Dear Ms. Drummond,
Your recent article presents a rosy picture for the Foothill Square area. However, the reality of this situation is a far cry from what the city and developers present.
As a local resident and business owner, I have been hopeful since first hearing about the redevelopment of Foothill Square in 2011. The road improvements seemed like a good start. But, the crime in the area has only increased and become more violent over the years, plus the fact that the city and developer chose a low-end grocer will not help this project succeed.
With Foodsco, Ross and Annas Linens as anchors, not to mention the bingo parlor and Head Start Center this shopping center has already been labeled as a discount/poor community /ghetto shopping center. The size of the shopping center and grocery store aren’t nearly as important as the quality and the safety of the surrounding area.
As a consumer, I will travel to Safeway (San Leandro, Fruitvale or Alameda), Trader Joes, Whole Foods or even Berkeley Bowl before I will shop at Foodsco and I live on Truman Avenue, just blocks away. But, It isn’t safe to walk from my house to Foothill Square and if I’m going to get in my car, I might as well drive another .6 mile to the Safeway on Dutton. Sure, I’ll go down to Foodsco when I run out of milk or bread but, I doubt that I will ever do the majority of my grocery shopping at Foodsco.
It has been my experience when shopping at Foodsco in San Francisco and Redwood City, that their advertised prices prey on the uneducated in that they present a sale price that is actually higher than completive products in the store. So, unless you are smart enough to check prices and unit costs, you will be ripped off by this retailer. And as is typical of grocers in poor areas, their produce selection is limited to basic items of poor quality which area overpriced.
Let’s be real here, if I won’t travel half a mile to shop there, no one is going to travel from Castro Valley (where they have Safeway, Trader Joes, Albertsons and more), San Leandro (with 2 Safeways, Grocery Outlet and more) or even other parts of Oakland to shop at Foodsco. They might come to shop at Ross but only if the store is above average since there is a Ross at the much larger and diverse Bayfair Center in San Leandro.
If you go check out the huge Pak ‘n Save store on Hegenberger, you will see that despite the warehouse size, the store itself carries relatively few items. Many of the shelves are stocked with low-end, bulky products just to fill space and it seems that there is never any volume of shoppers, even during the holidays. And this is a discount grocer in the heart of one of the poorest sections of Oakland. But, the residents would rather shop at the local Mexican markets.
The Mayor, City Council, especially Larry Reid, Oakland Police Department and Oakland Public Works have a lot of work to do if this project is going to be sucessful. This part of East Oakland has been going downhill since I moved here five years ago and I have seen no signs of improvement this year. In fact, matters have only gotten worse as the city has failed to deal with crime at any level.
The graffiti in the area is totally out of control. It is only because of 24-hour security that Foothill Square has remained clear of such tags. But, even the AMCAL project at 9817 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94605 has been tagged with guards present night and day. The site above was clean until crews started working there. Now the entire building is covered in graffiti.
For the last month, there has been a homeless encampment at 10511 MacArthur Blvd. I have reported this on SeeClickFix.com
and called OPD 4 times about this situation. And yet the person is still there on the sidewalk blocking passage for pedestrians and leaving a huge pile of junk surrounding the area. Will this attract shoppers?
Result of a Sideshow?
Sideshows are a common occurrence in the area and I expect that they will only increase with more spectators for them to show off to. After experiencing one of these illegal events a few months ago, it became very apparent how ineffective OPD is to stop or control such unchecked illegal activities. First a helicopter circled the area for over 20 minutes. Finally a single OPD patrol car pulled up to the area. The officers did not get out of their car. They could not do anything to control the crowd that had gathered. So, they just sat in their car, powerless and helpless. Eventually the crowd dispersed, mostly out of boredom, I expect.
Then there is the violent crime that has been increasing for the last few years. Beside countless assaults, burglaries and robberies, I believe that there have been 5 murders within 5 blocks of Foothill Square in the last year and two of these deaths were women.
Mayor Quan, Larry Reid, Mr. John Jay – Do you really think this is the sort of environment that you would “bring your momma or children to? Have you walked a 10 block radius around this location? Would you expect your momma or children to walk there alone?
Please let me know what you plan to do to reduce the violent as well as low-level crimes that plague this area? And how you will accomplish this before the opening of the stores this summer.
Foothill Square, Oakland crime information
||Foothill Square /100K
|Total crime index
Put this data on your website
- The estimated Foothill Square crime index is 36% higher than the Oakland average and and the Oakland crime index is 138% higher than the California average.
- The estimated Foothill Square violent crime rate is 36% higher than the Oakland average and and the Oakland violent crime rate is 389% higher than the California average.
- The estimated Foothill Square property crime rate is 36% higher than the Oakland average and and the Oakland property crime rate is 104% higher than the California average.