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Drayage Brokersin Oakland, CA

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Because a drayage load can mean a few different things, confusion among carriers is common. Many carriers link drayage with going into a port, but that isn't always true. While all drayage loads typically originate from a port of entry, there are often several legs of a drayage journey before a container turns up at its final stop. Legs of a drayage load may include:

Why Are Drayage Companies in Oakland, CA So Important?

You may be thinking, what's so important about drayage? It's such a small step in the container storage transport process. In reality, it's an integral piece needed in the logistics industry and a crucial part of U.S. supply chain management.

To truly understand the importance of drayage, let's use flowers as an example. Most cut flower shipments enter the market from areas in South America until they end up at Dutch auction houses. Once there, wholesalers purchase flowers in bulk and send those products to retail outlets worldwide. Because flowers are perishable, they typically need to be refrigerated and are often shipped in reefer containers. These refrigerated vessels must maintain a certain temp to prevent loss.

Drayage companies like RelyEx allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services. Drayage companies allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind, because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services.

If port drayage is compromised, it can cause delays and even fines. You know the packages you get delivered to your front door from apps like Amazon? Without drayage and drayage brokers, one or two-day shipping times wouldn't even be possible.

As a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone, it seems like drayage shipping issues shouldn't exist. But the fact is inefficiencies and congestion are still major problems at ports. Whether it's a lack of carriers, absent chassis, or overburdened terminals, delays lead to missed deadlines, lost revenue, and worse.

But anytime challenges exist, so too do innovative solutions.

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Container Services Oakland, CA

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 Drayage Oakland, CA

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 Drayage Services Oakland, CA

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 Logistic Services Oakland, CA

RelyEx Solves Problems

At RelyEx, we like to consider ourselves problem solvers. The nature of the container drayage industry presents new challenges every day, but we're firm believers that there's a solution to every hurdle we encounter. And while some drayage businesses implement a reactive approach, RelyEx customers choose us for our proactive mindset. We take pride in solving your company's drayage challenges to help you avoid frustrating fees, missed expectations, and delayed shipments. We strive to make every transaction successful and streamlined by partnering with shippers who prioritize transparent, prompt, and accurate communication.

 Ocean Container Drayage Oakland, CA

RelyEx Has a Unique Vantage Point

RelyEx approaches your business from the customer's perspective - a unique approach that helps us provide high-quality, effective drayage services. We've been in the customers' shoes, know their pain points, and because of that, provide first-hand solutions to stressful supply chain issues. With over 30 years of collective knowledge, our team excels in:

  • Inventory Management
  • Logistics
  • Purchasing
  • Finance

Our varied, high-level drayage shipping experience helps us achieve our overarching goal: expertly managing your freight movement needs. That way, you can direct your time and focus on growing the core aspects of your business while we handle the heavy lifting. Throw in proactive planning to avoid bottleneck situations and strong communication for transparent customer relations, and you can see why so many companies trust RelyEx.

 Warehousing Oakland, CA

RelyEx Nurtures Strong Carrier Relationships

When it comes to shipping logistics, it only takes one mistake by a mediocre worker to disrupt your business. That's why, at RelyEx, we pride ourselves on forming and nurturing relationships with carriers who match our standards of care. Our founding partner started his career transporting freight for companies as an on-demand carrier. He uses that knowledge to maximize the resources of our carriers so that our customer's expectations aren't just met - they're exceeded.

Based in the port city of Oakland, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.

 Transloading Oakland, CA

Customers choose RelyEx because:

  • We are a reliable drayage logistics partner that manages your freight from beginning to end
  • We have a rare industry vantage point with 30+ years of client-side experience
  • We foster and fortify the strongest vendor relations
  • We take a proactive approach to problem-solving, not a reactive approach
Let us know how we can help.
phone-number843-885-3082
Container Services Oakland, CA

Your Drayage Shipments Managed from Start to Finish

Some drayage brokers don't care how customers feel about their service as long as they sign a contract and get paid. As a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx takes the opposite approach. We're motivated by the opportunity to overachieve for our customers and to provide them with the best logistics experience possible. With professional experience as carriers and shippers ourselves, we know the roadblocks and challenges you're facing. We excel at mapping out the best plans of action to solve those problems. But that's just the start.

Our tracking experts monitor and manage every aspect of your drayage shipment from booking to delivery, 24/7. Once booked, we look for the availability of your containers hourly once they're at port. When they arrive, our team acts quickly to access your storage containers when they're available.

