Abel’s eNews: Moratorium on rent-control exemptions, new street-paving machine, Adopt-a-Drain

Council Places Moratorium on Substantial Rehab Exemption

On Tuesday, the City Council passed a 180-day moratorium on substantial rehabilitation exemptions from the City’s Rent Adjustment Program. This temporary measure aims to help prevent the potential displacement of tenants from rent-controlled apartments when the units undergo substantial repairs or are rehabilitated.

The 180-day period provides the Council and City staff time to analyze the situation and consider more permanent options to modify or eliminate the exemption.

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New Machine to Speed Up Street Paving 
Last week, the City unveiled a new piece of street equipment, launching the working career of a milling machine that will help accelerate paving in Oakland neighborhoods in the coming years. The new vehicle underscores the City’s plan to ramp up its paving capacity and puts voter-approved Measure KK funds to work on repaving our streets.

The milling machine is eight feet tall and stretches 30 feet long when its conveyor belt arm is extended. It works by “milling” the roadway, grinding out damaged or uneven asphalt, which is a necessary step before new asphalt can be placed to repair the road to a smooth condition.

A major upgrade to the City’s older equipment, both in capacity and effectiveness, the machine scrapes off layers of existing asphalt one inch at a time. Crews will be able to perform the repair work in-house, rather through than contracting with outside paving companies – allowing the work to be completed more quickly and cost-effectively.

Measure KK will provide a total of $350 million for infrastructure projects over the next 10 years. Oakland streets currently have a $443 million backlog of deferred maintenance, including much-needed repaving and road repairs that grow worse over time.

New funding from the recent passage of Senate Bill 1 will also used to hire 20 new workers dedicated to street maintenance. Report potholes and other street problems via the SeeClickFix app or email callcenter@oaklandnet.com.

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Oakland Bans Border-Wall Contractors from City Dollars
My ordinance to ban border-wall contractors from getting City of Oakland dollars received a final unanimous vote at this week’s Council meeting. Oakland is putting its money where its values are, and standing by our sanctuary-city principles. Read more in the East Bay Times.

Replacement Trees at 601 MacArthur
You may have noticed the tree tags at the 601 MacArthur site along MacArthur Blvd. and Wesley Ave. The developer is required by the City’s planning department to notify the public that the designated trees surrounding the proposed building site would have to be removed. Those trees will not be removed until construction begins in early-spring 2018. The developer has proposed a beautification plan for the green area and perimeter of the property, which includes numerous new jacaranda trees, bushes and flowers. For more info: Valerie Camarda, valerie@marketingsense.net

GET INVOLVED

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SaturdayDecember 9 | Community Office Hours
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Grand Lake Farmers’ Market
Councilmember Guillén holds monthly “office hours” out in the community along with “Walk and Talks” throughout the year. We’ve been in Cleveland Heights, Grand Lake, Chinatown and Crocker Highlands the past few months, and will be at the Grand Lake Farmers’ Market this month. Join us and share your thoughts about the neighborhood. To reserve a meeting time: Sarah Ting, 510-238-7246

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It’s Time to Adopt-a-Drain
Now that the rainy season is upon us, it’s a good time for residents and businesses to help minimize flooding in their neighborhood by volunteering with the City’s Adopt-A-Drain program to keep a storm drain near their home or business free of debris. Oakland has more than 7,500 storm drains, of which 1,100 are currently adopted. Sign up to receive storm notification emails before large storm events, and the City can provide rakes, brooms, dust pans, bags and other supplies: adoptadrainoakland.com or 510-238-7630

For storm-related emergency issues on public property and in the public right-of-way, such as flooding, mudslides, landslides, and manholes overflowing onto streets and sidewalks: See.Click.Fixopwcallcenter@oaklandnet.com or 510-615-5566

CELEBRATE OAKLAND

Winter Holidays in Oakland 
The Lakeshore Business Improvement District is bringing the fun back to the Avenue for the sixth year in a row. On December 8-9, the carriage rides will be back along with a face painter from 4:00- 6:00 pm on Friday and 2:00-4:00 pm on Saturday. Organizers are looking for a group to sing carols for a stipend. To recommend a group: pamela@lakeshoreoakland.com

December 8-9 | Oakland Winter Live
7:30 pm | Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St., Suite 290 
Oakland Winter Live brings a cutting-edge showcase a few of the Bay Areas best contemporary music, dance, theater and video artists together for a series of short, immersive performance works, including internationally acclaimed theater artist Tony Miyambo performing Kafkas Red Peter with an eye toward the black experience in America. This intersection of contemporary music, dance and theater, with video strikes Oaklands evolving downtown like a moonlit epiphany, flickering on the elegant deco stage at OACC. For tickets and info

SERVICES IN THE CITY

Free Sandbags
Oakland Public Works is providing residents and businesses with emergency sandbags (up to 10 per household) and plastic sheeting (up to 20 feet per household) while supplies last, to help divert runoff away from buildings and prevent flooding and mudslides. You can pick up free sandbags at the Municipal Service Center, 7101 Edgewater Dr. (M-F 8:00 am-4:00 pm; Sat-Sun 8:00 am-4:30 pm) and the Drainage Services Facility, 5921 Shepherd Canyon Rd. (M-F 8:00 am-4:00 pm).

Republican Tax Cuts Will Mean Less Money for Affordable Housing
Much of the housing-related discussion about proposed tax changes has focused on property taxes and mortgage interest deductions for individual homeowners. Less noticed are changes that also threaten our ability as a community to build affordable housing.

This week, Congress will vote on tax legislation that would eliminate important incentives for equitable community redevelopment and affordable housing. As written, the legislation would eliminate Private Activity Bonds, phase out the 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and eliminate Historic Tax Credits and New Markets Tax Credits – all vital finance mechanisms that help local affordable-housing projects pencil out. More than 20,000 affordable homes were built last year with $2.2 billion in tax credits and $6 billion in private bonds.