I usually like to promote my hometown in this space, but I gotta get some things off my chest.

First off, what bozo put up the Christmas garland and banners on Lakeshore a day or two after Halloween? Oops, that’d be me. Or, anyway, I forgot to ask our banner folks to give us a break before shoving us into the “holidays” a month too soon. But TV is so much worse with Christmas music, snowmen, and people wearing god-awful sweaters—our pink (pink?) banners are nothing compared to that forced joyous(less)ness.

So that was easy since we know most everybody complains about the earlier and earlier coming of the “holidays.” (Somebody must like it that way). What about those little daily hassles and insults? I got yours right here:

I want someone to tell me why their bag, purse, or backpack needs its own chair. Ever try to get a seat in crowded Arizmendi’s and find they’re all filled—not with people but with all the junk they haul around?

By the way, don’t groan when you take the aisle seats first in the movie theatre and someone has the nerve to want to sit somewhere in the same aisle and stop kicking the back of my seat!

Okay, here’s another (I know, petty) complaint. What about those drivers who sit with their feet on their brakes with the engine running while you wait for them to back out. You wave, you honk, oh so gently. They’re oblivious. You give up and drive on—after all there’s a line of traffic up to the bridge behind you—and what?! Then they back out!

I especially love the clueless SUV drivers, or am I being redundant, who see that space across the street on Lakeshore and make an illegal U turn, except they can’t quite make it. Well, they don’t even get close. Now, you wait and wait while they back up again, yet again, until they can squeeze around to that perfect parking space. Ever hear of the rules of the road or the $175 ticket you’re gonna get? Nope, guess not. (I’ll leave out the new parking “meters” so someone else can complain about them—can’t wait.)

All those news racks that get padlocked to our city racks which were designed to provide space for all those publishers who, it turns out, think they need a special ugly yellow plastic rack in case of any remaining walking space.

Chip Johnson columns.

Watching the Montclarion waste away and finding the Trib’s stories repeated in those pages. Full disclosure, my mother was a reporter, columnist, and even sometime editor for a small town paper that specialized in local news.

Council members who don’t have time for regular community meetings but do have time to show their support for convicted rapists. What were they thinking?

Showing up at a City Council meeting, waiting 3 or 4 hours, and getting one minute to address the issue to your reps then getting to hear them wax on for 10 to 20 minutes each….

Good citizens who rail about thugs but have never had time, patience, or compassion for young people with unbearable lives. The old saw of “walk a mile in their shoes” or “there but for the grace of God” or good fortune, wealthy parents, or just dumb luck, etc. doesn’t strike a chord in them.

People who complain about KPFA. Try living in Philly without it for a summer.

Oh, that reminds me: people who complain about the heat when it’s 77 degrees or the cold when it’s 50. Try living in Philly for a winter. I told my son, who lives in New York City now, one day last winter that it was bitter cold here. He said, “yeah, it’s probably 45°.” “45°”, I said, “don’t be ridiculous, it’s in the low 50s. How could it be that cold in Cali.” By the way, old folks who use phrases like Cali or bling. I only use them because it drives my son nuts.

People who say that Oakland is finally “coming into its own” or some such crap because they moved here….

Or, people who say that “Oakland is under siege” or some such other crap because they’re too young to remember other bad times like the crack epidemic (we recovered by getting organized) or even know what “redlining” means…

People who don’t follow local politics but wonder how those guys got to the statehouse or the Senate or wherever. Gotta train’em right, folks!

Politicians who send out press releases about transparency after preventing the counting of the votes. A city which counts the developers money but not its citizens votes. Come to think of it, that was a pretty transparent transaction. As George Bush says, “Fool me once….”

Let’s not forget to mention mayors who talk or talked about democracy but then didn’t think it was very important to count the votes either.

Progressives who, however disappointed we all are in our Democratic candidates, can’t clearly see after seven years of overturning the Constitution, devastating our economy, and executing plans for perpetual war, the need to elect any Democrat we can get.

Developers who rip off our heritage and then get feted in magazines as the saviors of Oakland while the rest of us who love, live, work, shop, protest (and write), and kvetch for our town keep on slogging through.