Plus, RelyEx ensures your company's requirements are met by the carrier during loading and delivery and provide necessary documentation as fast as possible. With real-time tracking updates and access to our customer service professionals, your team has complete visibility throughout the shipping process.

We Source Top-Notch Operators at the Best Prices

Over the years, RelyEx has built a strong network of drayage carriers, transloading locations, and container storage spaces to provide you with the best possible options to match your drayage service needs. We know that searching for quality service presents an added layer of complexity and stress to our customers. That's why we work hard to take that off your plate by connecting you with our reliable shipping partners.

With a background moving freight as an on-demand carrier, our founding partner understands how to maximize the resources and equipment of our carriers to match your needs.

 Drayage Oakland, CA
 Drayage Services Oakland, CA

We Make Transparent, Timely Communication a Priority

Like other industries, the global logistics space is complex. Mistakes will be made, and problems will happen. With those truths in mind, RelyEx has built its reputation as problem solvers. Unlike other drayage companies, we don't shy away from this industry's complexities because we take pride in solving problems. Even better, we aim to do what's needed to avoid those problems altogether.

As your logistics partner, we will provide your company with accurate, transparent, and prompt communication. If there are unexpected issues, we'll notify you immediately and will provide several options to remedy the problem. We even offer custom reporting for large clients who need at-the-moment updates and quick access to shipment documentation.

We Have Robust Project Management Experience

Why let the unpredictability of your industry dictate your success? With a background working in manufacturing, our founders are familiar with the demands of managing production schedules and sales orders. That experience makes it abundantly clear to us that every business and industry is different. If you struggle with seasonal surges or other factors, our team supports your business with a mapped-out plan and schedule, so you stay ahead of the game.

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 Full Truck Load Oakland, CA

Paperwork Errors

Typically, shippers need four specific documents to clear shipments through customs: A Bill of Lading (or BOL), a commercial invoice, a packing list, and an arrival notice. Seasoned drayage brokers like RelyEx are used to preparing these documents, but new shippers tend to miss this step due to inexperience.

Payment Delays

If a shipper only pays for part of their shipment, a vessel operator may refuse to release their freight until their bill is fully paid. Payment delays lead to cargo detention at the port of entry, which triggers demurrage charges.

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Documents Received Too Late

Paperwork is needed when you're shipping goods with a drayage company. When documents like the Certificate of Origin or Bill of Lading arrive at their destination late, you can expect demurrage fees. RelyEx avoids this situation entirely by being proactive when submitting paperwork.

Additional causes for demurrage fees can include:

  • Damaged Container Storage
  • Custom Released Containers
  • Storage Containers Are Too Heavy

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RelyEx:

The Supply Chain Partner You Can Count On

At RelyEx, we know first-hand how stressful supply chain problems can be for business owners. Though drayage shipping might seem minor on the surface, it affects every stage of your shipping process. And when inevitable hurdles manifest, RelyEx propels you over the proverbial roadblocks with a proactive mindset and a passion for challenging projects. We believe that all problems have a solution, and our unique vantage point allows us to provide first-hand solutions to customers in a wide array of industries.

When it comes to your business, don't settle for anything less than RelyEx. Contact our office today to learn more about how we make your shipping experience streamlined and stress-free.

phone-number843-885-3082

Latest News in Oakland, CA

2023 Athletics Season in Review: Ryan Noda

Oakland’s primary first baseman in 2023, Ryan Noda was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round way back in 2017. He spent three years in Toronto’s minor league system before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal that saw Ross Stripling head to the Blue Jays. Noda has progressed along the minor league ladder steadily, playing a full season at each minor lea...

Oakland’s primary first baseman in 2023, Ryan Noda was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round way back in 2017. He spent three years in Toronto’s minor league system before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal that saw Ross Stripling head to the Blue Jays. Noda has progressed along the minor league ladder steadily, playing a full season at each minor league level and impressing at each. Of course, he along with every minor leaguer lost a season due to Covid, but that year off almost seemed to help him as he returned with much more power.

The Athletics nabbed Noda from the Dodgers with the second overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft last season, giving themselves a free look at a first base prospect who had performed well in Triple-A but was now blocked in Los Angeles by Freddie Freeman.

