Abel’s eNews: Affordable, transit-oriented housing breaks ground, BRT updates, walk-and-talk with Latino businesses

   More Affordable Housing and Community Space Breaks Ground Earlier this month, the Unity Council and EBALDC broke ground on 279 units of mixed-income housing at the Fruitvale BART Transit Village (E. 12th St. at 36th Ave.) – Casa Arabella – that will serve veterans, families and residents who earn 60% of the average median income (considered “very low income” households). The project, named in honor of longtime community leader Arabella Martinez (right photo), will also include 10,000 square feet of ground-floor space for an urgent care facility for La Clínica de La Raza and other non-profits. Congrats to Arabella and Unity Council CEO Chris Iglesias (left photo) on this important milestone. Looking at the bigger picture, Mayor Schaaf reported last month that we anticipate completing roughly 3,600 units of new housing in Oakland in 2018. That’s triple the amount we’ve ever built in a single year. Oakland also has roughly 15,000 units in the pipeline, which will help alleviate housing demands and ease rental prices. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: More protections for renters, rehabbing affordable housing downtown, update on street improvements and sidewalk repairs

Government tends to move slowly, especially at the federal and state level. As your Councilmember, I also get frustrated sometimes by the pace of change at the local level. Fortunately, community leadership and public engagement here in our city and in our neighborhoods can get things done. The first two months of 2018 have seen several signs of such progress in Oakland. I’m happy to report that a number of neighborhood improvements that neighbors and merchants have been advocating for over the last year-and-a-half are finally coming to fruition. From fixing broken sidewalks to installing a new water fountain in the park, these small improvements can have a big impact. Better sidewalks, for example, mean greater mobility for our senior citizens, those with mobility problems and young parents with strollers. At the same time, we’re pushing for solutions to citywide issues, like funding for healthy, equitable communities that foster more affordable housing and transportation access for everybody. Together, I know we can continue to tackle the problems, big and small, to make Oakland a better place to live work and play. Thank you for your continued advocacy and partnership. Abel Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Repaving and street-safety improvements in District 2, equity designs for Downtown Plan, new funds for Asian Cultural Center

     Celebrating Lunar New Year at Chinatown Streetfest San Lee Fai Lok – Gung Hay Fat Choi! Happy Lunar New Year! I was honored to help kick off Chinatown Streetfest at its opening ceremony this past weekend. I hope you will come by this week to shop, show Chinatown small businesses some love, and celebrate the Year of the Dog!  Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: A home for tiny homes, fighting sex trafficking, 1100 Broadway breaks ground, community meetings

     Trees for Madison Square Park The right kind of shade… As part of the citywide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, I joined more than 60 volunteers to plant 21 trees and remove graffiti at Madison Square Park. Thank you to our partners – Ministerio Internacional Maranatha, Asian Health Services, OCA-East Bay, Asian Youth Services Committee, Asian Prisoner Support Committee and Trees for Oakland – for making a big difference in improving our parks and our environment – and strengthening our community spirit in the process.  Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: More money for affordable housing, improving street safety, neighborhood cleanup days

Happy New Year! 2017 came and went at a fast pace – with something new facing our communities seemingly every week on a local, state and national level. Looking back, I am proud of all that we have accomplished together here to make Oakland a better place to live, work and raise our families. While we have made progress in the last year, it is clear that our work continues. This year, we will focus on working together to build and preserve more affordable housing, strengthen the quality of life in our neighborhoods, improve safety in and around our schools, repair our streets, improve access to our libraries, and provide shelter and services for the most vulnerable – our seniors, children and homeless – among us. Working together with your help, I will continue the fight for more affordable neighborhoods, a healthier and safer city where we can ensure equitable prosperity and sustain our progressive values. Together, I know we will continue to make progress on our shared values and our vision for Oakland’s future. I look forward to continuing to build upon what we’ve accomplished and working with you as your Council representative in 2018. Onward! #OakD2 Continue reading

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!   Abel Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Homeless shelters opened, Thanksgiving baskets, safer school routes, tenant protections expanded

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation and gratitude. We are so fortunate to live in a community of neighbors who look out for one another. I am constantly amazed by the generosity that so many of you have shown by donating once again to our annual Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway.  As we enter the holiday season, I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the neighbors and volunteers, residents and small businesses that make our city and District 2 a great place live, work and play. From our volunteers who take care of the Morcom Rose Garden to our 23rd Ave. street cleaning crew to the mighty Cleveland Cascade volunteers and the Wa Sung Community Service Club – you all make Oakland a wonderful place to live. Continue reading

Start on new downtown housing project, safer routes to school, transportation-housing funds, holiday events abound

New Housing on Downtown Garage, Alternative Parking Available More housing is about to come to District 2: The Merchants Garage (at 1314 Franklin St.) is scheduled to close November 15, with demolition beginning the next day. The developer, Carmel Partners, and the community reached an agreement to replace the parking structure near BART with an iconic, 40-story building consisting of 634 new homes (including approximately 27 to 54 new units of permanently affordable units on-site), nearly 17,000 square feet of retail space and a substantial community-benefits package that will help the neighborhood in a variety of ways. Continue reading

Abel's eNews: Update on interim ballpark protections, more potholes filled, tiny homes progress

Ballpark Update: Interim Protections to Planning CommissionI’ve been working with City staff to establish interim measures to protect tenants and small businesses in the Chinatown and Eastlake neighborhoods threatened by market speculation resulting from the Oakland Athletics’ recent announcement that they will be seeking to build a new ballpark on the site of the current Peralta Community College District’s headquarters (E. 7th St. at 5th Ave.). City staff are preparing a report that will be presented to the Planning Commission at its November 1 meeting. Continue reading