Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Safeway Rockridge Oakland - A Talk With Ken Lowney

The controversial proposal to build a new, expanded Safeway Rockridge Oakland complex has gone on for something like five years and three major design changes. The last time I weighed in on this design, it was because the product was awful. This time that's changed, as has the economic climate.

I talked to Ken Lowney, of Lowney and Associates Architects about what I think is an exciting new design that adds up to be a net plus for Rockridge. It also has the added advantage of having been created by a person in Mr. Lowney who actually lives in Rockridge. Because of that, "it's a very personal project for me," he says.

As the video shows, the new Safeway Rockridge Oakland is a far cry from the original plan. It actually fits and conforms to its surroundings, and provides a gift in the form of a triangular over-look cafe on the corner of Claremont and College Avenue.

But that's design; my background is in city planning, and my specialization is in urban economic development. The fact is that, in a Bay Area with double-digit unemployment in many counties, and hovering between 15 percent and 17 percent in Oakland, we need to build this complex.

It's not 2008 any more. We're in the middle of a massive Worldwide credit crunch that not only shows no signs of loosening up, it's buttressed by a terrible virus of anti-spending rhetoric, the timing of which is so bad it may plunge this economy into recession.

It's time to change our views and make sure that we in Oakland have as much new business in the economic pipeline as possible.

Please support this project.

Ashley Hebert Bachelorette Blog Gets Race-Hate Emails

Yesterday's blog called " Ashley Hebert, Bachelorette Picks White Guy From Group Of White Guys" where I blasted the show for failing to have a diverse cast like that of Big Brother, the CBS show which won the Sunday ratings race over the ABC show, got some racist emails.

Say, one good thing, the men who wrote like Ashley Hebert. But if she were to be seen with a black guy, I suppose all that would end. Sad - for them. The civilized World doesn't care at all.

One person, who didn't read my blog post well at all, wanted me to defend all-black shows, even though I wrote this:

And in case you’re wondering, if The Bachelorette was all black, I’d say the same thing. I don’t like racial segregation, or television programs that quietly promote it via the images shown, although I do support the need for America to see a slice of black life in the USA, given the history of discrimination that’s worked to keep such images off TV, that is, until the last 30 years. (But even then, you can’t tell the African American story is a racist vacuum. It just doesn’t hold water.)

Once I reminded him of that paragraph, he became a different person and calmed down. But that written, I do like BET. Moreover, I didn't say I disliked the Bachelorette as a concept, just how it's produced.

One thing I'll say, is that man who sent the email - and the emails were all from men and presumably white, given their stance and anger, as I didn't ask for a photo - didn't use the N-word, and seemed capable of a reasonable exchange. But he was the only person for which that was the case, and the others I didn't bother.

Like Larry Kyper who's email is This is what Larry sent:

Hey you forgot one more possibility. Maybe she doesn't care to breed with a fucking NIGGER.
Or be beat, cut ,slashed, murdered or simply have a useless APE lying around her home getting
ready to put an end to her credit rating. You niggers see racism everywhere you look.

You niggers seem to forget you represent only 13% of the population that means we should
only have to see 13 niggers for every 100 beautiful White personypu see on TV. What more do you want,
ALL of daytime TV is devoted to niggers who else is sitting at home watching the idiot box while people
are supposed to be at WORK. Worthless niggers of course.


I could fill up this post with more examples - oh, why not one more.

I present to you, David D. Huff who's at, and according to a search that took all of 3 minutes, the President of Computer Critters Inc of Hudson, Ohio (Interesting how many of these emails come from companies, which shows you what some people do at work, not to mention gives you a window into what that cubicle worker might think about you, especially if you're black.)

Here's Mr. Huff:

WTF BOY sounds like you got a personal problem, you got niggers in every TV program.

Take the hint BOY she is white she wants a WHITE MAN!

Take to heart and pray to God we never tangle.

Tangle? Wild, man.

As is evident by these, and other emails - and I will "out" people who send communications that express race hatred - there are people who can't stand the diverse American society around them. It's important to know who these folks are, because we don't want to see a repeat of the Oslo, Norway shooting on American soil.

I hold out hope that these men, and the others, have better hearts than reflected to me. I also hope the Bachelorette producers, and ABC, can see how they're playing into the racist desires of some in America.

Time to stop.

Stay tuned.