As a Rule 5 pick, it’s always a roll of the dice to see what a player can provide in the majors. Oakland has made it a big part of their offseason plans in the past decade or so, and have had one big hit (Mark Canha), but a lot of misses as well. It’s basically a free prospect, if you can stomach reserving a roster spot for them all year. But with Noda, there was plenty of reason to feel like he could provide at least serviceable production, maybe even in a platoon role. The production out of first base the year prior was dreadful, so the bar wasn’t especially high. And with no other obvious prospect as the heir for the position, Noda had an excellent chance to take that job and run away with it.

The club has to be pretty happy with what they got out of their most recent Rule 5 pick. Noda, who turns 28 right after Opening Day, was arguably one of the most consistent players on the entire offense, drawing walks at an almost league-leading clip. His walk rate of 15.6% would be third in the entire league if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Only superstars Juan Soto and Kyle Schwarber walked at a higher rate. Alas, a broken jaw in the middle of summer knocked Noda out for about a month, costing him a chance to be on that official leaderboard.

It wasn’t just his keen eye for drawing walks, though. Noda also racked up a solid amount of doubles, and probably would have hit over 30 if not for that injury. Add in an average-to-above-average glove at first base and decent baserunning, and Noda showed a lot to like in his rookie season.

On the flip side of things, Noda didn’t display typical power for a first baseman. The 13 home runs would rank outside the top 20 home run leaders among first basemen. And at 6’3”, it’s not like Noda doesn’t have the frame for more power. While the on-base percentage is great, his average was a lowly .229, which is well *ahem*below average. You can almost never walk a guy in from second base to home, you need to bring in runners from scoring position with hits, a department that Noda will need to improve upon moving forward. And finally, Noda had a flat .200 average against left-handed pitchers. Even if he improves the other areas of his game, if he isn’t able to handle lefties better then he’ll never be more than a platoon bat at first base,

Noda looks to have a strong hold on the first base job after a solid enough rookie season. The only other first baseman on the 40-man roster right now are Seth Brown, Tyler Soderstrom, and Lawrence Butler. They all hit from the left side so there’s no obvious option for a platoon partner, Brown isn’t likely in the long-term plans for the team, and those last two would be playing out of position at first base, more so for Butler than Soderstrom. The team is about to enter Year 3 of the rebuild and is in the middle of the youth movement. Noda is a part of that movement and will likely get the bulk of the playing time at the position, but the club will be hoping Noda can take some serious steps entering his sophomore season. If not, the club’s eyes may begin wandering at some point during the season.

Braves rotation answer could come courtesy of familiar trade partner

Another offseason Braves trade with the Athletics would not be surprising at all at this point.It's been an offseason full of wheeling and dealing for the Atlanta Braves so far, yet they have still not addressed what was their biggest concern entering the offseason. The starting rotation.Yes, the additions of Jarred Kelenic, Aaron Bummer, and Reynaldo Lopez were good ones, but the Braves still need another starter to complete one of the Natio...

Another offseason Braves trade with the Athletics would not be surprising at all at this point.

It's been an offseason full of wheeling and dealing for the Atlanta Braves so far, yet they have still not addressed what was their biggest concern entering the offseason. The starting rotation.

Yes, the additions of Jarred Kelenic, Aaron Bummer, and Reynaldo Lopez were good ones, but the Braves still need another starter to complete one of the National League's best rotations. It felt like Atlanta would pursue one of the big-name starters, but we've only heard them really connected to Aaron Nola who quickly re-signed with the Phillies. Sure, a few other names have popped up, but they've garnered insignificant traction.

With not much left in free agency, Atlanta could turn to the trade market once again as they continue to search for that final rotation piece. The biggest names on the block right now are Dylan Cease and Corbin Burnes but they'll cost a fortune. With that in mind, Atlanta could seek out a familiar trade partner in search of their rotation answer.

There's no way the Athletics will let the Braves fleece them again, right?

The Braves have done most of their offseason work via the trade market in each of the last two offseasons, and have used the same trade partner in both blockbuster deals, the Oakland Athletics. Alex Anthopoulos has taken complete advantage of the reeling A's in both trades, acquiring Matt Olson and Sean Murphy in consecutive offseasons for virtually nothing. The Brewers of all teams wound up getting the best player Atlanta gave up in those deals, William Contreras.

With the Olson and Murphy deals being such embarrassments for the Athletics franchise, it's hard to envision them actually doing business with Atlanta again. Still, a Paul Blackburn trade might make too much sense for both sides to ignore.

