A few years ago when I was the Director of the Grand Lake Neighborhood Center, Michael Lange organized a special Hands around the Lake Ceremony to Stop the Violence, out of our Center. It was a beautiful and touching experience.

Mayor-Elect Ron Dellums Inaugural Committee will host such a special event to showcase Oakland’s beauty and Oaklanders’ dedication to improving it by holding a “Hands Around the Lake” on Saturday morning, January13th, starting at 9 AM. He and his wife Cynthia will begin the morning by walking around the lake as others gather to join hands with him to encircle “the city’s centerpiece.” They are asking participants to register at 9:00, wearing white T-shirts and brightly colored gloves. Organizations or neighborhoods are encouraged to wear gloves which identify their group, and, if they can, to bring another pair for donation. There will be marching bands, puppets, business groups, and whatever activity you or your group would like to add to the festivities.

This is just one event of a week-long inaugural starting with the Swearing-In Ceremony at the Paramount Theatre on Monday, January 8th. This is a free event (as is the Hands Around the Lake) and the doors will open at 10:30 AM. On that evening there will be a black-tie Gala at Scott’s Restaurant from 8 to 11 PM. This is an expensive evening reception with tickets starting at $150 with senior and student tickets available for $35.

The inaugural week will be littered with community activities including art exhibitions; various music and dance performances; business, kids’, interfaith, and LGBT receptions throughout the week; a Night on the Town Friday at some of Oakland’s restaurants, galleries, and clubs; and an Inaugural Soiree on Sunday. All of these are open to the public but some require purchasing a ticket at various price ranges.

You can find out more at www.mayorelectrondellums.org or call 1-800-629-6773. Volunteers, from all walks of the city we love—corporations, small businesses, children, artists, and elders—are putting these programs together to express their hopes and plans, their demands for a lively, balanced, thriving city that can bring our varied neighborhoods and communities together.

Eight years ago we had another grand inauguration week in which Oaklanders volunteered to come together to celebrate. Unfortunately, after that the mayor retreated behind closed doors to do much of the work of the city, and we have not come together again until this recent mayoral election.

This time I believe it will be different because this mayor seems to enjoy interacting with us. But, the real issue is us, my friends and neighbors: Do we elect a mayor and then turn over our city to him? Are we looking for a savior, a superman? (Ron likes to open his shirt and declare that there is no giant “S,” that he needs us to work with him.) Do we then go back to our lives and leave the business of governing to the folks in City Hall, paying no attention until, too late: we finally notice a changed city? This time, we must step up to the plate and stay engaged. It’s our town; they’re our businesses, neighborhoods, schools. See you out there, and let’s talk.

Albertsons update

The Trader Joe’s will be taking 50 to 60 percent of the old Albertson’s building. (See “Trader Joe's to replace Lakeshore Albertsons.”)

The owners are in the process of finding a tenant for the other portion of the building, and there is some concern over what kind of tenant it will be. We suggest you send your ideas to District 2 council member Pat Kernighan (web site, email), who will surely let them know our preferences.