Abel’s eNews: Lake Merritt actions, street safety improvements, new EBMUD pipes, Grand Lake farmers’ market

City Actions around Lake Merritt - 
More than 100 neighbors attended the Cleveland Heights Community Meeting last Thursday. It was one of the most well attended community meetings I’ve ever seen, and the real changes that the City is making to address you concerns shows the power of your voice in getting things done.

I wanted to follow up with you about what the City will be doing in the upcoming months to address your concerns. Your feedback and engagement will help me put in motion several next steps.

Voter-approved Measure DD funds improved Lake Merritt and surrounding areas, which has led to a rise in popularity of the Lake and an increased number of park users. Along with this popularity, a number of issues have arisen. At Thursday’s meeting residents identified issues such as amplified music and noise, traffic and parking violations, unauthorized vending, racial profiling, excessive trash and other issues arising from the increased use of Lake Merritt.

In an effort to keep the park clean and safe, Public Works is increasing crews and extending the hours for trash and debris removal until 8:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

There has been a recent spike in the amount of used (burned) charcoal and hot coals left in the grass and other areas, and dumped into the lake, which has created safety and maintenance concerns. Improper disposal of hot coals can burn people, harm wildlife, impact water quality in the lake, and cause serious fires. In response, the City has placed hot-coal receptacles along the Lakeshore Ave. side of Lake Merritt.

While the current regulations state that portable charcoal grilling is only allowed in certain areas of Lakeside Park and on the installed grill pits in the north side of Lakeside Park (see maps at the park), we must protect people and our park from the dangers of improper disposal of hot coals. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission will be reviewing the rules about grilling at Lake Merritt.

In the coming weeks, City Municipal Code Enforcers/Inspectors will be at Lake Merritt working on food and alcohol vending and other compliance issues. Inspectors will begin by educating vendors and providing them with information on the requirements to legally vend and how to apply for proper permits. To protect potential buyers and consumers it is important that all food vendors have a County Health Certificate, a City Food Vending Permit and a City Business Tax Certificate; or a Special Event Permit from the City.

The police department will also specially assign officers to Lake Merritt to help with traffic control and parking violations on days when heavy park use is expected. OPD will provide traffic control to reduce unsafe double parking that can impede emergency vehicles and blocked driveways and help keep street traffic flowing to reduce congestion on Lakeshore Ave. and neighboring streets.

I will continue to work with neighbors to address speeding, traffic congestion on Lakeshore and street-repair issues through legislation and coordination with the transportation department. 

Mark Your Calendar: The next Cleveland Heights Neighborhood Meeting is Thursday, September 13 (6:00-7:30 pm, location TBD). Please join me to continue our discussion about improving the neighborhood.



EBMUD Street Construction in Crocker Highlands
Beginning July 23, EBMUD crews will be installing a new pipeline to improve water service in the Crocker Highlands neighborhood. EBMUD plans to replace pipelines on Grosvenor Place from Longridge Rd. to Sunnyhills Rd.; Hubert Rd. from Longridge Rd. to Sunnyhills Rd.; Midcrest Rd. from Longridge Rd. to Sunnyhills Rd.; Sunnyhills Rd. from Midcrest Rd. to Hillcroft Circle; and Creed Rd. from Trestle Glen Rd. to Holman Rd.

Intersecting side streets will be temporarily affected as work progresses. Residents will be notified about any planned interruption of their water service.

EBMUD expects to complete pipeline installation by January 2019, with final paving to follow. After installation of the new pipeline, crews will transfer water services, install fire hydrants, and make final connections. For more info: commaff@ebmud.com, 510-287-0140

Back to School | Free Transit Passes for Students
We voted to fund a program to provide free AC Transit passes for students through Measure BB. The program is now being piloted in several OUSD schools, including Roosevelt Middle and Oakland High in District 2. For more info

Planning Code that Accounts for Development, Labor Impacts
Last week, the City Council passed my ordinance to bring more uniformity to Oakland’s planning code and support equitable hotel development. The resolution will require the City to examine the impact of hotels on the demand of workers on housing, transit and social services. This is an important step to combat worker inequality and promote equitable community benefits from development projects.