In this mock trade from Kerry Miller at Bleacher Report, he has Atlanta acquiring Paul Blackburn in exchange for JR Ritchie, the Braves' sixth-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. This might seem steep on paper, but we have to keep in mind that the Braves farm system is among the worst in the majors. Their sixth-ranked prospect is a lot lower on other teams who have better systems (as evidenced by Ritchie not making the top-10 list of right-handed pitchers). Also, with Ritchie being nowhere near MLB-ready, it's possible this deal could wind up being another version of Atlanta giving up nothing for a quality rotation arm.

Blackburn is a solid back-end starter that the Braves can add for cheap without giving up one of their young studs in A.J. Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep. He's under team control through the 2025 season, giving the Braves insurance if Max Fried leaves after this upcoming season and if Charlie Morton finally decides to retire. He might've had a 4.43 ERA this past season, but his 3.96 FIP suggests there could've been some bad luck involved that came with pitching on a horrific Athletics team.

With how expensive starting pitching is, finding value in the trade market appears to be the way to go at this point.

Atlanta should certainly pursue a trade to acquire a frontline arm like Dylan Cease first, but if they fail to do so, they can do a lot worse than acquiring Blackburn to round out what should be a strong rotation once again.

2023 Athletics Season in Review: Brent Rooker

Brent Rooker, a 29-year-old somewhat journeyman who spent three previous seasons on three different MLB ball clubs, embodied what it meant to be an Athletic in 2023. Without much expectations heading into the season even after a solid Spring Training, Rooker quickly proved to be the team's everyday Designated Hitter and the most dangerous bat in the entire line-up with tons of career highs and accolades to prove it.How AcquiredRooker was claimed off waivers from the ...

Brent Rooker, a 29-year-old somewhat journeyman who spent three previous seasons on three different MLB ball clubs, embodied what it meant to be an Athletic in 2023. Without much expectations heading into the season even after a solid Spring Training, Rooker quickly proved to be the team's everyday Designated Hitter and the most dangerous bat in the entire line-up with tons of career highs and accolades to prove it.

How Acquired

Rooker was claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Royals on November 17, 2022.

What were the expectations?

A career bench bat and fringe minor league player who’d never surpassed 200 at-bats before 2023, the expectations for Rooker were to be that same potentially dangerous platoon bat who’d also fill in at the corner outfield spots after an impressive Spring Training.

2023 Results

Rooker outdid himself and then some in 2023. In 463 at-bats, Rooker posted career highs in every single offensive category including average (.246), home runs (30), RBIs (69), hits (114), and runs (61). He was also the team leader in home runs, RBIs, walks, and tied for hits with Esteury Ruiz. Rooker was also among American League leaders in various categories including 11th in home runs, 12th in slugging, 24th in OBP, 13th in OPS, and even 22nd in HBP. All of this yielded an all-star game appearance for Rooker in July as the team’s lone representative.

Although Rooker slowed down in the second half of the season after coming out of the gate on fire in April batting .358, he fulfilled many roles for the A’s in 2023. Rooker became the team's consistent DH while also starting 25 games in right and 27 in left as he was everything guys like Jesus Aguilar were supposed to be at the dish. Rooker ranked within the top 20 hitters in baseball in wRC+ at 127, second to only Zack Gelof on the A’s with 133 in a significantly shorter sample size. Rooker aimed for 25 home runs on the season but was able to eclipse that total in mid-September while hitting his 30th and final big fly of the year in his last at-bat of 2023.

What went right? What went wrong?

Considering Rooker’s season compared to years past, 2023 was revolutionary and a large success. He went from a waiver wire acquisition in November to an all-star just under a year later in July while posting some monster numbers in his first full MLB consistent playing time. Aside from just pure hitting, Rooker got on base frequently through HBP’s and a walk rate of 9.3% which is nearly a full tick above MLB average. While looking at the full 162-game season, Rooker was objectively the sure offensive MVP for the A’s in 2023.

The biggest knock on Rooker’s 2023, however, has to be his strikeouts. Rooker struck out 172 times which placed him 5th amongst AL hitters. He struck out in 32.7% of his at-bats which is 10% over the league average of 22.9%. While he grooved fastballs all season long, Rooker struggled with the breaking pitches and off-speed posting a 53.1 and 53.2 Whiff% in both respectively. This could also be an explanation as to why his numbers slowed down a bit in the second half as AL pitchers grew more aware of his weaknesses.

