Abel's eNews: A budget for a healthy future, new community pop-up on Broadway, free lunches for kids

Council Budget Includes Affordable Housing and District 2 PrioritiesWe’re getting closer to a City budget for FY 2017-19. The City Council president presented a revised budget proposal this week, and we will vote on the final budget next Monday, June 26. Thanks to everybody I’ve heard from for your input about city needs and priorities during the process. The latest version incorporates several of my priorities for District 2 while tackling our biggest citywide challenges. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Final stages of the budget process, steps to help the homeless, tell us what you think

  Making Progress on a New City BudgetThe City Budget should reflect our community values and shared priorities. A large portion of the budget pays for the core framework of our city: Public safety and emergency services; our wonderful libraries, beautiful parks and vibrant recreation and senior centers; road repairs and street-safety improvements; sewers, clean-up efforts to tackle graffiti and illegal dumping; and programs to foster job creation, spur economic growth and assist our local merchants. All of these things are essential to the life-blood and spirit of our diverse community. It’s also imperative that everybody has a safe, healthy and affordable place to live. We must continue to implement both long-term and immediate measures to address our housing crisis. That includes creating and preserving housing that is affordable for all residents, and helping our homeless neighbors get off the street and into permanent homes. Continue reading

Abel's eNews: new Lincoln Rec courts unveiled, affordable housing opens, Pothole Blitz coming soon

As you may know, the City Council is in the middle of our budget process. We are required to adopt a budget by June 30. This evening, I will host a final Budget Workshop at Lincoln Recreation Center (250 10th St.) starting at 6:30 pm. This is the community’s opportunity to get your questions answered by Mayor Schaaf and City staff, and for us to listen to your funding priorities for the FY 2017-19 budget. Cantonese interpretation will be available. Here is a link to a voter survey that was completed by the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee back in January. If you’re unable to attend, but would like to provide your feedback, email BudgetSuggestions@oaklandnet.com or call (510) 238-2130, and press “#” to leave the City a message about your priorities. Or you can email my office directly at aguillen@oaklandnet.com. I hope that you have a safe Memorial Day Weekend! -Abel Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: revising the budget, revitalizing housing, reclaiming Cinco de Mayo, reimagining street safety

Update on the City Budget Process Earlier this month, Mayor Schaaf and the City Administration released a proposed budget for FY 2017-19, which seeks to close the projected $32.5 million budget shortfall. INDEPENDENT REVIEW. The City Council is responsible for reviewing this proposal and adopting a final budget by June 30. To help us with that responsibility, as chair of the Council’s Finance and Management Committee, I have asked the Council to add the municipal-budget expertise of Harvey Rose & Associates to provide an independent review in conjunction with our deliberations. COMMUNITY PRIORITIES. We take our responsibility about funding vital programs and services seriously as we begin the process over the next several weeks to examine the budget carefully to identify any additional operational efficiencies and cost savings, and ensure that this budget reflects community-wide and district priorities – which councilmembers have been establishing over the past three months – that Oaklanders care about. BUDGET TOWN HALLS.Thursday, May 25 | 6:30-8:30 pm | Lincoln Square Recreation Center, 250 10th St.The City is holding seven budget town halls this month, including one at the Lincoln Square Recreation Center. If you can’t attend one of the forums, email your comments to budgetsuggestions@oaklandnet.com. Please take a moment to also email your budget priorities to my office: Richard Raya rraya@oaklandnet.com   Continue reading

Abel's eNews: second-unit rules revised, Lincoln rec makeover underway, Parkway Cascade improvements

     Oakland Earth Day in District 2 I love Oakland every day but my smile is a little wider on Earth Day – when simple yet significant actions by people sharing a cause make big impacts in small places. Thanks to all the neighbors for joining us to celebrate the true meaning of Earth Day. A special shout-out to East Oakland octogenerian Pat McGinnis for holding down the block on 23rd Ave. this past Saturday. Continue reading

Fighting for budget priorities, celebrating our parks, go solar

Priorities for the BudgetOver the past few weeks, the City Council has been working to set funding priorities for programs and services in the FY 2017-19 budget, and several community forums have been held to hear about community needs and recommendations. While revenues are up, expenses are also increasing and the City is forecasting a budget shortfall of upwards of $30 million in the two-year budget.  TIMELINE: The Mayor’s proposed budget will be released April 28, followed by at least three more community forums to be held in May to gather feedback. The City Council will then consider budget details and amendments at its meetings in late-May and June. The final date for the City Council to adopt a final budget is June 29. We will keep you posted on the progress. SHARE YOUR IDEAS: Let me know what your budget priorities are. Please email me at aguillen@oaklandnet.com with any comments you may have, especially if you cannot attend one of the community meetings. Continue reading

