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Category Archives: Economics

News Flash: BART director doesn’t want to raise fares to the airport (as long as the airport isn’t OAK)

BART is considering adding 2 to 3 dollars more to fares going to San Francisco Airport, in order alleviate the pressure to raise regular fares (there is already $1.50 extra tacked on to BART fares when your ride starts or stops at SFO). Here is what BART director Lynette Sweet told the Contra Costa Times […]

Increased blight in Oakland, here we come

An excerpt from the city’s estimate of how proposed budget cuts would affect the Public Works Department’s ability to provide services (“FTE” stands for “full-time equivalent”): Key Impacts and Mitigations • Park Maintenance: No routine maintenance at 212 locations (mini-parks, neighborhood parks, special use parks, parking lots, plazas, medians and streetscapes) Remaining 60.27 FTE will […]

The Train to Nowhere?

If you’ve ever taken AirBART from the Coliseum BART Station to the Oakland airport, then you know the service is pretty slow and unimpressive, especially considering the $3 fare each way. So you might think that public transit advocates in and around Oakland would be delighted by BART’s proposal to build a faster connection between […]

Sign of the Times

Letters from my landlord don’t come often, and in the past they have usually indicated one thing: higher rent. So when I saw the envelope in yesterday’s mail, my first thought was, “Damnit! How can they raise my rent when rents are falling in the area?” It turns out I had jumped to conclusions: I […]

The Ongoing Legacy of the New Deal

As someone with a casual interest in local history, I was interested to learn from another Oakland blog about the Living New Deal Project at UC Berkeley. In addition to producing a book and collecting testimonials from people who worked on (or witnessed) New Deal projects, the Berkeley scholars are compiling a searchable database of […]

Is San Jose’s mayor out of touch, or just a panderer?

Every so often, newspapers print articles about the struggles of some of the wealthiest people in our country, who are barely scraping by on several hundred thousand dollars a year. The New York Times’s 2007 story on “working class millionaires” in the Bay Area was a classic of the genre. And last year, when the […]

Opportunity Knocks

I said a week or two ago that I was on the lookout for ways that our economic troubles were affecting the look and feel of our cities, but that can be a depressing project, so I’m trying to keep an eye out for hopeful signs too. A surprising number of new bars and restaurants […]

The Texture of an Economic Downturn

The evidence of tough economic times is abundant, and most of us could probably cite numerous statistics or events as examples: An official unemployment rate that is over 8 percent (double digits here in California—we’ve always been trendsetters!); enormous companies entering bankruptcy or limping along with subsidies (sorry, make that “capital injections”) from taxpayers; tent […]

“Now Open,” Now Closed

This billboard near my home has outlived the business whose opening it was advertising. (The dealership only lasted for two months and closed a few weeks ago. We’ll see how long the billboad lasts.)

Walmart on the March

I feel like I’ve seen this in different form somewhere before, but this is a cool visualization of the uncool spread of Walmart across the United States, from FlowingData. Store count is in upper left, year is in lower right. I’ve been riding right past Oakland’s very own Walmart this week on my commute. (“Right […]

Opportunity Knocks

The New York Times had an article a few weeks ago with the headline “Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches.” Slate’s press critic, Jack Shafer, who has never met a trend story that he didn’t want to debunk, posted a rebuttal a week later, citing Gallup research suggesting that church attendance did not increase […]