Friday, November 6, 2009

Update on Nic Nak Liquors and the Appeal to City Council

In a large outpouring of support against the approval of the Nic Nak Liquor Store, the North Oakland Community raised the filing fee to appeal the Planning Commission's approval of the Nic Nak Liquor Store. Community members banded together donations ranging from ten to one-hundred dollars. In this down economy, that is a significant indication of how much the North Oakland Community does not want to see another liquor store in its midst. A 37 page appeal detailing the faulty decision of the Planning Commission and the inadequacy of their findings was submitted to the Planning Department. The Planning Department has been preparing a response to the appeal and discussing the legal ramifications with the City Attorney's Office. It is likely the appeal may be heard in January after the holiday season.

In the meatime, the Nic Nak Liquors is precluded from selling any liquor until the matter is decided by the City Council. Jane Brunner, the City Council President and represenative for North Oakland will play a key role in determining whether the Nic Nak Liquor Store can peddle liquor in the already over-saturated liquor market.

Interestingly, We Fight Blight missed another liquor outlet in North Oakland at the corner of Alatraz and College. The approval of Nic Nak would actually result in 20 liquor outlouts within a mile of 6400 Shattuck Avenue, rather than the 19 previously reported. Regardless, the fact is that North Oakland and South Berkeley are plagued with problem liquor outlets. Adding one more liquor store does little to support economic revitalization. One area of interest is that homes in the North Oakland neighborhoods near Nic Nak have been selling quite briskly, indicating a high demand for the area. Unfortunately, Nic Nak Liquors represents a foregone way of life that is no longer supported by the North Oakland Community. Mr. Pannell would do well to reconsider his market and provide a product the community truly wants.

On another note of interest, we understand that Mr. Pannell has released Clinton Killian as his legal representative on the project. A former Planning Commissioner, Mr. Killian has had a checkered past. An expose in the East Bay Weekly during the last City Council election, where Mr. Killian was running for the at-large City Council seat now occupied by Rebecca Kaplan, revealed that Clinton Killian had significant legal and financial problems including unpaid bills and allegations of sexual harrasment. It is unclear whether Mr. Pannell dumped Mr. Killian because of his baggage or whether Mr. Pannell simply does not have the financial resources to keep him on the payroll. In any event, Mr. Killian is out.


Anonymous said...

What does the community want at that location?

GoodNeighbor said...

With the exploding baby boom in our area, I'd suggest a kid/parent friendly business.

But, if they were smart, they'd go door to door asking the neighbors within 2 blocks what they want, and THEN go to UCB's business school to have a student do a feasibility study for the suggestions.

It would be a win-win solution to rebuild the community's support and to provide a student with a great project.

Anonymous said...

like what a day care, park, or coffee shop? lol

Anonymous said...

My question is. when you people moved here to North Oakland did you know what you were getting into. Did you not know there was liquor stores? So your going to move in a neighborhood and have all the businesses you dont like to move out or change even though the business has been there longer. There are neighborhoods all over Oakland that do not have liquor stores so pick one and move there

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:52

Absolutely not any of those.

There are MANY child/parent friendly business with MUCH higher margins. They need to turn a profit, right?

Anon 2:21

When I moved here there was no active liquor license at Nik Nak and it hadn't been open in "years" according to my neighbor.

As you've been reminded, again and again, this is not about an old liquor license, this is about a new one which just adds to the glut we already have.

Pure and simple we don't need a new liquor store.

Anonymous said...

So did alcohol beverage control which is ran by the state issue the store a new license? Just a question

Fight Blight said...

Anonymous 4:25 pm,

Alcohol Beverage Control, which is a state agency, did indeed issue Mr. Pannell a liquor license. However, the state agency does not coordinate with the local government land use authority, which controls whether he can sell liquor at a specific location in Oakland. You need both the liquor license and the land use permit. Nevertheless, the community does not want Mr. Pannell peddling liquor at the site via a liquor store. Mr. Pannell could likely get a three story building constructed at the corner that takes advantage of the entire lot. The top two stories could either be residential or office. The ground floor could be retail such as a bicycle store, a clothing store, a dry-goods store, a garden center, or whatever the market could attract. It could also be a restaurant. There are so many uses that could go into that location that could be economically viable that do not have to be a liquor store. Properly designed and sited, the North Oakland Community would embrace a mixed-used development that is designed in a pedestrian friendly way. Mr. Pannell, who does not live in North Oakland, would do well to listen to the community.

