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via The Bay Citizen

Two recent stories reported what many people looking to live in San Francisco have already discerned from dismal housing searches: The rental market is clogged and expensive, and home prices are the highest in the country.

It seems accounts of the city’s second tech boom and its effect on the rental market are churned out daily, but recent stories are buoyed by some sobering numbers. A piece that ran in the Wall Street Journal yesterday described the tribulations of tech-sector folks trying to land apartments in the city.

A constricted real estate market and new workers moving in from outside San Francisco all contributed to “the nation’s fastest-rising costs to rent a home in the first three months of this year,” where “average monthly rent hit $1,888, up 5.9% from a year earlier.”

An owner of a property management company admitted to boosting the rent on a 600-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment in the Mission by 40 percent, to $2,800 a month.

The Mission neighborhood, a locus of hipster culture in the city, is in high demand. The cheapest apartment in the area currently listed on Craigslist is a 330-square-foot studio for $1,450, and the most expensive is a $7,000 “master suite” on the top floor of a condo.

And things aren’t much rosier for buyers. Business Insider reported that the median home price in San Francisco is $585,000, making it the most expensive city in the nation for homebuyers. New York clocked in at $450,000.

Meanwhile, housing construction has slowed in the Bay Area, the debate over affordable housing rages on at City Hall, and fewer builders are including affordable housing in their developments.

The issue of owners renting out homes as short-term vacation rentals instead of long-term housing also has squeezed the market, though Supervisor David Chiu introduced legislation [PDF] to reverse the trend and the city recently decided to apply the hotel tax to short-term rental website Airbnb. But high-profile events like the America’s Cup yacht race create attractive opportunities for those looking to use their homes like hotels: A search for “America’s Cup” on Craigslist turns up 111 returns for the San Francisco Bay Area section.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/1fY4k)

via East Bay Express

Looks like Art & Soul is going to be awesome this year, and we’re a part of it. More exciting announcements to come soon!

And this year East Bay Express helped quarterback the event, partnering up with the city of Oakland to bring additional arts programming from The Crucible, NIMBY, Oakland Underground Film Festival, Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and a slew of other worthy organizations. Not to mention we booked the eponymous EBX Plaza Stage, which will feature DJ Dyloot, Metal Mother, Saviours, Vetiver, Forrest Day, Persephone’s Bees, long-standing local hip-hop group Souls of Mischief, indie fourtet Churches, and Oceanography.

Then of course, there are the tentpole headliners: Luce and Blame Sally will perform at the KFOG Main Stage on Saturday, while R&B singers Kellye Gray and Lalah Hathaway will dominate Sunday’s lineup, under the auspice of KBLX 102.9 FM. Saturday’s lineup also features a Community Unity Gospel Stage capped by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, followed, on Sunday, by the Bay Area Blues Society showcase. It’s a new spin on the usual format, and we’re certainly thrilled to be part of it.

It’s been 40 years since our beloved A’s brought home their first Oakland World Championship.

Reggie, Vida, Rollie, Sal, Joe, Catfish and the rest of the boys put Oakland in the MLB history books.
The Athletics hadn’t won a World Championship since 1930 when the team was in Philadelphia.
In just their 5th season in Oakland they brought home the Commissioners Trophy, making Oakland
a city of Champions.

This new t-shirt, ’72’, by EBX Loakal celebrates the team who put Oakland on the map 40 sweet years ago.

’72’ is available for purchase at ebxloakal.com

An artist’s rendering of the Warriors’ proposed new arena on a San Francisco pier

via Good.is

Last night I watched my hometown baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, get shut out by their most hated rival in front of a crowd of barely 11,000 people while simultaneously reading news reports about Oakland’s basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, moving across the Bay to San Francisco. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so personally betrayed by sports.

I’m not even a Warriors fan—an uncle’s season ticket package made me root for the Portland Trail Blazers years before I moved to the Bay Area in middle school. But I am and will always be an Oakland fan, and anybody who’s ever loved a city should be able to appreciate how taking away a sports team strips away part of its soul.

At a news conference yesterday, Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber announced plans to relocate the team from its Oakland arena to a brand-new, privately funded $500 million facility at a San Francisco pier currently used for parking. The site will include restaurant and retail space and will be closer to the region’s wealth, much of which is in San Francisco and neighboring Marin County, and almost none of which is in Oakland, the perpetual underdog.

Logic suggests that moving the Warriors a measly 15 miles away shouldn’t matter to those who already support the team, especially when they always purported to represent the entire Bay Area. But the fact that Lacob considered it so important to leave Oakland, the Warriors’ home for four decades, reveals both a deep disrespect for the community that supported the team and a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of a team owner.

