Monday, October 31, 2011

Businesses Hurt by "Occupation"

Small business owners, trying to provide a living for their families and their employees, are being hurt by the “Occupy Oakland” movement.  New businesses, and with them new jobs, have been discouraged from coming to Oakland.  Even if one sympathizes with the goals of the protests, whatever those goals may be, the undeniable effect of their actions should give them pause.  Instead they appear intent on continuing and expanding their activities along with the unintended consequences.

The City of Oakland needs to consider carefully its response to these protests.  In clearing the illegal overnight camping in Frank Ogawa Plaza the City correctly identified its responsibility to uphold public health and safety laws. The City has allowed the overnight camp to be re-established; can the City assure people that health and safety concerns can or will be addressed?

Permits and inspections are routinely required for activities in public and private locations. The ongoing occupation, which has not been issued permits to our knowledge, would not be tolerated in other areas of the city at other times.  Simply asserting a free speech interest does not make otherwise illegal activity acceptable.   

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Events in Oakland!

Oakland is packed with tons of family Halloween events, costume, and dance parties this weekend! The Oakland Chamber hopes you have a Safe and Happy Halloween!


Lions Club Halloween Parade
October 28th: 3-5pm
Mountain Village Park

Linden Street Dance Halloween Party
October 28th: 8:30pm
130 Linden Street, Oakland, CA 94607


Boo at the Zoo
October 29th-30th: 10am-3pm
Oakland Zoo

Jack O Lantern Jamboree
October 29th-30th
Children's Fairyland

Sinister Science Halloween Party & Space Missions
October 29th: 11am
Chabot Space 7 Science Center

Piedmont Avenue Halloween Parade
October 29th: 11:45am
Piedmont Avenue

Pumpkin Festival at Mountain View Cemetery
October 29th: 12-3pm
Mountain View Cemetery

World Record Dance to Thriller
October 29th: 7pm
Studio One Art Center, 364 45th Street

A Halloween Jazz Party
October 29th: 8pm-12am
Cerruti Cellars located in Jack London Square

Halloween Bash 2011
October 29th: 9pm
Uptown Night Club, 1928 Telegraph Avenue

A Nightmare on Broadway
October 29th: 9pm
Oakland Convention Center

Funhouse Madhouse Costume Party
October 29th: 9pm
Oasis Restaurant & Bar, 135 12th Street


Dia De Los Muertos
October 30th: 10am-5pm
12th Street between Fruitvale Ave. and 37th at the Fruitvale Village

Children's Halloween Parade
October 30th: 11:45am
Meet at Presbyterian Church @ 5951 College Avenue

OMCA Family: Tour Days of the Dead
October 30th: 1pm
Oakland Museum


6th Annual Temescal Trick or Treat
October 31st
Temescal District

Trunk or Treat Festival
October 31st
238 E. 15th Street, Oakland

For more events this weekend in Oakland, please go to

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oakland’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – Making neighborhoods shine

Business Improvement District (BID) Managers Meet
Last week at the Chamber several of Oakland’s BID Managers (and hopeful BID managers) got together for a meeting on common issues. These hard-working individuals manage nine different neighborhoods in Oakland, delivering supplemental services for selected commercial corridors.
Oakland Neighborhoods with BIDs currently include:

The BID Managers discussed the structure of the BIDs in Oakland generally – and related guests from the City of Oakland acknowledged what an important financial and management tool BIDs are to promoting Oakland’s unique neighborhoods. Each month, this group will have a working BID managers meeting, allowing both city and BID staff to do the following:

·         Increase communication on district-specific issues
·         Lean new techniques/gather ideas between districts/city
·        Improve/realize efficiencies in city/BID reporting.

The BID managers brainstormed agenda items for future BID Managers meetings. A very lively and committed group with tons of ideas, the BID Managers made a comprehensive list that will take most of 2012 to work though! Despite the long list, two priority topics were identified to be addressed at the next meeting, (1) Getting a Master Encroachment Permit and (2) Notification Procedures for Public Work Projects. The next BID Managers meeting will be held at 2:30pm on November 16 at the Chamber office.

Sharing Local Oakland Programs for Business
The BID managers from the Temescal - Telegraph and Koreatown - Northgate Districts shared two innovative programs with the group, which are relevant to local business owners. They include the Green Business Certification Program  and the Oakland Grown Gift Card. Should you want to take advantage of either (or both!) of these programs contact the Temescal BID for Green Business, and/or the Koreatown-Northgate BID about the Oakland Grown Gift Card.

