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Van Jones, founder of the Oakland-based Green For All and Ella Baker Center for Human Rights received the 2010 NAACP Image Award last week. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People honored the former “green jobs” advisor for his innovative work in social justice.

His book “The Green Collar Economy” promoted the notion that blue-collar workers could start and sustain green development. While at the White House, Van Jones worked on several green technology projects, including a rooftop garden installation with DC Green Works. Then Glenn Beck’s whole Nothing Storm descended upon the media and Van Jones left office.

No hard feelings, though. Van Jones “recently landed at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, and at Princeton University, where he will teach environmental and economic policy.” As the text of his acceptance speech indicates, he has nothing but love for others despite the setbacks:

(Transcript of Van Jones’s speech accepting 2010 NAACP President’s Award at the Image Awards)

VAN JONES: First of all giving honor to God and also to my mother Loretta Jean Kirkendall Jones–let me get it right. Get that right, straight! I want to thank my beautiful wife and our two boys Matai and Cabral. I want to thank the staff and supporters of Green for All, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change, incredible freedom fighting organizations. I also want to give a shout out and a salute to President Barack Obama. President Barack Obama who is a world-class leader, a man who volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg, and we’re still floating, and we’re still floating. Let’s stay with this president!

And I also want to thank the NAACP for encouraging me to continue in my quest. It took a lot of courage for Ben Jealous to nominate me for this award and to give to me this award. I appreciate that courage, and I appreciate the courage of the NAACP.

I have had 1,000 defeats in this past year, but I had one victory, and it’s the most important victory to me: I don’t hate anybody. I’m not mad at anybody, and I still believe in the politics of hope. I still believe! You can’t take that from me. You can’t take it from me.

And I know one thing, we have people in every community in America right now watching this program who don’t have jobs, who are suffering, who are afraid, living in economic uncertainty, and I know there’s a future out there for them where they get a chance to make the products of tomorrow. If we want the jobs of tomorrow, we have to make the products of tomorrow. There’s somebody right now who’s in Detroit, and they know how to make cars. They’re a skilled machinist, but they’re idle. Let them make the wind turbines and the smart batteries and the solar panels to repower this country. Let them work! Give them hope! Give them the opportunity!

There’s somebody right now who’s living in Appalachia, who’s living in rural America, who’s afraid she’s going to lose her land because she doesn’t have enough sources of income. Let her put those wind turbines up. Let her grow an energy crop. Give her the opportunity to hold on to her land and be a part of this energy revolution. Let’s get everybody involved in repowering America in a clean way.

And for a country that beautiful, that prosperous, that innovative, that united, I am willing to walk through fire and brimstone and fire and brimstone until we get the job done.

The last thing I want to say is this. To my fellow countryman, Mr. Glenn Beck, I see you and I love you, brother. I love you and you cannot do anything about it. I love you and you cannot do anything about it. Let’s be one country! Let’s be one country. Let’s get the job done.

This week, citizens raised a ruckus at City Hall about Oakland’s parking meters. Yet, despite their outcry, the City Council has maintained its extension of meter operation hours until 8 p.m. To add insult to injury, Oaklanders face increased ticket fees starting at around $50 and credit card operated meters require a minimum of $2. And the coin-operated meters? Parkers beware: meter maids will write up a ticket regardless if they’re broken.

Perhaps drivers have Carl C. Magee of Oklahoma City to thank. He is widely known as the inventor of the parking meter, which he patented in 1935; the debate over paying for public space has been raging ever since.

When Magee’s invention hit Oakland’s Park Boulevard circa 1979, one Glenviewer took issue. His neighborhood newsletter can be found in the Oakland Public Library’s Oakland History Room:


A realtor named Donald C. Smart published this rag as a thinly veiled advertisement for his business. More compelling than his business slogan “Be Smart!” were his columns on neighborhood lore, events and a curious rant about the installation of parking meters in the Glenview:


“Shoppers in the Glenview district have watched the recent installation of parking meters with mixed emotions. Sure enough—meters deter all-day parkers. Parking space is a scarce resource and as the economists observe, if you want to optimize the use of scarce resources, you should charge the user.

“It is interesting to note that two-hour meters were installed in preference to meters of say, one-hour or one half-hour, etc. That should please the beauty shop operators, whose customers often require that much time.

