Business

Farmer’s market both hurt & helped by money crisis

By BAGASSI KOURA At first it looked like a great Sunday for Samuel Lunes. Just after 9am, when the Temescal Farmers Market opened, customers lined up by the dozen before his produce stand. For hours, working with his son and his son’s friend, Lunes was busy selling organic fruits and vegetables. But by the end of the day, Lunes said the sales could have been better.

Cyclists on sidewalk face tickets, complaints

by SAMSON REINY Lined with coffeehouses and bookstores, bakeries and flower shops, College Avenue is one of North Oakland’s busiest streets. Sidewalks are frequently jammed as couples stroll idly side by side, dogs mosey around testing the length of their owners’ leashes, and friends sip café lattes while chatting on the outside tables. Large trees, planted every several yards, make up for their hoggish use of walkway space with plentiful shade. What is not as easily reconciled are the occasional…

New owners struggling to resurrect Eli’s Mile High

Story and audio slides by MARTIN RICARD It was a little after 7 p.m. on a recent Monday night at Eli’s Mile High Club, and a slow, celestial song by the British space rock group The Telescopes was blasting over the speakers to an empty room. Jason Herbers, the assistant to Eli’s owner, who manages the day-to-day operations of the club, was visibly frustrated by the lack of customers as he strolled back and forth throughout the place.

Your crisis questions: an economist answers

By MELANIE MASON, MARTIN RICARD and KRISTINE WONG Oct. 6–Bailouts, credit crunches, bank buyouts. In these shaky economic times, it seems like every day there’s a new phrase to learn and another concept to wrap our heads around.  For a breakdown of what is going on in our faltering economy, we turned to Martha Olney, an adjunct professor of economics at UC Berkeley.  Olney, who won the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003, sat down with us on Monday to…

Council debates facelift for Oakland’s taxis

Read a Twitter feed of the council meeting here By ISABEL ESTERMAN and MARTIN RICARD OCT. 8 — It’s hard to know what to expect when taking a cab ride in Oakland. But in a city that operates more than 60 taxi companies, some problems have become irritatingly predictable: People left stranded in an area because a driver deemed it too dangerous, remote or unprofitable; taxis initially dressed with good tires just to pass inspection, only to have them later…

The financial crisis: a summary

By KRISTINE WONG In recent months, Americans have seen their financial credit system crumble. According to U.C. Berkeley economist Martha Olney, the root cause of this crisis was the millions of subprime mortgages that went into default over the past few years, when monthly payments rose to unaffordable levels. This resulted in a glut of homes on the market, which decreased housing values. Decreased housing values created a crisis of epidemic proportions, as those who had borrowed against the value of…

“Green collar” rally calls for enviro-helping jobs

by KRISTINE WONG  Sep. 27 — Most Saturdays, Mosswood Park is filled with a lively mixture of families, dog walkers, and weekend soccer warriors. Today, a different group of voices rang out from the park’s center stage – those of environmentalists, builders, and students who rallied for new jobs to improve both the economy and the environment.  The rally, sponsored by the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, featured remarks by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland City Council…

County’s food bank now needs virtual food, too

By SAMSON REINY The warehouse of the Alameda County Community Food Bank is a center of constant activity. Every day, delivery trucks bustle in and out of loading zones as workers drop off grocery deliveries from growers and discount sellers, volunteers sort and package food items, and employees from local nonprofit agencies go “shopping” for needed products. And as the holiday season approaches, companies and schools will begin their canned food drives, which have become classic exercises in civic engagement….