2024 Outlook

If it wasn’t for Rooker’s breakout 2023 season we could’ve been talking about 2024 as a make-or-break season potentially. Instead, Rooker all but guaranteed himself another prominent MLB role in 2024 where he’ll be the team's starting DH again and a consistent middle-of-the-order bat. Fangraphs projects another solid season from Rooker but also believes numbers like his average, home runs, and OBP will drop a little, so it’ll be up to Rooker to prove that 2023 wasn’t a fluke by backing it up this season. He’ll have every chance to do so in an A’s lineup that for the moment, looks pretty identical to last seasons. Seeing his strikeouts drop would be a nice icing on the cake as well, but still, if 2024 is similar enough to 2023 for Rooker, the A’s will definitely take it.

The Latest Barrier to New Bay Area Housing? PG&E Equipment Delays

There are hundreds of otherwise ready-to-go housing units just plain sitting vacant across the Bay Area, because PG&E is backlogged on the electrical components needed to connect these units to their power grid.You’ve heard plenty of sturm and drang over the last year or so about California cities’ state-mandated housing element plans that require cities ...

There are hundreds of otherwise ready-to-go housing units just plain sitting vacant across the Bay Area, because PG&E is backlogged on the electrical components needed to connect these units to their power grid.

You’ve heard plenty of sturm and drang over the last year or so about California cities’ state-mandated housing element plans that require cities to build tens of thousands of units of new housing, or else miss out on millions of dollars in state funding for affordable housing and transit. And while bureaucratic red tape often notoriously delays new housing, developers falling behind on their bank loans have also delayed these projects, and now we’re hearing of a new source of housing development delays. Bay Area News Group reports that PG&E equipment delays are blocking hundreds ready-to-occupy units from being inhabited.

The image at the top of this post is of 1000 Sutter Street in SF, the former hotel Granada which has been converted to affordable housing. A PG&E sub-surface transformer delay threatened to set back its opening by several months, though the city was able to get PG&E to expedite delivery.

But several other projects around the Bay Area have not been so lucky, and the news group reports that “Around 540 PG&E customers are waiting on transformers in Northern and Central California, and about 40% are in the Bay Area.”

Their reports highlights one project in Oakland at 1510 Webster Street, which has 236 units that were slated to open in February. But the lack of available electric transformers is pushing that opening back by at least five months. “We’re providing housing that’s desperately needed,” president of that building’s developer oWow Andrew Ball told the News Group. “Here we are about to deliver it, and we have something like this come up. It’s amazing what we have to go through to actually provide housing.”

This all sounds like regular, pandemic-era supply chain issues. But in reality, the transformer supply problems started with Trump-era tariffs against Chinese electronic imports, and the supply problems were then exacerbated when COVID-19 hit. Construction trade groups say transformers that used to take four months to procure can now require up to two years.

It’s not just PG&E, the transformer shortage is nationwide as Reuters reported last month. And it’s also an unintended consequence of two positive goals; the desire to phase natural out gas from new housing developments, and the high-density housing that state lawmakers have been pushing for. That high-density housing requires underground transformers, instead of the boxy, above-ground transformers. So it’s a confluence of factors leading to the delays, but another hurdle that’s hampering many California cities’ ability to meet their housing goals.

Related: State Issues Scathing New Report on San Francisco's Arduously Slow Process for Approving New Housing [SFist]

Image: Google Street View

2024 Oakland Athletics Spring Training Schedule

The Oakland Athletics will head to Arizona in mid-February where they will begin preparations for the 2024 season. The A’s will begin Cactus League play on Saturday, February 24 against the Colorado Rockies. Oakland has 33 games scheduled and will wrap up spring camp on Saturday, March 23 against the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland will play a pair of exhibition games against the ...

The Oakland Athletics will head to Arizona in mid-February where they will begin preparations for the 2024 season. The A’s will begin Cactus League play on Saturday, February 24 against the Colorado Rockies. Oakland has 33 games scheduled and will wrap up spring camp on Saturday, March 23 against the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland will play a pair of exhibition games against the San Francisco Giants on March 25 and 26 before beginning the regular season schedule.

Game times are set for all of Oakland’s spring schedule. We will add broadcast and streaming info as it becomes available.