Patrick said...

20 of anything in such a small residential area is detrimental. Even churches, with the traffic and parking problems they bring. I understand what Anonymous is trying to say, but a neighborhood does have a right to have a say in what businesses are allowed in that neighborhood. Furthermore, they hae a right to expect that local government would respect their wishes, ESPECIALLY when it is mandated by law. That they even had to appeal this travesty is the real underlying issue here.

Roberto Mendoza said...

White people are always trying to change something. Let me get this straight, in order to get alcohol and drink it with out people complaining and judging me I have to drink it at a bar or restaurant . Why cant I go around the corner and get some grey goose vodka for me and my friends with out being looked at wrongly. So people who goes to liquor stores are poor and criminals? I drink, I party I mean who doesn't?. If you don't your just stuck up or snobby, has stuck up snobby friends or lacks social life. Stop tripping and complaining about this store. I go there to get my black walnut and butter pecan ice cream there and sometimes Alcohol.the people there are nice to me. I even send my kid to go there to get ice cream and candy because it is safe rather than T&K's He is NOT PEDDLING alcohol he is SELLING it.So why are you trying to paint this horrible image. They are not outside saying come in here and get this devils drink. No signs saying come in and get this alcohol. please...
Another thing is who is we flight blight. People been asking who are you we fight blight but you always skip the question. Who are you seriously?

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Robert Mendoza - I'm gonna post some racist comments and call anyone who doesn't get drunk/high a square.

I eat walnut ice cream so I am a good person.

I don't understand why "We Fight Blight" won't tell me where they live and what type of car they drive. I just need someone to harass...

Roberto Mendoza said...

I'm sorry your ass is so sensitive. Ok I'm going to correct myself you wonderful active neighbors are always trying to change something. I'm not calling anyone a square so there is no need to defend yourself. Eating walnut ice cream doesn't make me a good person. I'm just trying to tell People that there is more than just liquor and only liquor there. Name another liquor store that sells ice cream. I drink on occastion however I do no get high . The beer selection is very limited. Note there is no night train or shlitz malt liquor at their store. So if you see that on your front lawn it's not coming from him. Like that other anonymous person said I knew what was around here when I moved In and it was no suprise. I'm glad he's back in business. Can sodas which are more than a dollar are 80 cents at his store. Why let the other store have a monopoly of that corner. Let's say because nic nak stays open he is losing customers at t&k and is forced to close. Then we got rid Of a bad liquor store. I'm down for getting that bad stores believe me however im not going to try and shut down one of the last safest liquor stores around this area.

Anonymous said...


Let me remind you of a great CHANGE that happened on Nov 4th, 2008. Do you remember what happened that day?

Change can also equal progress!

Don't discount what is happening in your (our) neighborhood. Yes, the demographics of the neighborhood are changing, and will continue to change. Yes, change is inherently difficult, as it requires great effort and corresponding momentum.

There are many here, including MANY long term neighbors, who embrace this change. The community is finally coming together. We will fix those things that WE perceive need fixing.

And if we do it right, we will retain those things that make our neighborhood a vibrant, welcoming, place to live while removing, or reducing, those things contributing to crime and blight.

That is all we, who are opposing the variance, aim to do.

WFB is doing a great job of highlighting many problems in our neighborhood, not just this one. Read the whole blog, I think you'll find those running this site to be fair/evenhanded with their tactics and targets.

Anonymous said...

@Robert mendoza:

Did you miss this part?

"The approval of Nic Nak would actually result in 20 liquor outlets within a mile of 6400 Shattuck Avenue"

One more time: It's illegal to have another liquor store there.

The planning commission for whatever stupid reason decided to ignore the law and approve a variance. We the community will do whatever it takes to prevent that from ever happening. You can yammer on and on about "it's a safe store, I send my kids there, they sell cheap soda" but none of it is relevant and none of it means there should be alcohol sales there!