For more information, contact Eleanor Hollandor at or 510-874-4800 x:320

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Nov. 3rd Special City Council Meeting - Occupy Oakland & Port of Oakland

Protests and overnight camping on City Property will be the subject of a special Oakland City Council meeting on Thursday November 3 at 5:30 pm.  The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce supports the enforcement of public health and safety laws and salutes the Oakland Police Department for their professionalism in carrying out the enforcement of those laws and securing Frank Ogawa Plaza.

The development of the Oakland Army Base will be the topic of a special joint meeting of the City Council and the Port of Oakland on Tuesday November 30 at 5:30 pm. Both the City and the Port have been working with California Capital Group and Prologis to create a Development Plan. It appears problems have developed that could delay work at the Army Base. The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has long promoted creating commercial opportunity at the Base creating construction jobs and long term jobs. 

City Council Committee meetings on Tuesday October 25 were cancelled due to the removal of protestors at Frank Ogawa Plaza.  Most of the items on those committee’s agendas have been moved to those committee’s next meetings on November 8.      

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Entrepreneurs should join their local Chamber of Commerce

Business people who succeed in business know that this is a relationship business. Nothing can replace face to face networking and face to face business relationships. Some network marketers call it “the warm market.”  I call it just doing straight up commerce and people brokering. A lot of times we spend countless hours on the computer doing internet marketing with minimal results. You have to cultivate your networking leads. “Like my mama would say a close mouth doesn’t get fed”. You have to let other business professionals know what’s going on with your business and what kind of referral you are looking for in order to continue to keep business thriving in Oakland!

The two main reasons why it is importance to join the Chamber of Commerce are:  Accessibility and Visibility. You need to be accessible to meet with like minded business professionals to exchange ideas and do business together. Attending meetings, quarterly mixers, networking events, ect. puts you out there in the public limelight, which in turn makes you more visible. Visibility is crucial to building a network on a local level. Joining a Chamber of Commerce is a must for local economic development and growing any business, especially in today’s economical climate.

Triche Christmon 510-874-4800 x321 or

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

City of Oakland Clears overnight campsite at Frank Ogawa Plaza

In an action that started at 4:30 am this morning and involved 75 or more arrests and no injuries to officers or arrestees the Oakland Police Department with aid from at least 10 other law enforcement agencies cleared Frank Ogawa Plaza this morning.  The Plaza remains closed this morning as City staff clean up debris left behind in the Plaza.

City Administrator Deanna Santana, Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan and Interim Fire Chief Mark Hoffman held a press conference at City Hall at about 9:30 to explain the action.  Santana said notice had been given to protestors to leave the area after many problems developed over the last week.  The problems included medical response teams being denied access to the site when called; open flames and other fire hazards, graffiti, litter, vandalism, human waste and improper storage of food as well as a problem with rats.

Chief Jordan said officers were pelted with rocks, bottles and kitchen utensils.  He also said M1000 and M80 firecrackers were thrown at officers.  He said tear gas was used in response.  Jordan said most arrests were on misdemeanor charges although there were a few felonies and that arrestees come from all over the U.S.

When asked about Mayor Quan, Ms. Santana indicated she was in Washington, D.C. attempting to secure grant money for the Port.  Ms. Santana indicated she made the decision, in consultation with Police Chief Jordan and Fire Chief Hoffman to protect Public Health and Safety and clear the encampment.  Santana indicated the Plaza will be re-opened and that the lawful exercise or First Amendment rights will be permitted in the Plaza from 6 am to 10 pm.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Mobile Food Vending and Transportation Projects

Two topics of interest on City Council Committee agendas tomorrow. 

At 10:30 the Public Works Committee will look at the Alameda County Transportation Expenditure Plan.  The County Transportation Commission plans to go to voters next year and ask for a renewal and increase in the sales tax to fund transportation projects.  The City would like to add projects to the list of what will get funded if the tax measure passes.  Three projects considered tomorrow include Coliseum Transit Oriented Development (TOD), Lake Merritt BART Station Area TOD and a Broadway Corridor and “Streetcar” project.   