The usual reasons owners move teams to new cities—low attendance or a decrepit arena—don’t hold water in the Warriors’ case. The team’s coliseum is perfectly adequate, and despite losing all the time, they have the 10th-highest attendance in the league. They didn’t need to move, Lacob wanted to move.

It was obvious from his first press conference as owner that he wanted to be in the bigger, shinier city—he took questions in a hotel ballroom in downtown San Francisco, not in the Oracle Coliseum or anywhere else in the team’s actual hometown. And he was surprisingly candid yesterday when asked about the conventional wisdom that the team would attract better players and thus win more games in San Francisco than in Oakland. “That’s debatable, whether this will make the team better,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Moving the Warriors is about image, not results. Oakland is associated with crime and poverty and bad schools and police brutality; San Francisco with great restaurants and expensive real estate and yuppies and hipsters. If you were a billionaire investor and sports team owner, you’d make the same choice.

The owners’ decision is logical but not defensible. Sports teams owe a unique debt to their communities. Lacob and Gruber shouldn’t have been allowed to buy the team if they intended to betray the hometown fans as soon as they had the chance. Oakland fans didn’t buy tickets to Warriors game simply because it was so much fun to watch them get blown out every night. They made the conscious decision to invest in their hometown. Many of them assumed that buying tickets would help improve the city they love. And in exchange, they got sold out by a greedy owner.

San Francisco has plenty of crime and bad schools too, and Oakland its share of great restaurants and hipsters. A city’s image is largely a sales job, and billionaire team owners should be key salesmen. The hundreds of acres of restaurants and shops that Lacob is planning to surround the Warriors’ new home could easily have occupied the hundreds of open acres near Oracle Arena, and they would have made money—anyone who’s ever tried to eat something before a game or hang out afterward would pay quite the premium for some options.

By the time the Warriors tip off in their new home in 2017, the A’s likely will have already fled the East Bay. The Raiders may not be far behind; Los Angeles is openly trying to woo them away. It’s easy to imagine Oakland going from three sports teams to zero in the next few years, hurting a city I love in ways much more tangible than image. I still believe in Oakland. I just wish the occasional billionaire did, too.

Illustration by Art Zendarski, courtesy of the Golden State Warriors

Johannes Mehserle, the former BART cop who spent nearly a year in prison for shooting dead Oscar Grant at BART station in 2009, asked an appeals court today to overturn his conviction so that he can get a job in law enforcement again.

Attorneys representing Mehserle said he should not have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter because all he did was “make an error,” and that this prosecution was nothing more than politics.

“This was simply an accident,” attorney Michael Rains told KTVU in front of the courthouse today. “In California … we know that police officers have made this same accident in nine other cases, there have been no other criminal prosecutions. This was an accident, not a crime.”

Mehserle was convicted in 2010 for the shooting death of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day in 2009. Mehserle says he didn’t mean to shoot Grant, who was unarmed and lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform when he was killed. Mehserle argued in court that he meant to grab for his Taser, but accidentally pulled out his gun and fired one shot in Grant’s back, killing him instantly. The shooting was recorded by other BART passengers, which was used as evidence in his trial.

The emotionally charged trial pitted the black community against local law enforcement, at times provoking violent protests in Oakland. However, a jury finally decided that while Mehserle didn’t mean to kill Grant, his actions were grossly negligent and certainly criminal.

The tension between police and the community increased when Mehserle served only 11 months of his two-year sentence, after he was released last year on good behavior.

Although, things could get even more strained if the court grants Mehserle’s request, and he eventually is back on the streets, enforcing the law.

Hey guys! You’ve probably been seeing a whole lot of content being generated from us regarding something called Loakal so I want to formally introduce what is really going on here.

Loakal is an apparel and design collaboration between East Bay Express and fiftyseven-thirtythree. All design is Oakland-themed, including imagery and typography.  The goal of the project is to promote an inclusive Oakland. This includes well known areas, but also the unexplored Oakland.  Loakal merchandise will be available on fiftyseven-thirtythree.com.  A percentage of the sales will go to an Oakland charitable cause .  Enjoy!

Stay posted on Loakal via Facebook and Twitter.

Hey Friends, we know today many of you are observing May Day, especially in Oakland where there is a General Strike going on.  We are just asking all of you to make wise decisions out there and be careful, for yourself and the small businesses located in areas of protest. We too, believe in the power of the people.  Please don’t lose sight of what we are protesting for.  Have a great May Day out there.