Donate to eNews, help sustain our outreach efforts

Happy Holidays! 

I hope you and your loved ones are having a warm and relaxing holiday season, and getting rejuvenated for the new year ahead.

In this fortnight of sharing, I’m hoping you will consider adding another gift to your list… The City doesn’t provide public funds for Councilmembers’ outreach efforts to engage residents or keep you informed on a regular basis throughout the year, so I have to raise private funds to support most of our community outreach.

That includes the distribution of this bi-weekly District 2 e-newsletter, numerous hands-on community activities, like regular Neighborhood Cleanup Days, park revitalization forums, street safety workshops, school visits, and other meet-and-greet events that help build community among District 2 residents, businesses and City staff.

Please donate to sustain this outreach.

 Looking back at 2016, we’ve had a number of successes this year, and made significant progress in addressing some of the major challenges facing our city – ranging from developer impact fees and hundreds of new housing units to the renovated Astro Tot Lot and beautiful new murals to fight graffiti. The credit for a lot of that progress rests with your advice, encouragement and support – strong and open relationships with everybody in our community will be even more crucial next year, especially with a new administration in Washington.

For 2017, I need to raise about $5,000 to replenish my “officeholder account.” I hope you can pitch in $25, $50, $100 – or anything you can – to make sure we can sustain our community-building and civic-engagement efforts in the coming year.

If you’d like to contribute to these efforts, please donate this week to help us get 2017 off to a good start. 

Happy New Year, 

Abel 

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Renovating the Courts at Lincoln Rec Center
District 2 received an early Christmas present, and I wanted to share the good news with you. I’ve been working closely with the Warriors and the Warriors Community Foundation to obtain funding on our behalf from ESPN and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to refurbish the gymnasium indoor court and three outdoor courts at Lincoln Recreation Center. Thanks to the efforts of the good folks with the Warriors, we have now received a substantial grant from ESPN/LISC. As a result, we have about $75,000 of the required $100,000 needed for the renovation.

The Lincoln Recreation Center is one of the most heavily used rec centers in Oakland, with more than 2,000 registered participants on a weekly basis and more than 30,000 drop-ins a month.

We will be meeting with community leaders in the coming weeks to discuss ways to raise the remaining $25,000 needed to bring the project to fruition. We hope to get the renovations completed by spring. We will keep you posted on how you can help. For more info: Jessica Chen, clchen@oaklandnet.com 

Astro Tot-Lot Build Day – Watch the Video
Want to see how volunteers built a playground in six hours? Here’s a time-lapse video (2:21). Thanks again to all of the community members and Oakland firefighters who came out!

GET INVOLVED

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January 25-26 | Participatory Budgeting Assemblies: Pick the Projects
Wednesday, January 25 | 6:00-8:00 pm | Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St., Suite 290 (English and Chinese)
Thursday, January 26 | 6:00-8:00 pm | Williams Chapel, 1410 10th Ave. (English and Spanish)

Councilmember Guillén invites all District 2 residents and stakeholders to attend the upcoming General Assemblies to help determine how our federal Community Development Block Grant funds – more than $800,000 over three years in District 2 – will be allocated to projects in our neighborhoods. District 2 funds will be spent on programs, services and other improvements in low- and moderate-income communities. Come share your ideas. Food – plus fun activities for children – will be provided. For more info or email Sarah Ting, sting@oaklandnet.com 

Read the East Bay Times article for an overview of the process.

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Wednesday, January 11 | Community Meeting about Improving San Antonio Park
6:00-8:00 p.m. | San Antonio Recreation Center, 1701 E. 19th St.
Join Councilmember Guillén, City staff and neighbors to share your ideas about improving San Antonio Park. Earlier this year, Councilmember Guillén and the City of Oakland designated San Antonio Park as one of Oakland’s Park Project Prioritization sites for FY 2015‐17. As part of this process, City staff are developing conceptual master plans to seek potential funding for improvement projects for these parks. An initial needs assessment and site investigation of San Antonio Park have been conducted. Now we need your feedback to inform plans. For more info: WooJae Kim, wkim@oaklandnet.com

Tuesday, January 17 | Community Meeting about Improving East-Shore (Astro) Park
6:00-7:30 p.m. | Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave.
Join us to share you ideas for improving this Lake Merritt park as part of the Park Project Prioritization process.

