Abel’s eNews: Homeless center opens, economic strategy adopted, community meetings on public lands and parking

This is the last newsletter of 2017 – it’s been quite a year. I want to thank you for all your support, good advice and constructive suggestions over the past 12 months. It helps me so much to do my job when I hear from all of you about the challenges facing our city and our District 2 neighborhoods.

From me and my whole staff, I want to share our best wishes to you and your loved ones for the holiday season, and for the Oakland community in the coming new year.

Happy Holidays!



City Opens First “Safe Haven” Site for the Homeless
The City of Oakland opened its first “safe haven” homeless site earlier this month. The site features 20 modular units designed to house 40 people for up to six months at a time. Located on an empty lot between 6th and Brush streets and 7th and Castro streets, the safe haven will offer portable toilets, mobile showers, washing stations and a variety of wrap-around support services aimed at getting homeless people into more permanent housing. In addition to the site’s case manager, a “housing navigator” will also be working full-time to find the safe-haven residents permanent housing. Read more in the East Bay Times

Bringing Fairness to Tenant Move-out Agreements 
I have introduced legislation, with the City Attorney and Councilmember Kalb, to bring clarity and due process to tenant move-out agreements that are offered by landlords. My office has received numerous complaints about buyout offers being made and rescinded and unfair negotiation practices. We hope to bring clarity and help even playing field to ensure a fair and transparent process. The item will be considered at the Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting in January. We’ll keep you posted.

Shared Prosperity, Employment Gains Key to Oakland’s Economic Development Strategy
At its last meeting, the City Council adopted the City’s Economic Development Strategy, which aims to make Oakland an easy, efficient, resilient and prosperous place to do business, reduce racial disparities, and help all Oaklanders achieve economic security. The Strategy proposes more than 50 targets, ranging from supporting small businesses and maintaining public spaces to building housing.

The Strategy establishes three high-level objectives: Oakland’s economy will continue to grow, with a 10% increase in per capita gross regional product by 2020; the number of Oaklanders making less than a living wage will be reduced by 50%; and the asset poverty rate of African Americans (currently 63%) and Latinos (currently 69%) will be reduced by half.

Read more about the Economic Development Strategy 2018-2020, to see how the City is responding to a changing local economy and planning to support businesses and neighborhoods over the next three years. Over that period, the City will support more than 1,000 businesses each year, and the local economy will add 2,800 jobs each year, with 12,000 residents receiving access to job training each year.

The City will also support the construction of more than 4,250 new homes, including 1,200 below-market-rate apartments, while protecting 5,000 households from displacement. The City will spend $120 million on transportation and other public infrastructure – including repaving 1,100 city blocks – and facilities, including fire stations, libraries and recreation centers. Click here for a summary


Monday, January 8 | Public Lands Meeting – Small, Minority and Women-Owned Construction Businesses 
5:30-7:00 pm | City Hall, Hearing Room 2
Oakland small, minority and women-owned construction businesses are invited to join this informational meeting and listening session about developing the jobs component of a new City public-lands policy. Councilmember Guillén’s office has been working on this public-lands policy to ensure a more transparent process, establish a strong priority for building new affordable housing, and generate good jobs for Oaklanders. We would like to hear what small Oakland construction businesses think about the latest draft proposal. Meeting RSVP and policy questions: Sarah Ting, sting@oaklandnet.com

Wednesday, January 17| Community Meeting on Lakeshore Cul-de-Sac Parking 
5:30-7:00 pm | Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore Ave.
Join Councilmember Guillén and Transportation Director Ryan Russo to share your concerns about parking and related issues in the 1200 Lakeshore Ave. cul-de-sac (south side of Lake Merritt) and discuss potential changes needed to improve the quality of life for residents in the neighborhood, including limited-duration parking. For more info: Marquita Price, mprice@oaklandnet.com 

trestle_glen-sunny_hils-rt.jpg  trestle_glen-sunny_hills-wide.jpg  trestle_glen-sunny_hills-mailbox.jpg

Making Crosswalk at Trestle Glen-and-Sunny Hills SaferI met with several neighbors this week to check out the crosswalk at Trestle Glen and Sunny Hills, which has received numerous complaints about pedestrian safety and speedy motorists who don’t slow down or stop when people want to cross the street.

