Posts Tagged ‘2009’

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Out with the old: Final 2009 house resolutions check-in

December 30, 2009

To wrap up 2009, here’s the status of this year’s resolutions. Look for the 2010 list next week!

Here’s the original list: My New Year’s House Resolutions

…and here’s where we are in the waning days of 2009:

1. BETTER WINDOW INSULATION.
Mostly done. In the end, I ordered 1 3/8″ spring bronze weatherstripping  from Kilian’s Hardware, since the stuff I got from our local Ace was too narrow. They shipped promptly and have everything under the sun on the old weatherstripping front. With instructions from Working Windows, a phenomenal guide, I’ll hopefully finish up the last of the weatherstripping soon. Pictures coming once I remember to take some. (I’m doing a modified version of it without removing the sashes—not the recommended way, but so far it seems to be working decently, and significantly reduces the likelihood that I’ll screw it up and need to call in the pros. But it also means I would be much happier with a staple gun, which the Tool Library has—except that they’re closed till after the new year with all the budget cuts…augh.) And the bedroom window issues will be resolved by early 2010—yay!

2. DROUGHT-TOLERANT LANDSCAPING.
Mostly done. We successfully killed the grass, but then went to war with the oxalis. This isn’t done yet, but it’s mostly because I’ve been lazy and preoccupied with other things. I think I can safely say it’s a weekend (and a few hundred dollars’ worth of DG, stones, mulch, and plants) away from being complete.

3. PRODUCTIVE VEGETABLE BED.
Done! The garden did quite respectably this year, though it’s definitely still a work in progress. I continue to be in awe of the huge yields from some friends’ gardens, so I’ll keep at it. I put cover crops in this winter, so hopefully that will help, too.

Lettuce bed

4. NEW POWER STRIPS.
Done! Pictures are not exciting here, so you don’t get any…

5. CLOTHES LINE.
Done! But no photos till we get the landscaping done, since right now the yard looks pretty icky.

6. NO MORE LEAKY TUB.
Umm, done? We got stuck on this one, so I’m not even sure it counts as done. Technically, it doesn’t leak anymore. But in the process of trying to fix it, we broke it more, had to hire a plumber to fix that, and then discovered that it had been fixed incorrectly. Fixing the new problem turned out to be an even bigger project that will entail retiling the bathroom, so for now we’re living with a slightly imperfect faucet setup. Moral of the story: hire people who know what they’re doing, especially when you don’t!

7. RAIN BARREL.
Mostly done. After trekking all over town looking for the specific parts D. had in mind for this, we finally found them at Grainger in West Berkeley. He’s off this week, so with luck this might be finished before the new year. Pictures and maybe an instructable to follow once it’s all installed and caulked in, but Gene over at DIY Insanity has some great photos up of the barrels pre-holes on the new platform he helped us build last month (and by “helped” I mean walked us through pretty much step-by-step—thanks again!!)

Gene's photo of the barrels on their brand new platform!

Gene's photo of the barrels on their brand new platform!

8. RETAINING WALL & FENCE.
Done!

Another view

9. DISHWASHER.
Not done. But…WE ARE GETTING OUR FIRST BIDS ON THE STRUCTURAL WORK IN THE KITCHEN! This is my most exciting news. It won’t make the 2009 list, but it’s within reach at long last. (And it better make the 2010 list…)

In fact, it might be fortuitous that it took so long—if Obama’s Cash for Caulkers program really gets rolling, we’re all set to buy both our dishwasher and new refrigerator under it! And we may apply to be guinea pigs in Oakland’s version of CaliforniaFIRST, which spreads the cost of energy efficiency improvements over a number of years by rolling the cost into property taxes. When we take out our furnace chimney, we’ll have to re-vent our furnace and water heater, and it might be the ideal time to replace both. (They still have a few years left in them, but both are aging, neither is high-efficiency, and D. is itching for a solar water heater.)

So we’re 8 for 9 for 2009—not too bad, actually!

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Celebrate National Night Out tonight!

August 4, 2009

NOTE: These are party locations for 2009. I’ll try to get a list for this year up soon!

Tonight is the 26th annual National Night Out celebration, a nationwide event designed to foster safer cities and neighborhood-police relationships and build community overall. The first Tuesday of every August (except in Texas, where it’s in October because August is too hot!), neighborhoods are encouraged to throw big block parties to get people out and active. Oakland has been participating in National Night Out for years, and this year residents are hosting over 420 parties across the city.

