Support the turkey drive, street safety and housing updates, celebrate the murals

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Donate to District 2’s Second Annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive

Thanksgiving is less than two months away, but it’s time to start raising support for our second annual Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway. With your financial support, our dinner drive will provide a bountiful Thanksgiving for 500 underserved families in Oakland’s Chinatown and East Lake neighborhoods. The Basket Giveaway Day will take place in Lincoln Square Park on Saturday, November 19.

We need to raise about $20,000 to make this happen. Your donation is essential in meeting the Thanksgiving needs of these families. Please give today!

If you have any questions: Jessica Chen, clchen@oaklandnet.com

SAFER STREETS

Traffic-Calming Efforts and Parking Issues around District 2
The City of Oakland has five transportation engineers on staff, and is currently hiring one more engineer whose sole responsibility will be to work on streets around schools. This will help with the backlog of public requests. In the meantime, please use SeeClickFix as a good option for alerting Public Works to traffic issues. The more often you report, the more likely it is that an issue will be prioritized. 

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Councilmember Guillén let Public Works know that the current SeeClickFix dropdown categories didn’t include a “Traffic Issue” option. This week, as a result of our efforts, Public Works has now added that option in the dropdown menu (see above). This may make it easier for other residents to join you in highlighting traffic needs in your neighborhood.


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District 2 Gets More Bike Lanes and Improved Sidewalks
The Lake Merritt BART area is becoming more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Public Works recently made ADA improvements to sidewalks and installed a buffered bike lane on 8th, 9th, Madison and Oak streets. 
     
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District 2 Celebrates Two New Murals
Sunday, October 16 | Mural Dedication at Bella Vista Child Development Center

2:00-3:30 pm | E. 24th St. near corner of 10th Ave.
Join Councilmember Guillén and the community to celebrate the new “Garden of Delights” mosaic mural (right photo) at the Bella Vista Child Development Center. Funded by the anti-graffiti program through Councilmember Guillén’s office, the nature-themed mural was facilitated by Oakland artist Pam Consear and an enthusiastic group of volunteers earlier this spring.

Meet the artists, volunteers and neighbors who made it happen, and enjoy light refreshments and the company of neighbors and friends. This section of E. 24th St. now has approximately 150 feet of child-painted tiles, mosaic and painted artwork. More than 200 people had a hand in the mural, including preschoolers whose literal handprints and self-portraits are in the tile work, their teachers, neighbors, parents, Girl Scouts, soccer teams, youth from the Weekend Training Academy and Councilmember Guillén’s staff. Follow the event

The “Bright Futures” mural at the Little Stars Preschool (left photos) was dedicated last Saturday. Centrally located in the heart of Oakland’s Downtown and Chinatown, the Little Stars wall is visible to pedestrians walking by and children in the school’s playground. Councilmember Guillén sponsored the wonderful new community mural at 14th and Madison streets to help beautify the neighborhood. Previously defaced with graffiti and a patchwork of gloomy gray squares, the colorful new 30 x 30-foot mural features abstract stars, animals and floral designs. Thanks to Caroline Stern and all of the volunteers who turned vision into reality.

We have several more murals in the works, and will keep you posted on their progress.

HOUSING UPDATES

Protecting SRO Housing for Very Low-Income Residents | Proposed Changes to State and Local Law
Over the years, Oakland has gradually lost many of its residential hotels (also called single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs), which provide short-term housing for those who are often least able to afford it, many of whom are nearly or intermittently homeless. SROs are attractive to property owners who want to convert them into high-priced condos or boutique hotels. Today, there are 18 SRO buildings with approximately 1,300 total units (and fewer than that “available” and “occupied”) in the downtown.

Working with Councilmembers Gibson McElhaney and Reid, I introduced a resolution this week to change Oakland’s zoning regulations to help protect SROs that will require a conditional use permit for proposed SRO conversions. This will give the community more input over proposed changes in SRO buildings and provide another tool for addressing Oakland’s housing crisis, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors. We expect recommendations for planning-code amendments from the Planning Commission within six months.