I also find it amusing that you claim ice cream can't be bought at other liquor stores. C'mon now, really...

Roberto Mendoza said...

I'm sorry correction hand pack foster farms ice cream like baskin robins. No liquor store serves that in the area excrpt him. Everyone else sells packaged ice cream and popcicles. Nic nak sells cones.

Anonymous said...

Your point is?

We're not fighting his ability to sell hand packed ice cream. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

Like I said before, I don't trust pannells type. I don't trust the whole family. His daughter and grandson needs to leave our community quick or else

Claudia said...

@ Anonymous,

Anonymous said...

Claudia, don't worry about the guy trying to "bait" people on this blog. My guess is that (s)he's on your team.

Claudia said...

@ Anonymous,

What would make you think that?

Anonymous said...


The people who are opposing this license have all been open about their support of the Pannell's business needs. I have NEVER heard anyone speak poorly about their family, or that the goal of opposing this license is a way to rid the neighborhood of the Pannells. (This has been voiced to me on numerous occasions when my opinion has been questioned.)

It is my belief that this poster is trying to inflame the few people reading this blog with the hopes that the effort behind the blog becomes discredited.

And, if you look at the syntax, they share a similar style to a previous poster who is Pro Nik Nak.

My facebook said...

I got a phone call about writings in this blog this afternoon and I am shocked about some of the stuff I been reading. Some anonymous person reply saying to leave our community fast. Just because we own that store doe not mean we are not part of the community. Let me introduce myself. My name is Joseph La Chaux and this is my community. This is my neighborhood. I was raised in this neighborhood. I walked these North Oakland streets for most of my life until I was able to acquire a license to drive however I still walk around til this day. I live right around the corner from the store for 23 years. I do not need to go under "anonymous", "goodneighbor", "concerned neighbor" or anything because I am not scared of telling people who I am. We fight blight, I do not appreciate some of your accusations about our real agenda, what he is planning to do, how we are going to sell the property and license, my grandfathers pension plan, houses and so on. My grandfather is all about principle. Flight Blight if you want to talk to me, personally facebook me and me or my mother Lindia La Chaux can set up a date. My mother shows up to the Neighborhood meetings so you can also speak to her there. Like I said I do not appreciate your assumptions because I been reading this blog all afternoon in surprise like " wow we are going to do this with the license and property" " I didn't know my grandmother owned a Bentley" "We are peddling alcohol?" If you read all the previous archived blogs you will find other fabricated speculations about our plans for our business. I am not going to entertain this any longer if you want to speak to us just simply go to the store if you want to talk to us or show up to some of the neighborhood meetings and we will try to be there if you have any questions.Trust me, my mother and I are friendly.:)
I am so shocked about the writings in this blog, my heart dropped reading this. Again, I dont need to hide under anonymous, goodneighbor, concerned neighbor, we fight blight or anything else my name is
Joseph La Chaux and currently live and will be living on 65th street for years to come.

Anonymous said...

IMHO your response comes way too late. WFB asked the family months ago to give their side of the story, which you ignored.

Actions speak louder than (typed) words.

Fight Blight said...


Thank you for your post. As another reader noted, we have invited your grandfather multiple times to respond to some of the issues raised in this blog. He has yet to do so. That invitation extends to you as well. You can send your post to

We will be happy to print, unedited, a response to any of the issues raised in this blog.

If you believe that what is posted either by We Fight Blight or other readers are "fabricated speculations", then perhaps you can provide a detailed response pointing out the specific fabrications (not generalizations) to help the neighborhood understand your side of the story. We should note that We Fight Blight has used information that is available directly from the public hearings, the application submitted by your grandfather, and information we have gathered from other credible sources. We have made it clear when we are speculating as to the possible range of actions that your grandfather could take relative to his property and liquor license.

We respect that you live in the neighborhood and we have nothing personal against you or your family. However, like many other residents, We Fight Blight does not want another liquor store because of the concentration of existing liquor stores and the cumulative problems when liquor stores are concentrated.

Perhaps you can explain why you think another liquor store is good for our community, why you cannot operate your convenience store without liquor sales, and why your grandfather should be allowed an exception to the existing land use laws to sell liquor to the community.