Besides repainting the faded crosswalk striping, I’m working with City staff to identify other potential solutions. Recommendations have included relatively inexpensive mid-cross paddles and plastic bollards near the curb (photos below), more expensive metal “crosswalk here” signs, and a stop sign. I have also recently heard complaints from neighbors on 13th Ave. and Park Blvd. Please let me know what you think: aguillen@oaklandnet.com

in-street_crosswalk_paddles.jpg  plastic_bollards.jpg



Cleaning Up San Antonio Streets
I had a chance to spend time with volunteers (photo: Suo and Maria) on Saturday to help clean sidewalks, street curbs and storm drains around 23rd Ave. and E. 22nd St. in the San Antonio neighborhood. The regular 23rd Ave. cleanups are held on the fourth Saturdays of each month: The next one is slated for Saturday, January 27 morning. Keep up the good work, everybody! Let me know if you want help to organize regular clean-up activities around your block in 2018:aguillen@oaklandnet.com

Oakland Holiday Photo Contest | Thru December 21
The Oakland Chamber of Commerce has launched a #ShopOakProud photo contest to encourage residents to shop – and snap – their love for Oakland and its wonderful retail districts this holiday season. Take a photo while you’re shopping that captures the spirit of Oakland’s holiday retail shopping experience, and upload it to your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. Mark your entries with #ShopOAKProud, tag yourself, and geotag the store’s location. Prize: two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines. You may enter once a day. Contest ends December 21.

Holiday Caroling on Lake Merritt | Thru Saturday, December 23
Board at Lake Merritt Boating Center, 568 Bellevue Ave.
Climb on board the Holiday Caroling watercraft sleigh with your friends and family to enjoy an evening of caroling on Lake Merritt. Tours include hot cider and cookies in the Holiday Room before leaving the dock. Though afternoon tours are available, consider signing-up for an evening ride. After-dark tours showcase the beautiful and festive lights surrounding the lake. For more info on times and prices

Lakeshore Homes Association: Celebrating 100 Years
The City Council will approve my proclamation celebrating 100 years of the Lakeshore Homes Association at this evening’s meeting.

Founded in 1917, LHA is the second-oldest association west of the Mississippi. The Lakeshore neighborhood was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, whose father designed New York City’s Central Park. Inspired by England’s “garden suburbs,” the Olmsteds laid out winding streets following natural contours, leaving natural areas along the creek (later Trestle Glen Road) and smaller park areas scattered throughout the tract. A century later, the Lakeshore Homes Association continues to plan events for the community, and provides a vital organizational structure for neighborhood emergency preparedness. Congratulations to LHA!

Oakland Arts Organizations Receive Grants for Affordable Space
The Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) has awarded $350,000 in grants to 14 local arts groups – including Eastside Arts Alliance in District 2 – to help secure long-term, affordable and safe spaces in Oakland. The financial assistance is awarded through Keeping Space – Oakland, CAST’s pilot program to assist arts nonprofits that are vulnerable to space instability and displacement. CAST has also secured an additional $3 million from the Oakland-based Kenneth Rainin Foundation to help develop permanently affordable space for Oakland arts and culture organizations.


Oakland Minimum Wage Increase for 2018
Effective January 1, Oakland’s minimum wage will go up 37 cents to $13.23 per hour. Measure FF, passed overwhelmingly by voters in November 2014, provides annual increases to the minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index. Other benefits mandated by Measure FF – paid sick leave and payment of service charges – also remain the same as when the employment law took effect in March 2015. Notification posters for employers are available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.

AC Transit Service Changes
Starting Sunday, December 17, AC Transit is rolling out new service changes on several of its lines, which may affect District 2 residents. Read more about these improvements (information available in Spanish and Chinese).

Help Prevent Auto Burglaries
Especially timely during the holiday shopping season, the Oakland Police Department encourages you to use these prevention tips to protect your valuables and help discourage burglars from targeting your neighborhood:

  • Never leave anything in public view, especially phones, laptops, cords/adaptors, bags/backpacks, clothing, food, money, packages and personal mail.
  • Ensure all windows are closed and doors are locked.
  • Use an anti-theft device to secure steering wheel or brake pedal. These devices deter car break-ins.
  • Activate the alarm when you leave your car.
  • Never leave keys in ignition or the car running, even if you’re just popping out for a quick errand.
  • Try to park in well-lit and/or populated areas.

For more tips (scroll for “Crime Prevention Tips” at bottom of homepage)

Tax Credits and Bonds for Affordable Housing Preserved
Over the past several weeks, hundreds of housing and smart-growth advocates lobbied Congress to protect and preserve affordable-housing and community-development tax incentives in the final tax bill. Our voices were heard! We were able to protect vital programs critical to rebuilding America's neighborhoods. As written, the final legislation would retain Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), maintain tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds, preserve 20% Historic Tax Credits, and retain New Markets Tax Credits – all essential funding mechanisms for building local affordable housing.