“But the basic anchor stores of the Glenview shopping district—the stores that do the largest dollar volume of business and attract the greatest number of customers (such as the grocery and hardware stores)—those stores and their patrons can hardly benefit from two-hour meters.

“Perhaps experience will change some views in this matter, and changes will be made, especially if you have feelings in this matter and make them known at City Hall.”

…Twenty years later, Oaklanders seem to have answered Smart’s call to action. And while the move to rollback the cut-off time to 6 p.m. fell one vote short this week, the City Council will revisit the topic, wrote Councilmember Jean Quan in her newsletter today, at their October 6 meeting.

Adding to the mix is the proliferation of cars in Glenview’s business district. Some residents have expressed concern that the growing number of popular restaurants will overwhelm the number of meters along Park Boulevard.

Looks like the best option for Oaklanders is to exchange their four wheels for two.

Elsinore Walk, aka Path #49

Elsinore Walk, aka Path #49

Walkers, strollers, bikers, and especially all you four-wheelers: Oakland needs you to restore its pedestrian paths. Tomorrow, at 9:30 a.m., volunteers from Oakland Urban Paths will lead a group of ped-lovers through a few stairways in the Glenview. Volunteers will measure stairs and other data while trekking in the footsteps of old Oaklanders.

Not since the streetcars ran the streets did these walkways etch their way into, beside and behind the street grid. Now OUP, in partnership with the City of Oakland and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, leads its citizen recruits to preserve them from overgrowth and ruin. Come be a part of the action tomorrow and get micro on the following routes:

These are the paths that OUP plans to chart this Sunday.

These are the paths that OUP plans to chart this Sunday.

If you’ve explored a handful of the city’s walkways, you’ve noticed that they’re in varying states of disrepair. Glenview paths, for the most part, have retained their early 20th-century splendor. Elsinore Walk still has good signage. Others, like Paths #53 and 54 off Trestle Glen, have needed some major renovation. Some have leaning handrails and concrete cracked open from seismic shifts or erosion, and the Trestle Glen side of Glendora Path (#51) is completely blocked off:


That’s where OUP comes in. Its inventory project will track each of the city’s seven districts. Volunteers have already set out to collect information on Oakland’s walkways, and after October 19, OUP will share its data with the city for the next step: renovation.

So GlenFriends: bring yourselves and the following items tomorrow, Sunday, September 19:

1) water bottle
2) sunscreen
3) clip board
4) measuring tape
5) pen
6) digital cameras if you got ’em

We will meet outside Ultimate Grounds at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to look over the volunteer waiver and sign it when you arrive. (You could even save the effort a few cents by printing it out yourself and bringing it with you.) If you’d like to hear the latest inventory updates on Districts 3 and 5, log on to Yahoo! Groups and sign up with oakland_upd3d5.

If you’ll have to miss this Sunday, but want to help out with other stairway inventories, check out the following District Leaders. They will happily sign you up for a data trek:

09/20/09 UPDATE:

This morning, OUP volunteers took stock of five Glenview walkways. Both legs of Elsinore Walk and #63 off Park Boulevard didn’t yield many unusual findings. Glendora Path, however, was a surprise. A sign at the top seems to indicate that it’s a public path:


Yet, a few paces into the bamboo-lined walk, the path makes a sharp right and dead ends a few houses down. If you’ve wandered this way, you’ve probably tripped over the loose rocks and yellow “Caution!” tape. Rather than wind down to Path #52 on Elbert Street, Glendora leads right into someone’s backyard.

A couple neighbors met us on our visit. They had one thing to say about Glendora Path: it isn’t public.

“This was created by the city for fire department access,” said one mother with kids in tow. “The houses along this path were built without outlets to Elbert Street, so we use this path and our Elbert neighbors’ personal paths to get home. It’s really a private path, and it would be nice if the city removed the sign so people don’t walk along here.”

Since the climb from Elbert Street (and through her neighbor’s property) is a little steep, she tends to park on Glendora and take the path to her backyard gate. Another neighbor returning to his Glendora Avenue home claimed that the path has been only loosely private since the 1970s.

Either way, public or private, Glendora Path is little more than a sign. GlenFriends and other urban explorers might want to skip this leg of their walking tour and give these path-dwellers their privacy.

Not to worry, Oakland has more then 200 paths and stairs from which to choose. Check out walk-bike-oakland-map to plot your next walk.