Joseph, we hope that you take this opportunity to tell your side of the story.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand, why the family have to publish or write something on this blog. Have you called the store and asked him to write on the blog or do you just expect him to. He probably dont even know what a blog is. You want a old man to write a excerpt online explaining himself? We fight blight can you just have a meeting at a church or some type of recreation room where people can see each other faces rather than hiding under anonymous and other names. Joseph Lachaux said they attempt to go to every neighborhood meeting so whats the issue? I think meeting in person is way better than a writing in a blog . Are people that scared to speak with them and show their faces or what?, I mean they are at some of the meetings in the neighborhood right. why wont you contact one of them so they can hear your voice and ask about setting up a meeting fight blight.

Anonymous said...

One of the issues is that the Pannells are refusing to move with the times. The Internet Era started 20 years ago, and it is appropriate to be meeting as a community online and airing our grievances.

Why is it that the Pannells want to meet face to face so desperately? Is it because then there will be no public record of their comments?

This blog is a great forum and has been managed appropriately, given the anger displayed by both sides.

"JoJo" reads this blog, I'm sure. Maybe he can be the voice for his grandfather?

Fight Blight said...

Anonymous 8:09

You have repeatedly asked the same question and we have repeatedly answered it. So for the last time...

Because Mr. Pannell is proposing a project--e.g. reopening his liquor store--it is customary that he make the effort to hold a public meeting with the neighborhood. This is the protocol for any proposed project. He chose not to do so and tried to get his project approved under the radar screen and by using a different business name.

Those who opposed the liquor store have made their voices and faces known through two public hearings and letters to the Planning Department.

We Fight Blight is an anonymous blog not because we endeavor to post outrageous and untrue comments and then hide behind our anonymity, but because we want the focus to be on the issues and the arguments, not the people making the arguments. This is an issue-oriented blog. We have always encouraged those pro and con to make articulate and well-reasoned arguments.

We Fight Blight has been to hundreds of community meetings and we have never seen Joseph Lachaux or Ashrious Pannell at those meetings. We must be attending different community meetings.

There is nothing that prevents Mr. Pannell from hosting a meeting. We Fight Blight hosts a meeting each and every day through this blog. Mr. Pannell and his supporters are more than welcome to post.

We find it ironic that on the one hand you advocate for a face to face meeting so that everyone can see each other's faces, yet you yourself have been posting under
Anonymous as well as several different other psuedonyms. Your syntax, as another poster noted, is remarkably similar to other posters.

Anonymous said...

For the billionth time, it's not up to us to reach out to the Pannell's. It is up to them to reach out to us. They are the ones proposing a detrimental change. They are the ones who want a free pass that allows them to be exempt from the rules everyone else is expected to play by. Yet from all these posts, it is clear that they still think everyone against liquor sales somehow needs to kiss butt and make it alright by them. Why? How many freakin times does it need to be explained and re-explained? Are y'all really that dense?

Wise up people. The times they are a-changing. You can't play us all for fools and expect us to just sit back and take it. No liquor sales at Nic Nak. The answer is NO. Get over it, move on up or move on out.

Claudia said...

Joseph said he will not entertain this blog any longer if you want to speak to him simply go to the store or show up to some of the neighborhood meetings, if he's not there you can find his mother Lindia La Chaux. So you can stop posting questions that you want answered on here.
Mr. Pannell did reach out and invited all of you who had any questions or concerns to come to his store and talk with him. So you know where to find him!

Anonymous said...

This is really sad.

One would think they'd be willing to make a minor effort to soothe neighborhood anger, obviously that is not that case. But this behavior is not unexpected, given their previous arrogance.

I sincerely hope the City Council reads this blog and takes the Pannells' lack of neighborly behavior to heart. In every relationship there is give and take.

Anonymous said...

@ Claudia

No thanks.

When I get a pamphlet on my door, or an email in my in-box, or I see a post on this blog or the other community message-alert lists announcing a "community meeting" hosted by the Pannells, with a real written agenda, to answer the community's questions and concerns, then I will consider that a good-faith effort at community outreach.

Since none of you seems to understand the process, why not go to this website and see how it's supposed to work. You know, when a person with a project actually does real outreach and communicates with the residents about potential impacts of their project and how to handle them.

