Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – July 2021

Monday morning, we received the following email from Tessa Quintanilla, the Project Manager from EAH Housing, about the building that houses Vegan Mob (formerly Kwik Way).
“Thought I should reach out to you to give you a heads-up about some events this weekend at 500 Lake Park, as you may have some questions after going by the site. One of Vegan Mob’s vendors hit one of the building’s ‘wings’ with its truck (not for the first time) and knocked it off its support post. The damage was so bad that it could not be repaired this time and it was in danger of falling down, so we had it removed. We are currently looking into having the other side taken down for safety/aesthetic reasons.”
The building now looks a bit naked without its “wing,” but it’s not a major loss long-term since it was coming down anyway when construction starts on the affordable housing development planned for the site.
Last month, we were sorry to have to report that Doug Stonebreaker had resigned his StoneRootFarms partnership with Gary Root as a consequence of a major drought that made the grass scarce and brown in early spring. That’s just not an environment suitable for raising grass-fed beef. A revealing (but also depressing) article by Tara Dugan in the June 9th SF Chronicle notes that dairy owners are having to truck in water for their cows and also reveals the extent to which the current drought is going to impact farmers and ranchers throughout the state. Here’s what she had to says about the largest vegetable grower in Sonoma County.
“Normally, Humberto Castañeda Produce grows heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, watermelons and other crops on its 180-acre farm outside of Santa Rosa. But this year, Humberto Castañeda and his son, Gabriel, are planting only 17 acres after receiving a fraction of their normal allotment of water.”
As we warned last month, farmers market shoppers should expect to see higher prices due to reduced yields, but it’s also important to note that our local farmers will be that much more in need of community support.
In a June 28 article in The Oaklandside, Natalie Orenstein shared the results of a nationwide study that ranked Oakland as the 14th most segregated large city in the United States (that’s become more so over time), despite our reputation for incredible diversity. Fortunately, as this map detail shows, there remain multiple pockets of multiculturalism within a mile’s radius of Splash Pad Park, including the Cleveland Heights neighborhood, Glenview, around Lake Merritt, and between Grand and Lakeshore above Mandana.
We’re concluding this month’s Odds and Ends with another Oaklandside article. This one by C. J. Hirschfield is about the recent sale of the Bellevue Club. Here are her two introductory paragraphs:

“Oakland’s Bellevue Club, an imposing six-story edifice on the northern shore of Lake Merritt, with interior decorations inspired by Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon, a pool, dining rooms, private lodging, and more, was on the verge of closing 15 years ago. Somehow, the historic private clubhouse valiantly managed to hang on, despite its aging and dwindling membership.

But the pandemic, which forced the closure of all of its revenue-producing enterprises, put the final nail in the coffin, and on June 16, the club’s Beaux Arts building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be sold.”





2 responses to “Odds and Ends – July 2021”

  1. PETRA MARIA Avatar

    Hello! Loving receiving your Splash Pad News updates ;-D Hope you are well and enjoying your summer! I’ve got a few questions about the Vegan Mob site you mention here. . . I did hear about an affordable housing project that is supposed to be going up in that spot some time ago . . . my questions are. . .
    >>Does this mean we’re going to lose Vegan Mob at that site?!?
    >>When does the construction begin?!?
    >> When will people be able to apply for housing, and is it being designated for a specific income group?!?

    Thanks. . . appreciate you!


    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      Petra, Thank you for your inquiry. Construction will begin once EAH has garnered sufficient funding which will probably be in the next year or so. Yes. Vegan Mob will have to relocate during construction but hopefully, they’ll be able to find a suitable location nearby or maybe even revert temporarily to selling from a food truck. The project includes a large ground-floor retail space which they can apply for but the previous property owner has maintained the rights to this space and will likely need some serious lobbying from all the community members who are devoted customers. As to your other question, we reported on the EAH proposal in the September 2018 Splash Pad News:

      “Earlier this year, the Hahn family decided to negotiate the sale to EAH that was just concluded. The original plans shared in 2016 are currently being revised to accommodate additional parking for Bank of America customers in keeping with the B of A’s long-term lease. As a result, EAH isn’t in a position to announce the total number of units that will be available, but it’s likely to be around fifty. What EAH is guaranteeing is that the units will be affordable and open to families earning between 20% and 80% of the Area Median Income. Susan Dutton, speaking on behalf of EAH, emphasized that family-oriented means everything from families with toddlers to senior citizens.”