Jerryfication: The Chronicle gives my town’s Mayor Brown a mixed report card halfway through his term. Crime is down by 29 percent (“Riders” notwithstanding, I guess I feel safer — I haven’t been attacked yet, though somebody did smash a window on my car back in September); there has been little progress on arts and education; developers have been happily hammering away at Jack London Square and around Lake Merritt (way costly, and frighteningly prone to being left incomplete come the recession), yadda yadda yadda.
What did catch my eye:
“In addition, the 10K plan has yet to attract much shopping and amenities that would complete Brown’s vision of a 24-hour downtown. A long-promised Gap is expected to open near City Hall this summer, but deals with other major retailers are still in the discussion stage.” Should there be a Gap there, really? When neither the Starbucks in City Center nor the Tully’s at 14th and Broadway will stay open after 6:30 p.m.? Did I just say that? Not that more Starbucks solve anything, either. “A city-sponsored art gallery near City Hall is scheduled to open by May. Construction on Oakland’s largest public art project to date — a $250,000 industrial mix of motion-activated lights, guardrails and rubber sidewalks to brighten Broadway under Interstate 880 — is expected to begin next month.” A quarter of a million dollars, right? Money that could go to upkeep and improvements like brighter lights. I love me some public art, but this isn’t the place to put it. That stretch of Broadway is not a destination, it’s a path to destinations. Slapping an installation there isn’t going to make it one. “As for his future, Brown would not say whether he’ll seek a second term as mayor or if he is eyeing Washington — either a U.S. Senate seat or a fourth run for president — as has been rumored. His decision, and announcement, will come soon, Brown said. ‘I believe I can make a contribution to clarifying the urban situation in 21st Century America,’ he said.” Well, good for you, Jerry. I hope you let the rest of us know soon, so we can plan accordingly.