Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oakland - The Ugly

Oakland, California.

The city across the bay from one of the most naturally beautiful cities on earth, San Francisco. The city with the bad self-esteem problem. The city of crime. The gray city of the silver and black. The city with union woes. The city of apathy. The homeless city. The city most sorely in need of a good publicist.

Let's face it. Oakland has had a long-standing bad rap and bad rep.

I hadn't visited Oakland for many years. As a young girl, I lived in a nice, middle-class Oakland suburb. Before my parents were even married, my father owned a famous restaurant here. The restaurant is now gone, and so is my father.

So as I do most places, I stole away with my camera and shot some street scenes. Overall, Oakland is in the process of a long, slow gentrification. It's improving, but I didn't have to venture more than a couple blocks from my hotel to find evidence of urban decay and apathy. What's sad is that these pictures were taken across the street from a nice park. The area is urban, but not menacing, and I had not the least trepidation about walking this area alone.

Yet still, people throw their rejected furniture and other household items on the sidewalks, propped up against chain-linked fences dividing city parking lots from walkways.

Oakland has definitely come a long way, but it's still a city in transition. There is still some way to go.


At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 5:33:00 PM, Blogger bird said...

Why, just yesterday I drove by a discarded toilet tank on the sidewalk on a main street.
I guess all cities have their yucky sides!

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 6:54:00 PM, Blogger prettykitty said...

this breaks my heart. i lived in oakland and took bart to school in SF. it was over 10 years ago and was still a gorgeous and thriving city. but crime and gangs and drugs moved in. i rarely drive through there when i am visiting now.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 7:04:00 PM, Blogger GetFlix said...

The way real estate is these days, I bet she'll clean-up real nice!! (San Fran is crazy expensive!!)

They say NYC is pricey, but I've always found San Fran to be through the roof.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 8:12:00 PM, Blogger Mike V. said...

and then, they have Jerry Brown. whom they can keep!

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 9:41:00 PM, Blogger LA said...

Flix - According to CNNMoney, the top five, in order, are:
1) NYC
2) SF
3) LA
4) San Jose (Silicon Valley)
5) DC

Mike and PK - I was talking to some locals, and Jerry Brown is actually credited with the improvements up there in the last 10 years. Mike, he is on his last term as Oakland mayor and they have term limits, so he can't re-run. In fact, he's running for a statewide office.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 10:00:00 PM, Blogger prettykitty said...

i live partly in LA and in SF (long story, romantic commitment). but i really do love both places equally. SF provides the culture and diversity and LA has the weather and jobs. it's a toss up.

do you mean jerry brown, used to be governer? i am a political neophyte, so pardon my ignorance.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger LA said...

Yes, PrettyKitty, that Jerry Brown, who was governor back in the day (in the 70s, if I recall correctly), and his father was governor back in the 50s or 60s. He's going to run for state attorney or something like that when his term in Oakland is over.

I think it would be fun to split time between No and So Cal.

My verification word is hhhxb. This thing has finally figured out I'm stupid and need short, easy repetitions, or I'll F it up!

At Thursday, April 27, 2006 7:11:00 AM, Blogger Softball Slut said...

HAHA LA about your verifications. I get some damn funny ones. GIGyra is mine now.
I have never been to Cali but what kind of people are out there, in any city, that thinks it's ok to toss stuff like that? Austin is pretty cool and pretty clean compared to the pics I see.

At Thursday, April 27, 2006 7:47:00 AM, Blogger LA said...

Some friends of mine are moving to Austin from San Diego this summer because the cost of living in Cali has become so outrageous. Which means I'll probably be visiting Austin before too long, though never in the summer. I can't do that weather.

At Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:20:00 AM, Blogger Mike V. said...

Yes, well the people in the Bay Area are a little cuckoo sometimes. I should know. :)

They voted for Willie Brown in SF. And he's even slimier than Tom DeLay which is tough.
Those of us that were alive when Brown was gov remember him. And, he was insane.

I do miss the Bay Area quite a bit, though. San Diego County can be a little too stiff sometimes..

At Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:53:00 AM, Blogger Softball Slut said...

LA I shall show you the bars and stuff of Austin that you shall like. I love our 110 degree summers. I cant stand cold weather. It hurts. It's expensive to live here too. Or at least the cost of living isnt concurrent with wages. Maybe not as bad as Cali and I'll give you that, but it's pretty high compared to other places.


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