Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – March 2022

Thumbing through early editions of the Splash Pad News,  we recently came across the following note posted in 2006:

“Week after this, look for a new hot food vendor–Tamearra Dyson’s Souley Vegan Catering.”

Two years later, we reported this:

Over in the Plaza, a lot of dedicated customers are happy to see Souley Vegan back in the fold. Last year, they stopped doing the market in order to concentrate on their permanent location at 431 13th Street–on the fringes of Chinatown. At an Oakland Merchants Leadership Forum meeting I attended several months ago, they talked about farmers markets and flea markets serving a valuable role as business incubators and Souley Vegan is a perfect example. The warm reception they received at the Grand Lake Market gave them the encouragement and capital that allowed them to open a permanent restaurant location.”

Fourteen years later, Souley Vegan now has (in addition to the original Oakland location) restaurants in S.F., L.A. and Las Vegas–all Oakland-grown.  The above-mentioned 2008 post also reported on Phat Matt’s Barbecue.

Another Oakland-based vendor is at the opposite end of the Plaza. Phat Matt’s Barbecue has been cooking up a storm and is busier than ever now that they’ve expanded their menu to include sandwiches priced at $5 to $7. A couple of weeks ago, Matt helped us prepare lunch for volunteers landscaping the Lakeshore Avenue freeway off ramp by barbecuing Tri-Tip steaks donated by Trader Joe’s. They were incredibly delicious. This guy works magic with meats.”

Shortly after this was published, Matt transitioned to a brick and mortar space on Telegraph, where he gained some notoriety (and a lot of new business) when he was featured on the “United States of Food” in 2012 while preparing “bacon-wrapped burnt ends.”

This weekend, Dan Foster announced another Grand Lake Farmers Market vendor who’s about to “graduate”–Poppy Bagels. After congratulating them on Saturday, Dan introduced me to the newest food vendor, “Here and There.” After sharing the success stories listed above, I told them that I was hoping that they, too, would be hugely successful and eventually follow in their predecessor’s footsteps.Even if you’re not a Jeopardy fan, you’ve probably heard about Oakland resident Amy Schneider’s recent 40-game winning streak. That said, unless you’re a Heart & Dagger regular or a patron of Walden Pond bookstore, and/or read C. J. Hirschfield’s interview of Amy published by Oaklandside on February 2, you wouldn’t know that she lives in Adams Point, loves Oakland, and is a big fan of both neighborhood establishments. Congratulations, Amy!

For quite some time, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, the attached preschool program and immediate neighbors have been concerned about cars speeding on Lakeshore Avenue. Those concerns came to a head in January when a speeding car crashed into one of the preschool buildings. In response, they’ve been reaching out to Oakland’s Department of Transportation and to Councilmember Bas’s office looking for solutions. Yesterday, the council member’s Policy Analyst and Community Partnerships Manager, Tiffany Kang, issued an invitation to a meeting at the Mandana Green on Saturday to discuss these issues. Here’s a copy:

Thanks for your advocacy to our office regarding the need for traffic safety measures and stop signs on Lakeshore, especially at Santa Ray/Prince. Our office has been working with the Department of Transportation and Lakeshore Ave Baptist Church to request and prioritize the installation of a stop sign here. Many of you have emailed us about this intersection and/or are connected to the church, Lakeshore Children’s Center, and Crocker Highlands and we appreciate your coordination.
Council President Bas and staff will host office hours in-person at Mandana Green this Saturday, 3/5. We would like to invite you as a group to join us for an appointment from 1:00 – 1:30pm.  Please reply letting us know if you can make it.We know that not all of you will be able to join but we hope that at least several of you can, so that together we can brainstorm solutions and next steps to improve safety.

I hate to kvetch, but here goes: a couple of weeks ago, I parked on the west side of Grand to the left of the school parking lot entrance and came back to find a $73 ticket for parking in a “No Parking at Any Time” zone. The problem is that the curb isn’t painted red and the nearest “No Parking” sign is on the far side of the underpass, in the dark and partially obscured by other signs. In other words, from where I was parked, it’s invisible. After the fact, I noted that there was a stub of a post embedded in the sidewalk and promptly filed an appeal online and also posted a complaint on SeeClickFix. I’m pleased to report that yesterday morning I was contacted by someone from the City who acknowledged the complaint and indicated that a crew would be dispatched to this location to make recommendations for improved signage and/or other measures. You can do me and all the other folks who’ve been ticketed or are about to be ticketed, a big favor by clicking on this link and then urge Public Works to either make these improvements expeditiously or stop issuing tickets.

The above complaint pales in comparison to an even more grievous wrong on the opposite side of the block. Five of the eight spotlights that illuminate the freeway support pillars have been damaged or totally destroyed. This is just a year after the City hired a contractor to replace and/or upgrade all the lighting in Splash Pad Park. We know that at least one of those five lights was destroyed by a homeless individual who set fire to a tent at the base of one of the pillars. There are witnesses to that event who reported that the same individual was responsible for the pile of garbage that overflowed into the street and also that he assaulted one of the Christmas tree lot employees. In this case, you can help by clicking on this SeeClickFix link to request that the lights be replaced but only after OPD works with the Alameda County Health Department to get this guy off the streets, stabilized, and eventually into supportive housing.


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One response to “Odds and Ends – March 2022”

  1. Deborah Frieden Avatar
    Deborah Frieden

    Thanks for promoting these needed changes re traffic and other issues near Lakeshore! We are very happy to hear about the meeting with the council member this weekend and I’ll try to attend. I would like to find out though if anyone is working on two items of safety concern: one is the two left-hand turn lanes from Lakeshore onto Lake Park that cause people in the right left turn lane to cut through the intersection straight ahead instead of turning, creating a very dangerous situation with those cars going straight on to the Lakeshore business District. we filed a complaint sometime ago with DPW but were told that they didn’t see a reason to make any changes, essentially waiting for something horrible to happen. The other issue is the amount of U-turns on Lakeshore business stretch over the double yellow line. This creates traffic blockages but is also dangerous as people are backing up out of their parking spaces looking the other way. I’ve witnessed numerous fender bender’s over the years and I would love to see some kind of barriers down the middle of Lakeshore to stop this illegal behavior. Do you know anyone else who’s working on this or concerned about this? Perhaps the business owners association? Let me know. Thanks!