Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our Letter to the City Administrator

English: Promotional photograph of the new Cit...
English: Promotional photograph of the new City Hall building in Oakland, California, circa 1917. Built in 1914 at a cost of US$2M, "this unique and beautiful building... symbolizes the aspirations and progress of the City." Photograph commissioned by Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Publicity Bureau. Photographer from Cheney Photo Advertising Co. Original photo part of Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room. "Public domain. No restrictions on use." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TO:  Ms. Sabrina Landreth, City Administrator, City of Oakland, CA

FROM:  J. Michael Robertson and Edith Landrith-Robertson

DATE:  May 23, 2017

RE:  Retaining AIM as manager of the Grand Lake Farmers Market

We request that the City KEEP Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) as the manager of the Grand Lake Farmers Market by extending their ‘lease’ for 5 years as recommended by City staff in their January 24, 2017, Council Report to Sabrina Landreth, City Administrator.

The Agricultural Institute of Marin (originally the Marin Farmers Market) created the marvelous Grand Lake Farmers Market, a market that has been repeatedly called ‘the premier farmers market of the East Bay.’  But beyond AIM’s creating and managing the Grand Lake Farmers Market, the AIM market is a primary reason behind the revitalization of retail on Grand and Lakeshore Avenues, which has significantly increased sales tax revenue.  Replacing AIM with a market manager of less expertise is likely to negatively impact our now-successful business district, thereby reducing City tax revenue while, at the same time, lessening neighborhood amenities.

We know what AIM has done for the neighborhood because we are part of the history of the farmers market, having been active in the group that saved Splash Pad Park from development almost two decades ago.  Then, the issue was saving the park for use as open space.  Today, the issue is who should manage the market.  Should the successful Grand Lake Farmers Market continue to be managed by AIM?  The issue merits careful and logical analysis of claims made by those who support the market, as well as those made by individuals in opposition (although we believe that many claims made by a few opponents – who represent only themselves - were developed to support a hidden agenda).

There are many strong reasons AIM should continue managing the Grand Lake Farmers Market at Splash Pad Park.  Of those reasons (and we have talked to many market-goers), one significant reason is that market attendees don’t just like the market, they love it!  Because of that, we request that YOU and your STAFF and your FAMILY and your FRIENDS:

·      VISIT the Grand Lake Farmers Market at Splash Pad Park and experience the market for yourself;
·      Talk to market-goers, who have been voting with their feet by attending the weekly Saturday market (9 AM – 2 PM) and listen to what they have to say;
·      Talk to the farmers, the food purveyors and the craftspeople about their perception of this AIM-managed market; and
·       Think about what you hear and about what effect AIM’s Grand Lake Farmers Market has on the business district, the neighborhood and the City itself.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The Grand Lake Farmers Market is beyond ‘not broke.’ It is in an enviable position, one coveted by other market managers.  Come SEE our market, which displays the wonderful diversity that is Oakland.

[SEE:  http://savegrandlakemarket.blogspot.com]

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Leafleting Today at The Grand Lake Farmers Market

 One of the things we are most worried about is that the future of the farmers market will be determined by a small group of neighborhood activists convincing local politicians - we are looking at you Oakland Councilperson Abel Guillen - that they are the voice of the people. I am all for neighborhood activism since the people often need to be inspired to realize they have a voice. All my wife and I want is for those who frequent the market to understand its future in its current form is in doubt and to speak out.

Thus, today we went a'leafleting at the market. Part of the text of the handout is below. (The contact information of the Oakland council members is in the post just before this one if you are interested.) To the right you will see a picture of me taken by a passerby. Thank you, passerby. I'm not sure I would gladly accept a leaflet from me. Personally, one glance and I think whatever I'm for I'd be against. Next week I'm going to change my look - and certainly the headline for the leaflet.  In advertising they say, "It's not creative unless it sells." I think the same thing goes for leaflets.

My wife, whom I did not photograph, was proactive (that horrible but useful word).  She ventured forth into the market, prefacing her offer of the leaflet with, "Do you like the market?" Everyone said yes.

One more time: A woman who accepted a leaflet from me said - without prompting - "If it isn't broke, why fix it?"

"Duh," I replied. No one out-cliches me. (Attentive readers of this blog know that "If it ain't broke...." is one of my favorite cliches.)

Today's handout:


You like the Grand Lake Farmers Market
You like the FARMERS at the market
You like the FOOD vendors
You like the Arts and Crafts vendors
You LIKE the way the award-winning Farmers Market is being managed by AIM
(Agricultural Institute of Marin)

CONTACT your Oakland City Councilperson
 (List attached)

Tell them you want AIM to continue to MANAGE the Farmers Market

Do So
A few people in the neighborhood:

·      Want to run their own farmers market
·      Do not like the market’s popularity
·      Want only farmers as vendors
·      Do not want food vendors
·      Do not want crafts
·      And more

For more information go to http://savegrandlakemarket.blogspot.com/