Unfortunately the City didn’t post the complete list of celebrations this year, but here’s a partial list—and I’m sure if there’s one in your neighborhood, it will be pretty easy to spot. Unless otherwise specified, the parties run from 7 pm to 9 pm. I added neighborhood names to try to help people find their closest parties. Since these were originally organized by police beat, I might have clumped some with the wrong neighborhoods or otherwise gotten it wrong—if so, sorry! And the notable absence of parties in places like Rockridge is not because there aren’t any—there are lots!—but because I don’t have the list. (Most of this list came from Jean Quan’s newsletter so it’s heavily District 4.) Feel free to add others in the comments or email me and I’ll put them in.

Please come out and support your community!

West Oakland

  • South Prescott Park, Henry and Third Streets
  • West Oakland Middle School, 991 14th St.
  • Best Buy, 3700 Mandela Pkwy
  • Union Square Plaza
  • 32nd and Peralta
  • 28th and Myrtle

Uptown/Downtown/Old Oakland

  • Jefferson Square Park, 618 Jefferson Street, between Sixth and Seventh Streets
  • Oaksterdam, 17th Street between Franklin & Webster

Piedmont/Grand Lake/Adams Point/Lakeshore

  • 338 Fairmount at Frisbie, 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Richmond Boulevard, Oak Glen Park, 7 pm to 10 pm
  • 200 block of 29th Street
  • Perkins at Vernon
  • 900 block of Alma Place
  • 300 block of Alta Vista Avenue
  • 800 block of Erie Street
  • 3200 block of Grand Avenue (starts at 6 pm)
  • 500 block of Lake Park Avenue
  • 600 block of Mandana Blvd.
  • 500 block of Mira Vista Avenue (starts at 5:30 pm)
  • 400 block of Santa Clara Avenue
  • 600 block of Santa Ray Avenue (starts at 6 pm)
  • 700 block of Santa Ray Avenue
  • 200 block of Santa Rosa Avenue (starts at 6:30 pm)
  • 900 block of Scott Street
  • 900 block of Vermont Street (starts at 6 pm)
  • 900 block of York Street

Trestle Glen/Crocker Highlands

  • 1200 block of Bates Road
  • 800 block of Creed Road
  • 000 block of Mandana Circle
  • 1200 block of Trestle Glen Road
  • 1000 block of Underhills Road (starts at 6:30 pm)

Eastlake/Bella Vista/Fruitvale/San Antonio

  • Lake Merritt Business Association, between Park Boulevard and Third Avenue
  • East 27th Street and Fruitvale Avenue, Everett and Jones and Fruitvale Gateway Merchant Association
  • San Antonio Recreation Center, 1701 E. 19th St.
  • Bella Vista Park, 2650 10th Ave.

Montclair/Hills

  • Fernwood Community Club, 1470 Mountain Blvd
  • Glenwood Glade, 110 Glenwood Glade
  • Lower Merriewood Drive, 5591 Merriewood Drive
  • Balboa at Colton, 5526 Balboa Dr
  • Bruns Court, 5912 Bruns Court, 7-8:30 pm
  • Carisbrook Cooperative, 2557 Carisbrook near Chelton, 5-9 pm
  • Castle Park Way MON, 48 Castle Park Way at Castle Drive
  • Chelsea Court, 20 Chelsea Ct
  • Chelton Drive, 6620 Chelton Drive
  • Cortereal Neighbors, 1900 Cortereal Ave at Magellan Drive
  • Estates Fountain & McAndrew Drive Group, 5927 MacAndrew Drive/Estates 6:30-9 pm
  • Holyrood Neighborhood Group, 3036 Holyrood 6-8 pm
  • LaMasNA, 2101 Mastlands Drive, 6-8 pm
  • Liggett Neighbors, 6708 Liggett Drive
  • Melville Drive/Ascot MON, 6425 Melville at Ascot, 6-8 pm
  • Montclair West Neighborhood Association, 100 Pershing Dr & Marsh Place
  • Montclair Valle Vista Home Owners Association, 6085 Mazuela Drive
  • Moongate/Skyline Neighborhood MON, 3040 Totterdell
  • Pelham Place, 2340 Pelham near Girvin, 7:30-9 pm
  • Saroni Drive, 6717 Saroni Drive
  • Saroni/Sayre Neighbors, 6920 Saroni Drive, 7-8:30 pm
  • 7 Streets A, 6281 Girvin Drive at Thackeray, 7-8:30 pm
  • 7 Streets B, 6161 Westover Drive at Thackeray
  • Stockbridge Neighbors, 2430 Stockbridge Drive
  • Trafalgar Place, 2173 Trafalgar Place, 7-8 pm

