Dwain Butler appeared before the Oakland City Council Rules Committee Thursday morning with an idea to add the phrase “lovelife” to the city’s welcome signs. Although council members generally supported the sentiment of the charming request, the slow-moving wheels of government bureaucracy nearly swallowed it up before Councilmember Larry Reid intervened.

Wearing a black fedora Butler said was meant to evoke Bay Area dealmaker Willie Brown, he said the phrase, which is also the name of a local foundation, is “not just the people who lost their lives. It’s going forward, so our city can be recognized nationwide for standing for something. It’s a spiritual thing.”

Joe Wang of the Oakland Public Works Department said most traffic signs cannot legally be modified, but a request to change a city guide sign is possible. “Actually there’s flexibility for us to do something,” said Wang. However, a design and cost estimate would first need to be determined, he said.

Councilmembers Libby Schaaf, Pat Kernighan and Dan Kalb then debated over how to proceed with the citizen request. For instance, Schaaf opposed sending the request to a committee without first having a report from the appropriate city department. Kalb agreed, but wondered whether the addition of a slogan to the city’s welcome signs should be open to every citizen to choose, not just one person.

“This really isn’t a big deal,” Reid interrupted and looking a bit perturbed by the added complexity being added to the simple request. “The kind of loss of life that we lose each and every year to the stupidity—to gun violence—and to add something that says lovelife. Hey, I want everybody to love life. Maybe it won’t stop the violence that’s occurring on our streets, but it’s certainly a message worth putting on our signs.”

The discussion ended when Reid offered to sponsor legislation on the subject. But, what about cost of either modifying or replacing the signs? No problem, Reid said send him the bill.

 Cross posted from EB Citizen

6 Responses

  1. livegreen

    They have to change the signs periodically to adjust population anyway, so do it at the same time. In Oakland’s case, that means revising this # downward.

    PS. If it’s even legal for a citizen to pay for public sign revisions, someone might need to remind Larry in a few months/years that he said this.

    Reply
  2. R2D2II

    Reid: “Maybe it won’t stop the violence that’s occurring on our streets, but it’s certainly a message worth putting on our signs.”

    Not even a maybe. Maybe Reid should think about doing something which really does stop the violence.

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  3. Matt in Uptown

    Changing city signage should not be easy and I think Steven’s assessment of the issue “the slow-moving wheels of government bureaucracy nearly swallowed it up before Councilmember Larry Reid intervened” shows disrespect for democracy. No one should be able to go to a city council meeting and get any slogan added to any city sign without community input. “Love Life” sounds cool, until Mr Butler says, ” It’s a spiritual thing.” Okay, now is it a right to life/religious slogan? Since we live in a secular democracy that is not cool. Besides, get real -the slogan would be pure bull crap as we all know if Oaklander’s had the backbone to make Love Life a reality we wouldn’t need an empty slogan to begin with!

    Mr Butler’s heart is in a good place, but this is a city of 400,000 different points of view and it shouldn’t be easy for one person’s idea to bypass everyone because one council member agrees with it.

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  4. Murray Powers

    It is truly astonishing that, given the great challenges we have in this city, that even a solitary moment would be wasted on so trite and insipid an idea as this. Even the suggestion of adding “lovelife” to anything regarding our city speaks to the disconnect between the patronizing and delusional world of progressive symbolism and the gritty and depressing reality that faces our citizens. It’s nauseating.

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  5. CaliLibby

    If it’s associated with Willie Brown, why would we put it on our signs? He is as San Francisco as it gets.

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  6. Dan Woloz

    Yes, Willie Brown, the same man who wrote in his memoir: “‘You want to do your killings? Do it in Oakland. Do it in Richmond. Do it elsewhere. But don’t do killing in San Francisco. It reflects badly on a black mayor.'”

    Reply

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