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. 


Keep Oakland from Investing in the Border Wall

I have introduced legislation last month that would prevent the City of Oakland from entering into new contracts with businesses whose goods or services would support Trump’s border-wall construction. The Council’s Finance and Management Committee will consider the measure on March 14.

President Trump is taking the first steps next week to build his wall, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will begin soliciting “concept papers” for the design and build of “prototype wall structures” due Friday, March 10. From those companies, the agency will invite select firms to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24. Contracts are expected to be award by mid-April, according to the agency.

Let your councilmember and other elected representatives know you want Oakland to take a practical stand against Trump’s border wall and other anti-immigrant policies.

Our public dollars should not be spent on a wall that keeps people out and does nothing to help implement comprehensive immigration reform. Oakland is the first city to initiate the process for a potential financial protest of Trump’s border wall. It is estimated that the wall could cost more than $20 billion. We believe scarce taxpayer dollars should be invested in education, health care and infrastructure instead of an unneeded and unworkable barrier that does little to increase national security and much to hurt our economy.

Roughly one in four Oakland residents are foreign-born, and about one-third (31%) of those are from Mexico. Nearly 2,000 refugees have resettled in Oakland since 2002.

Take our short survey to share your thoughts, and sign up to join me in the fight to stop the wall. Let’s turn outrage into action.

Update on Lake House Progress
The City of Oakland has completed negotiations with EBALDC and Urban Core to reach a Disposition and Development Agreement for the 12th St. parcel transfer. This step will allow the Lake House project to begin the predevelopment process, which includes updating the design for a 2018 construction start.

The new housing development previously secured an $18.1 million grant from the state’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. These state funds represent additional powerful leveraging of the City’s public-land asset to bring much-needed housing to the East Lake neighborhood. The Lake House project will also include new bus, bike and pedestrian networks that connect residents to the downtown, Uptown and East Oakland. It will also provide residents of these buildings and the downtown with new bike lanes and a new bike-share station. AC Transit, a project partner, will buy a new hybrid bus as part of its service expansion plan. These infrastructure projects are complemented with programs to encourage and facilitate easier access to biking and bus use.

More than $20 million in state cap-and-trade funds was awarded last year for two transit-oriented development projects in District 2. While it wasn’t easy to get here, it’s gratifying to see that once we set goals, we’ve been able to make progress to create more housing, improve transit access, and reduce pollution. Read my op-ed from my first month in office about the value of this funding.



Voting Results from Participatory Budgeting 
District 2 residents cast nearly 700 ballots on a wide-ranging menu of funding priority choices during participatory budgeting (February 18-24). Community priorities receiving the most votes were crime awareness and prevention services, homeless services, senior and disabled services, youth services and capital improvements. The preferences include programs that provide access for homeless persons to services, subsidized van transportation vouchers for low-income seniors and disabled persons, and programs that provide services, referrals and support for youth and adult immigrants who speak English as a second language. These preferred priorities will help form Councilmember Guillén’s priorities for District 2’s share of CDBG funding in the Council’s coming discussion of the overall City budget. The Council must approve a final City budget by June 30.

The Request-for-Proposals deadline to submit specific projects and programs for CDBG grants based on updated priorities and funding is Monday, March 13.

Saturday, March 4 | Parkway Cascade Garden Clean-up
10:00 am-1:00 pm | 490 E. 20th St.
Join us for some early spring weeding and general cleanup at the Parkway Cascade Garden. Bring sturdy footwear. More info

Saturday, March 11 | Grand Avenue Cleanup
9:00 am-12:00 pm | Meet at Grand Ave entrance to the Walker parking lot, next to Ikaros Restaurant
Join Councilmember Guillén, the Grand Lake NCPC and neighbors for our street cleanup event. We will be working between Mandana and 580 to trim a few trees, spruce up plant containers, pick up trash and get rid of graffiti. Come by for the whole morning, or just an hour. For more info: Eric Hugheshughesearthur@gmail.com 

