Planning Commission votes down BevMo! permit requests

At the Oakland City Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday at City Hall, the commission voted against conditional use permits requested by Beverages and More (BevMo!) which has leased space on Piedmont Avenue at Montell Street to open a specialty liquor store. Approximately 60 residents and merchants from Piedmont Avenue attended the meeting, urging the commission to decline BevMo’s permit applications, which were submitted in June. A smaller group of BevMo! employees and neighbors urged them to approve the permits. In…

Oakland business owners sound off on economy, medical marijuana, foreign policy

With less than 60 days before Americans vote for President, Oakland North reporters Theresa Adams and Aaron Mendelson asked small business owners on Broadway to deliver a message to the presidential candidates. Click on the video above to hear business owners at Downtown coffee shops, clothing stores, cannabis dispensaires and news stands deliver a message to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Owners reactions ranged from supportive to critical of the President, but business owners were eager to make their voices heard.

Piedmont Avenue residents and merchants debate new BevMo! store

Ever since the Blockbuster on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue went out of business in April, the building that housed the video rental store has remained empty. Recently, though, a prospective new tenant appeared: a sign on the door notified passersby that the liquor franchise Beverages and More (BevMo!) has applied for a permit to move into the former movie rental store.

Rock Paper Scissors Collective combines DIY with the art of community

Whether it is visual art, music, crafts, film or writing, the Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland encourages community members to teach, sell, exhibit and learn about art. The shop on Grand and Telegraph Avenues offers a collection of hats, sketches, mixed media art, sewing equipment and jewelry as well as a large collection of zines—magazines, cartoons and books self-published by the writers.

Temescal merchants frustrated after recent robberies and break-ins

In the last few years, the Temescal District has been heralded as one of the most culturally diverse communities in the city. Its growing popularity has resulted in increased interest from business owners and residents who are vying for a space within the community. But over the last few months, the number of robberies and thefts that have been reported to the Temescal Telegraph Avenue Community Association and the Temescal Merchants’ Association has shown an increase, the members of those associations say, leaving local merchants frustrated and asking for more help from the police and the city.

Mary Bowser’s secrets come to life at African American Museum and Library

On Saturday, residents gathered at the African American Museum and Library (AAMLO) in downtown Oakland to hear the story of a former slave who spied on the Confederate government during the Civil War. Award-winning author Lois Leveen read from her book The Secrets of Mary Bowser, a novel that combines historical information about Bowser while weaving those facts into a work of historical fiction about the life of a spy in the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the time when “freedom” was new concept for blacks in America.

Wardrobe For Opportunity helps job-seekers dress for success

The Wardrobe For Opportunity office on 14th Street in downtown Oakland is on the second floor of a commercial building. A buzzer at the entrance grants access to the office, but don’t expect to see a room filled with desks and computers. Those are in a corner just far enough away so clients are not distracted from the space they just entered. The boutique is filled with racks of women’s clothing. Dresses, coats, skirts and tops and a space for shoes. The men’s section is almost as large and carries all the items needed to dress someone in business attire.

Port commissioner appointments stalled, Bus Rapid Transit gets green light

It was the final meeting before the council adjourned for its summer break. The agenda was packed, and so was the room as representatives came out to support or oppose two particular items on the agenda: Mayor Jean Quan’s proposed appointees for the Board of Port Commissioners, and a Bus Rapid Transit project that would extend 10 miles from San Leandro to Oakland and improve traffic conditions that will result in less wait time and more efficient passenger service throughout the area.

Quan has asked the council to confirm the reappointment of James Head and the appointment of Bryan Parker and Cestra “Ces” Butner to the board.

Oakland Heritage Alliance offers summertime walking tours

Each year the Oakland Heritage Alliance selects a variety of neighborhoods to visit when it offers its summer walking tours through the city. This year visitors will have the opportunity to visit 16 areas over eight weekends on tours such as the Mountain View Cemetery, Montclair Village and Oakland Walkways and Streetcar Heritage tours. Each trip is led by volunteers for the alliance, who include local history buffs, residents of the neighborhoods, as well as professors and business professionals familiar with the area.

Forum for City Council District 1 and 3 candidates held at City Hall

“Meet the Candidates” was the theme of the reception and community forum held Monday night in the Council Chambers at Oakland City Hall. Hosted by the Sierra Club in partnership with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, the event began with an afternoon reception at which community members and city officials met with the individuals who have declared an interest in becoming the new representatives for Districts 1 and 3.

The reception was followed by a two-part panel discussion during which the candidates for each council seat were asked to respond to four questions prepared by the Sierra Club and the Oakland Climate Action Coalition.

Temescal celebrates its ninth annual street fair in North Oakland

Extending as far as the eye could were white tents against bright sunny skies—along with Kettle Corn stands, giants slides and stages for acrobats—as Telegraph Avenue welcomed visitors during the ninth annual Temescal Street Fair on Sunday.

Residents and people from neighboring cities strolled the ten blocks to participate in rides on mini Ferris wheels, watch martial arts demonstrations, buy T-shirts from Oaklandish and eat chocolates from Hoopers and Korean barbeque made by community business owners.

Oakland’s first Youth Poet Laureate finalists announced

Now that the finalists in Oakland’s first Youth Poet Laureate competition have been announced, the poets have until September to hear the final results after the last panel of judges make their decision. While waiting to find out who will be named the first Youth Poet Laureate, the finalists are preparing for the first group performance at the Art & Soul Festival this summer in Oakland.