Downtown Oakland streets close for election festivities
on November 2, 2010
As media gathered in downtown Oakland to cover two of the nation’s most high-profile electoral contests—the California governor’s race and the fate of Proposition 19—members of the Oakland Police Department cordoned off several streets on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for some pre-planned election night parties, as well as other less formal street celebrations.
Much of the police attention and road closures revolved around the Fox Theater, located at 1807 Telegraph Avenue, on the corner of 18th Street, where gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown plans to hold what his campaign is already advertising as his “victory celebration” beginning at 7 p.m.
Campaigners for Proposition 19, the ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21, stationed themselves on street corners around the downtown area, toting signs and passing out fliers in an effort to make a last minute push to pass the hot-button proposition. Both supporters and a half dozen protesters gathered around Oaksterdam University, located only a few blocks away from the Fox.
The marijuana initiative, which has drawn its fair share of national news media attention, attracted a handful of news media trucks parked downtown near the Fox as early as 5 a.m. By the afternoon, some had moved to Broadway and 17th Street, which eventually had police closing down the street between Telegraph and San Pablo Avenues.
Still, at 4 p.m., it was mostly business as usual. Local businesses on Broadway and Telegraph Avenues saw no more than usual foot traffic, and were unaware of the street closures.
“It doesn’t look like much,” said Courtney Lain, bartender at Cafe Van Kleef, located at 1621 Telegraph Ave., one block south of the Fox Theater. “There were some people hanging out, and I saw a sign saying they might close the street, but nobody said anything to me.”
As of 5 p.m., there were more than a dozen trucks outside of the Fox, and another five in front of Oaksterdam.
A person from the office of Sterling Clifford, the spokesperson for the Brown campaign, was unable to estimate how many attendees are expected to attend tonight’s party.
Local authorities had no further information as to when the closed streets would reopen.
Stay tuned. More to come as information becomes available.
Check out all of our Oakland elections coverage on our Campaign 2010 page.
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