Oakland: Times calls city a top travel destination

It's no Myanmar, but Oakland ranked fifth on the New York Times' 45 Places to Go in 2012. The list, which was published one day after Occupy protesters marched through downtown behind an "(Expletive) The Police" banner, said of Oakland, "Tensions have cooled since violence erupted at the recent Occupy Oakland protests, but the city's revitalized night-life scene has continued to smolder."

The Gray Lady touted the Fox Theater as a major reason to visit Oakland as well as the many new restaurants in Uptown and Jack London Square. Oakland placed one spot ahead of Tokyo and 11 spots in front of Florence, Italy. Panama City was the top place to visit, followed by Helsinki, Myanmar and London.

Oakland: Major drop in parking tickets last year

Several council members want to know why Oakland parking enforcers handed out 15 percent fewer tickets last fiscal year than the year before.

From July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, the city issued 385,670 parking tickets -- down from 451,240 the year before, according to a report presented Tuesday to the council's Finance and Management Committee. Citation revenue, however, dropped only 2 percent due to higher fines and more efficient collections.

City officials noting similar ticket drop-offs in San Francisco and Berkeley said the down economy could be causing residents to avoid meters.


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They also said that staff furloughs and parking enforcement vehicle breakdowns might also have had an impact.

The committee wanted more information before approving a proposal to purchase 13 new parking enforcement vehicles to replace vehicles made in 1997. Those vehicles were out of service an average of 52 days in 2010.

Hayward: Making fate of redevelopment clear

City Council members voted this week to "make it crystal clear" that the city will handle the business of closing down the redevelopment agency. That will involve decisions regarding "staffing, assets, properties and contracts," said Assistant City Manager Kelly Morariu, and it's in the city's best interest to take on the task.

Morariu said if the city didn't, the responsibility would be up for grabs "for any taxing entity in the county."

"So if the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District decided to do this ..." said Mayor Mike Sweeney, before Morariu cut him off.

"Having no background or knowledge in redevelopment, they could adopt a resolution saying they want to be the successor agency and decide how we dispose of our assets and pay our enforceable obligations," she said.

"Thank you, state of California," Sweeney said.

Fremont: Late mayor still wants to comment

A technical glitch provided the City Council with a moment of levity Tuesday night during the serious business of figuring out how to fill the late Mayor Bob Wasserman's seat.

"I'm just looking at the screen and it says Councilmember Bill Harrison, and then next is, Bob Wasserman wants to speak," Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan said.

As the council and audience chuckled, Harrison offered: "I yield the floor."

Matthew Artz covers Oakland. Contact him at 510-208-6435 or martz@bayareanewsgroup.com. Rob Dennis covers Fremont. Contact him at 510-353-7010 or rdennis@bayareanewsgroup.com. Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473 or ekurhi@bayareanewsgroup.com.