Abel’s eNews: Updates about addressing homelessness, safety improvements on Foothill Blvd., senior housing development

Community Day of Action Revitalizes San Antonio Park - Last Saturday, our community “day of action” brought together neighbors, City staff and my friends in Oakland’s building trades to complete a big list of much-needed improvements to revitalize San Antonio Park. In just a few hours, the team rewired the lights on the basketball courts, installed a new water-hydration station, installed a brand-new slide, painted the swings and play structures, refreshed the track around the soccer field, patched concrete steps, added new concrete blocks to the retaining wall, replaced broken tables, gave benches, tables and fences a fresh coat of paint, installed new nets for the soccer goals, added mulch around tree basins, removed weeds on the tennis courts, picked up trash, raked leaves, and removed graffiti. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: A Community Day of Action | Revitalizing San Antonio Park

Community Day of Action Revitalizes San Antonio Park - Wow! Our community “day of action” that brought together neighbors, City staff and my friends in Oakland’s building trades last Saturday was a huge success. We blitzed through a big list of much-needed improvements to revitalize San Antonio Park. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: San Antonio Park Day of Action, Section 8 rental incentives, Ceasefire success, HAWK beacons

Incentives to Keep and Maintain Section 8 Affordable Housing - We all see the cranes going up, so we know there is construction of new housing underway (6,652 units being built right now). Yet, it’s a little harder to see the smaller things we’re doing on the ground level to protect existing residents from displacement. Six months after launching the innovative “Owners Benefit Program,” the first of its kind in the country, City officials have reported nearly doubling the number of Oakland’s Section 8 households over the same time last year. Since the program began in January, 682 new households have leased apartments through the Section 8 program in Oakland. The program includes a new set of incentives to attract private property owners to the Section 8 program, Oakland’s largest affordable-housing program, including a $500 signing bonus, up to $2,500 in interest-free loans for property repairs and upgrades, and up to two months paid rent to maintain the unit for Section 8 housing (instead of putting it on the open market). To date, 75 new property owners have signed up, with 64 receiving the two months-paid rent to keep their units on the Section 8 market. More than 500 units have received a free inspection to bring them up to Section 8 code. At the time of the announcement, there was only one unit of Section 8 housing available to a long waiting list of families in Oakland. Today, there are 100 available units. I want to encourage property owners interested in the Section 8 program to call: Oakland Housing Authority, Leased Housing Department Owner Services Division, 510-587-2118. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: National Night Out, free waste drop-offs, cleanup days for San Antonio/Chinatown, recycling award for local bakery, info site on homeless programs

Back to School: Ready for a Great Year!   Good luck to all of our teachers, staff, students and families returning to school this week. Shout out to everyone who serves the future of our city – our youth! Thanks also to all the neighbors, fire fighters and other volunteers for welcoming our young scholars of all ages to the new school year. I had the opportunity Monday morning to join the students and staff at Garfield Elementary – Wildcats! – for a great day full of optimism and hope! Go Franklin, Garfield, Lincoln, La Escuelita, Crocker, Roosevelt, Bella Vista, Cleveland, Dewey, Oakland High and MetWest High! Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: New lights for Madison Park, Junk Boat renovation, street improvements, housing on Nov. ballot

The Legacy of Ron Dellums - Ron Dellums was both an unwavering activist and a wise statesman on the global stage. For our community, he was the embodiment of Oakland’s best values and truest principles. Our Congressman and our Mayor, his example of public service will continue to inspire all of us in the struggle for social justice and equality for all. The son of a longshoreman, Ronald Vernie Dellums (1935-2018) was a Marine-turned-antiwar activist, and served on the Berkeley City Council (1967-70) before being elected to Congress in 1971. After his military service ended in 1956, he had returned to college, and eventually earned his master’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley. He founded the Congressional Black Caucus upon arriving in Washington, and despite his outspoken anti-war stance, was eventually tapped as chair of the powerful House Armed Services Committee. He was also a member of the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees. He was a staunch defender of the poor, peace and social justice, workers’ rights (his uncle, C. L. Dellums, was a national leader in the porters union), women’s equality and environmental protections. Dellums began a strident battle against apartheid in South Africa in 1972, with Congress eventually passing his legislation for South African trade limits and divestment by American corporations. He was reelected 11 times, and retired from Congress in 1998, after nearly three decades of service to the East Bay, the nation and the world. He would return to local politics in 2006, when he was elected Mayor of Oakland. Born in Oakland, Ron Dellums died on July 29 at the age of 82. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Lake Merritt actions, street safety improvements, new EBMUD pipes, Grand Lake farmers’ market

City Actions around Lake Merritt - More than 100 neighbors attended the Cleveland Heights Community Meeting last Thursday. It was one of the most well attended community meetings I’ve ever seen, and the real changes that the City is making to address you concerns shows the power of your voice in getting things done. I wanted to follow up with you about what the City will be doing in the upcoming months to address your concerns. Your feedback and engagement will help me put in motion several next steps. Voter-approved Measure DD funds improved Lake Merritt and surrounding areas, which has led to a rise in popularity of the Lake and an increased number of park users. Along with this popularity, a number of issues have arisen. At Thursday’s meeting residents identified issues such as amplified music and noise, traffic and parking violations, unauthorized vending, racial profiling, excessive trash and other issues arising from the increased use of Lake Merritt. In an effort to keep the park clean and safe, Public Works is increasing crews and extending the hours for trash and debris removal until 8:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. There has been a recent spike in the amount of used (burned) charcoal and hot coals left in the grass and other areas, and dumped into the lake, which has created safety and maintenance concerns. Improper disposal of hot coals can burn people, harm wildlife, impact water quality in the lake, and cause serious fires. In response, the City has placed hot-coal receptacles along the Lakeshore Ave. side of Lake Merritt. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: More street paving, public land policy, homeless green teams, Supreme Court rulings, a safe 4th of July