At 2pm the Community & Economic Development Committee will review a resolution to allow limited mobile food vending in Council Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 through a special events permitting process.  The permits would allow “Food Pods” (clusters of two or more mobile food vendors) on a pilot basis in a Commercial, Industrial or Open Space zoning district.  The special “Food Pod Event” business permit would allow the event no more than two days a week and no more than 40 times in a calendar year.  

It is not clear where these pods would be allowed nor in what proximity to existing restaurants.  Costs are not explicitly addressed in the proposal.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Top 5 Things to Do in Oakland This Weekend!

Thank God it's Friday!

As always, Our lovely city of Oakland is packed with events, so invite some friends to visit! For a full listing of this weekend's events, go to the Visit Oakland webpage

Here is the Chamber's Top 5 Things to Do in Oakland This Weekend:

Saturday, Oct. 22nd 9am – Lake Temescal

Sunday, October 23, 2022 12-4:30pm Oakland Museum

Sunday, October 23, 2011 1:00pm Coliseum

Saturday, October 22, 2011 10am-5pm
Jack London Square

Saturday, October 22, 2011 9am – Lake Merritt

Have a great weekend!

Meet our New Economic Development Director!

Hi there Chamber Blog readers,

My name is Eleanor Hollander and I just started as the Economic Development Director at the Oakland Chamber. I recently moved to the Bay Area from Chicago, where I was working as the manager for a large multi-neighborhood special service area (similar to Oakland’s business improvement districts). My background is in city planning and I am very much looking forward to getting to know Oakland. So far, I have found everyone that I have met here to be kind and generous with both their time and information. This really is the ‘bright side of the bay!’

Last week, we had a great Economic Development Forum meeting that was planned by my colleagues and committee chairs. Three excellent presenters shared their time with us. They included:

  • Jim Falaschi, Chairman of Transbay Holdings, who gave an update on the leasing and development progress in Jack London Square
  • Debbie Hauser the Executive Director of the Airport Area Business Association (AABA) described the AABA’s progress in developing a BID in the airport area.
  • Chris Jackson, Executive Director of the Rockridge Business Improvement District described how his organization has helped their merchant members promote their businesses in a number of ways from organizing street fairs and engaging in marketing efforts, to interfacing with local schools.
Next month, on November 9 at 3pm, the Economic Development Forum will cover the Measure B Reauthorization and the Gateway Park Project development at the base of the east span of the Bay Bridge. Please join us!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Should the Parcel Tax pass next month?

Should the Parcel Tax (Measure I) pass next month, the City Council has a plan to spend it.  The five year tax would raise about $11 million/year.  On Tuesday the Council voted that for the first two years they would spend about half of that amount on the Police Department.  Street repair and Park maintenance would each get a little over $1 million.  Spending on information technology, a summer jobs program and senior centers were the other categories receiving over $300,000. 

The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce supports Measure I and will continue to urge the Council that the vast majority of those funds should be used for Police services!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

How should the parcel tax be allocated?

Tomorrow night the City Council will consider two proposals on how to spend the first two years of the five year $11 million/year Parcel Tax.  One proposal comes from Mayor Quan, the other from Council Members Kaplan and Kernighan. It is unclear if these proposals will be binding even if they are passed tomorrow night. 

The Mayors Plan spends only 42% of the money on police services and technology and even some of that money goes to youth internships and career exploration opportunities.  Even if you add in the amount spent on youth violence prevention the spending on crime fighting only reaches 53%. 

Council members Kernighan and Kaplan spend a little more than 50% on police services and technology, with the amount rising to nearly 60% if you include youth violence prevention programs.

The Chamber supported Measure I in an effort to see serious Public Safety issues addressed.  Neither of these proposals is sufficient.  The Chamber would prefer to see 75-80% of the funds raised go to police services exclusively.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Howard Jordan sworn in as Interim Oakland Police Chief

Howard Jordan was sworn in today as the Interim Police Chief of the Oakland Police Department at a press conference at City Hall. Jordan is a 23 year veteran of the Oakland Police Department and served in the role of Interim Chief for 9 months in 2009 before Chief Batts came to Oakland.  City Administrator Deanna Santana, Mayor Quan and Chief Jordan spoke at the press conference and all said achieving full compliance with the Federal Courts’ Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) by January 2012 is a top priority.

