Economy

Budget showdown, part 1: Dellums channels Obama, Oakland counts on federal stimulus money

Under fluorescent lights, bingo charts and a disco ball, more than 100 people packed into the East Oakland Senior Center last night to throw in their two cents about how to close the city’s projected budget deficit. With $83 million on the table, every city program is fair game. Last night’s meeting in deep East Oakland was the first of three community-input sessions on the budget. The next two will be held in the Glenview and Grand Lake neighborhoods. Oakland…

Oakland Animal Shelter has a full house

At the intersection of Fruitvale Blvd. and the railway tracks, despite the traffic noise, there’s another noise that stands out —the barking of dogs in the big fenced back yard of the Oakland Animal Shelter. The dogs bark over the sounds of trucks, cars, and freeway, over the railway track’s light signals, and are an early, outside indication that the shelter is totally packed.

Berkeley farmers’ markets become zero waste zones

By Lauren Rudser and Brittney Johnson/Oakland North The three weekly Berkeley farmers’ markets are now zero waste zones. The goal is to reduce, recycle or compost all materials generated by the markets –- and shoppers are asked to do their part when it comes to how they transport their purchases home.

A tribute to Kasper’s: History, in hot dogs

Her water broke.  They grabbed what they needed, scrambled out of the house and hit the road.  The couple finally arrived, and it wasn’t a minute too soon.  The husband jumped out of the car and rushed inside to the counter.  “I’ll take two hot dogs please—to go!” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened, how many pregnant women wanted Kasper’s hot dogs before they went to the hospital,” said a smiling Harry Yaglijian, third generation…

Finger-picking guitar down at Lake Merritt

I went down to Lake Merritt last weekend with my friend Jack Woodruff to shoot this audio-profile video of him working his recession-time gig as a street musician. He has played acoustic guitar for 12 years. Recently he had shoulder surgery and since he’s having a hard time finding a job in the service industry, he decided to pass some time as a street musician. When we pulled up to Lake Merritt, I noticed that it was fairly empty except…

Making it

Gabriel De Jesus is bent over a laptop, eyes moving back and forth between the screen and the stack of forms on the desk next to him, jotting occasional notes. An older man knocks on the door and says he’s there to pick something up; De Jesus has him sign in on the sheet outside while he looks for his file. The phone rings; he answers, “Citizens for Education, this is Gabriel.” De Jesus works four days a week here…

Anxiety and rumors at armed robbers’ apparent shopping center of choice

  About a month ago, the North Oakland branch of the San Leandro-based chain Pet Food Express was hit by an armed robber. Two weeks later, it happened again, this time at the Pet Food Express Rockridge store, located in the Safeway shopping center at 51st and Broadway. According to employees, it was the same guy. It was then that the vice president of Pet Food Express, Mark Witirol, started hearing of other armed robberies at the Rockridge shopping center….

Organic roots: From the rancho to the market

By Diana Montaño/Oakland North The tropical crops of Maria Inés Catalán’s youth don’t grow in Hollister. Instead of winding through the papaya and mango trees of her native Guerrero, Mexico, here, wearing black loafers caked in mud from the past week’s rain, she steps carefully over the kale, broccoli and artichoke plants that thrive in the Northern California winter.

Manifesto: Not your everyday bike shop

The bike store Manifesto has a Flickr photo account, “Our customers rock,” which is full of photos of people posing with their bicycles. People smiling standing next to their bikes, slowly riding by, triumphantly raising the bike over their heads — all photos of Manifesto’s customers with their new bikes. Each photo is captioned with lines like, “Austin sealed the deal on a red Schwinn that many were coveting on opening day,” “This beautiful Mercier, nicknamed Pierre, is now Casey’s…