In a related action, the Council also approved the Measure FF Support Services Contract – which provides community-based, minimum-wage enforcement – I advocated for in the Council’s bi-annual budget. Wage theft is real in Oakland and beyond – workers deserve every penny they earn.


Saturday, July 21 | Abel’s Community Office Hours in San Antonio/East Lake
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Miền Tây Restaurant, 1218 15th Ave.
Join me for my office hours at the border of the San Antonio and East Lake neighborhoods to discuss your concerns, questions and ideas. Your voice matters, and I always want to hear directly from residents. For more info or to make a 10-minute appointment: Victor Flores, Constituent Liaison, 510-238-7021

Summer Interns for District 2
Look for a bunch of young folks (photo, L-R: Rufino Sanchez, Annika Hoerner, Francois Barrilleaux, Melody Cao) working on projects in District 2 neighborhoods this summer. I think you will agree they are an exemplary group representing the best of Oakland’s next generation.

Rufino Sanchez is from East Oakland and just finished his junior year at Castlemont High School. Interested in politics and law, he will learn about how things work from the inside and help out our community in the process. Rufino is working on community outreach and helping plan the San Antonio Park Day of Action (September 8) to clean up and improve the park.

Annika Hoerner lives in District 2 and is a rising senior at the Head-Royce School. Raised in an outdoorsy family, she is interested in the interaction between people and the environment, environmental justice, language and food justice. During her internship, Annika has developed an interactive map that organizes the district into neighborhood walks and logs the areas where we’ve conducted outreach, the businesses in our district, the boundaries of NCPC zones and SeeClickFix service-request data. 

An Oakland native and recent Oakland Tech graduate, Francois Barrilleaux is currently working to collect community data about local hate crimes and connect community organizations with City resources. Then it’s off to the University of Pennsylvania this fall.

Melody Cao is a rising senior at Oakland Charter High School, who has always been very passionate about our community. This summer, she will be focusing on the key issues facing Oakland Chinatown. She is currently working on a project dealing with illegal merchant encroachment on the sidewalks.

Thursday, July 19 | Safety Town Hall
6:00 pm | Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St.
Join Mayor Libby Schaaf and Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick for a town hall to discuss Oakland’s efforts to eliminate disparities and build community trust through the use of data- and precision-based policing. The program will also include a presentation by Stanford professor Jennifer Eberhart, an expert on implicit bias in criminal justice.

National Night Out | Sign Up Your Event by July 20
Have you registered to host a National Night Out Party? To help neighbors get to know each other and make neighborhoods safer, organize a block party, BBQ, ice cream social or other outdoor event that brings your neighbors together. This year’s National Night Out is Tuesday, August 7 (7:00-9:00 pm). Register by Friday, July 20, to receive giveaways for the kids and a special gift for the host. For more info or to register

Friday, July 20 | Be Well Oakland Day
In collaboration with My Brother’s Keeper Oakland Collaborative and the Well Being Trust, this community celebration is a public commitment to the wellbeing of all young people in our communities in Oakland.

The centerpiece of Be Well Oakland is a two-day youth design challenge. Working in teams, youth designers will explore the concept of wellness in the everyday lives of young Oaklanders, and envision novel opportunities to enhance wellbeing in our community. The teams will present their designs at the HIVE. Music, dance and food too. Space is limited: RSVP

Monday, July 23 | Community Meeting about Grand Lake Farmers’ Market
7:00-8:30 pm | Barnett Hall, up the driveway to left of Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave.
You’re invited to attend a community stakeholder meeting to learn about and discuss the current and future course of the Grand Lake Farmers’ Market. Light refreshments will be provided. Co-hosted by Councilmember Guillén and Agricultural Institute of Marin CEO Andy Naja-Riese. Let us know if you plan to attend: RSVP on the Facebook event page