Wall boycott gains momentum, Astro tot lot completed, new courts for Lincoln Rec

One of the things I love about Oakland is its independent spirit. Our home-grown shops and businesses make Oakland special – and now more than ever, it's important to shop Oakland first. By the looks of Lakeshore Avenue, many of you also enjoy Arizmendi Bakery and their fresh baked goods, or stopping in for locally roasted coffee at Akat Cafe Kalli, or catching a performance at the Eastside Arts Alliance.  The Oakland Indie Awards celebrate all that we love about Oakland – and District 2 – and the ecosystem of independent businesses and artists who give back to the community. Nominations for this year's awards close tomorrow March 31 and are open to the public. Anyone can submit their favorite indie business or artist to be considered for one of eight awards (make a nomination here – give a shout-out to our District 2 businesses). And save the date for the Oakland Indie Awards ceremony on May 18 at the Oakland Museum of CA in #OakD2. See you around the neighborhood!--Abel Continue reading

Abel's eNews: filling potholes, join a city commission, budget forums and community office hours

This week, the Council’s Finance and Management Committee unanimously adopted my resolution to boycott companies that help construct or are involved in building a border wall that will cost upwards of $40 billion. As a councilmember and resident, it is frustrating that a border wall is being prioritized over our local infrastructure needs.  The American Institute of Civil Engineers released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card recently – and it's not pretty. For example, California's roads and highways were rated a D+ while our transit systems and schools were rated a D. They estimate that every American spends $9 a day – $3,400 a year – on our faulty infrastructure.  Some have asked why I’m dealing with a federal issue. The answer is simple: The consequences of decisions made in Washington directly affect what happens in Oakland. Trump’s decision to divert funds from TSA, the Coast Guard and our roads to build a border wall, for example, will do nothing to improve the safety of our community, and will take money away from improving our streets, parks or transit systems. As we start the City budget process, I will continue to focus on prioritizing our local infrastructure needs. It is my hope that, with bond funding from Measure KK passed by the voters in November, we can begin to accelerate our five-year repaving plan to get more streets repaired while also addressing homelessness and housing affordability.  As always, I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please email me at aguillen@oakalndnet.com or find me on Facebook or Twitter to share your views on how to make Oakland a better place to live, work and raise a family.Abel  Continue reading

Abel's eNews: boycotting Trump's wall, residents vote on district's community funds, neighborhood cleanups

Spring is right around the corner. As the days begin to get longer, it’s a reminder of the opportunity we have everyday to do a bit more, to work a little bit more to make a difference on our block, the chance to share a smile and meet a new neighbor – and the ability to take local actions that can have a larger impact, in California, in our nation’s capital, and around the globe. Last month, for example, I introduced legislation to boycott Trump’s border wall. I’ve heard back from many neighbors about this action, and nearly 80% of respondents are supportive. Federal issues in DC and state issues in Sacramento manifest themselves in our cities across the country, and Oakland is no exception. In this era of uncertainty, we need more unity and we need everyone to step up and get involved. In that spirit, I urge you to apply to serve on a city board and commission (more on that in our next eNews), join your neighbors for a neighborhood cleanup, or donate to a good cause.  This month, I will be raising funds for the Oakland Education Fund. I’ve challenged myself to run the Oakland Half-Marathon this year (April 2), and will take that opportunity to raise money to support our Oakland kids. In training so far, I’ve shaved off a couple of minutes from a previous time. My District 2 staff was very supportive, and they’ve decided to participate in the Oakland Running Festival with me. You’re invited to run with us, cheer us on, or donate to our efforts to support the Education Fund. (Abel's Running Team) See you around the neighborhood.  Abel  Continue reading

City boycotts border wall, cast your vote for federal spending, new mural at healthy market

Thanks to all the residents who contributed to the continuing support of our District 2 community outreach efforts, such as this bimonthly newsletter. The coming year promises to be a very challenging one for Oakland, and now more than ever, we need to keep each other informed and to get involved in efforts to strengthen and celebrate our wonderful community. Oakland is a great place to live, work and raise a family. I love doing my job for our neighborhoods, and count on your feedback and support to get things done. Continue reading