Really, New York Times, Oakland, CA is a must travel to destination? And I hate to break it to you folks, but Havana hasn’t quite been a tourist destination for the past 50 years.
Here’s how they explain why Oakland is a hot spot:
Tensions have cooled since violence erupted at the recent Occupy Oakland protests, but the city’s revitalized night-life scene has continued to smolder.
Forget the murder and mayhem and come for the night life. Wonderful.
The reaction from Oakland is a bit muted.
On the very same day that the Times ran its top-45 list, the paper also ran an Oakland report by the Bay Citizen — this one not nearly so rosy. The headline: “Shootings Soar in Oakland; children often the victims.”
It is a reflection of the fact that Oakland consistently ranks high on another list — that of most dangerous cities. Citing the Urban Strategies Council, the story said Oakland shootings had gone up 60 percent in the last five years.
It included a shocking statistic that I had not seen: 2,000 people were shot in 2011 — 199 of them minors.
Three were small children shot down in the streets — all apparently unintended victims.
Gabriel Martinez Jr., 5, was buried two days before the Times ran its top-45 list. He was shot and killed near his father’s taco truck.
So what’s my point?
As much as some folks may wish otherwise, there is more to Oakland than just Uptown.
We can boast the finest restaurants and nightlife there all we want to. We can brag about Art Murmur as a cultural destination. We should be proud of them all.
But we cannot escape our city’s ugly underbelly — as much as some of those who live and work in areas where there aren’t gunshots going off all hours of the day and night might have fantasies of secession.
So long as children are being shot and killed in our streets, so long as the city leadership is satisfied to toss around empty buzz words rather than engage in the hard work to produce a serious plan to reduce gun violence, Oakland will never become the world-class city that it has the potential to be.
Remarkably, Oakland rated nine spots higher than San Diego. Really.