If there is good news for East Bay residents in 2009, it's that the year is almost over.
And if you are one of those poor souls who lost a home, a job - or both and then some - take comfort, friend, for you are a survivor of one of the worst years on record. Here, then, are some of the biggest East Bay news stories of 2009, a year that started badly and got worse.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
For those of you who are not hip to Bay Area geography, the East Bay is one of the three land masses that abut the San Francisco Bay. Oakland is is in the East Bay. So is Berkeley. So are a lot of other semi-well known communities - Antioch, Walnut Creek, Vallejo, Richmond. And, it just had its "worst year ever," at least according to one columnist: A Look Back At One Of the Worst Years Ever
He then runs through a quick catalogue of crimes that have happened there, mostly in Oakland. Oddly, he manages to miss one crime that got the most national attention: the discovery that a woman missing for 20 years had been living in her kidnapper's back yard in Antioch.
Still, worst year ever in the East Bay? I have a little secret to share. Every year in the East Bay is the worse than the one before because it is easily the worst run area in the Bay Area. SF may get all of the "liberals on the loose" headlines, but the East Bay suffers from even worse left-wing misgovernance. Just a run down of prominent East Bay politicians should give you an idea: Ron Dellums, Jerry Brown, Pete Stark, Barbara Lee, George Miller, anyone in the Berkeley city government. Van Jones, among many others, made his rep in the East Bay.
The East Bay, in other words, is where the real Bay Area progressives live. And they've got the crime, traffic, dirty streets, and panhandlers to prove it. While East Bay legislators visit Cuba and pass resolutions declaring George Bush a war criminal, their constituents sit in endless traffic jams on highways that haven't been expanded in decades. If you get mugged, people start talking about root causes and police brutality, rather than ask what can be done to protect the innocent. Lawmakers in the East Bay love to complain about how hard it is to bring jobs into the area, and then head out to give speeches denouncing local employers like Clorox and, especially, Chevron.
This is not to say that the East Bay is uniformly awful. It's huge with a ton of open space. Towns like Orinda and Martinez have a real small town charm. But, to know what life is like under real left-wing governance, the East Bay cannot be beat.