Santana said the appointment of Jordan will stand until the January NSA deadline.  At that time she will either conduct a formal national search for a new Chief as she did in San Jose, conduct a more informal search or simply appoint Jordan to the role permanently.

Jordan was asked how he would handle the difficult bureaucracy and lack of authority cited by departing Chief Batts.  Jordan said he would work collaboratively with Ms. Santana.  When asked about the need for the crime fighting tools of gang injunctions, curfews and anti-loitering laws, Jordan said they were only tools and that he would work with the Council and City Administrator.

Mayor Quan said she would be announcing a Public Safety Strategy at her Neighborhood Safety Summit this Saturday, October 15, from 8 am to 1:30 pm at Laney College.  This may disappoint some groups who said at a recent Council meeting that they hoped there would be community input into any Public Safety Plan.

It was also announced that Tom Frazier has been retained by the City to help achieve compliance with the NSA.  Frazier served for 10 years as Executive Director of the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association and has been a Federal Monitor of U.S. Dept. of Justice Consent decrees in Los Angeles and Detroit.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Member Spotlight: Progressive Transitions

The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce congratulates Chamber Member Progressive Transitions for their Award for Public Service!

Norma Ward, CEO Progressive Transitions - Jefferson Award for Public Service - Interviewed by Kate Kelly  CBS/Channel 5 

Greetings: I was nominated and am blessed to be the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service. This is an award that was started in 1972 and founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard.

I was interviewed by Kate Kelly from CBS/Channel 5 and it will be aired on the following times and dates listed below.  I hope you will tune in. The dates and times are as follows:

1) October 12, Wednesday on Eyewitness News @ 6 p.m.

2) October 13th, Thursday on Eyewitness News at 12:00 noon

3) October 15th, Saturday on CBS 5 Early Edition mornings

It will also be on KCBS All News 740 AM and FM and 106.9 on

1) October 12th Wednesday at 6:50 p.m. 9:40 p.m. and 11:50 p.m.

2) October 16th Sunday at 11:50 a.m. and 3:50 p.m.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts Resigns

Saying he had “limited control but full accountability” OPD Chief Anthony Batts resigned today.  See his letter of resignation and City Administrator Deanna Santana’s announcement of the resignation here. This is a tough blow as the City addresses a public safety challenge.      

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Do you think the City should keep their bidding process open?

City offices were closed in Oakland today. And most City Council committee meetings scheduled for tomorrow (Oct. 11) have been cancelled as well.  The Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee will meet at 2pm.

On its’ agenda a requirement that all Oakland Army Base demolition and remediation contracts be awarded either through a sole-source or competitive bid process open only to City of Oakland Certified Local Business Enterprise (LBE) or Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) firms. 

The CED committee will further consider requiring prime contractors and their subcontractors bidding for demolition and remediation at the Oakland Army Base submit bids showing that their Core Employee workforces for these jobs will be comprised of at least thirty-three-percent (33%) Oakland residents to be considered for the contract.

The Chamber usually urges the City to keep their bidding process open to assure the best service at the lowest cost.  What do you think?

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Public Safety Action Delayed at City Council

The council voted 4-4 Tuesday night (Mayor Quan made the tie-breaking vote) to send the Loitering, Curfew and Gang Injunction measures on last night’s Council agenda to the Public Safety Committee which next meets Tuesday October 25 at 5:30 pm. Those who wanted to act on the 3 measures last night were De La Fuente, Reid, Schaaf and Kernighan. Those urging delay and further study were Brooks, Kaplan, Brunner and Nadel.

The Shot Spotter contract award was part of the consent calendar and passed unanimously.

The three hours of discussion at Council last night mainly centered around the idea that Curfews and Loitering (also Injunctions) do not work and people holding this view insisted the facts supported their side. Proponents pointed to their own studies and noted that many other cities’ have these type of laws. In fact it was said California state law has loitering prohibitions and that a city ordinance would simply give police the chance to write a ticket instead of making an arrest which is the only action the state law allows.

The Chamber and a broad coalition of business groups is supporting all these Public Safety measures and more (see our letter here).

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"C" Why you Should join the Chamber

Community ~ The Chamber is the most positive organization in the community and works with a multitude of other local and regional organizations to keep our local economy strong and our community vibrant and livable. Members become partners to help achieve these goals.