More Streets Slated for Repaving this Summer - Since 2015, approximately 5 miles of streets have been repaved in District 2. This summer, crews will be repairing at least 2.2 miles more on streets in the City’s five-year paving plan, including E. 8th St., the southernmost blocks of E. 8th Ave., 4th St., Mandana Blvd. and Foothill Blvd., which is a bike high-injury corridor. Over the next few months, residents in Oakland neighborhoods citywide will see a flurry of street paving that will deliver four times as many miles of fresh smooth streets as the City repaved in recent years. In all, the Department of Transportation anticipates that at least 25 miles of Oakland streets will get new pavement this year, compared to an average of 6 miles per year over the last few cycles. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: In Support of Children at our Borders

In Support of Refugee Families at the Border - For Father’s Day weekend, I joined other elected officials from the Bay Area and around the state to denounce the Trump Administration’s disgraceful practice of separating young children from their families at the border and announce our support for Senator Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act to halt this barbaric action. We must stop the inhumane, traumatizing separation of refugee children and demand healthy procedures for responding to families seeking asylum at our border. Although President Trump is backing down from this practice (though exactly what his administration will do now is unclear), we will still likely need to mobilize against the consequences of Trump’s broader immigration strategies and this unconscionable, immoral and unAmerican behavior. Worse yet, the separation of asylum-seeking families does absolutely nothing to make our country safer and more secure. Using these children as political leverage to get billions of taxpayer dollars for a wasteful border wall is utterly beyond the pale of human decency. Even without taking a position on “illegal” immigration, we should be offering them care – not callously locking them up in jails and detention camps. On behalf of the City, Mayor Schaaf issued a letter of support for the Keeping Families Together Act, writing in part, “Such a ruthless, heartless, and ill-conceived change in policy is what one would expect from an authoritarian regime, not the nation that I love and respect. It does not reflect the sentiment of the people of this great land or the values of Oakland and for all which we stand.” Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: New money for libraries, homeless funding update, kudos for our schools

Voters Pass Measure to Fund LibrariesMeasure D wins! Thank you to everyone who came out to vote for our Oakland Public Library! A special shout-out to all of the volunteers who campaigned to ensure the win. Thank you to my constituent Victoria Barbero, co-chair of Protect Oakland Libraries, and the entire team for your hard work and dedication!   In Tuesday’s primary, Oakland voters approved Measure D by a 3-to-1 margin. Measure D will provide about $10 million annually for Oakland libraries for the next 20 years. Students, young children and families across Oakland rely on their neighborhood library branches for after-school programs and reading programs. The new funding will help protect Oakland libraries, and allow them to stay open more days of the week and with extended hours. Measure D funds can only be used for our libraries, and the measure includes tax exemptions for low-income seniors and very low-income households. Read more Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Temporary housing for the homeless, safer streets around Lake Merritt BART, BRT construction, Park Blvd. safety walk

Update on the Fight against Coal in Oakland -In the wake of last week’s court ruling on the City’s coal-shipment ban, I’ve asked the Council to work with the City Attorney to better understand our legal options, including rewriting our ordinance, appealing the judge’s decision, and looking at other remedies that the Council can take to protect the health and safety of our residents. Read more Jobs Are Up, Unemployment Down – but Lack of Housing Is Our Region’s Economic Achilles’ Heel -Four years ago, when I joined the Oakland City Council, the overall unemployment rate in Oakland was 7.9%. Today, that number is down to 3%. However, for African Americans, it’s 10% and 7% for Latinos, according to the American Community Survey. There’s more we have to do to keeping pushing forward – especially for our black and brown workers. I recently attended a Retail Forum hosted by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. One of the big obstacles to future job growth is the lack of housing that is affordable for all income levels. Employers and retailers won’t be able to fill jobs or continue to grow their businesses if we don’t have affordable places for people to live. A strong economy needs a solid jobs-housing balance. That’s why we need large companies to work with local governments and housing developers to help us reach our community’s and our region’s goals of building more housing for middle-income families, which includes many of our teachers, nurses, police officers and firefighters. The lack of a sufficient supply of a mix of housing types and price tags contributes to gentrification pressures that force people to move out of their homes – and in some cases to end up on the streets. These consequences affect our economic sustainability and the social fabric of our community – even for our neighbors who are doing relatively well. Building the amount of housing that Oakland needs takes time, even when developers, City officials and residents are working together. The impacts, however, are being felt now, and we need to take immediate steps to protect current residents from displacement today – and provide safe, healthy shelter and support services for our homeless neighbors – while we build more housing for the long term. Otherwise, we risk losing the people who serve our community every day in so many ways. - Abel Continue reading