You or Joseph whoever-he-is, posting ONCE and saying "you can come find us if you want to talk" is a pathetic joke, and doesn't cut it.

See you at the appeal, then.

Anonymous said...

A 70 or 80 year old man is not going to sit at a computer and keep going back and forth with you people.

Anonymous said...

So there are 20 liquor outlets correct? How of those liquor outlets have documented crime that is detrimental to our new community? On an earlier blog you you put pictures and descriptions of every liquor store in the nearby area. According to your information about each liquor outlet 13 out of the 20 stores in this area has some sort of criminal activity which includes loitering, littering, public drunkenness and frequented by gang members and drug sales. Furthermore, 4 out of 20 stores have some sort of aggressive panhandling and frequented by under age minors attempting to purchase alcohol. That makes 17 out 20 total that has some sort of problem. I do not care about the the panhandling and minor making an attempt to buy alcohol, Its always going to be there. My problem is you have 13 stores in the area that has serious issues and they are still open. 7 out of the 20 are good liquor outlets where if you have a responsible store that sells liquor then it shouldn't be blight on the community. Push to get rid of the other 13. If Nic Nak is considered a crime magnet and is really out of hand then get rid of them too I agree however, if they have no issues or problems and is a responsible business owners then you wont even notice them, therefore the nic nak store wont really hurt the community. It would be good for the community because competition is always good for the consumer just like people would rather go to Safeway rather than Berkeley bowl because of Safeways lower prices. There is over saturation of everything in this area not just liquor stores. Count the gas stations, fast food places, and coffee shops. I know you would like to have one of every type business for every square mile, however we live in a densely populated area.

Anonymous said...

Is it just one person writing under fight blight?

no more liquor stores said...

@ Anonymous 1:15pm

Thank you for driving Fight Blight's point home.

Out of 20 liquor stores within a square mile of the NikNak, 17 have documented problems. Several are known to the city as "bad liquor stores." Yet they remain open! Because getting them closed or restricted takes forever and is like pulling teeth! Way better that they are never allowed to exist in the first place! That is one of our main points. This is why there are LAWS against having too many. This is what happens when people don't pay attention and don't speak up against more and more liquor stores!

It does not matter what NikNak's record is. The law is clear, and having another liquor store at that location is NOT in compliance with the law. We have enough liquor stores. We don't need any more - you have pointed that out very nicely yourself.

We as the community are going to make very sure that the law is followed in this case. We are not interested in NIkNak becoming #21 on the over-saturation list and #18 on the list of problem stores in Temescal/North Oakland.

Anonymous said...

Quit hiding behind a blog and confront the source. You know where he is located. Liquor stores been here before you were born and will be here when your dead and gone. So get over it.

Fight Blight said...

Anonymous 12:14

This blog is open and available for anyone to comment. We report on the facts and raise legitimate questions about the motives of the Pannells as they relate to the liquor store. The community has come out in force to support in writing and financially the appeal to the City Council. No one is hiding except the Pannells who have refused to hold a neighborhood meeting to discuss their proposed project.

You are right that liquor stores have been here for a long time and will continue well into the future. That is exactly the reason many residents in the North Oakland community oppose this liquor store. They do not want another liquor store in their community and know that once it is approved by the City it is almost impossible to get rid of. Better to not allow it to open than have to fight it once it does open.

Perhaps you have some more salient issues you wish to bring up in terms of how this liquor store actually meets the laws governing such land uses. Thee is lots of talk about this and that, but the supporters of Mr. Pannell seem to be awfully silent on just how this project is consistent with the City laws.

Anonymous said...

If they hold a neighborhood meeting what is that going to change? Fight Blight would you like to answer that?

Fight Blight said...

If Mr. Pannell had held a meeting with the community and was upfront about his intentions to re-open the liquor store, rather than attempting to inappropriately get a zoning clearance under the radar screen by using another name, the community might not be so distrustful of Mr. Pannell and his motives.

If Mr. Pannell were to hold a meeting today with the community, it might demonstrate that he actually cares about the community and the concerns of residents who oppose his liquor store. As it now appears, Mr. Pannell does not give a rat's ass aboout the community and he is only intent on peddling liquor to the detriment of the community for his own profit.

