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In Oakland, it’s easier to buy booze than bananas

on April 8, 2010

Anyone who has shopped for food in a poor urban neighborhood, in Oakland or elsewhere, knows how it goes: Twenty varieties of malt liquor, potato chips, and frozen burritos and one bruised-up, waxy apple. Maybe a half-peeled onion. It’s so common that it’s almost a fact of life in America. Unhealthy food is as intrinsic to poor communities of color as are midnight gunshots and Newport cigarette billboard ads.

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  1. Andy K on April 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

    The data in this map needs major refinement. Village Market on Broadway Terrace is by no means a liquor store. They identify many liquor stores in the Hills of Montclair that on closer look would appear to be home businesses that are somehow connected to the wine industry. They don’t identify the many, many produce markets in the Fruitvale, China Town, etc. etc.

    If I were grading this, I would have to give it an F. Where are the editors?

  2. […] it really helps you see the big picture through a visual representation of mass information. This map, however, is infuriating. Pulled from an article in Oakland North, this interactive map highlights […]

  3. Puck Lo on April 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Dear Andy K.,

    Thank you for your comment. We’ve made some changes to the map, based on some of the concerns you raised.

    We’ve changed the category “liquor/convenience stores” to “liquor licenses.” This category includes all Oakland venues that hold “off-site” liquor licenses and are listed on the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s website. We also added a sentence to the Methodology section explaining this.

    Additionally, we’ve re-named “grocery stores” as “major supermarkets.” We defined “major supermarket” as a larger store with a constant, reliable source of a wide range of foods, including fresh produce, meat/poultry and dairy items.

    Moving forward, we are working on adding produce markets, farmer’s markets, and other sources of affordable, healthy food, to our map of Oakland and doing additional reporting on this.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

    Angela Bass, Puck Lo, Diana Montaño

  4. Brad on May 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    But even by your updated definition of supermarket, you’re still missing many in the Fruitvale area. For example, Los Hermanos Fruiteria y Carniceria on Fruitvale and East 17th Street. You really need a more precise definition. And that’s just one of many mid-sized markets selling fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat. If you don’t include these kinds of businesses you’re presenting a skewed picture of availability of alcohol vs. availability of fresh foods, and you’re giving the short shrift to the immigrant business owners who have opened responsible businesses selling wholesome fresh foods, meats, fruits and vegetables.

    I don’t think an accurate picture will undercut your argument that there are too many liquor stores in Oakland. But get it right.

  5. Jim on May 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Are you all planning on ground-truthing these maps at some point? Unfortunately, as other commenters have pointed out, public records are not very good for getting detailed information out. “A Market” on Market and Aileen is another store that sells liquor, but also an impressive variety of produce and organic goods.

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