Dimond/Lincoln Highlands/Oakmore

  • Canon Avenue near Mac Arthur Blvd, 4000 Canon Ave
  • Boston Avenue Tea Party, 3500 Block Boston Ave near MacArthur Blvd
  • Boston Palmetto Neighborhood Watch, at the corner
  • Burlington Street, Near Lincoln Ave.
  • Camelia Place, 18 Camelia Place
  • Champion Neighbors, 3106 Champion Street at School St
  • Damuth Street Neighborhood Watch, 2308 Damuth, 6-8 pm
  • Damuth at Laguna, 2461 Damuth
  • Dimond Branch Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue
  • Upper Fruitvale, 3876 Fruitvale, 5-9 pm
  • Laguna, 3738 Laguna
  • Liven up Lyman Road!, 3869 Lyman between Waterhouse & Fruitvale, 6-9 pm
  • Melvin Court, 19 Melvin Ct
  • Montera Neighbors, 2645 Camino Lenada at Ascot Drive
  • Oakmore Highlands Leimert Hillside Neighbors, 2076 Leimert Blvd.
  • Palmetto, 2476 Palmetto
  • Potomac St. Neighborhood Watch, 2451 Potomac at Lincoln
  • Rampart Street NCPC, 2444 Rampart Street at Lincoln Avenue, 6-9 pm
  • Rhoda Avenue Home Alert, 3615/ Rhoda near Madeline, 6-9 pm
  • Rosecrest/Oakmore Watch Group, 2001 Rosecrest at Carter
  • Tiffin Hollow Neighborhood, 1866 Block of Tiffin between Waterhouse & Lyman
  • Waterhouse Neighbors, 4014 Waterhouse Road, 6:30-9 pm
  • Wilbur Street, 2545 Wilbur Street at Laguna

Laurel/Redwood Heights

  • California Street, 3100 California Street
  • Carlsen Street, 2934 Carlsen Street
  • Crane Way, 3200 Crane Way
  • Crestmont District 6 HCA, 62 Crestmont, 6:30-9 pm
  • Dakota/Laurel Neighbors, 3045 Dakota Street, 6 to 8 pm
  • Georgia Street, 2933 Georgia St between Maple & Coolidge
  • Joaquin Miller Heights NA, 3632 Brunnell,
  • Maple Avenue, 4198 Maple Ave at Frye
  • Mariposa Street, 630 Mariposa Street
  • Morgan Avenue, 2821 Morgan Avenue
  • Norton Street, 4112 Norton Street
  • Project Reconnect (Youth Project), 3350 MacArthur Blvd at Midvale Ave
  • Redwood Heights NA: 3397 Jordan Road, 6-8 pm
  • Sylvan Laurel Neighborhood Watch, 3166 Sylvan Ave near Laurel, 7-8:30 pm
  • Wilshire Heights Neighborhood, 4200 Block of Wilshire at Frye
  • 3200-3300 Wisconsin St Neighborhood Watch, 3237 Wisconsin Street, 7-8:30 pm
  • Wisconsin Street, 3729 Wisconsin Street, 6-8 pm
  • 39th Avenue, 4106 39th Avenue
  • Davenport Neighborhood Watch, 4630 Davenport Avenue between Cunningham and Kaphan
  • Enos Avenue, 3800 Enos Avenue
  • Harbor View, 4100 Harbor View Ave.
  • Hyacinth/Worden NW: 4436 Hyacinth Ave, 6-8 pm
  • Magee Avenue, 3928 Magee Avenue, 6-9 pm
  • MASH Neighborhood Association, 4390 Albert between Madrone and Huntington, 6-9 pm
  • Monterey Boulevard near Atlas, 3826 Monterey Blvd
  • Redding/Loma Vista Neighborhood Watch Group, 3538 Redding Street, 6-8 pm
  • Quigly Street, 3727 Quigly Street
  • Tompkins Avenue, 4730 Tompkins Ave, between Buell & Wilkie
  • Vale Avenue, 3943 Vale Ave, 7-11 pm