Remember, Mr. Pannell, the owner of the property and the holder of the liquor license, doesn't even live in North Oakland. His ties to North Oakland, other than a few relatives, have been non-existent for years, except as a owner of defunct liquor store.

Anonymous said...

Why would he not give a rat's ass about the community if his own daughter and grandson live around the corner from the store?



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating at the number of times the Pannell supporters have used the term "You people".

Anonymous said...

Why is that so fascinating?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

So you think when I say "you people" Im talking about race. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

Nope. Read the rest of the definitions. It is a derogatory, divisive term for all people as it's aim is to discount individual differences, be they race, sex, lifestyle, or economics.

Anonymous said...

so which is it?

no more liquor stores said...

@ obnoxious anon 11:02AM:

No the planning commission did NOT do it's job. It ignored the law and listened to the whiners and the boo-hoo'ers. Fine for them because they're all political appointees with political agendas. It doesn't seem to matter to them that they are costing the broke-ass city a whole lot of money in staff time, administrative time and potentially legal fees. They were too spineless and corrupt to come down on the side of the law, because that might mean they would be accused of being "against a black owned business" *GASP*!

even when that black-owned business cannot continue without a special, ILLEGAL exception to existing city ordinances,

even when that black-owned business demands to continue regardless of the detriment to the surrounding community,

even when the owner of that business has proven so self-centered and tunnel-visioned that he will go to any lengths to achieve his ends and get what he wants, no matter what laws have to get bent or broken along the way.

It's clear that the Pannell contingent couldn't care less about the law or the facts. They've made it about race because they had to - that's the default of choice when you have no other basis, legal or otherwise, for a flawed rationale. So pathetic, so predictable, yet still so disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pannell did not use the race card. He can't control what other people say.

Laws get bent and broken all the time depending on the circumstances, so get over it!

no more liquor stores said...

Wow you really are an idiot. Who do you think gathered all those people to speak in support of the store? Do you think they just magically appeared? Do you think they have psychic powers and knew just where to be, and when? He called them because he knew exactly what they would say, and what they would do. They conveniently distracted everyone from what the real issues are. I see it worked on you, too.

I think it is tragic that you are espousing active disregard for the law when the law proves inconvenient for you or your
friends. Sorry, you can't pick and choose which to follow
and which to ignore. In this case, the law is in place for
very important reasons which have already been repeatedly spelled out for you. If you really think the law is
wrong and should be changed, then come up with reasons
why and present them intelligently. Until then, quit asking for special treatment and quit trying to defend the indefensible. It only makes you look even more stupid.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so people from Fight Blight come on here and call people idiots and say they look stupid? They probably were right on pulling the race card. EVERYONE at the meeting that was aginst this store was WHITE.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for the people that are saying that the planning commission did not do it's job beacuse they approved the liquor sales twice. Let's just say this went to the City Council and they also approved the liquor sales, what are you going to say then.. that they also dont know how to do thier job?

Anonymous said...

If this does get passed by the City Council, the large group (~100 active neighbors, 50 of which have all ready donated money) of us who oppose the license will just take it to court.

This is one of the reasons my partner and I haven't donated funds. If it goes to court, we will be there to support the process of making sure existing laws are enforced.

Every "exception to the rule" weakens the law. This is a law needing to be enforcement for all of Oakland, not just our community. By taking a stand to support the law, we will be aiding other neighborhoods far more crime ridden than ours.

Anonymous said...

That didn't answer my question.

no more liquor stores said...

Answers for all the anons:

Yes, if the City Council lets this ride, then they will not be doing their jobs but will be caving to political pressure from overly vocal special interest activist groups. If they do their job, they will uphold the law.

No, I am not involved with the We Fight Blight group, nor am I Fight Blight. Keep that very clear. I follow this blog, and especially this issue since it applies directly to me, and I applaud their work and the way they have handled this issue thus far.

Anonymous said...

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”. Sir Walter Scott

Joseph, you were outed inadvertently by your mom who mentioned at the annual Community Policing meeting that you have been following this blog. Why you'd choose to lie, about a 'phone call' occurring on Nov 9th when your mom's comments were over heard two weeks prior, is beyond me. Care to explain, or is it your nature to be untruthful?

