What's new in housing, parking and parks

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COUNCIL APPROVES NEW HOUSING FOR 12TH St. PARCEL, MAXIMIZES PUBLIC GOOD

The City Council voted 6-1 to use the 12th Street remainder parcel to create 360 new units of mixed-income housing, including 108 units for low- and moderate-income residents (30% of the total), and secure $66 million in tax revenues from the development to fund essential community services citywide and build additional affordable housing on other sites throughout Oakland. This decision, made from among three proposals that all contained affordable housing, maximizes the public good from this one-acre parcel. I encourage you to read my full remarks from the Council meeting for a more detailed examination of the reasoning behind this decision.

I’m grateful for all the work that the community has put into this issue – and the pressure they’ve put on the Council and City staff to maximize the creation of affordable housing. The pressure from the community over the past year generated three appealing proposals from three well-respected housing nonprofits that have built hundreds of affordable-housing units throughout the Bay Area.

Oakland needs to build a mix of market-rate and affordable housing to provide homes for the full spectrum of income levels and help slow the displacement of current residents and communities of color. By virtually every objective measure, the EBALDC/UrbanCore proposal was clearly the best choice: At the end of the day, their plan will build a net total of more affordable housing than would the affordable-units-only proposal, won't drain scarce local and county affordable housing dollars to subsidize housing at just one site, and will generate millions of extra dollars that can provide benefits to the entire community, not just the residents who will eventually live at the new 12th St. location.

In addition to the affordable units on-site, the EBALDC/UrbanCore design will create 227 more homes than the much-smaller proposal. In practical terms, that basically means the market-rate units in the new development will help keep an additional 227 families in other parts of town from being forced to move out of Oakland.

Constructing more units on a parcel means the building must be taller. There are several high-rise buildings around Lake Merritt, and a taller building with more units is a neighborhood-appropriate development for this site.

We also need to create new apartments big enough for families. The EBALDC proposal has 129 such units.

I think the SAHA/”People’s Proposal” design, while not the best choice for the 12th St. parcel, would make a great project on several other lots in District 2. I want to work with SAHA and the community in the coming months to find an alternative site to build this design.

I hope we can treat the debate about the 12th St. parcel as a launching point for public engagement to implement comprehensive, balanced, citywide solutions. Oakland’s housing crisis goes beyond this one acre of vacant land.

Oakland and our region currently have the fastest-growing gap in the nation between rising housing costs and income growth. To preserve Oakland’s middle class while providing homes for lower-income residents, we need a comprehensive housing strategy to address everybody’s housing affordability needs. The Council’s decision about the 12th St. parcel is a step – but just one small step – in the right direction.

This is an important victory for affordable housing. Now it’s time to move forward on critical initiatives for Oakland housing citywide.

We must adopt a full package of strategies that build and preserve both market-rate and affordable housing: That’s why I also support inclusionary zoning, impact fees, expanded homeless shelters, stronger tenant protections, and a housing and infrastructure bond to provide a significant new revenue source for affordable housing.

I hope you will all work with me to implement these comprehensive measures to address Oakland’s housing crisis and build the kind of future we all want for Oakland.

MULTI-PRONGED STRATEGIES FOR PROTECTING, EXPANDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING 
Earlier this month, the City of Oakland’s Housing Cabinet released its report and recommendations to help protect 17,000 units of already existing affordable housing for current residents, and create another 17,000 new housing units for residents at all income levels over the next eight years. The cabinet was comprised of city officials and more than 100 housing experts, advocates and business leaders who worked to develop concrete solutions to stop displacement, improve living conditions, and add to Oakland’s stock of affordable and market-rate housing. For renters, the plan would tighten tenant protections under the city's Rent Adjustment Program, expand rent control to smaller buildings and make it tougher for landlords to convert rental apartments to condos.

One of the biggest obstacles is finding a stable and substantial funding source to create and preserve affordable housing. 

Among a wide-ranging package of actions, the plan calls for putting two bond measures on the November ballot. A countywide affordable housing bond would generate more than $100 million for Oakland to build affordable units. A citywide infrastructure bond would secure $50 million that would be used to purchase currently affordable apartment buildings and convert them to permanent affordability. Read the report

PARK UPDATES

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Saturday, April 2 | Chavez Day of Service in San Antonio Park
10:00 am-2:00 pm | Community Clean-up and BBQ, 1701 E. 19th St.
Join Councilmember Guillén, Oakland Parks and Recreation and neighbors to clean up and beautify San Antonio Park. Stay for a community picnic to celebrate afterwards, hot dogs and burgers provided by Oakland Firefighters Local 55. Wear comfortable work clothes. Tools and cleanup materials will be provided. For more info: Maribel Lopez, OPR, mcorral@oaklandnet.com or Maria Henderson, Council District 2 Policy Analyst, mahenderson@oaklandnet.com

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Moving and Removing Trees at Lincoln Rec Center
Last week, as part of the Panda Point Project, the City of Oakland posted notices about removing four trees at the Lincoln Recreation Center (corner of Harrison and 10th St.) due to safety concerns and growth conditions. The large Koelreuteria Paniculata tree (photo at left) is dead; the dying Magnolia (second left) is also slated for removal. The two smaller trees (photos at right) will be relocated, if possible. For more info: Ali Schwarz, aschwarz@oaklandnet.com

Street-Sweeping and Parking Changes along Lakeshore Ave. 
I want to share the latest news about parking-management and street-sweeping options for the Lakeshore Avenue cul-de-sac. The City’s Transportation Services Department met with Lakeshore neighbors in January, and provided a questionnaire and comment cards to gather community feedback about street concerns. About 3/4ths of residents responding said they want streets swept more frequently (72%) and didn’t want any changes to parking rules (75%). Residential Permit Parking, a program that offers parking permits to residents and time-restricted parking for non-residents, was supported by 39% of respondents. 

