Oakland First Fridays: Bigger Not Better

Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2013

When it comes to Oakland’s First Friday and Art Murmur scene, Mayor Jean Quan is right about one thing: The downtown co-events are a boon to local restaurants and bars, promoting the idea that at least once a month it’s OK to come to downtown Oakland and hang out.

However, the history of large public festivals in Oakland tell a much different story, one that suggests the city often becomes a victim of its own success.

Can you say Carijama? How about Festival at the Lake?

Both were previously popular Oakland events that drew thousands but ended when the big crowds became unruly mobs.

Now the Art Murmur, and its outgrowth, the First Friday Street Festival, combine for one big monthly night gathering featuring arts, crafts, street performers and food booths in downtown Oakland that has grown in popularity and size—one event drew a record crowd of more than 20,000 people last fall.

The co-events have had some problems, but none as bad as what happened Friday after the street festival when a gunman opened fire and hit four people, killing one.

{snip}

Unfortunately, the mayor’s rose-colored glasses don’t shade the reality faced by the police chief when it comes to the street fair. “It’s definitely gotten bigger than we planned and now we have to find a way to handle it,” [Howard] Jordan said on Monday. He wants to limit the street fair to its original size—between 27th Street and West Grand Avenue, but its popularity has carried crowds down to 19th Street, four blocks beyond its original location.

Jordan’s motivations are different from the mayor’s: He is required to approach the situation as a law enforcement issue while for Quan, the events are political capital. A monthly street fair that draws thousands of people, promotes the city and remains safe is a feather in her cap for a re-election campaign.

{snip}

Oakland doesn’t do big public parties well, it never has. If Quan ignores the city’s history and the sound advice she’s receiving from Jordan, and allows political necessity and hubris to guide her, she is taking a reckless risk and just asking for trouble.

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  • The downtown co-events are a boon to local restaurants and bars

    In a way, they are a boon.

    Now the Art Murmur…

    Sounds like “heart murmur.” He probably has one now!

  • jay11

    City full of ultra liberals crying about ‘white priviledge’ and begging for more ‘diversity.’ Increasing crime and mayhem from the same ‘diversity.’ Anarchists rioting from time to time and chanting death to America. A clueless liberal chinese mayor. I am so glad I do not live there.

  • The__Bobster

    The only way these events are going to continue is if the mudflaps are repelled by their Whiteness.

  • SintiriNikos

    I Google mapped the area and was shocked to see an MLK Way in the area. How can there possibly be violence in an area near a street named after St. Martin? Baffled.

  • A municipality can not have free events if it has a sizable AA population.

  • Some Guy

    Don’t forget there was a shooting there too, but don’t worry folks the shooter will not be charged with murder.

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/crime-law/first-friday-shooting-suspect-not-charged-murder/nWGtn/

  • JohnEngelman

    When I lived in the San Francisco Bay area I frequently visited Oakland’s Chinatown, and the Rockridge area which is almost exclusively white. I was always safe there.

    • Well, good for you, Englepuke. Try walking in downtown Manila and not lose your watch or your wallet. Orientals are only civilized when they are forced to be. They eat monkey brains, englepuke, and they pay top dollar for gall bladders stolen from bears. Go on and hit a home run, englepuke.

      • JohnEngelman

        Name calling is the resort of those who lose arguments.

        Jared Taylor condemned it here:

        http://www.amren.com/features/2013/01/liberal-name-calling/

        • Ask the bears about their murder rates, and ask the monkeys about how much they like having their brains eaten while they are still living.

        • Joy

          Asians are not even remotely the topic here. Why must you turn every single thread into a thread about Asians?

          • JohnEngelman

            This is the topic:

            “Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

            “When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.

            “Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.

            “The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.”

            – Jared Taylor, from “The Color of Crime”
            http://www.colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.html

          • Joy

            I’m very aware of the topic, thank you. It was not your fetish for Asians. It generally is not the topic in every single story on Amren, although you feel a need to derail every single thread to let us know more of the same about your obsession.

          • I am as guilty as anyone about feeding the stupid troll under the bridge, sorry.

  • I fixed the Wiki entry for Conyers:

    Conyers’ wife, Monica, a former President pro tempore of the Detroit City Council, pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept out of status funds in June 2009. This is punishable by up to five years in prison; in March 2010 she was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment, followed by two years supervised probation.

    On June 16, 2009, the United States Attorney’s Office said that two Synagro Technologies representatives had named Monica Conyers as the recipient of out of status funds from the company totaling more than $60,000, paid to influence passage of a contract with the City of Detroit.

  • Unperson

    Oakland doesn’t do big public parties well, it never has.

    Would the DWL sages and seers of the SF Chronicle care to name something that Oakland DOES do well? Or, for that matter, something that ANY heavily-black area does well?

    Now the Art Murmur, and its outgrowth, the First Friday Street Festival, combine for one big monthly night gathering featuring arts, crafts, street performers and food booths in downtown Oakland that has grown in popularity and size—one event drew a record crowd of more than 20,000 people last fall.

    So Oakland’s blacks are suddenly taking an interest in the Arts, are they? Homies, B-boys and Thug-Lifers who previously would never enter a gallery or museum without a gun to their head, are now turning out by the thousands to view the latest in thought-provoking avant-garde painting and sculpture? Or might their attraction to this arts-related street fair have more to do with its being a good place to hit on young, naive, racially-brainwashed white co-eds from SF and Berkeley?

    • Where are the Hell’s Angels when you really need them? They did a damned good job of taking care of hippies in SF and Oakland back in the day.

  • Biff_Maliboo

    “Art Murmer?”

    That’s a pretty insensitive name, isn’t it?

    Makes me want to organize a festival showcasing decorative garden and background water fountains and call it “Trickle-Sell Anemia.”