Anonymous said...

He said he recieved a phone call about a comment that was made on this blog. Never did he say it was his first time hearing about it. So you can stop calling people liars!

Confused said...

I'm confused about all these "neighborhood meetings" that seem to be going on all the time that no one except the Pannells inside crowd seems to know about. At least, I never hear about any of them, maybe I just don't look in the right places or I'm not on the right mailing list. Maybe if you put out some flyers or did some outreach then more of the neighbors would know about them and we would have a chance to attend? Unless you want to keep them secret and private of course, but I was just curoius.

Bushrod Resident said...

you know...
I'm not in favor of any more liquor stores either. But when I read things like this (among other things that have been written in the past on this blog):

"One area of interest is that homes in the North Oakland neighborhoods near Nic Nak have been selling quite briskly, indicating a high demand for the area. Unfortunately, Nic Nak Liquors represents a foregone way of life that is no longer supported by the North Oakland Community."

...I think that's some barely concealed racism.

no more liquor stores said...

Please. The tired old race card yet AGAIN? Please.

You say you're against liquor stores. Fine. Isn't that the central issue here? We can agree on that and work toward our common goal, correct?

But then you go on to obfuscate the issue by saying that because homes in our neighborhood sell quickly and that people who have paid hard earned money for those homes likely want to work to improve the area by eliminating excess liquor stores and preventing new ones from opening, that's now considered racist. ?????!!!???? That is quite a stretch, you must be pretty sore after that one!

Your post? Just another barely concealed attempt at diverting attention again from the issue: No liquor sales at Nic Nak. It's not about anything else except working to keep our neighborhood safe, crime-free and great place to live for everybody.

Fight Blight said...

Bushrod Resident,

Thank you for your post. Your statement--"...I think that is some barely concealed rascism."--was made in reference to a comment about homes in North Oakland selling quickly and the Nic Nak being a foregone way of life no longer supported by the community."

Are you really suggesting that liquor stores are patronised predominantly by non-whites and therefore the lack of support for retaining liquor stores is racism?

I am not sure you meant that, but it could certainly be construed that way. Perhaps some clarity is needed.

It is really easy to throw out charges of racism. In fact, Mr. Pannell and his supporters used the race card at the first public hearing to create a smoke screen over the real legal issues. It is far more difficult to actually substantiate charges of racism. Using the term casually devalues the experiences of those subjected to true racist actions.

Rather than simply tossing the racial bomb into the fray and stepping back to see the results of your handiwork, you could actually articulate why you believe the statment or any other aspect of the blog is indeed rascist?

Those who blithely toss out the race card often use it to negate or obfuscate the debate.

We Fight Blight likes to encourage rational, articulate and well-reasoned debate. Do you care to actually substantiate your claims with something more than "I think" ?

Bushrod Resident said...

You know, you're right. I didn't explain myself enough. Let me try, even though these are complex issues that I am still working through myself, and may not be able to "substantiate" my claims. I wrote that post because I was angry, and I am trying to put my finger on exactly what this blog has done that pushes my buttons.

Just to put it out there: I am white. I've lived in this neighborhood for 6 years--5 as a renter and one as a homeowner. I have a very real stake in this community, even if only a financial one. The elimination of "blight" not only improves where I live, but it puts money in my pocket, if housing prices rise accordingly. So even if I felt that the unstated aims of this blog were suspect, I am profiting from them.

Race and class are inextricably mixed. The truth is that if this neighborhood were to become more affluent, it would most likely be accompanied with a demographic change as well, meaning more white residents. I guess I am most uncomfortable with the failure of this blog to actively acknowledge the racial issues that are at play. The language used is carefully NOT explicitly addressing race, but instead words start to become coded.

Much like in the mainstream news, "urban" is often code for "black," I get the impression that although this blog is not addressing race, it cannot help but be talking around it. And again, it's not only race but class as well, but those two things are so tied together that you can't really discuss one without the other.

