I joined the board of Keep Oakland Beautiful almost two years ago and I’ve learned a lot about the community and its people. As a photography enthusiast who also enjoys history, nature, and cultural diversity, I took to Oakland like a bear takes to honey.
Oakland offers a seemingly endless array of places and activities to research, visit, and photograph, which I gladly did, sharing what I learned in various blogs on this website. I also became increasingly sensitive to environmental issues as a direct result of my connection with the Keep Oakland Beautiful board and my talented colleagues.
However, as the late, great George Harrison sang, ‘all things must pass’ — My wife and I have decided to move away from the Bay Area. We just sold our house of 27 years and we’re embarking on our next adventure, moving to northern New Mexico.
But, before I go, I want to use my mouthpiece on the Keep Oakland Beautiful blog one more time to reiterate what a cool and thriving community Oakland is. Oakland is a rare mixture of ingredients you can’t find anywhere else. I love the diversity of Oakland’s neighborhoods, from West Oakland to Adams Point to East Oakland, from Oakland Chinatown and Jingletown to the Oakland Hills.
I love the diversity of Oakland’s culture. A simple walk up Piedmont Ave. will give you a taste of Oakland’s many ethnicities, as expressed through its local shops and restaurants.
I love the diversity of Oakland’s geology, from its 19 miles of coastline along the bay and its single beach (yes, Oakland has a beach – search for my blog about that!) to the forested hills on the east, which provide spectacular views of Oakland, the bay, San Francisco, and on a clear day, the Farallon Islands.
And lastly, I love the diversity of Oakland’s people. After all, it’s what each of you brings and shares that makes Oakland such a fascinating place to live, work, and play.
I also want to use my last few minutes of airtime to thank each of my Keep Oakland Beautiful board colleagues, past and present, for allowing me to stretch my wings and learn from what each of them brings to the table. Numerous times, they dragged me out of my warm bed to collect litter, rake leaves, hand out daffodil bulbs, and plant trees. I even got to clean up after the Warriors’ NBA championship parade!
I wouldn’t have missed any of these events because each time I got to witness a spirited community in action. Regardless of age, gender, race, or any other attribute, volunteers are out there lending a hand to make Oakland a better place for everybody.
I’m grateful for my time on the Keep Oakland Beautiful board and I appreciate all the wonderful Oaklanders I’ve met and worked with along the way. Since I learned a long time ago to ‘shamelessly steal good ideas,’ I plan to take what I learned from Keep Oakland Beautiful and Oakland more broadly and apply that knowledge in the next community I serve.
Oakland’s environmental stewardship is in great hands with our community partners and volunteer Keep Oakland Beautiful board members, like Renee, Rebekah, Aron, Dwayne, Bob, Jackie, Larry, Andrea, Cynthia, Michael, Jill Ann, Jose Luis, and Ricky leading the way. But, they can’t succeed without some help from each of you because, by themselves, they’re individuals, but with the help of the residents of Oakland, they’re an army that can move mountains!
Remember, Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.