The City Council will also consider improving relocation assistance payments to tenant who might be displaced by an SRO conversion, and we’ve asked the Planning Commission to come back to the Council immediately with recommendations for pertinent amendments to increase relocation aid.

These actions will provide a measure of building-by-building help but, for greater and more lasting impact, we also need to change the statewide Ellis Act, which lets property owners simply “go out of business” to remove rental units from the market. In 2003, Assembly Bill 1217 barred the use of the Ellis Act to evict SRO residents to turn rental units into condos, but only in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose. The City Council is asking legislators to amend this law to allow Oakland and all other California cities to also protect SROs from Ellis Act evictions and displacement.

Read more about Oakland’s downtown SROs

Monday, October 17 | Open House and Design Workshop for Merchants Garage Project
4:30-7:30 pm | Citizen Engagement Lab, 1330 Broadway, 3rd Floor

Join the Carmel Partners development team and fellow neighbors to check out the proposed design for the new mixed-use project at the site of the Merchants Garage (1314 Franklin St.). The team will show its preliminary design concept based on months of community and stakeholder conversations. Share your comments and ideas to help make the pedestrian and public experience of this project reflect the downtown character and the “Oakland story.” The proposal will be submitted to the City of Oakland for input from City staff and Planning Commission Design Review Committee in the coming weeks. For more info:gpasquali@carmelpartners.com

Local Efforts to Fund Affordable Housing Get a Boost from State Lawmakers 
Last week, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2031, important affordable-housing legislation sponsored by the City of Oakland that will help accelerate the process to construct much-needed affordable housing. The new law lets cities use their “boomerang funds” (the net available revenues received by cities and counties when more than 400 local redevelopment agencies in California dissolved by state law in 2011) to issue bonds for affordable housing. This is the first bill to use this tool to secure funds to meet the intensive housing demand being felt here and in cities across the state. The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California also co-sponsored the state bill, which was­ introduced in the Legislature by Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

GET INVOLVED
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Astro Tot Lot Design Day | Shaping the New Playground
Councilmember Guillén organized a “design day” this week to gather community ideas for the design of the new playground. Nearly 40 children and adults showed up to offer their choice of playground structures and colors. It's not too late to be a part of this community-building event. Community Build Day is December 6, and we need volunteers to join various committees to help prepare for the big day. Committee efforts include gathering food donations from local businesses, tool lending, volunteer recruitment and more. For more info: rraya@oaklandnet.com

Saturday, October 8 | Chinatown Health and Safety Fair
10:00 am-2:00 pm | Lincoln Recreation Center, 250 10th St.
Presented by the Asian Advisory Committee on Crime, this community fair will help you learn how to prevent crime in your neighborhood and protect you and your family. Also find out ways to avoid the “Blessing Scam.” For more info: Frances.baker@gatewayfsb.com

Thursday, October 13 | Time for Your Flu Shot
9:00 am-12:00 pm | Hotel Oakland, 270 13th St.
Are you ready for flu season? Stop by this event, sponsored by Asian Health Services, the Alameda County Public Health Department and Hotel Oakland, to get your flu shot. A $2 donation is gladly accepted.

Saturday, October 22 | Free Shopping & Pampering Day 
for Women of Domestic Violence, Homelessness and Poverty
12:00-6:00 pm | St. Mary’s Center, 925 Brockhurst St. 
The women who attend this event are experiencing some of the toughest adversities in life and need to feel genuinely supported. The Courageous Women Association’s Free Shopping & Pampering Day helps those in need with life necessities, economic resources, food, vital information, resources and support. Learn more at www.courageouswomen.org. If you know of a woman or child in need, please encourage them to sign up: 510-273-2412Registration form You can also volunteer to help out before and during event: volunteers@courageouswoman.org

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Register to Vote and Learn about the Issues on the November Ballot
Asian Health Services has helped Chinatown residents register to vote for the past two years, and now serves eligible voters in Cantonese, Mandarin, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese. They will also host educational “ballot parties” for new voters in Cantonese, Mandarin, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese languages in late-October and the first week of November. 

