Arizmendi, the Grand Lake Theater, and…the Whitman campaign?

This storefront on Lakeshore Avenue is frequently rented by political campaigns, but I was still a bit surprised to see that Meg Whitman’s campaign had moved in, with a cooperative bakery down the street in one direction and a ferociously anti-Republican movie theater in the other (and just a few hundred yards from where I saw Jerry Brown jogging around Lake Merritt recently). There are more conservatives and Republicans in Oakland than our leftier-than-thou reputation might lead one to believe, but I think it’s safe to say that the Grand Lake area will be fairly solid Brown territory come November.

I wonder if the Whitman campaign’s incursion into Oakland is less about trying to win Oakland votes and more about sending a message to the Brown campaign that the erstwhile eBay CEO is prepared to spend whatever it takes to be the highest bidder in California’s gubernatorial auction—not that those two things are mutually exclusive, of course.

18 Responses to “Arizmendi, the Grand Lake Theater, and…the Whitman campaign?”

  1. wordnerd says:

    Some of her campaign workers want expense-account-access to Arizmendi, probably. Though any Republicans I’ve seen in there were deeply closeted.

  2. dc says:

    Since you’re a wordnerd, and a fan of Arizmendi, you might be interested to know that the name comes from a Basque priest named José María Arizmendiarrieta Madariaga, who apparently failed as a priest but succeeded as a cooperative entrepreneur. There’s also a Spanish footballer named Arizmendi (not a member of the Mundial-winning national squad, alas), but I don’t know how rare the name is (there was once a Mexican boxer named Arizmendi too, who turned pro when he was only 13). Wikipedia says that the player was born in Madrid, although he could presumably be of Basque origin as well. According to one website, the name derives from Basque for “oak” and “mountain,” so the Oakland connection is fitting.

  3. unique distance from isolation says:

    What is Arizmendi and what does it have to do with Whitman or the Grand Lake Theater?

  4. wordnerd says:

    Arizmendi is to bread as the Golden Gate is to Bays.

  5. dc says:

    udfi: Arizmendi is a worker-owned bakery a few doors down from the “Meg 2010” storefront. It, and the Grand Lake Theater, have nothing to do with Whitman except that the juxtaposition with the (rabidly anti-Republican) theater and the coop bakery was just an illustration of why I found it surprising that Whitman’s campaign had taken over a storefront in the neighborhood.

  6. Carol says:

    Did you see the story in today’s Chronicle about Michaan and his passion for the theater? I hope he can keep it open.

    As for Ms. Whitman, my secret hope is that she spends the entirety of her fortune and then loses. I bet Romney won’t choose her as a running mate then, because he wants her cash to fund their race for the White House. It may surprise her that she won’t get to live there.

  7. dc says:

    I hadn’t seen the article about Michaan. The theater is a treasure, but Michaan lost a lot of goodwill from people like me when he turned Oakland parking meter policy into World War III last summer.

    It’s hard for me to imagine that primaries in today’s GOP will end up nominating Romney, who signed “Obamacare” into law four years before Obama did, and it’s hard to imagine that he would then choose a running mate whose Republican credentials are as dubious as Whitman’s (as Steve Poizner’s primary ads kept pointing out, she didn’t even vote for Ronald Reagan—unforgiveable!). But two years are a long time in politics, so we’ll see. It would be nice to see her lose a large part of her fortune in the process of losing an election, but somehow I suspect that she’ll still have plenty of money in the bank six months from now.

  8. wordnerd says:

    My Basque vocabulary is up to two: Arizmendi and Anchovy.

  9. dc says:

    wordnerd: don’t forget jai alai!

  10. jabel says:

    I assume they are running the same ad up north where she talks about all the unemployed Californians and then says that politicians tend to forget about that or don’t see it but she “see’s it every day” and I’m like ,Huh?

  11. Naomi Schiff says:

    The hungry masses of Atherton deserve your sympathy.

  12. dc says:

    Yeah, probably not a lot of unemployed in Atherton, with its $1,000,000-plus average household income. Maybe she is thinking of the people who were let go at eBay when she was CEO or sat on its board. Or perhaps she is looking into the future and seeing the 40,000 state workers who she has pledged to lay off if she becomes Governor. (Not that she has specified which positions are extraneous, of course—Schwarzenegger also assumed that there must be a ton of fat to trim in the state government, until he got into office and actually looked at the payrolls.)

  13. wordnerd says:

    anchovy, Arizmendi, jai alai. 3 or 4?

  14. Suze says:

    Of COURSE, there are unemployed people in Atherton!!!!
    They don’t HAVE to work!!!!

  15. Theresa says:

    Yeah walking past her office in my neighborhood kind of freaked me out too. Me being a State employee and all, I wanted to run in the other direction.

  16. ruth gutmann says:

    Great map, dc! It is fun to see where you managed to get to. You may all be making jokes about your gubernatorial election, but I get the chills just thinking about this fall and the congressional elections…

  17. Quercki says:

    It looks like you took your picture before the “candid camera” sign.
    http://oaklandfocus.blogspot.com/2010/08/meg-whitman-oakland-office-surveillance.html

  18. dc says:

    Yes, those surveillance signs went up about a week after I took the picture. I think they have since been taken down again. Now it looks like they’ve posted some large-format brochure about Whitman’s platform instead, although I can’t say for sure because I haven’t read it (hard to imagine that it could say anything that would convince me to vote for her, so…)

Leave a Reply