Abel's eNews: Cleaning up neighborhood graffiti and trash, planning an equitable Downtown, feedback on an new ballpark


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Building Makeovers: Cleaning Up Graffiti in District 2
My team and I have had a number of conversations with East Lake merchants lately about graffiti and other acts of vandalism that affect their businesses as well as the streetscape experiences of residents and shoppers in the neighborhood.

Graffiti-based vandalism has grown over the past several years, costing building owners across the country an estimated $12 billion in annual cleanup. Here in Oakland, City crews spend countless hours every week trying to remove graffiti in East Lake, Chinatown and other areas around town where taggers are especially active, an ongoing effort that costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, and hurts small businesses.

Our hard-working Public Works crews have been working to cover up the graffiti – and they’re having successes despite the persistence of taggers. In concert with City crews, we also need the continued help of merchants to take down graffiti quickly as soon as it goes up.

The before-and-after photos (above) of the Cam Huong Restaurant building demonstrate the results of some of their work. We’ve also made similar progress in Chinatown (before-and-after at Webster and 8th St. below).

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Clean, healthy streets are one of my top priorities. Graffiti is just one piece of the puzzle.

Putting resources into improving our streetscapes – for public health and safety, active transportation and connectivity, and economic vitality – is one of the City’s core community responsibilities. In addition to funding anti-graffiti efforts, the City Council recently passed a new budget that also added more public-works crews to tackle illegal dumping and restored an additional street-tree crew that will help improve Oakland’s tree canopy while also reducing the problem of sidewalks damaged by tree roots. These combined efforts play an important role in making our neighborhood streetscapes more enjoyable and our local businesses stronger.

Please let me know how we can help you participate in tackling this problem, and coordinate with Public Works to make a difference in the quality and enjoyment of our streets and storefronts. Email me at aguillen@oaklandnet.com.

You can also report graffiti on the See.Click.Fix app or email opwcallcenter@oaklandnet.com.


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Chinatown Cleanup
In advance of the 30th annual Chinatown StreetFest (Aug. 26-27), Councilmember Guillén joined the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and residents for a street cleanup in Chinatown last Sunday. More than 90 PickITup Chinatown volunteers picked up dozens of bags of trash – and even a discarded sofa.

Community Listening Tour for A’s New Ballpark
Tuesday, August 224:30-7:30 pm | Everett and Jones BBQ, 126 Broadway
Wednesday, August 304:30-7:30 pm | La Estrellita Café, 446 12th St.
The Oakland Athletics are conducting community “office hours” to gather feedback about possible locations for a new ballpark in Oakland. You’re invited to these two forums to talk with A’s President Dave Kaval this month. For more info

I also want to hear what you think. Share your suggestions and concerns about community benefits and the siting of a new stadium with me at aguillen@oaklandnet.com.

Wednesday, September 6 | Public Safety Town Hall
6:00-8:00 pm | Roosevelt Middle School, 1926 E.19th St.
Join Councilmember Guillén, the Bella Vista Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council and Trybe as we host Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and Public Safety Director Venus Johnson in a discussion about our neighborhood concerns about safety, crime prevention and the police. Town hall starts at 6:30 pm. Potluck at 6:00 pm: Bring a dish or beverage to share if you can. Childcare and interpretation in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese will be available.


Saturday, September 9 | Back-to-School Volunteer Fair
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Lakeview Elementary School, 746 Grand Ave. (across from farmers’ market)

Help create a bright future for Oakland: Mentor, tutor or read with kids; help out at after-school programs; assist in the classroom or office; provide tech support; raise funds or plan events for schools. You can volunteer one-time or in an ongoing role. Come to the fair to meet different nonprofits and your perfect volunteer match. PLUS a raffle with fun prizes! Learn more: oaklandedfund.org/volunteerfair


Saturday, September 16 | Oakland Creek to Bay Day
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Oakland Creek to Bay Day is part of California and International Coastal Cleanup Day, the largest volunteer day in the world. Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers removed more than 130 cubic yards of trash and cleared 260 cubic yards of invasive plants from creeks, parks, shorelines and streets at 46 Oakland locations. This year’s projects include litter removal, habitat restoration, urban greening and beautification around creeks, along shorelines and other sites throughout our city. Wear work clothes and sturdy shoes. Equipment provided. For more info about project locations and site coordinator registration


Call for Volunteers | Community Activities at Affordable Housing
The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, a nonprofit community development organization in Oakland, is looking for volunteers to work with residents of our affordable homes. Volunteers would assist on-site staff by teaching classes and putting on events, especially for arts and crafts, dance, tai chi, technology, ESL and financial literacy. To help out: Meg Heisler, mheisler@ebaldc.org


Community Workshops on Social Equity in Downtown Plan
Work on creating the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan is now considering goals and outcomes through the lens of social and racial equity. A series of “Equity in Downtown Oakland” workshops were held earlier this month, and the planning process will continue through the end of 2017. The four equity workshops covered housing affordability, jobs and economic opportunity; arts and culture; streets, transportation and the built environment; and sustainability, public health and safety, recreation and open space.

The new plan will create a vision with guiding policies about land use and development, transportation, housing, economic development, and arts and culture to shape the downtown’s future. Sign up For more info about Equity in Downtown Oakland

NEXT STEPS: The Community Advisory Group will hold a series of meetings this fall to examine equity issues and analyze existing conditions, best practices and potential policies, and convene neighborhood-focused sessions to consider Central Broadway commercial area, Uptown and KONO, and Old Oakland and Chinatown elements. The City will then host a workshop in early 2018 to will solicit public feedback on an initial set of plan concepts that the equity team will assess for their racial equity impacts. The planning process will incorporate community feedback, consider recommendations to address equity impacts, and draft the plan through 2018.



Lincoln Park Junk Boat to Undergo Repairs
“After years of heavy use, the city’s famed Junk Boat is getting an overhaul,” reports the East Bay Times. “Over the last 13 to 14 years since it was renovated, there’s been lots of wear and tear,” said Councilmember Abel Guillen, who oversees District 2 where the Junk Boat is located. The structure “needs to be modernized to bring it back to its past glory for children and families of all ages.”

As part of the new City budget, Councilmember Guillén pushed through a community request to fund repairs to the large wood-and-metal play structure permanently moored at Lincoln Square Park in the heart of Chinatown. Read the full East Bay Times article.

Dimond Branch Library Renovations
This month, the Dimond branch of the Oakland Public Library celebrated the completion of its renovations to provide new, upgraded features, lighting, technology and furniture, thanks in part to a community fundraising campaign. Read more and check out the refurbished library at 3565 Fruitvale Ave.


Schedule Change for Free Broadway Shuttle 
Beginning on August 21, the service hours of the “Free B” shuttle (which runs on Broadway between Jack London Square and Grand Ave./27th St.) will change to Monday-Friday 7:00 am-10:00 pm, discontinuing the weekend-night service (Friday-Saturday until 1:00 am). The signage at the shuttle’s 24 stops will reflect the new service hours, and notices in three languages were posted on the interiors of the buses last week.

Launched in August 2010, the shuttle’s annual ridership exceeded 700,000 last year. The Friday and Saturday late-night ridership represents only 5% of that total.

The change is being made as a result of a reduction in funding from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. The change will preserve the service hours with the highest ridership and the biggest economic-development and environmental benefits (reduction in vehicle miles travelled). For more info