Based on that meeting and the survey results, the Public Works Department will increase the street-sweeping schedule from once every two weeks to once a week on each side of the cul-de-sac, and leave current parking rules unchanged. New signs have been posted to notify the public about the new street-sweeping schedule and parking restrictions. City staff expect to begin ticketing cars for street-sweeping parking violations on Thursday, March 17.

Residential Permit Parking is established through a petition process initiated and carried out by residents. If you’re interested in setting up a permit-parking area for your neighborhood, City staff can work with you to start the implementation process. The Public Works Department has several guidelines and parameters for creating permit parking for this area. To initiate the petition process: Leo Hernando,lhernando@oaklandnet.com

GET INVOLVED

Wednesday, April 6 | Deadline to Comment on Downtown Specific Plan Alternatives
The City has released its report on Downtown Specific Plan alternatives, which contains policy and design recommendations for the Downtown’s future. These recommendations are based on community input gathered during hands-on workshops, open houses, tours and conversations with residents and business owners. The community will choose from among the options to develop the “preferred alternative” – which forms the foundation for the Downtown plan. The report and related information are available on the Plan Downtown Oakland website. You’re invited to attend several public meetings where City staff will be presenting this report in the coming weeks. Check out the schedule of public meetings. Feedback collected during these meetings will help shape the Draft Specific Plan (which should be presented this winter). Send comments on the Plan Alternatives Report by April 6: plandowntownoakland@oaklandnet.com

Want a Seat on the New Privacy Advisory Commission?
The City of Oakland is accepting applications for the newly created Privacy Advisory Commission. The nine-member committee will include experts in privacy, security and technology, providing advice and technical assistance on best practices to protect Oakanders’ privacy rights in connection with the City’s purchase and use of surveillance equipment and other technology that collects or stores residents’ personal data. If you are interested in serving on the Commission, submit an online application. If you live in District 2 and are interested in serving on the commission (members serve a three-year term), please let my office know: Maria Henderson, mahenderson@oaklandnet.com

CELEBRATE OAKLAND

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New Chief of Staff for District 2 | Welcome Richard Raya
After more than a decade, the Council District 2 office is getting a new chief of staff. I’m delighted that Richard Raya has agreed to join our team this month. Raya brings more than 15 years of leadership experience focused on connecting elected officials, administrators and residents to solve the big challenges facing local communities.

A graduate of the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, he has most recently served as chief of staff for the Oakland-based Workers Lab, the nation’s first union-backed accelerator to transform low-wage industries and rebuild America’s middle class. He previously led the efforts ofClimatePlan, an Oakland nonprofit that supports land-use solutions to climate-change impacts.

Raya’s Oakland roots include stints as Youth Radio’s executive director and senior associate with PolicyLink, focusing on education-infrastructure investments. His background in government service – with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Alameda County Administrator’s Office and the San Jose City Auditor – will be a great asset as my team works with Oakland’s City staff to deliver cost-effective services and community programs for District 2 residents. You can reach Richard at rraya@oaklandnet.com

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Sailboat House Wins Public Works Award
Oakland took home honors this month from the American Public Works Association Northern California Chapter with the Sailboat House Shoreline Improvement Project winning “Project of the Year” in the $5-25 million structures category. The $7.37 million Sailboat House Shoreline Improvement Project was essential to the ongoing protection of Lake Merritt, one of the Bay Area’s most heavily used recreation venues for boating and shoreline activities. This Measure DD project addressed safety hazards, water quality, flooding problems and the fragmented pedestrian pathway circling the Lake.

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CITY SERVICES

Tuesday, April 5 | Health Resource Fair in Chinatown
5:00-7:30 pm | Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St. #290
Asian Health Services has partnered with ASPIRE, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, California Immigrant Policy Center, APALA and the Alameda Labor Council to host a resource fair and on-site assistance to undocumented residents. Get information on the new health access for undocumented children (under 19 years old) who may qualify for Medi-Cal and health access information for undocumented adults (HealthPAC) along with on-site certified health enrollment counselors (Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish and Mongolian), DACA application assistance, drivers’ license information and college scholarship opportunities through Oakland Promise.

Opening for Bilingual Neighborhood Services Coordinator
The City of Oakland is looking to hire bilingual speakers (especially Cantonese or Mandarin) for City jobs. Deadline for the Neighborhood Services Coordinator position is Friday, March 18. The OPD Intake Technician deadline is Friday, March 25. Search for job openings and apply online

Food-Recycling Internship for College Students
Are you passionate about the environment? Want to gain on-the-ground business experience while learning more about local recycling and composting programs? A paid, part-time internship with Waste Management is open to college students, and involves food-scrap education and outreach to restaurants, grocery stores and multifamily dwellings. Read more about the job and apply online