Thursday, January 12 | Workshop on Short-Term Residential Rentals 
6:00-8;00 pm | City Hall, Council Chambers
Currently, the Oakland Municipal Code and Planning Code do not specifically address short-term residential rentals offered on platforms such as Airbnb, FlipKey and VRBO to rent spaces in homes on a short-term basis. In cities like Oakland with high housing demand, these short-term rentals can potentially have significant impacts on housing availability, affordability and the neighborhood. Join us at this community workshop to share your views and help staff develop policy recommendations to deal with this issue. Read more

Tuesday, January 31 | Homeless Census and Survey
On January 31, a homeless count for unsheltered people in Alameda County will be conducted. The “EveryOne Counts!” point-in-time count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness records the number of people staying in shelters and transitional housing on a given night in late January each year and estimates the number of unsheltered people who are living outdoors on that same night every two years. Conducting a count is a requirement of receiving federal homeless assistance funds for the City of Oakland. There will be training for all volunteers. If you are interested in participating in the count as a volunteer: sign-up. For more info: Stevan Alvarado, Program Analyst, 510- 238-7753

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Saturday, January 28 | 23rd Avenue Cleanup 
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Meet at 2209 23rd Ave. near E. 22nd St.
Join the 23rd Avenue Beautification Group for its 4th Saturdays monthly cleanup. For more info: 510-536-6814

CITY SERVICES

Plant a Tree for Free for the New Year
The Sierra Club tree team is now in its seventh season of planting street and yard trees in our district. Its CalFire state grant allows trees along the sidewalk and in front and back yards at no cost to residents. However, this offer is limited in our district to downtown, the area east of Lake Merritt out to 23rd Ave. but below E. 21st St., and the area east of 19th Ave. to 23rd Ave. above E. 21st St. and near Highland Hospital. See the full map for exact streets. The team is also planting elsewhere in the district at a charge of $100 per tree. Request a tree here. Volunteers to plant are always welcome. SCtreeplanting@gmail.com

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Oakland Moves to Make Energy Greener
The City Council recently voted to become part of the East Bay Community Energy Authority, a regional green energy group. Together, Oakland and 12 other cities in Alameda County represent 90% of the county’s total electrical load. Under a 2002 state law (AB 117), cities and counties can provide electricity and/or conservation measures to homes and businesses, either by generating the energy themselves or purchasing it through the market – allowing communities to reinvest revenues into lower electrical bills and renewable-energy projects instead of paying profits to utility companies’ shareholders.

In the Bay Area, Marin County and Sonoma County both already have such Community Choice Aggregation agencies. Marin Clean Energy also serves neighboring communities outside of the county, including unincorporated Napa County and the East Bay cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Richmond and San Pablo.

These community-energy partnerships represent one of the practical strategies that local governments are pursuing to increase resiliency and meet the energy-generation side of the climate-change equation.

The East Bay energy authority will initially purchase renewable energy on the open market, but quickly use ratepayer revenues to build out local renewable-energy projects and make the existing energy infrastructure more efficient, while also reducing customers’ electricity bills.

CITY SERVICES

File Business Taxes, Rent Adjustment Program Fee Online
Beginning Monday, January 2, business owners may file business tax returns and Rent Adjustment Program fees online at www.ltss.oaklandnet.com. No more paper returns, long lines or waiting for the tax certificate to arrive in the mail. Payments by Visa, Master Card, Discover and e-check are accepted. Members of the public can also search to verify that a business has a valid business tax certificate. Beginning in April 2017, business owners will also be able to register new businesses online, and the City will begin accepting remittance of parking taxes, utility user taxes, transient occupancy taxes and business improvement district fees online. For more info: Marissa Wheeler, mwheeler@oaklandnet.com