Date Opponent Result Time TV Streaming Radio
Saturday, February 24 vs. Rockies 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Sunday, February 25 at Dodgers 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Monday, February 26 vs. Diamondbacks 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Tuesday, February 27 at Guardians 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Wednesday, February 28 vs. Giants 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Thursday, February 29 vs. Padres 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Friday, March 1 at Royals 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Saturday, March 2 at Mariners 12:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Sunday, March 3 vs. Rangers 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Monday, March 4 at Reds 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Tuesday, March 5 OFF DAY
Wednesday, March 6 at Angels 12:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Thursday, March 7 vs. Guardians 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Friday, March 8 at Brewers (SS) 12:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Friday, March 8 vs. Brewers (SS) 6:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Saturday, March 9 at Giants (SS) 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Saturday, March 9 vs. Brewers (SS) 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Sunday, March 10 vs. Royals 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Monday, March 11 at Diamondbacks 1:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Tuesday, March 12 vs. Mariners 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Wednesday, March 13 at Padres 1:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Thursday, March 14 at Cubs 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Friday, March 15 vs. Giants 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Friday, March 15 vs. Giants Futures 4:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Saturday, March 16 vs. Brewers (SS) 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Saturday, March 16 at Rockies (SS) 1:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Sunday, March 17 vs. White Sox 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Monday, March 18 at Diamondbacks 1:10 PM TBD TBD TBD
Tuesday, March 19 at Rangers 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Wednesday, March 20 vs. Cubs 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Thursday, March 21 OFF DAY
Friday, March 22 at White Sox (SS) 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Friday, March 22 vs. Reds (SS) 1:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Saturday, March 23 vs. Angels 12:05 PM TBD TBD TBD
Sunday, March 24 OFF DAY
Monday, March 25 vs. Giants 6:40 PM TBD TBD TBD
Tuesday, March 26 at Giants 5:05 PM TBD TBD TBD

Friends of Sausal Creek displays its resiliency in the Oakland Hills

Sausal Creek was a glorious, vital native plant and wildlife sanctuary and fresh water tributary running from Joaquin Miller Park to Fruitvale to the estuary and emptying into San Francisco Bay until the late 1700s, when Spanish and later colonists destroyed the Huchiun Ohlone tribe’s ecologically harmonic lifestyle by displacing them and introducing ranching, lodging, non-native plant species, pollution and building development.Planet Earth is resilient on its own, but help is required to combat the devastating impact of human ...

Sausal Creek was a glorious, vital native plant and wildlife sanctuary and fresh water tributary running from Joaquin Miller Park to Fruitvale to the estuary and emptying into San Francisco Bay until the late 1700s, when Spanish and later colonists destroyed the Huchiun Ohlone tribe’s ecologically harmonic lifestyle by displacing them and introducing ranching, lodging, non-native plant species, pollution and building development.

Planet Earth is resilient on its own, but help is required to combat the devastating impact of human beings on our environment that swiftly accelerates into the climate crisis threatening global food systems, air and water quality, public safety and more.

Welcome in the Friends of Sausal Creek, which in 1996 formed to protect the East Bay watershed.

The resiliency of this nonprofit threads throughout victories and challenges in their 28-year history — and, more recently, rapid recovery after vandals in June 2023 invaded their native plant nursery in the Oakland Hills, destroying over 600 native plant seedlings, scattering 4,000 plants, smashing pots, tables and benches and causing approximately $8,000 in damages.

The Friends consist of staff and volunteers whose restoration and maintenance of creeks and parklands along the Sausal Creek watershed, one of nine major creeks in Oakland, preserves a critical natural resource. Entering the picture in March 2023, Executive Director Lisa Giordano notes that returning to the West Coast and working at the ground level with a local environmental organization made the job highly desirable. “I was eager to get back on the ground after being in advocacy and policy work,” she says. “Working at the policy level can be abstract and because it’s macro-level, things move slowly. I was excited to fund a project and immediately watch it begin to move from point A to B.”

Giordano holds a bachelor’s degree in conservation and resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and during her studies performed restoration work on Strawberry Creek. But those aren’t the first experience — and arguably, not the greatest — behind her fondness for California and the East Bay, in particular. “When I was young, I found solace in nature. I’m from New York City where there are obviously limited green spaces and I was shy. I went to a camp in Santa Cruz when I was 14 and spent time outside and saw how people in California stewarded, respected and had reverence for the environment. That really inspired and engaged me.”

Speaking to the fortitude demonstrated by the FOSC board, staff, sponsors and volunteers — most of whom live in Piedmont, Berkeley and Oakland’s Montclair and Rockridge districts — Giordano says the annual public plant sale held last fall was enormously successful. “We sold more than we ever have and had more community participants. After the vandalism, the volunteer community and our garden manager and local partners showed that so many people care and will dedicate their time and resources to the creek. It speaks of our resiliency beyond the local community to the larger environmental restoration world. We’re not going to let something like that deter us from our vision.”