Saturday, March 11 | “Know Your Rights” Workshops
10:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-3:00 pm | Fruitvale San Antonio Senior Center 
(inside Fruitvale Transit Village), 3301 E. 12th St., Suite 201
Learn more at these free workshops about how to uphold the rights of all members of our community, no matter what your immigration status is. Topics are same at both workshops. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Free but RSVP

Sunday, March 12 | PickITup Chinatown Cleanup
11:00 am | T4, 1068 Webster St.
Join OCA-East Bay and dozens of volunteers on the second Sunday of each month to get trash off our sidewalks, streets and parks. If you’re under 18years old, bring a parent-signed consent form. We will be able to sign off on volunteer hours.

A big shoutout to the organizations and individuals who have been participating in PickITup Chinatown:Alameda High School LEOS, Asian Americans for Community Outreach, Asian Youth Services Committee, Berkeley City College Lions Club, BuildOn at Oakland High School, Chinese Community United Methodist Church and the Moon Family (Michael, May and Gavin, who have coordinated this effort), along with sponsors: AllState/Francis Lan, Metropolitan Bank, PrimeImage Media Group, T4, Cam Huong Bakery, Shooting Star café, Tay Ho Oakland Restaurant and Bar, and Bare Knuckle Pizza. If you're interested in partnering with OCA for a future project: Mike Moon, mmoon@primeimageus.com



Black History Month | Angela Glover Blackwell Honored 
As part of Oakland’s celebration of Black History Month, Councilmember Guillén last week honored District 2 resident Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of PolicyLink and a leading voice in the movement for equity in America. Based in downtown Oakland, PolicyLink has become a national leader in the use of public policy to improve access and opportunity for low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation and education. Prior to founding PolicyLink, she served as senior vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. Glover Blackwell earned her law degree from UC Berkeley, and first gained national recognition as founder of the Urban Strategies Council in Oakland. She served on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and has co-authored and contributed to numerous books, including “Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream.”

Congratulations to Oakland-born Laney College alumnus Mahershala Ali on his Best Supporting Actor statue, the first Muslim to win Academy Award. If you haven’t already, check out him out in “Moonlight”… and “Hidden Figures.”

Greg Chan Recognized for Community Service
Also at last week’s Council meeting, Councilmember Guillén recognized Gregory Chan for his exemplary devoted and innovative service to the Oakland community. A dedicated member of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years, most recently serving on its board of directors, he was also one of the founding presidents of the Asian Pacific Employee Association at EBMUD, co-president of the Alameda County Asian Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus and vice chair of the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club, and has served as a boardmember of the East Bay Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, the City’s Human Relations Commission, the East Bay Environmental Network and the Economic Development Alliance of the East Bay. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, with a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary, Chan is an elected member of the national board of directors of the Presbyterian Church USA.


Council to Consider Equity Amendments for Cannabis Businesses
The City’s Department of Race and Equity and the City Administrator’s office have drafted an equity analysis and proposed new legislation on an equity permit program for cannabis businesses in Oakland. The City Council will consider the analysis and revised ordinances at their March 7 meeting. Read the report and ordinances. To provide feedback or get more info: Sarah Ting, sting@oaklandnet.com

New Police Chief on the Job
Anne Kirkpatrick was sworn in as Oakland police chief Monday, the first woman to hold the top position in the city’s police department. A longtime law enforcement official in Washington state, her previous position was in Chicago, leading their Bureau of Professional Standards.  I am encouraged by her approach to transforming the police culture and its way of thinking. Kirkpatrick’s choice to live in downtown Oakland, unlike some predecessors who lived outside city limits, is also a positive – and welcome – sign of her commitment to our community. I look forward to seeing her around the neighborhood.

Summer Internships at the Port | Apply by March 8
The Port of Oakland is seeking summer interns. The program offers the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and insight into aviation, communications, engineering, environmental programs and planning, finance, governmental affairs, human resources, legal and social-responsibility careers. Internships begin June 12 and end August. To apply For more info: portofoaklandintern@portoakland.com