Business

Alameda County sues Farmers Insurance, says it knowingly left homeowners underinsured

In a strongly worded complaint filed in Superior Court, the Alameda County district attorney said Farmers Insurance Group of Companies engages in business practices that harm consumers and violate California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws.  The assertions stem from the company’s reliance on a software tool that can be inaccurate and leave homeowners unwittingly underinsured. “The insurance companies gain a competitive advantage at the expense of proper coverage,” Price said at a news conference about the lawsuit on Tuesday. …

Baykeeper sues Oakland recycler whose plant caught fire last summer

From the end of a boardwalk that juts into Oakland’s Arrowhead Marsh, it can be hard to appreciate the fragility of this ecosystem. At low tide, native cordgrass and pickleweed brim with life, rustling, snapping and popping as they dry under the morning sun. California clapper rails dig their long beaks into the mudflats in search of small crustaceans. Above, bright white kestrels dart, periodically diving into the water and emerging with small, shining baitfish. Birdsong crescendos, sage fills the…

Oaklanders share what they love about downtown and what needs to change

On a recent Friday at the Old Oakland Farmers’ Market, one stall kept people lingering for longer than usual among the rows of vendors offering produce and food. At a table decorated with a large zoning map and a wooden outline of Oakland’s skyscrapers, those who stopped weren’t there to buy but to share their opinion about the state of downtown. The Oaklandside is partnering with Oakland North and Oakland Lowdown to examine what’s working well and what isn’t for…

VIDEO: Oakland businesses create ‘no bipping’ zones to bring back customers

In 2023, there were over 13,000 smash-and-grab car burglaries in Oakland, a 23% increase from the year before. The crime is prevalent throughout the Bay Area, where it is known as “bipping.” The burglaries happen quickly and often go unreported, making them difficult to combat. Businesses, especially in downtown Oakland, are also victims, as frequent car break-ins have prompted prospective customers to avoid the city for shopping and dining. In an attempt to reclaim the city and encourage customers to return,…

‘Customers aren’t taking the risk’: growing retail crime upends Oakland business community

Sarpreet Oberoi has been to various In-N-Out Burger locations in the Bay Area over the past eight years and found news that the Oakport outlet was closing because of crime “saddening.”  He believes it’s a good spot for a fast food company, with plentiful parking, lots of customers, and a vibrant retail corridor. But it’s law and order that matters, he said.  Major chain businesses are leaving or reducing operations in Oakland due to crime. However, small business owners are…

At Uptown Market, tech pays the rent for local retailers

A perfectly curated window display. The smell of essential oils in the air. Free samples of homemade lemon pound cake. These are just some of the ways the vendors of Uptown Market are trying to draw people in amidst sights of seemingly constant construction and all-too-frequent incidents of property crime downtown. Launched in August, Uptown Market is a retail hub at 1955 Broadway that features a rotating lineup of local entrepreneurs selling snacks, clothing, home goods, children’s books and more,…

Costs shut down Oakland First Fridays for the winter

Oakland First Fridays, a monthly festival on Telegraph Avenue featuring food and crafts, will shut down through March because of financial constraints, organizers say, and may be different when it reopens.  “This year, we’ve been losing money every month and we need to stop the bleeding,” said Shari Godinez, the executive director of Koreatown Northgate Community Benefit District, the nonprofit that runs First Fridays.  On Dec. 1, residents enjoyed “Frosty Friday,” the last First Friday event of the year. They…

Oakland City Council considers banning plastic plates, cups, forks

California and cities in the Bay Area have led the country against plastic pollution: A series of laws and ordinances have already banned Styrofoam and restricted plastic bags and plastic straws.  The next items on the chopping block are single-use plastic foodware — things like cutlery, cups, lids, stirrers, plates, and doggie bags. On Dec. 19, Oakland City Council will vote on the Reusable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance, which would ban these items from local eateries and large events. …

As Montclair’s first dispensary prepares to open, some fear it will bring crime

With its inviting grass-green storefront and sleek interior, Element 7 appears to fit in among the well-heeled boutiques lining Montclair Village’s business boulevard. But as the first cannabis dispensary in Montclair, Element 7 is generating controversy just days before its planned opening. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, Montclair Village is a green glade of suburban-style affluence within Oakland. Residents describe it as a good neighborhood and a safe place to raise a family. Some worry that a dispensary will spoil…