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Who has the coolest job in Oakland?

on May 18, 2011

Oakland North readers, we want to know — who has the coolest job in Oakland? There’s so much to do here, and so many interesting people at work, but one of them must have the absolutely best job.

Now, over the past few years Oakland North has profiled some people with really great jobs, like Francisco Ballesteros, a shepherd whose goats prevent fires in the Oakland hills and Lieutenant Scott Hellige, who pilots the Sea Wolf, the Oakland Fire Department’s fire-fighting boat, and plenty of other great folks whose jobs have nothing to do with fire.

Like Glynn Washington, who hosts NPR’s newest (and most Oakland-y) radio show, Snap Judgment, or Ken Ott, who started Oakland’s own pedicab service, or Stephanie Benavidez, who is the naturalist at Lake Merritt’s Rotary Nature Center, or Bob Patenaude, who directs — and is the sole employee of — Oakland’s Marxist library, or Kate McEachern, who is the baker behind the CupKates truck.

Some of them work to give back to their community, like Giles “Bud” Cropsy, a 99-year-old music teacher, or Steve Sparkes who runs the free week-long “My Yute” soccer club every summer, or Kim di Giacomo and Michele Senitzer, who help bring fruit foragers together.

Maybe the person who has Oakland’s coolest job is someone who runs their own businesses, big or small, like bike repair expert Dan Woloz, better known as “Bike Man Dan,” or Nenna Joiner, proprietor of Feelmore510, Oakland’s newest “sex positive” adult store, or Chris Lee and Samrin Nosrat, who started Oakland’s Pop-Up General Store, or Tara Esperanza, the mind behind the many flavors of Tara’s Organic Ice cream, or Blue Bottle Coffee owner James Freeman? Or maybe it’s someone who works at a really unusual job, like tombstone engravers Javier Jimenez and Jim McCarthy, or Dottie Lux, who runs the burlesque Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, or Rick Butler, better known as “the Glad Hatter,” who crochets and sells hats at the MacArthur BART station, or the John Brothers, who play mad piano outside of the Rockridge one? (Or, if you’re into piano crooners, maybe it’s the Alley’s stalwart, Rod Dibble?)

Or maybe it’s someone who works in the creative arts, like spoken word artist Jazz Hudson or fashion designers Zoe Hong or Amy Sarabi or Scraper Bike King Tyrone “Baybe Champ” Stevenson, Jr, who makes bikes into works of art? Or maybe it’s an athlete? A local politician or community organizer?

Or maybe it’s someone we haven’t met yet?

Let’s find out! Oakland North readers, nominate the person you think has Oakland’s coolest job in the comments here or on our Facebook page and tell us why that job is indeed the coolest job in the city. We’ll collect the top nominees, and then put it to a vote among all of our readers. You choose, and we’ll profile the winner.

Here are the rules: The job must be in Oakland. Self-employed, part-time, and moonlighting gigs count and so do non-paid/volunteer roles that take up enough of the person’s time that they can be considered a “job.” That’s it! Nominations will be open for a week, then we’ll vote.

Now it’s up to you … who has Oakland’s coolest job, and why?

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: oaklandnorthstaff@gmail.com.

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