’s most prominent youth diversion programs could have been allowed to deteriorate. “I couldn’t believe it was over,” Mitchell says. “I thought it was something that deserved to be more praised and more wanted than it was.”
Ethnic and cultural diversity prevail in Oakland. Take the Fruitvale and Dimond districts, where hip apparel store Oaklandish recently opened next to an old-fashioned butcher shop that’s been there for decades. In the same vicinity, an authentic Filipino restaurant operates near a grocery store that sells almost exclusively imported Mexican goods. That’s Oakland.
While sports fans adjust to the seemingly inevitable flight of the Golden State Warriors to San Francisco, city officials and business leaders have redoubled their efforts to keep the A’s and the Raiders in town since we wrote about Oakland’s struggles to retain its pro sports teams. But it won’t be easy.
On Sunday, Aug. 30, Oakland will see something new. Over 1,000 triathletes in wetsuits will jump into the water from the revitalized Estuary Park and start swimming in the newly clean inner harbor. They’ll mount their bikes and loop downtown Oakland, and then run around Lake Merritt and finish their race in Jack London Square. Expected to rival the Oakland marathon’s energy, the first-ever Oakland triathlon may become one of the West Coast’s largest urban triathlons—showcasing the city and its emerging health-and-fitness culture. And seeded among the competitors will be dozens of athletes sporting the green, yellow, and gray racing kits of the Oakland Triathlon Club: the race’s ambassador club whose rapid growth seeks to give a populist vibe to an often-expensive activity.
Tiny in stature, covered with flower tattoos, sporting her trademark two-toned blonde-over-black hairdo and a pair of very smart spectacles, Mary Howe won’t let a big problem keep her down for long.
These days, new pro sports venues have to do more than just house the team. They have to find other ways to pay for construction without public subsidies. Resistance to bad deals, like the one that returned the Raiders to Oakland, has completely rewritten the rules of stadium and arena construction. That’s great for taxpayers, but bad for Oakland sports fans.
Oakland food-justice advocates have long dreamed of turning local vacant lots into small farms and community gardens. At the end of last year, many hoped that AB 551, a new state law building incentives into urban agriculture practices, would be the push needed to turn Oakland’s blighted land into blood oranges. But those eager for speedy implementation will have to exercise patience.
For the first time in memory, those No Dogs signs will be coming down in Oakland parks. Some of them, anyway, thanks to a proposed city-ordinance change due for its final reading before the City Council on April 1.
Business people, residents, and even OPD like the street-smart patrols who wear the blue and orange shirts with the Oakland tree.
Hundreds of couples are expected to wed today around the state in the first day that same-sex marriage is legal in California.