Have a Say in Capital Improvements
The City’s Planning and Building Department is partnering with 15 East Oakland non-profit organizations to begin a year-long community planning process to identify priority capital improvement, public-health and greenhouse-gas reducing projects. Interested? Sign up: bit.ly/2yQrWRD


July Is National Parks & Recreation Month | Visit a Rec Center
Celebrate National Parks & Recreation Month at one of Oakland’s 30 recreation centers. During the entire month of July, our doors will be open to the public to showcase what makes each center unique! Check out all the free and fun activities for the whole family.

Saturday, July 21 | Free Film Screening of “Freedom Summer”
2 pm | African American Museum and Library at Oakland, 659 14th St.
AAMLO is presenting a free screening of “Freedom Summer,” the 2014 documentary that looks back at the events of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, when more than 700 student activists worked together to register African-American voters in Mississippi and shatter the foundations of white supremacy in the nation’s most segregated state. For info: msanderson@oaklandlibrary.org


Musical in the Park | August
August 3-5, 9-12, 8:00 pm | Woodminster Amphitheater, Joaquin Miller Park, Joaquin Miller Rd. at 3540 Sanborn Dr.
Enjoy summer and the show: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat.” Performed outdoors in the historic Woodminster Amphitheater, the 70-member cast features a large children’s choir, accompanied by a live orchestra.

Check for discounts for seniors, kids, groups, season-ticket holders and Oakland residents. For tickets: 510-531-9597, online or at the box office


Free Sunday Community Breakfast
8:30-9:30 am | Word Assembly, 1445 23rd Ave.
Word Assembly invites you to stop by for free breakfast and community spirit every Sunday morning.

Monday, July 23 | Free Legal Info and Advice about Your Housing Rights
11:30 am | Towne House Wellness Center, 629 Oakland Ave.
Housing attorneys with Bay Area Legal Aid will offer a know-your-rights training on barriers to housing, such as evictions, credit repair and criminal records. They can also answer questions about evictions, housing conditions, housing discrimination and other issues. Attorneys can meet with you one-on-one after the group presentation.

Donate Everyday Essentials for the Homeless | Drop-off at District 2 Office
I urge you to help provide our homeless neighbors with toiletries, socks and other basic healthcare items through the Housing Resource Center’s Essentials Drive. The center is working to bring vulnerable Oaklanders much-needed supplies for the everyday experience – and we need your help! I’ve set up a bin in my Council office (City Hall, 1 Ogawa Plaza, second floor), where you can conveniently bring by your donated items.

The Housing Resource Center gets regular visits from Oakland residents who are transitioning to new housing, have recently been displaced, or are unsheltered. Families and individuals often find themselves in need of everyday grooming supplies.

From July 19 to August 31, you can drop off the following items (trial or sample sizes are preferable): toiletries (shampoo/conditioner, soap, deodorant, lotion, mouthwash, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, comb/brush, hair oil/mosturizer, sunscreen); EmergenC, Airborne, chewable multivitamins; feminine hygiene products (tampons, maxi pads, pantiliners, menstrual cups), incontinence wear/disposable underwear; first aid supplies; socks (all sizes, thermal/wool preferable) and gloves (waterproof and weatherproof); baby wipes, washcloths, wet wipes, baby wipes, tissues and plastic baggies

For more on center resources and services For District 2 drop-off: aguillen@oaklandca.gov, 510-238-7002

Arson Tip Line and Reward Fund Launched
Last week, the Jobs & Housing Coalition launched a new tip line – 510-238-4031 – and reward fund for information that leads to the arrest and charging of individuals responsible for arson and arson-related activities in Oakland. Financed by coalition members, the $300,000 fund will serve as an incentive for individuals to come forward with information on fires that have occurred at construction sites as well as information about potential destructive acts that could harm or delay other development projects.