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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Oakland

I was a local reporter in Oakland from 2008 to 2011. I spent my days chasing down politicians, sampling food, listening to music, profiling interesting folks who live in Oakland and covering events such as the protests following the shooting of Oscar Grant, the inauguration of Mayor Jean Quan and the ongoing budget crisis. I […]

World Tripping

  Over the years I’ve traveled to dozens of countries, so I decided to put together a little photo gallery of some of my favorite photos from each place. Almost all of the photos were taken on my good ole Nikon FM2 and with film (of course). I’m missing photos from a few countries I’ve […]

Sacramento’s Tent City

Blocks from downtown Sacramento, on top of a toxic waste dump saddled by the American river on one side, train tracks on another and an endless grid of power lines above, live hundreds of homeless people under tarps, tents and plastic-walled makeshift “homes.” After over a year of squatting here virtually unnoticed, these folks inadvertently […]

IS THERE A MONSTER IN LAKE MERRITT? SCIENTIST SAYS YES!

Published June 22, 2011 on Oakland North
Few know what lurks the depths of the murky, brackish, crustacean-filled Lake Merritt. Few know what beastly beast, what cryptid, what leviathan, what man-eating monster could be swimming below, slithering through those fetid waters. Few know… but many have seen.

Oakland Muralist Dan Fontes Paints Massive Giraffes, 20-Foot Sea Turtles

Published June 8, 2011 on The Bay Citizen
Nearly 30 years ago, Dan Fontes was under a highway painting on a massive round concrete support beam. With cars speeding by, he diligently worked on his piece of art: a realistic depiction of a 30-foot tall giraffe craning its neck up toward the freeway. As Fontes painted, a police car pulled up.

Under the Volcano

Published May 2011 on Guernica
Elected in 2009, leftist Mauricio Funes became the first Salvadoran president to apologize for government death squads. Dara Kerr investigates the massacre and subsequent cover-up, the U.S. role in the killings, and the backdrop for an unprecedented apology.

Despite criticism, Harold Camping remains adamant the world is ending

Published May 25, 2011 on Oakland North
On Saturday, May 21, a colossal global earthquake—the likes of which no one has ever felt before—was supposed to tear across the Earth. Saturday was to be the first day of the Rapture or Judgment Day, according to predictions by Harold Camping. But May 21 came and went.

Nieves Cinco de Mayo serves up corn, cactus and rose petal ice cream

Published May 18, 2011 on Oakland North
Tucked away inside a little market in Fruitvale Village is a small counter-service-only ice cream shop called Nieves Cinco de Mayo. A big chalkboard displays which ice cream flavors are on the menu for the day: corn, spearmint, lemon cream, eggnog, rose petal, cheese and more.

Tombstone engravers carve memories into stone

Published May 12, 2011 on Oakland North
On a hot spring afternoon, Javier Delgado Jimenez kneels on the grass at Mountain View Cemetery. He is poised over a flat gravestone and wearing a gas mask, knee guards, long work gloves and a white hood with a clear plastic visor. Jimenez is an engraver and he is sandblasting a new name into an older family gravestone.

Is Oakland ready for its next big earthquake?

Published May 3, 2011 on Oakland North
Oakland is overdue for a major earthquake. The Hayward Fault, which runs along Highway 13 at the foot of the Oakland hills and streams through the Oakland Zoo and Mills College, has produced a significant earthquake on average every 140 years for nearly the past millennium. The last substantial earthquake caused by this fault was in 1868 … that was 143 years ago.

Ghosts of El Salvador

Published May 2011 in Brink
Salvadorans have determined to acknowledge and investigate the atrocities of their country’s civil war. Our reporter shines a light on a buried war crime that should change the way the current generation understands its history.

If California no longer has a drought, what does that mean?

Published April 19, 2011 on Oakland North
Water supply has always been a tough issue in California and residents have long been warned to conserve. But now, if you go to the California Department of Water Resources’ drought Web page, you’ll only find this message: “The DWR Drought Web site has been shutdown due to no longer being in an official drought.”

Still no court decision on the Fruitvale gang injunction

Published February 24, 2011 on Oakland North
During the Fruitvale gang injunction hearing, prosecutors painted alleged gang member Abel Manzo as an abusive criminal, while defense attorneys portrayed him as young man trying to make a better life for himself.

