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

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Wall Boycott Gains Momentum
The City Council gave unanimous final approval to my legislation to prohibit City contracts with companies that help build Trump’s border wall last week. We won’t give our local tax dollars to companies that help build this cruel and ineffective wall. San Francisco has followed suit by introducing a similar measure (photo from press conference with SF Supervisor Hillary Ronen). We look forward to more cities joining our ranks to build truly safer, stronger communities, not walls that divide us.

The cause has also picked up momentum at the state level, with the introduction of Assembly Bill 946. The proposed measure would require CalPERS and CalSTRS – the nation’s two largest pension funds (with more than $510 billion in assets) – to get rid of investments in companies that build the border wall.

PARK UPDATES

Thursday, March 30 | Astro Tot Lot Opens Today
3:30 pm | Astro Park Tot Lot, 550 El Embarcadero Ave. (at Lakeshore Ave.)
Councilmember Guillén will host a ribbon-cutting dedication and grand opening of the new Astro Tot Lot this afternoon, the culmination of hours of hard work and generous donations over the past several months. Ready just in time, the revitalized park will also mark the start/finish line of this Sunday’s Oakland Running Festival.

Join Abel’s team on the run, cheer us on, or donate to our fundraising effort. We’ve been training the last several months, and Abel will be running the half marathon this year. As part of these efforts, we’re raising funds for the Oakland Education Fund – join us by making a donation today. 

Volunteers and community donors installed the new playground equipment in December as part of a great community build event. If you were one of the many donors or volunteers, thank you! The remaining work required professional contractors: making the park ADA-accessible by adding new concrete walkways, rubber surfacing, and an ADA parking spot. Follow the Astro Tot Lot Facebook page. For more info: rraya@oaklandnet.com

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Winning at Lincoln Basketball Courts
I’ve been working to secure funds to refurbish the indoor and outdoor basketball courts at Lincoln Recreation Center, the city’s most-used rec center. Last week, we formally received a $95,000 gift from the Golden State Warriors Foundation for the rehab. Thanks to the Warriors and Kevin Durant – who will be making it his community “home court.” We’ll keep you posted on the progress. 

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Community Talks about More Long-Term Improvements for Lincoln Rec 
Last week, more than 200 residents – including some great kids! – gathered at Lincoln Recreation Center for “The Future Project” to share ideas and hear plans about improving the center and its programs. Participants expressed concerns about safety, dedicated space for the various groups that use the site, and the need for more space for a kitchen, bathrooms and other building upgrades.

My office will be working with staff to outline next steps, develop a timeline, and form a work group to focus on a funding plan. We will also keep you posted about the City budget process. Thanks again to everyone for helping us start this process and to the Eng/Chiu family for providing food for the event. The timing will be largely determined by how and when we can raise the funds needed to get up-to-date drawings completed based on continued community feedback. If you would like to help our efforts, contact Jessica Chen, CLChen@oaklandnet.com

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Safer Routes to Schools | Garfield Safety Audit
Pedestrian safety, particularly around our schools, continues to be a priority for my office. I did a safety audit around Garfield Elementary School last Friday with our community partners. There are several improvements around our schools that can be made. Thank you to Garfield Elementary parent councils and EBAYC for working together to find solutions to calm traffic and make it easier for our students to get to and from school more safely.

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Lake Merritt BART Station to Close Selected Weekends for Repairs
April 8-9April 29-30; May 13-14; May 27-29June 10-11July 1-2 
BART will perform maintenance repairs to equipment and tracks between the Fruitvale and 19th St. stations on selected weekends between April and July. Buses will replace train service between certain Oakland stations. For Lake Merritt BART, AC Transit will provide bus service on the 18 (to downtown) and 1 (to Fruitvale) lines to and from the station, free for customers who show their BART ticket. You can expect 10-25 additional minutes of travel time. A bus bridge will be provided between the Fruitvale and 19th St. stations during normal service hours. Check here for up-to-date closure information and travel times.

HOUSING UPDATES

State Law Prompts Local Updates to Secondary-Unit Rules
The State of California has passed new legislation about secondary units, also commonly known as accessory dwelling units, granny flats or in-law units. The City of Oakland will be revising its planning code (Section 17.103.080) to comply with this new state law. Proposed revisions are coming before the Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee on April 11, followed by the full Council on April 18.

In the interim, these regulations supersede the Oakland Planning Code and apply to the construction of any new secondary unit, the conversion of an existing building into a secondary unit, or the legalization of an existing unpermitted secondary unit. For more info: Ed Manasse emanasse@oaklandnet.com

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New Housing Breaks Ground in District 2
The first phase of the Brooklyn Basin housing project is scheduled to break ground in April, with 241 apartments. The project’s first phase of construction will ultimately produce a total of 1,200 units.

