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Important Miscellaneous Stuff

Learning something new each month

As a new publisher, I make mistakes. Hopefully, I also learn from them.

Last month, I published Jerry Barclay’s “On the Street” article about the Oakland Dept. of Transportation’s (OakDOT) proposal for repaving Grand Avenue to include bike paths, reduce parking spaces, and make numerous other changes to the street layout. While the article was factually accurate about the specific proposed changes and was vetted by OakDOT as such, it was also clearly an opinion piece.

In retrospect, I recognize that publishing that article was, journalistically, a bad practice. I should have published one article that clearly and dispassionately laid out the plan and then solicited pro and con opinion articles to be printed that month or the following month.  That is how I will approach such issues in the future.

It’s not surprising that controversial issues generate polarized opinions. How do we, as a community, find solutions that address the needs of all the affected communities—in this case, the bike-riding, car-riding, and walking customers as well as the business owners? That is our challenge.

While collecting more comments than this site has ever received about a single article, one neighbor volunteered to write an article about why she supports the OakDOT plan. I know there are many more opinions and facets of this discussion. I ask that you place them in the comments and/or contact me at about submitting an article for next month.

Your opinion is requested

The Grand Avenue Business Association has persuaded OakDOT to recognize input about the bicycle plan, if it is gathered. The official feedback form takes just a few minutes to complete—it asks if you support, oppose, or have no opinion on the plan and why.

New restaurant coming to Grand Avenue

Sign for new restaurant

We were so sad to see Ikaros close their Grand Avenue location after 15 years, but are pleased to welcome Bayleaf—an Indian & Himalayan restaurant into that space. The sign says “Coming Soon.”

Sadly, “soon” too often translates to six months to a year. Let’s hope that it will come sooner than that!

Congrats to Ruth Stroup on her retirement

Ken Katz asked me to acknowledge Ruth Stroup, long-time Farmers’ Insurance agent on Grand Avenue upon her retirement. I remember Ruth for her fabulous neighborhood shopping bags and her cute smart car. Ken says that she was very supportive of the Grand Lake Neighbors and the community as a whole. “Perhaps the best example was a major contribution she made to the farmers’ market to fund free bounty boxes during the height of the pandemic.”

Thanks, Ruth, for all that you did. Ruth sold her agency to one of her employees, Odalis Ordonez, who has already taken up the community mantle by sponsoring a community shred day.

Farmers’ Market Entertainment Calendar

May 11 – French American Trio

May 18 – diego j

May 25 – Ashley Jemison

Tru Gourmet gets the KQED “youth takeover” treatment

Dim Sum

Tru Gourmet, the dim sum vendor at the Farmers’ Market, was recently written up for the KQED website by high schooler and “youth takeover” participant Nadege Mulamba. It’s a great story about a unique food creator who gets as much from their customers as they give. Find the story here: How a Dumpling Chef Brought Dim Sum to Bay Area Farmers Markets

By debra chaplan

Debra Chaplan became the publisher of the Splashpad News in February 2024. She’s lived in the Grand Lake neighborhood for 30 years. With a career doing communications and educational programming for several unions, she’s pleased to use those skills for the neighborhood and city that she loves.



6 responses to “Important Miscellaneous Stuff”

  1. I was also really shocked and put off by that opinion piece as well (rants like that are what Nextdoor is for, ha ha!), and I’m very glad to read that you’re righting the ship. But no harm done! More than anything I’m SO grateful for your work in taking over this newsletter! Thank you!

  2. I commend you for taking seriously the important job of publishing what is effectively a neighborhood newspaper. Last month’s article was definitely an opinion piece and while I found it frustrating to read (due the lack of research, misunderstanding of how street design affects retail, and generally minimizing the injury and death of people outside cars) I am happy to see the response from the community and your willingness to publish another viewpoint.

    If you ever want to set this up as an optionally paid publication (like on, I would be happy to subscribe and/or help set up the infrastructure for you.

  3. Mike R Avatar

    Thank you for posting this Debra – and thank you so much for publishing this newsletter every month!

  4. Richard Weiss Avatar
    Richard Weiss

    Don’t beat yourself up too much about the mistake. You’re spending a great deal of your own time and effort in service to the community. I hope my fellow readers appreciate that. Thanks for your continuing work!

    1. Debra Chaplan Avatar
      Debra Chaplan

      Thank you!

    2. Raechel Avatar

      Hear, hear!

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