Brewing beer with Oakland’s Linden Street Brewery

Published February 18, 2011 on Oakland North
Perched above a steaming stainless steel cauldron, Adam Lamoreaux rhythmically stirs the contents with a large metal oar. Inside, a thick amber-colored concoction of cracked grains and hot water simmers. Lamoreaux is mashing grain to make his Urban People’s Common Lager.

Fed Up with Official Foot-Dragging, Bordertown’s Skaters Ride Again

Published December 24, 2010 on The Bay Citizen
Behind a 12-foot-high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire on a dead-end street underneath one of Oakland’s major freeways there is a concrete skate park called Bordertown. This site is now at the center of a controversy between between the City of Oakland, Caltrans and the skaters who built the park.

Finding Feathered Friends in Oakland

Published December 21, 2010 on The Bay Citizen
Early Sunday morning in the drizzling rain, a small group of people is standing on the shore of Lake Merritt peering out onto the lake through binoculars. They are birdwatchers participating in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count— the group’s annual tally of how many different species of bird are living in the United States.

Admit it… you need a sandwich

Published November 26, 2010 on Oakland North
As people line up in front of a giant wood-paneled truck on a nondescript corner in Emeryville, a man drives by waving his fist out the window, screaming, “I want my Ebbett’s.” The people standing on the sidewalk turn and look quizzically at each other, then begin to laugh and nod in agreement—they want their Ebbett’s too.

How Oakland Became Ground Zero in Marijuana Legalization

Published November 15, 2010 on The Bay Citizen
On Broadway, in downtown Oakland, a small coffee shop called the Bulldog has a couple of round tables out on the sidewalk where people sit, read the paper and drink coffee, shaded by big blue umbrellas. To the unsuspecting eye, it looks like a regular business you’d find in any downtown city.

Meet the ‘Digester’ — It Turns Your Food Scraps into Energy

Published November 10, 2010 on The Bay Citizen
Five days a week, a long chrome truck pulls up to the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s wastewater treatment plant. It lifts its hydraulic-powered trailer bed and proceeds to dump 40,000 pounds of what looks like thick sewage into a giant underground mixer.

The same-sex marriage seesaw

Published August 19, 2010 on Oakland North Teresa Rowe and Kristin Orbin have waited in line to get married at San Francisco City Hall two times in the past two weeks and were planning on a third. When Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled to strike down Proposition 8 on August 4, saying that the […]

Down-home cuisine at Tacos Sinaloa

Published August 16, 2010 on Oakland North
Looking up into the small ordering window of Tacos Sinaloa’s bright orange and chrome taco truck, Ernesto Vilchis asks for a serving of marinated tongue, crispy tripe and cow’s cheek tacos.

Footbag players go toe to toe in the world championship

Published August 5, 2010 on Oakland North
For years, no one thought that “the nemesis” was possible—a freestyle footbag trick in which a player must kick a small leather ball, also known as a hacky sack, into the air, circle it twice with each leg then catch it on their shoe behind their back.

A Shepherd Prevents Wildfires in the Oakland Hills

Published July 29, 2010 on The Bay Citizen
Francisco Ballesteros stands on Old Tunnel Road, halfway to the crest of the Oakland hills, and looks down into a small valley where a herd of sheep and goats are grazing. “I have seven new babies,” he says, then gingerly starts making his way down a dirt path toward the animals.

An Anarchist’s View of the Mehserle Protest

Published July 19, 2010 on The Bay Citizen
Disparaged as outside troublemakers, these protestors identify as “freedom fighters.”

After dark, peaceful Mehserle verdict protest turns violent

Published July 9, 2010 on Oakland North
As the sun set behind City Hall and the City of Oakland’s official rally came to an end, a few people in black hoodies began weaving throughout the crowd, pulling bandanas up over their faces. What had been a peaceful afternoon demonstration — against the outcome of the trial regarding the shooting of Oscar Grant — was about to become a chaotic night.

On the Road With a Meter Maid Three-Wheeler

Published November 10, 2010 on The Wall Street Journal. Some people are ditching their cars for a different type of transportation: retired parking-patrol vehicles–those ‘meter maid’ cars. I shot the video for this piece by Wall Street Journal reporter Cari Tuna, which was then edited by Chris Kievman.

The Best ‘Seats’ Are Free for S.F. Giants Fans

Published October 22, 2010 on The Wall Street Journal. AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants, is the only baseball stadium in the country with a publicly-accessible “hole” in the fence where fans can watch the games for free. I shot the video for this piece by Wall Street Journal reporter Jim Carlton, which […]