GET INVOLVED

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Thursday, March 30 | What Do You Think: Vegetation Plan to Reduce Wildfire Risk
5:00-7:00 pm | Dunsmuir-Hellmann Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Ct.
The Oakland Fire Department is developing a Vegetation Management Plan as part of its ongoing effort to reduce the threat and devastating effects of wildfires in the Oakland Hills. The area has experienced more than a dozen major wildfires since 1923. The plan will describe how the City will monitor and maintain vegetation on more than 1,400 acres of City-owned land and along approximately 300 miles of roadway to reduce the risk of destructive wildfires. Completion of the draft plan is expected for public review this summer. You can sign-up to receive project updates onlineFor more info

Thursday, April 6 | CORE “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Preparedness Workshop
1:00-3:30 pm | Lincoln Recreation Center Gym, 250 10th St. 
Are you ready? This event includes a basic disaster-preparedness workshop followed by a “build-a-kit” session where we provide you free supplies to start your own emergency supply kit (while supplies last). Read more about CORE training and other events, or setting up a disaster-preparedness group in your neighborhood. For more info: core@oaklandnet.com

Saturday, April 8 | Parkway Cascade Clean-up 
10:00 am-1:00 pm | 490 E. 20th St.
Join Councilmember Guillén’s staff and your neighbors for a little weeding and trimming now that it’s springtime at the cascade. Our office has helped put in “no dumping" signs” to try to help reduce trash at the site. Follow the Parkway Cascade Garden group for info about this and future events.

Thursday, April 13 | Community Meeting on How to Spend Oakland’s Federal Dollars
6:00-7:00 pm | Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd.
Join us for this open meeting where the Community Development Block Grant Board will deliberate and decide which applicant proposals to recommend to the City Council for the 2017-19 funding cycle. Everybody is welcome to attend and give public comment. (Applicants will make presentations about their proposals to the Council District Board on April 8.) For more info: sting@oaklandnet.com

Saturday, April 22 | Earth Day Community Clean Up
9:00 am-12:00 pm | Meet at Hismen Hin-Nu Terrace, 2555 International Blvd.
Join Councilmember Guillén and EBALDC to celebrate Earth Day and help clean up our neighborhood. Cleaning equipment and supplies will be provided. Bring the whole family! For more info or to RSVP: Judy Christopher, jchristopher@ebaldc.org

CELEBRATE OAKLAND

Serenity Sundays 
11:00 am-3:00 pm | Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St., Suite 290
The Oakland Asian Cultural Center is offering free classes every second Sunday of the month to help people relax and enjoy themselves. Come and see what classes you would like to take to help improve your health, mood, strength and vitality. Classes offered vary from month to month. Check the center’s website for other events.

CITY SERVICES

Summer Jobs in Oakland Parks
The City of Oakland is recruiting candidates for its parks, recreation and youth programs, with part-time positions ranging from entry level to highly specialized in recreation, sports and the arts. Read more for details about these summer job opportunities, including job descriptions and the online application.

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San Leandro Creek Trail Takes Shape
Earlier this month, the Council’s Public Works Committee received a draft master plan to build a six-mile pedestrian and bike path along San Leandro Creek from Lake Chabot to the bay. The study area covers a mile in either direction from the creek and considered the needs of the nearly 90,000 people living in the area. The proposed trail will include a safe pathway to several nearby Oakland schools, such as Madison Park Academy, Bancroft Middle School, Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy and Sobrante Park Elementary School. It would also provide a safe walking and bicycling choice for the roughly 10,500 households within a mile of the creek that have at least one person age 60 or older. The area doesn’t have a lot of safe biking and walking opportunities, and the trail is much needed, particularly in these neighborhoods.

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The trail would be built in phases, as funding becomes available from a variety of potential federal, state, regional, local and private sources. Oakland’s part of the project begins at San Leandro Bay, between the airport and Alameda. There, the San Francisco Bay Trail is already established, extending to Hegenberger Rd. The next segment of the trail runs from Hegenberger to 98th Ave. The creek has maintenance roads on either side shaded by mature trees, and has had the benefit of wetlands restoration efforts. As the creek winds from 98th Ave. to I-880, it goes from being an open, vegetated stream to a concrete flood-control channel, with a wide maintenance road along its south side. The last stage runs from I-880 to the Amtrak train tracks. We will also continue to advocate for the completion of the SF Bay Trail, with particular focus on filling the gaps in District 2.