Register to vote at Lincoln Recreation Center, Monday-Friday, 9:00-11:30 am. The last day to register for the November 8 election is October 24.

Language-Group Ballot Parties
Tuesday, October 18, 4:00-6:00 pm(with APEN)
Thursday, October 27, 4:00-6:00 pm
Tuesday November 1, 4:00-6:00 pm
Asian Health Services | 818 Webster St., 3rd floor

For more info in the following languages:

CELEBRATE OAKLAND

October 18-25 | Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra Week
The City Council, through a resolution introduced by Councilmembers Guillén and Campbell Washington, plans to declare October 18-25 “Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra Week.” Founded in 1963 the Youth Orchestra – with nearly 90 young people aged 12-22 years, from 46 schools and more than 30 cities in the Bay Area – has provided world-class orchestral training to young musicians for more than a half-century. Over the years, the Youth Orchestra has helped thousands of young musicians discover their passion for music through educational programs, cultural exchanges and performance opportunities.

The award-winning group presents several classical and youth outreach concerts each season, and embraces cultural exchange through international tours, including destinations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Australia and New Zealand.

The City of Oakland will work to support the initiatives of the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra and encourage residents of Oakland to participate in and support Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra Week activities. We will honor the talented group at a Council Life Enrichment Committee meeting upon their return from a cultural exchange in Cuba.

CITY SERVICES

Get a Discount on Solar Power 
Through November 4, Oakland residents and City employees and retirees can purchase solar power and zero-emission vehicles at a discounted rate through the SunShares program. Bay Area SunShares pools the buying power of individual participants to get more competitive pricing from solar companies and car manufacturers. Three pre-vetted solar installers are now available to schedule home solar evaluations. Get a no-cost solar proposal if you register by Friday, October 28. To receive the full solar discount, installation contracts must be signed by Friday, November 11. For more details For more info: Shayna Hirshfield-Gold, Energy Policy Analyst, 510-238-6954

Possible City Funding for Residential Seismic Retrofits
The City of Oakland has applied for federal FEMA funds to provide grants for residential seismic retrofits. Only owner-occupied homes and “soft story” apartment buildings that meet specific criteria will be eligible. If Oakland receives the funds, interested property owners will be contacted with more information and to complete a full application.

For single-family retrofit eligibility: The property must be a single-family home or up to 4 units, and it must be the owner’s primary residence. Please fill out this Single Family Program questionnaire to add your name to the list and return by email or mail.

For “soft story” retrofit eligibility: The apartment building must have five or more units and two or more stories, be built before 1991, and have a “soft story” (typically a ground floor with a parking use or large storefront windows underneath a habitable second story). Please fill out this Soft Story Program questionnaireto add your name to the list and return by email or mail. If the City receives the federal funds, you will be contacted to complete a full application.

(Note: Please do not fill out the questionnaires in your browser; download the form, fill it out and save it before emailing/printing, or you may lose your changes.) If you have questions: residentiallending@oaklandnet.com

Tuesday, October 11 | Fire Safety Day
9:00 am-3:00 pm | Lake Merritt Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave. 
The Oakland Fire Department will host a Fire Safety Day to teach 500-600 school children the importance of fire prevention and safety. Children will participate in a variety of hands-on activities, with the ultimate goal of providing fire safety information to be used at home and school. With the guidance of OFD staff and other volunteers, including Smokey Bear, students will learn the importance of fire safety, practicing home escape plans and fire drills, with video presentations and a fire truck display.

Take a CORE Class this Season
CORE (Communities of Oakland Respond to Emergencies) provides free emergency-preparedness training for individuals, neighborhood groups and community‐based organizations in Oakland. CORE training teaches self‐reliance skills that enable neighborhoods to establish response teams to take care of the neighborhood until professional help arrives. October-December schedule To register for CORE classes: CORE@oaklandnet.com