Oakland founded in 1852, is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Alameda County. Oakland is located in Northern California in the San Francisco Bay Area, the sixth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. Based on 2006 statistical data, Oakland is the 44th-largest city in the United States.
Oakland is a major West Coast port, and is home to several Fortune 500 companies including Kaiser Permanente and Clorox, as well as corporate headquarters for national retailers like Dreyer's and Cost Plus World Markets.
Rand McNally named Oakland as having the best weather in the United States, as Oakland averages sunshine 73% of all daylight hours. According to the U.S. 2000 census, Oakland and Long Beach, California are the most ethnically diverse cities in America, with over 150 languages spoken in Oakland. Attractions include Jack London Square, the Oakland Museum of California, Lake Merritt and Chinatown.
Jerry Brown, who was elected mayor of Oakland in 1998, initiated a plan to bring an additional 10,000 residents to downtown Oakland. The plan has resulted in several redevelopment projects near Lake Merritt, Jack London Square, and other neighborhoods just outside of downtown. These redevelopment projects have been controversial as many residents see these projects as gentrification, resulting in the loss of lower-income and minority residents in downtown Oakland. Additionally, the weakening of the Bay Area economy in 2000 and 2001 resulted in low occupancy of the new housing and slower growth and economic recovery than expected. In recent years demand for high-rise condos and towers has surged, as in San Francisco; there are currently many proposals for high-rise buildings, including a 63 floor, 827 ft. (252 m) tower that will rival the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. The developer says that the height could be pushed up to beat out the Transamerica Pyramid, possibly giving Oakland a considerable skyline as well.
Additionally, the Oakland Athletics have long been searching for a site to build a new baseball stadium. A site the A's found desirable was found near Telegraph Avenue and 20th Street in downtown Oakland, but was instead slated for a housing development. The site was favored by the Athletics for a new stadium as it was accessible by public transit and nearby freeways. Finally in 2006, the A's announced a deal to build a new stadium in Fremont, California, to be called Cisco Field.
In February 2006, the Oakland Ballet closed due to financial problems and the closure of their performance facility, the Calvin Simmons Theater at the Kaiser Convention Center. The Oakland Ballet had been performing in Oakland since 1965. In 2007, however, founder Ronn Guidi announced the revival of the Oakland Ballet. A performance of The Nutcracker is scheduled for December, 2007, including members of the Oakland Ballet Academy, which Guidi presides over. A new use for the Kaiser Convention Center was proposed in 2006: a redevelopment designed to nucleate a cultural and educational district with the nearby Oakland Museum of California and Laney College. In July 2006, the Oakland City Council approved a bond measure to expand the city's library system and convert the closed Center into a replacement for the city's aging main library, but Oakland voters defeated the library bond measure in the November 2006 election.
Ron Dellums, a former Berkeley city council member and U.S. Representative, was elected mayor in June 2006. The mayoral election race was contentious between Dellums and other candidates, including Oakland city council president Ignacio de la Fuente and councilmember Nancy Nadel.Each candidate had different visions of Oakland's future and different ideas about how to combat crime, encourage appropriate urban development, and foster successful public schools. In what was essentially a three-way race, Dellums barely won the required majority of votes needed to win without a runoff election in November.
Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Oakland:
Downtown Oakland has an assortment of bars and nightclubs. They range from punk-rock makeovers of dive bars, such as The Stork Club and the Ruby Room, to modern bistros and dance clubs, such as Luka's Taproom and Lounge, @17, Roy's 19th. st. Station, and The Oasis, to hipster spots such as Radio, Geoffreys, Karribean City, and art and jazz bar Cafe van Kleef.
Oakland is home to a world-class jazz venue, Yoshi's, near Jack London Square. Jack London Square is a nighttime destination because of its movie theaters, restaurants, and clubs.
Recent months have seen the growth of the "Oakland Art Murmur" event, occurring in the Uptown neighborhood the first Friday evening of every month, which features concurrent art openings from many galleries including 21 Grand, Boontling Gallery, Ego Park, Mama Buzz, and Rock Paper Scissors.
The Rockridge area around the Rockridge BART station is known for its restaurants and bars. It stretches along College Ave from Broadway to Alcatraz Ave.
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