The group’s vision finds itself made actual in projects that include restoration work in 26 green spaces along Sausal Creek, educational field trips, community events and summer programs, along with advocacy while working closely with the city of Oakland to advance policies and legislations supportive of biodiverse ecosystems.

Goals to improve access to public green spaces and prevent harm to parks, watersheds and other sensitive natural spaces have the Friends relying on science-informed conservation and best ecological management practices. The nonprofit has engaged educational and environmental partners, youth organizations and others in initiatives such as wildfire prevention in Fern Ravine, flood control in Dimond Canyon and efforts supporting biodiversity and habitat preservation in Jingletown, Bridgeview and land surrounding the Chabot Space and Science Center.

Giordano says some exciting work currently underway involves two projects in areas of Oakland where there is limited access to public urban green space and the creek.

“We’re submitting proposal recommendations to the city of Oakland on projects involving Wood Park and Barry Place for funding through the Capital Improvement process that runs every two years. As for education, we’re about to increase the size of our programs significantly. We received a grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to increase youths’ contact and engagement with their environment. For Title One schools especially, bringing kids in for hands-on experience will be significant and supported by the grant’s $298,332 coming in over the next two-and-a-half years. With advocacy, we’re working with Oakland’s Master Plan and how it plays out for Joaquin Miller Park.

“We’re talking to not just environmentalists, but bikers, local residents and other stakeholders to hear their ideas about the best ways to manage resource conservation areas prone to damage from human impact like recreation and other uses.”

Giordano says immediate action people can take to ensure the creek stays healthy and continues to improve are to install native plants, refrain from dumping toxic substances outside, educate themselves about watersheds and engage in recreation that respects green space boundaries. Actions to support the group’s work directly include volunteering to participate in water quality testing and community events to clean up the creek and remove non-native plants, providing personal expertise if qualified and donating monetarily.

Success for the Friends, Giordano suggests, would come from becoming thought-leaders in watershed restoration, as would moving long-term goals forward, improving trout migration, eradicating invasive plant species and “bringing more people into the fold to join the effort to elevate issues and provide real solutions.”

Although she knows it is more difficult to change culture than to adopt better practices and habits, she’s optimistic.

“From California’s young people, we hear strong motivation to fix issues and create better futures,” Giordano says. “There’s selfish motivation to create a less threatening world, but also selfless understanding of our impacts and how they effect our environment and planet.”

Lou Fancher is a freelance writer. Reach her at lou@johnsonandfancher.com.

Former Oakland fire chief resigns from top San Rafael job

San Rafael’s fire chief has stepped down, the city said.Darin White was Oakland’s top fire official when he took over for former San Rafael fire chief Chris Gray, who retired in 2019. Abraham Roman, a deputy chief in charge of operations, has been named acting chief, according to the city.White said he stepped down to “pursue new ways to make communities safer,&...

San Rafael’s fire chief has stepped down, the city said.

Darin White was Oakland’s top fire official when he took over for former San Rafael fire chief Chris Gray, who retired in 2019. Abraham Roman, a deputy chief in charge of operations, has been named acting chief, according to the city.

White said he stepped down to “pursue new ways to make communities safer,” according to a city newsletter sent Friday. He did not respond to a request for comment.

“We will miss him for sure, and we appreciate his tenure that he had here,” Roman said Tuesday.

John Bagala, the president of Marin Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1775, said he and White worked together on the issue of firefighter occupational cancer. In January, the city and the union honored retired San Rafael fire battalion chief Paul Crimmins, whose death at 61 was attributed to occupational cancer, he noted.

“We definitely wish Chief White the best of luck in his future endeavors,” Bagala said.

White’s resignation is effective March 31, San Rafael Assistant City Manager Angela Robinson Piñon said. He will work on projects under the city attorney’s direction during the transition period, she said. Piñon did not have further information on what those projects will involve.

White took command in San Rafael in 2020. He signed a four-year contract that started him at an initial salary of $193,814. White will be paid a lump sum cash severance in the amount of 18 months’ salary, exclusive of pension costs, Piñon said.

Roman takes over a department with nearly 70 firefighters staffing seven fire stations in San Rafael and Marinwood. The 30-year fire service veteran came to San Rafael last year after serving as Berkeley’s fire chief for 14 months. He working for that city’s fire department for 23 years.

“The leadership may change a little bit, but the mission never changes,” Roman said.

“We’re constantly trying to stay ahead of the wave of hiring — that’s been a conflict in the fire service not just in California, but in the nation at this point, so we’re no different,” he said.