So when I read that the housing market has been brisk for our area, followed by the statement that liquor stores represent a "way of life that is no longer supported by the North Oakland community," I saw an attempt to link these two ideas together without really delving into what that means. To me, that read as code for: "This neighborhood is taking off & reaping the rewards of gentrification, soon to follow in the footsteps of Temescal, which means the demographic scales are tipping to more affluent (and whiter) residents, and we don't support the liquor stores that are primarily patronized by the poorer original black residents of the community."

I would like to see some more engagement with the issues brought up by gentrification as it relates to North Oakland. It's true that my hippie-turned-yuppie-graduate-degree-having-paid-$450k-for-my-house self's presence financially benefits the neighborhood's original homeowners, because my presence is an indicator that their housing value just went up! But am I seen as an interloper or invader? Probably, sometimes.

I would just like to see this discussion "unpacked" a little bit more. Let's talk about race. What, exactly, is the "way of life" you no longer support?

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Bushrod Resident regarding race, but completely agree regarding 'class' (I prefer the term economic-cultural status as 'classiness' has nothing to do with it ;) ). As a business major one of my courses touched upon how different status' contribute to behavior and belief, regardless of the ethnicity or nationality.

I found it fascinating at the time being steeped in the culture of The Middle. Being raised to follow the Golden Rule, to trust Big Government, and to value personal labor is a big part of that group's belief system. It is those beliefs that create a stable buffer between the Lower and Upper groups, who are filled with great distrust.

Since completing that coursework, I have also lived all over the world and have experienced those same theoretical behaviors in places as far reaching as the Peruvian Andies and Eastern Europe right after The Wall fell.

Our experiences regarding the Nik Nak are a textbook example of this clash. The group of Mids move into an area and start using The Law to correct those instances they perceive to be 'wrong'. This breeds distrust and anger amongst the established residents, perceiving it as a personal attack on their community. The reality is that it isn't personal, it is about a group who clings to policy, rules, stability because it makes them feel safe.

I have found this Nik Nak situation both interesting and exhausting: interesting from a theoretical perspective and exhausting from an emotional perspective. Emotionally it has been sad to see how this has damaged long term relationships within my community.

Fight Blight said...

Bushrod Resident,

Thank you for your post. We found it to be refreshingly honest and open. Actually, we had been thinking about writing a blog post that addresses the very issues you raise--race, class, and gentrification in context of the Nic Nak Liquor Store. They are issues that come into play in North Oakland and to some degree or another I have written about them in some of my responses to comments. However, I agree with you that we should prepare a more cohesive posting that delves into these issues in a more substantive fashion. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

uh oh, today is Thirsty Thursday..

Anonymous said...

What about a sports bar at that lot?

Todd said...

As an 11-year resident of the neighborhood in question, I find this entire controversy ludicrous, overblown, and more than a little disgusting.

Nic Nak is obviously not a thug-friendly liquor store. Anyone walking by it can see that. The liquor store (and deli) you reference on College and Alcatraz is also completely misrepresented by your post. Robert Mendoza's opening comment seems apropos to me.

Anonymous said...

Im trying to gain an understanding of this issue. So let me see if I got the facts straight.

Nic Nak had (and still does) a reputable business when they sold liquor with a good clean record. The owner fell ill and focused on getting better but during this time he lost his liquor licenses. Greatfully he regained his health and wants to regain what he once had.

At the time he was sick and lost the licenses Im assuming other liquor stores began to open up and now have a not so good reputation. Almost a stereotype kind of reputaion based on some of these blogs.

Fight Blight seems like a community based website which trys to better the community in the way they see fit.

Fight Blight believes that if Nic Nak regains the liquor licenses more liquor stores would open in close proximity to one another.

So my questions are to Fight Blight...

1)Where was your foresight to see that when the old man fell ill and lost the liquor licenses that when he got better he would fight to regain what was once rightfully his?

2) When he was ill (and Im assuming new liquor stores began sprouting around) where were you then to stop the new liquor stores from being open?

To be honest, I believe you should focus more on the corrupt liquor stores then the ones with a clean report.

Or why dont you talk with the liquor store thats close by to Nic Naks to see how much business they get selling liquor cause if they get barely any, why dont you compromise, get that liquor store to stop selling liquor and allow Nic Nak to do so? Then everyone is happy, right?

An outsider from the bay looking in.