Allendale/Melrose/Maxwell Park

  • Allendale Park, 3934 Nevil Street at 38th Avenue
  • Brookdale Park, High & Brookdale, Tree planting & Dedication, 6:30-8 pm
  • Jefferson, 2035 40th Avenue, 6-8:30
  • Melrose High Hopes NCPC, 2535 High Street, Brookdale Park, 6:30-9 pm
  • Culver Street/Culver Court Block Party, 4145 Culver Street
  • Eastman Neighbors, 2806 Eastman, between Allendale & Penniman, 6-9 pm
  • Lorenzo Avenue, 3208 Lorenzo Avenue
  • Lorenzo Marion NW, 3804 Marion Avenue
  • Mangels Avenue, 3637 Mangels Avenue
  • Minna Avenue Neighborhood Watch, 2926 Minna Ave between Allendale & Penniman, 6-9 pm
  • Penniman Neighbors, 4117 D Penniman Court & Penniman Ave., 7 pm
  • Brookdale Avenue, 4809 Brookdale Avenue, 6-8 pm
  • Brookdale Park Tree Planting, Melrose High Hopes NCPC, 2535 High Street/Brookdale Park, 6:30-9 pm
  • Congress Avenue, 4908 Congress Avenue
  • Maxwell Avenue, 2563 Maxwell Avenue
  • Melrose High Hopes NCPC, 2535 High Street/Brookdale Park, 6:30-9 pm
  • Allendale Avenue Neighbor’s Network, 4332 Allendale, 6-9 pm
  • Brookdale Avenue, 4430 Brookdale Avenue at Frances,
  • Cole Street, 2606 Cole St near Brookdale
  • Fleming Avenue Neighborhood Watch, 4544 Fleming Ave, 5:30-9 pm
  • Kingsland Avenue, 3175 Kingsland Ave at Virginia, 6-9 pm
  • Monticello Neighborhood Watch, 3036 Monticello, 6-9 pm
  • Walnut Street, 4824 Walnut St
  • Walnut Street Neighbors, 4500 Walnut Street at High

Havenscourt/Frick

  • 67th Avenue Neighborhood Watch Group, 67th Avenue between Bancroft Avenue and Arthur Street
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Oaklanders: Send back your ballots and vote YES YES YES!

June 25, 2009

Yes, it’s yet another election—but this time it’s one that actually matters! The July special election is a mail-back election, which means you need to watch the mail for your ballot and send it back right away—don’t make the mistake of losing it under a pile of junk and then finding it in August when it’s too late! (Okay, maybe that’s just our house….)

Ballots were mailed out to all registered voters in the city on Monday, June 22nd. IMPORTANT: If you haven’t received your ballot by the first week in July or if you’ve moved since the last election and haven’t changed your address yet, call the Registrar of Voters to have them send a new ballot or make other arrangements so that you can vote!

You can also still register to vote in this election if you’re new to Oakland, but you need to do it by Monday, July 6, 2009.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters
1225 Fallon Street, G-1
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 272-6933

Here’s a run-down of what you’re voting for, with my personal endorsements (which, if you don’t feel like reading all of this, are YES ON EVERYTHING!):

Measure C: Vote YES
What is it? This measure is an increase in the Oakland Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel tax). It would increase the current 11 percent tax by 3 percent (to make the new TOT 14 percent). This brings Oakland’s tax in line with the tax in surrounding communities. The tax revenue would be dedicated to the Oakland Zoo, Oakland Museum, Chabot Space & Science Center, cultural arts programs and festivals, and the Oakland Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Why yes? Oakland’s hotel tax is currently lower than those of nearby cities, so we have some wiggle room. (For reference, San Francisco’s is 14 percent, while Emeryville and Berkeley both have TOTs of 12 percent.) So I don’t foresee huge competition issues in terms of filling our hotel rooms; many travelers won’t even notice the difference. More importantly, the institutions and programs that the tax increase will support help make our city a better place to visit and to live, so my view is that the additional revenue will help the tourism industry overall. There’s also no opposition to this (even the hotel industry is on board!) so it’s pretty non-controversial.

Other supporters include: Oakland Rising (Coalition of Ella Baker Center, Just Cause Oakland, Urban Habitat, EBASE, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Oakland ACORN); Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club; Oakland Zoo; Oakland Museum of California; League of Women Voters of Oakland

Measure D: Vote YES
What is it? This measure would change the Kids First 2 measure (Measure OO) that Oakland voters approved last November. It is sometimes referred to as the “Measure OO compromise.”  It would reduce the amount of money going to the Kids First programs from 2.5% of the total budget to 3% of the General Purpose Fund, and add a review every 12 years.

Why yes? Because Measure OO was possibly the worst measure ever and desperately needs to be fixed! This fix isn’t great, but it will help. (I’d still like to see a full repeal that would identify an alternate funding source for these programs so we wouldn’t be robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak, but this was a Council compromise after much ado, and may be the best—and only—chance we’ll get to fix Measure OO before it takes effect.) Basically, it changes how the Kids First set-aside is calculated to relieve some of the pressure the original measure put on Oakland’s budget (and heaven knows our budget needs some help right now!) It also adds a program review process, which was a key element missing from Measure OO. You can read more about my issues with the original Measure OO here.