“The priority is obviously the community,” Roman said. “In order to have a good service for the community, you need firefighters that are hyper-focused on being positive, productive, and healthy.”

Bagala noted the challenges of recruiting high-level candidates and retaining firefighters in San Rafael. He added that the department had many staff members leave for higher-paying agencies.

“It puts a lot of stress for existing people on the job, and it will be one of the things that Abe will have to tackle,” he said.

Love letters written between Bay Area teens preserved 100 years later

OAKLAND, Calif. - Most people can remember their first love. Many might have even written love notes to that person.Two Bay Area teens in the 1920s did just that, and now their story is frozen in time.Suzanna Robinson, from Oakland, found their personal love letters on the internet and decided to purchase them, revealing a treasure trove...

OAKLAND, Calif. - Most people can remember their first love. Many might have even written love notes to that person.

Two Bay Area teens in the 1920s did just that, and now their story is frozen in time.

Suzanna Robinson, from Oakland, found their personal love letters on the internet and decided to purchase them, revealing a treasure trove of century-old letters.

It was something Robinson never expected when she came across the estate sale on eBay.

"The person doing the estate sale just couldn’t bear to throw the letters away, so he just posted them on eBay," she said.

Robinson spent about $30 only to discover a priceless love story between pen pals, recorded on ink-blotted pages.

"I think there’s something really special about this story, these people," she gleamed.

The tale begins in 1921, with letters addressed to Conrad Zerbe in Oakland, written by a lovestruck teenager in Sausalito, Audrey Young.

"One of the letters, she signs it ‘Yours until the sun rises in the far west and sets in the near east, Audrey,’ and that, of course, means forever right because the sun will never rise in the west, so she’s basically saying in a clever way, ‘I’m yours forever,’" Robinson said with a smile. "Actually, she kind of is Conrad Zerbe’s forever because here we are in 2023 reading about this beautiful love story."

In one letter, there is a glimpse of the Roaring 20s when Young invites Zerbe to a friend’s party in Oakland to dance.

"She’s talking about how he changed her life," Robinson said, reading through the old notes.

Erin Sanders, manager of the Oakland History Center at the Public Library, took a look back at archives with KTVU reporter Crystal Bailey to help place the letters.

"Towards the beginning of the 20s it wasn’t as common for people to have cars, but then the popularity of cars exploded over the course of the decade," said Sanders.

The letters point to the technological advancements in Oakland at the time and give readers an idea of what teenagers like Young and Zerbe were going through.

"There was sort of a post-war boom, there was a lot of development happening, our population grew by almost 30% over that decade," Sanders recalled.

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"There are a lot of references to water and water transit cause there were no bridges, and also basketball and sports, and the things we do today that bring us all together," said Robinson. "Some things are not that much different, and some things are."

Many of the letters were addressed to a home in West Oakland, which no longer stands today, but there are several letters addressed to a house in North Oakland. Sanders believes this is Zerbe's second childhood home.

With the help of historical planning maps, Sanders helped find his first childhood home.

"Right now, the map shows it’s under a freeway, but we can look at this older map and determine exactly where that house was," she said, flipping through the 2-foot wide page of the historical index.

"So, what we’re looking at is basically what it was like in 1911 when Conrad would have been four or five," she described.

The letters elaborate on his difficult transition into manhood, as he becomes a shipbuilder during the Oakland estuary’s industrious time.

"He had the same issues a lot of people have after high school, ‘What am I going to do with my life,’" Robinson empathized.

Zerbe's last heartfelt letter from Young in the collection was written in 1925.

"Not long after 1925, he gets married to someone else, you know and they had a child, based on the census, right then and there," said Robinson, with a certain sadness.

Zerbe's adventure doesn’t end there. He went on to fight for workers in a labor union, getting arrested in the 1960s while he was striking with Local 1149, a union for carpenters and builders.

"I think they kind of went after him because he was leading the charge with better pay, better salaries," said Robinson.

A 1964 Oakland Tribune article said his charges were dismissed in the California Supreme Court because he was conducting "lawful labor activities."

"It makes you wonder, right?" Robinson asked, "Why would someone keep all these letters for over 100 years and their whole life?"

Her simple explanation is love.

"It’s true they didn’t get that story book happily ever after, but they had a love and that love was really impressionable you know," Robinson insisted.

Now, Robinson is finding a way to preserve the letters for the next 100 years and share them with others.

It is a love story for the ages, stuck in time.

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