Keep Current Managers at Oakland's Grand Lake Market
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The problem and the solution: A neighborhood group with fewer than a dozen members is trying to oust the Agricultural Institute of Marin as manager of the Grand Lake Farmers Market held each Saturday in Splash Pad Park. Meanwhile, Oakland Councilperson Abel Guillen is awaiting a recommendation from his staff whether to extend AIM's contract. (City staff in January already recommended such an extension.) Both local politicians and city staff need to hear from those who over the years have enjoyed and appreciated the market. Sign this petition if you think that AIM has done a good job and that pushing them out and replacing them with another group - possibly one with no experience running a farmers market - is a bad idea. Certainly the market might be improved in small ways, but those improvements should be negotiated with AIM, a group that has acted with competence and in good faith for nearly two decades. A signature on this petition is a vote of confidence in AIM and for the future of the Grand Lake Farmers Market.
Who has created this petition: Edith and Michael Robertson, who have lived in Oakland for 37 years and in the Grand/Lakeshore neighborhood for 26 years.
Why we care: When we moved into this neighborhood, Lakeshore was a "ghost street," and Grand Avenue wasn't much better. When in the late 1990s Oakland Councilperson John Russo attempted to plant a Trader Joe's in Splash Pad Park, we were part of the resistance, which ultimately repelled Russo and saved the park for the people. A key part of that resistance was the creation of the farmers market. We were part of the committee that selected the group now known as AIM to help create the market. They made many promises about how the market would be organized and supported, and about the benefits it would bring the neighborhood as people were brought into shop on Saturday and would stay to shop at existing merchants - and come back the other six days of the week. They carried out their promises, and their prediction has proved true: Lakeshore and Grand avenues are now thriving, and AIM deserves substantial credit. Tossing them now would be unfair. More to the point, it would be unwise. They know how to run a challenging, complicated market. That newcomers would run a market as good, much less better, is unlikely. That it would be inferior is likely. The neighborhood can't afford the risk. Sign if you support AIM's continued management of the market.
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