Over the years, Bill Aboudi has portrayed himself as a champion of independent truckers in Oakland. The local businessman has a city contract to operate a large parking operation for big rigs at the former Oakland Army Base. But records also reveal strong evidence that Aboudi has violated several labor and environmental regulations in recent years, along with multiple city laws, and that he owes city taxpayers more than $235,000 in back rent and penalties for use of public property.
A few months ago, Kim Nguyen realized she had a problem on her hands — except maybe it wasn't a problem, or at least it was the kind of problem every business owner dreams of having: Saigon Market, the narrow, cluttered convenience store that she runs along with her husband just north of the corner of Telegraph Avenue and 23rd Street, was absolutely overrun with customers. Or rather, it was overrun exactly one night a month: the first Friday, when the art walk and street fair of the same name descends on Uptown Oakland, its center right in front of her little store.
Kao Saeturn liked to intimidate people with his Glock. Referring to himself as "the King of Oakland," Saeturn, along with his gang, kicked off a methamphetamine-fueled spree that wreaked havoc on the Bay Area. After holding up a San Rafael massage parlor at gunpoint, Saeturn's gang targeted another one in El Cerrito and then a Hayward karaoke club, threatening victims with their firearms. Then in a bizarre episode, Saeturn and an accomplice attempted to carjack a retired San Francisco Sheriff's deputy at gunpoint on Interstate 580. When police finally apprehended Saeturn's gang on February 7, 2008, officers recovered the Glock 17 pistol that the 25-year-old ringleader had used during the crime spree, along with other firearms. In 2010, the King of Oakland was sentenced to 272 months in prison.
For all everyone's been talking about the tragic shooting at First Friday, it's worth noting that there's still a lot we don't know. We can't yet tell the extent to which this was related to First Friday itself — that is, we don't, and may never, know whether something about the event's general melee facilitated this, or whether the suspect would have killed Campbell anywhere, and that intersection and that moment just happened to be the time and place.
The state teachers' retirement system is attempting to divest itself from a company that finances the manufacture of assault weapons like the one used at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But even if it does, it still won't be out of the gun business.