Archive for the ‘East Bay’ Category

Ferry terminal for South City’s Oyster Point

Oyster Point [map] in South San Francisco on a hazy Sunday morning. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has approved ferry service from Oakland to Oyster Point; service could begin as early as late 2010.

The new route is only one of several planned, using new, greener vessels, in an expansion of commute options in the next few years. (Did you know there was something called the Water Emergency Transportation Authority [WETA]?) See all the proposed routes.

Alan Lew, 1945-2009

Alan Lew, former rabbi of a San Francisco congregation and well known in Bay Area Zen Buddhist circles, died Monday on a trip to the East Coast.

Lew, the author of the spiritual memoir “One God Clapping” and two other books, was regarded as an innovator for bringing meditation practices into Jewish spirituality.

He was a spiritual seeker in California during the late 1960s and early 70s, when he was exposed to Zen meditation for the first time. He went on to practice for several years at the Berkeley and San Francisco Zen Centers, but while preparing for lay ordination as a Buddhist, he had a crisis that led him instead to become a rabbi. I really liked his book as a document of what it was like to live in the Bay Area during those unsteady years.

Hero pilot lives in Danville

Chesley "Sully" SullenbergerThe airline pilot who successfully ditched the disabled US Air flight in the Hudson River today, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, lives in the East Bay suburb of Danville. Read all about him in his hometown paper, the Danville Weekly.

Sullenberger, a former Air Force fighter pilot, is being widely acclaimed as a hero for steering the disabled plane away from residential areas and to a safe crash-landing in the river a few miles from its takeoff point at LaGuardia airport in Queens. One hundred and fifty passengers and crew escaped with no serious injuries.

Film: "In a Dream" at SF DocFest

In a Dream, which screens at SF DocFest over the next few days (details below), is a film about the mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, who has become an icon in South Philadelphia for the massive scale and extent of the mosaics he has created there. They include, by his description, about “a hundred murals” and “seven buildings, top to bottom, inside and out.” His best-known work is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which represents the transformation of two derelict buildings into a labyrinthine complex that covers half a city block with winding mosaic-covered passageways and sculptures.

Zagar’s mosaics are bright, colorful, and complex, rich with a celebratory spirit towards physicality and sensuality. But the surface cheerfulness of these mosaics belies the deeper obsession and the narcissism that makes such vast, intricate works possible in the first place, and Jeremiah Zagar — the director of the film and the artist’s younger son — uncovers that darkness here with unrelenting economy. All the father’s past secrets rapidly come out in the open, culminating when one of his most shameful episodes plays out right in front of the camera: his self-centered pursuit of “passion” with his assistant, which ends with a brief separation from his wife Julia, right when their oldest son is separated from his own wife and having drug problems.

Jeremiah describes the moment: “I went home to film my parents as they picked my brother up from rehab. The stress from the situation boiled over, and my father suddenly admitted [the affair] to my mother and me … that same night, my parents separated for the first time in 43 years.” Isaiah’s admission is made directly into the camera, and it’s a moment of remarkable drama. Amazingly, Jeremiah retains his composure — he coughs and the handheld camera shakes for an instant, but that is all — and he goes on to capture every instant of what ensues. “I shot 16 hours that day and hated myself for every minute of it,” he writes. Fortunately, Isaiah realizes he has made a big mistake quickly enough. Soon afterward, he goes to stay with his assistant and, as he confesses, “within minutes, my whole being started to rebel. My whole being.”

In the end, he reconciles with Julia, and the film has a brief epilogue, highly effective in its simplicity, that shows how, after a time of healing, the two simply picked up their life together and continued on into the next adventure.

For all the darkness that Jeremiah reveals, it’s an affectionate film. He shot his footage over the course of seven years, filming “whenever something significant happened,” and he describes the result like this: “what started as an exploration of my father’s life has exposed the secrets of our entire family. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. … We know now how imperfect we really are, but also how much we need and love each other.”

The film is highly recommended. In a Dream screens at the Roxie this Sunday, October 26th at 2:45 PM, and Tuesday, October 28th at 9:30 PM. It will also screen at the Shattuck next Sunday, November 2nd at 2:45 PM.

Breaking News: Alleged Members of MS-13 Gang Arrested in Raids

The SF Gate story begins:

Federal immigration authorities raided more than a dozen locations in San Francisco, Richmond and South San Francisco today, arresting several alleged members of the notorious MS-13 street gang, authorities said.

Authorities said the investigation targeted a San Francisco-based faction of the violent group, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, which started in Southern California with roots in El Salvador.

“This is a major take-down,” said Northern California U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello, adding that the investigation dealt with alleged drug trafficking, gun running, terrorism and extortion activities of the group. He declined to provide further details about the raids.