Other supporters include: Oakland Rising (Coalition of Ella Baker Center, Just Cause Oakland, Urban Habitat, EBASE, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Oakland ACORN); Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club; League of Women Voters of Oakland

Measure F: Vote YES
What is it? Measure F would establish a new business tax rate for “cannabis businesses” (medical marijuana). These businesses are currently charged at the general tax rate ($1.20 per $1,000 of gross receipts). The new tax rate for these businesses would be $18 per $1,000 of gross receipts.

Why yes? Well, broadly this is a good thing because it’s increased revenue for Oakland and is supported by both the medical marijuana industry and the police, who are the two major players here. (In fact, there’s no opposition to this measure that I know of.) But I also think Measure F is important because it’s a first step in recognizing the role the medical marijuana industry plays in our local economy—and acknowledging that there are associated costs and helping to cover them.

Other supporters include: Oakland Rising (Coalition of Ella Baker Center, Just Cause Oakland, Urban Habitat, EBASE, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Oakland ACORN); Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club; League of Women Voters of Oakland

Measure H: Vote YES
What is it? This measure would change Oakland’s Real Property Transfer Tax to clarify that businesses should pay the transfer tax (0.75% of the sales tax) when they transfer real property due to changes in ownership or control of the corporation (such as mergers and acquisitions).

Why yes? This isn’t a new tax; it just clarifies our existing tax so that residents and smaller businesses aren’t the only ones required to pay the transfer tax for change of ownership. This is particularly important right now because a number of large corporations are in the midst of mergers and acquisitions, so making this policy crystal clear will ensure that the City doesn’t lose out on any much-needed transfer tax revenue.

Other supporters include: Oakland Rising (Coalition of Ella Baker Center, Just Cause Oakland, Urban Habitat, EBASE, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Oakland ACORN); Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club; League of Women Voters of Oakland

*Note that not all of the area political organizations had issued positions on the ballot measures when I put this together; I’ll try to update this if I hear of other endorsements.

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2009 House Resolutions Check-in: June

June 23, 2009

We’re just about halfway through 2009, so I figured it was a good time for a resolutions check-in.

Here’s the original list: My New Year’s House Resolutions

…and here’s where we are today:

1. BETTER WINDOW INSULATION.
I have the bronze weatherstripping, but have yet to install it, so….partly done? Also got a great book, Working Windows, from our local bookstore after reading a stellar recommendation of it—it pretty much covers the weatherstripping (and everything else about wooden windows) from start to finish, so assuming I can master the art of removing and replacing the stops, I should be good.

2. DROUGHT-TOLERANT LANDSCAPING.
Yard is (mostly) de-grassed and ready for paths, woohoo! Everything else is mulched in for the year, ten cubic yards of wood chips later….so let’s call it sixty percent done.

3. PRODUCTIVE VEGETABLE BED.
Lookin’ good so far! Summer veggies are all in as of last month. Leaf lettuce and arugula coming out our ears, and (knock on wood) even the tomatoes and squash look happy so far….

4. NEW POWER STRIPS.
Done!

5. CLOTHES LINE.
Picked out—I think we’re getting this one since D. wants one that spins—but not yet actually ordered, since I keep balking on the price (but also had issues with the crappiness of the $50 version that Ace sells….) Does that count?

6. NO MORE LEAKY TUB.
So, so close….tiled and everything! Just waiting on the fix we need to install the new fixtures, which will complete the picture (and actually fix the leak, which in the end turned out to be in the tub spout).

7. RAIN BARREL.
Have the barrels, but haven’t set them up yet. Halfway there?

8. RETAINING WALL & FENCE.
Supposedly this will be done tomorrow! (Currently we have no fence at all, although oddly, and fortunately, the Labradane seems to be oblivious to this.) Probably the most exciting development on the list so far. We’ll see if it’s still exciting once the new fence is actually up… (In the end, the company who manages the building we share this fence with chose the contractor. Somewhat against my better judgment, I didn’t pursue getting photos of their work or anything, as I was too exhausted by the year+ it took to work this whole thing out, and figured some fence was better than no fence. But for the insane amount of money it’s costing, I hope we like it….) We did not, sadly, get to use reclaimed wood on this. Luckily the fences on the other two sides of the yard don’t involve retaining walls or significant demolition work, so we should be able to tackle those ourselves when we finally get around to doing them—should be a lot easier to manage.

9. DISHWASHER.
Umm. Yeah, not so much….but hey, there are still six months to go!