Connections ~ The Chamber provides many networking opportunities where business people can find new leads, contacts and customers, and business in Oakland can find like-minded business partners. Joining a Chamber committee is another way to make these connections.

Communications ~ The Chamber produces daily Facebook, Linkin and Twitter updates, weekly email blast messages, monthly “Oakland Business Review” newsletters, Chamber Blog, Chamber Website updates and an annual Membership Directory & Business Guide to keep you informed and to keep others informed about our members.

Clout ~ The Chamber is the voice of business in Oakland. With over 1200 members, each member’s voice becomes stronger. The Chamber also works with local, state-wide and national level organizations to continue to promote the mission of the OMCC which is to strength commerce and industry, to advance economic growth and to enhance the quality of life in the city of Oakland.

For more information on Chamber Membership, contact Triche Christmon at 510-874-4800 ext. 321 or

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Public Safety Requires Immediate Attention

Below is a letter the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the Airport Area Business Business Association, the Jobs and Housing Coalition, the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, the East Bay Rental Housing Association, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have drafted to City Council in regards to Oakland's Public Safety Issues.
3 October 2011

Dear Council Members:

Public Safety requires immediate attention.

The signatories to this letter represent a broad based coalition of Oakland businesses ranging from small businesses to the largest corporations, and include rental housing providers and Ethnic Chambers of Commerce. 

We believe Oakland is a great place to live and do business. There is, however, one issue that detracts from this positive picture. While in many categories of crime there is progress, the headline grabbing homicide rate is on the rise and there is still far too much violence on our streets.  This is first and foremost a personal tragedy for the victims and their families. But study after study shows, and empty storefronts reinforce, violent crimes impact the business climate as well.  For both reasons, we have united to urge you to find ways to address the problem. 

In tight budget times we still need to find ways to avoid ever decreasing police staffing levels. Tools such as gang injunctions, curfews and anti-loitering measures have been suggested by expert criminologists and we believe they should be used.  We also support the use of other recommended technologies such as surveillance cameras, shot spotter audio systems, better street lighting and laptop computers in patrol cars.  When neighborhoods and businesses are safe, people shop in those neighborhoods and tax revenue increases. 

It is in this spirit of coming together for this important cause that we call on all members of the community and our political leaders to put aside past differences and support measures that can help police in their efforts to stop violence. We need more police officers and we need to support them. We urge the Council to come together in the best interest of the entire Oakland community and not be overly concerned about a few loud voices who have dominated the debate.  The time for talking and protesting has passed.  We need to come together and solve this problem now.

Concern for the safety of innocent law abiding citizens who have every right to live free of the fear of crime must be our primary focus. We urge all advocates to respect their colleagues as we work through these issues.  And we urge you to act quickly, with one voice to let everyone know we stand against crime and for the rights of people to live safe and productive lives with their loved ones here in our great city.    


Theo Jackson                                                   Joseph J. Haraburda
President                                                          President & CEO        
Airport Area Business Association                    Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 

Gregory McConnell                                          Wil Hardee                              
President & CEO                                             President & CEO                                
Jobs and Housing Coalition                               Oakland African-American Chamber of Commerce     
Bill Bagnell                                                       Jose Duenas
President                                                          President & CEO
East Bay Rental Housing Association                Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Alameda County
* The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce also supports this letter and stance on Public Safety issues in Oakland.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Public Safety dominates Council Agenda Tomorrow Night!

A loitering ordinance, a youth curfew and extending the gang injuction are all included on the City Council Agenda Tuesday Night (10/4).  They are agenda items 13, 14 and 15 respectively.  The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 pm but these items are not likely to come up in the agenda until 7pm at the earliest.  If you’d like to attend the Council meeting and speak on these topics you will need to fill out a Speakers Card.  You can fill out the Card in person or on-line.  One other Public safety measure on the agenda is award of a shot spotter contract that will help police quickly and accurately identify where gunshots have been fired.  This contract award is part of the consent calendar, is not expected to be controversial and will come up before the other public safety issues.

Also on the Council Agenda tomorrow night the Council will consider recommendations to make Building Inspections more consistent from one city inspector to another.  And two recommendations by the Mayor for new Port Commissioners. Victor Uno would retain his seat and Jakada Imani would fill a seat currently held by Margaret Gordon.

To watch a live broadcast of the City Council Meeting, visit the City's Live Video webpage.

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