Full story here.

Downtown Oakland sold for $412.5 Million

Tough times can occasionally mean good deals for some, and a large commercial property investment group has decided to take control of almost 2 million sq feet of downtown Oakland office & commercial space . While the deal does not actually include all of Oakland, the CIM Group has closed a deal buying the city’s tallest office building at 1 Kaiser Plaza as well as several other marquee commercial properties. Amongst the buildings acquired were 1333 Broadway which is a ten story structure that encompasses the entrance to 12th St City Center BART Station. With these purchases CIM Group now surpasses Walter Shorenstein’s legacy real estate company which owns approx 1.5 million square feet in the downtown Oakland market.

The LA based CIM group initially took a giant toehold when it bought Oakland’s largest downtown hotel the 20 story City Center Marriott and it’s sister property The Courtyard in 2007. CIM Group in an effort to drink it’s own kool-aid, will move it’s Bay Area HQ from SF to Oakland in 2009, and run it’s operations which specialize in urban properties, including revitalized icons like Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the adjacent Hollywood & Highland complex.

‘Temporary Transbay Terminal’ will be a block farther from Market St.

Map showing present TransBay Terminal and Temporary Transbay Terminal

Map showing present TransBay Terminal and Temporary Transbay Terminal

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, charged with replacing the present Transbay Terminal with a new, intermodal terminal possibly including a bullet train terminus, has revealed plans to relocate operations to a “Temporary Transbay Terminal” one block farther south and a block and a half east, to a spot bounded by Howard, Main, Folsom and Beale Streets. Click the thumbnail for a graphic showing the present terminal and the temporary new location.

The present Transbay Terminal primarily serves AC Transit buses for East bay commuters; Greyhound also has its San Francisco terminal there. Both these services will move to the temporary location.

Judging from drawings showing “prospective” appearance, the temporary terminal will be a circle of bus shelters with a few planters. The temporary terminal will displace a large parking lot whose customers are urged to consider alternatives, including not driving into the city at all. The parking lot will close Oct. 31, 2008 for construction of the temporary affair.

Three arrested in restaurant robbery spree

Oakland police think they have found the gang behind at least some of the rash of restaurant robberies that plagued the East Bay this summer.

Yesterday they arrested three people they say perpetrated three of the takeover-style heists, in which hoodie-wearing men enter restaurants at night, force employees and patrons into a back room, and clean out the cash register.

The Oakland residents were arrested Tuesday evening after they allegedly departed from their successful MO and knocked over a nail salon. Police were given a description of the getaway car, which they spotted, followed and stopped. Inside they found ski masks, guns and the money from the nail salon.

Among the arrestees was the getaway driver, a 20-year-old woman whom police said was the girlfriend of one of the bandits.

Contradicting Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums who said the string of robberies were a result of the poor economy, a police spokesman said “These aren’t guys who lost their jobs and got desperate… These are people who had access to guns and get off on the thrill of robbing people.” And the brother of one of the suspects commented:

He’s got no reason to be doing nothing like this. He’s not a drug addict, not in a bind, there’s no pressure situation. He was cool, man. He missed his calling: He should have been a basketball star. He’s an incredible basketball player. He don’t have no reason to be robbing no restaurants. That kind of (expletive) is serious and petty at the same time, you know?

Another restaurant knocked over, despite attempts to rally residents

Despite efforts by community and business figures to rally Oakland residents to ignore a recent rash of takeover-style restaurant robberies and come out to eat, bandits last night hit another Oakland restuarant, forcing customers and staff into a back room, robbing them, then cleaning out the register.

Oakland residents, horrified that the crime wave hit upscale neighborhoods, demonstrated last night on yuppified College Ave. with candles and flashlights. The robbery took place several blocks west, on less yuppified Shattuck Ave. See a map on the Chronicle’s website of the summer crime spree.

Tragedy of the commons, and other clusterfucks

Neighbors of Dolores Park (the park, not the restaurant) are getting grouchy about the large crowds gathering there on nice weekend days. Like the thousand fans of The Breakfast Club, shown last weekend, or the crowds of gay sunbathers from up the hill.

Worlds collide in the 13.7 acre swath of green on the border between the Castro and Mission Districts and directly across the street from Mission High School.

Speaking of crowd scenes, UC Berkeley journalism professor and prolific magazine journalist Cynthia Gorney has a piece in tomorrow’s NYT Magazine about merging at freeway lane reductions, a subject near and dear to anyone who has approached the Bay Bridge on 101 in San Francisco or driven through the Caldicott Tunnel. The latter clusterfuck provides her main example. She writes about “sidezoomers” versus the benefits of feeling virtuous while choosing to wait in the “lineup” of cars that are already in the correct lane. The online version has many nifty multimedia graphics.

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