Abel’s eNews: More street paving, public land policy, homeless green teams, Supreme Court rulings, a safe 4th of July

More Streets Slated for Repaving this Summer - 
Since 2015, approximately 5 miles of streets have been repaved in District 2. This summer, crews will be repairing at least 2.2 miles more on streets in the City’s five-year paving plan, including E. 8th St., the southernmost blocks of E. 8th Ave., 4th St., Mandana Blvd. and Foothill Blvd., which is a bike high-injury corridor.

Over the next few months, residents in Oakland neighborhoods citywide will see a flurry of street paving that will deliver four times as many miles of fresh smooth streets as the City repaved in recent years. In all, the Department of Transportation anticipates that at least 25 miles of Oakland streets will get new pavement this year, compared to an average of 6 miles per year over the last few cycles.

Check out the map to see the blocks slated for summer repairs. (Yes, I know there are other needy streets in District 2 that aren’t on the map. I’m pushing for those streets to be fixed as well – I will keep you posted on our progress throughout the district.)

This “Summer of Paving” represents an important step in addressing Oakland’s paving backlog. Street crews, which the City has been expanding to provide more capacity, will perform full repaving on smaller neighborhood streets. These crews are working 12-hour days and repaving streets seven days a week. While we hire more in-house staff, contractors will supplement this by performing preventative maintenance on larger streets and fully repaving others.

The funding to provide this work is relatively new. In November 2016, voters overwhelmingly approved Measure KK, which I co-authored, and will provide $350 million over the next decade to make needed repairs on Oakland streets. That money is being put to work now, with $25 million in Measure KK spending approved by the City Council in the 2017-19 budget.

We’re also putting other new resources to work, including $7 million in state funding from Senate Bill 1 that is being used to hire 20 new workers dedicated to street maintenance and acquire the new equipment they need to get the job done.

This season’s projects will complete 20% of the 96-mile, five-year paving plan. While the plan focuses largely on major arterial streets where more Oaklanders drive, citywide repaving will also occur on smaller neighborhood streets that are in especially poor condition, including streets near schools and BART stations as well as moderate-traffic neighborhood streets that connect people.

Keep reporting potholes and damaged streets in your neighborhood via OAK311: call 311 from any phone within Oakland, submit a request at 311.oaklandca.gov, email OAK311@oaklandnet.com, or use the OAK311 mobile app.

Housing Construction Up, Resources for Funding Affordability Increase
The latest figures show 71 affordable units are currently under construction, with 1809 more affordable units in the pipeline through funding made possible by the affordable-housing bond measure passed last November and the City's impact fees. Starting July 1, the Affordable Housing Impact Fee for new units built in Zone 1 has increased from $11,500 per unit to $22,000 per unit. Zone 2 fees increased to $17,500 and Zone 3 fees are now set at $3,000. For a detailed list of major development projects underway.

Creating a Public Land Policy
Public property is one of the City of Oakland’s key assets that can be leveraged to meet our community’s goals. In a time of expanding gentrification pressures, we can use city-owned public land strategically as a valuable, targeted resource to address the high demand for affordable housing and equitable community services that benefit low-income residents who are threatened by displacement and homelessness.

Oakland doesn’t currently have a comprehensive policy to inform both the process and the priorities for using its public property. That’s why I have drafted a new policy, with cosponsor Councilmember Kaplan, through a collaborative process with staff and community advocates, to address the fact that the existing process for handling public land is not sufficiently transparent, accountable or inclusive of the diverse communities, organizations and neighborhoods that may be impacted by the sale or lease of these parcels.

My proposal emphasizes transparency and prioritizing the use of City land to address our most pressing housing, employment and health inequities.

The Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee heard our presentation last week, and is reviewing and deliberating the proposals. Read more The item will come back to the committee on July 17.

Homeless Resident Organizes “Green Teams”
As part of the Council’s mid-cycle budget, I was happy that my pilot program to hire some of our unsheltered residents, like my constituent Nino Parker, was approved. This program will help the homeless help themselves while helping to tidy up our parks and open spaces.

I hope City staff will move quickly to implement this grassroots-led strategy to simultaneously address these two pressing neighborhood issues. Read more about Nino and the teams in the East Bay Express story

Removal of News Racks in the Grand Lake District
Good news! There is now more room on the sidewalk for pedestrians and less blight for the neighborhood. The removal of blighted newspaper racks has been a priority of the Lakeshore Business Improvement District and the Grand Lake Neighbors NCPC for the past year. I’m happy to report that Public Works has removed these blight racks from the neighborhood thanks your reports to 311 and our nudges to the administration. Read more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Pregnancy-Information Rules
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a California law that requires “crisis pregnancy centers” to inform patients about public programs that provide free or low-cost access to family-planning services and abortion – citing concerns that these rules violate First Amendment speech protections. 

I join with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in expressing great disappointment with the Court’s ruling (National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra), and will continue to work to ensure that all women have full and unfettered access to critical and non-biased information about their health decisions.

Two years ago, I co-authored Oakland’s “Pregnancy Information and Disclosure Protection” ordinance (read more). Women who need pregnancy care should not be lied to. These fake health centers put their ideological agenda ahead of women’s health. The struggle continues, and we need to insist that misinformation about women’s health and reproductive rights is not acceptable in our community.

Supreme Court Ruling Hurts Working Families
Despite last week’s Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that hampers the ability of labor unions to get fair contracts, we will continue to say YES to Unions and No to Fascism! It’s yet another sad and stark reminder that we need the power to select justices for the people by electing more Democrats to Washington.

The Janus v. AFSCME ruling means unions that represent state and local government workers must operate under “right to work“ rules. Unions can’t recoup from union non-members their share of collective bargaining costs, even though the union must represent all members of its bargaining unit. This limitation already applies to unions that represent federal workers and private-sector workers in 28 states. Read more

Register and Vote!
The Supreme Court tells us all we need to know…There’s no longer any room for complacency: If you – or someone you know – are not registered to vote, register today! If you’re registered, sign up to receive a vote-by-mail ballot so there’s no excuse on Election Day to miss out on making your voice heard.


Saturday, July 21 | Abel’s Community Office Hours
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

Fourth of July | Stay Safe when You Celebrate 
At my request, the Oakland Fire Department presented a report to the City Council last week on preparations underway to curb illegal fireworks. In Oakland, all fireworks are illegal. To help you have a safe 4th of July holiday celebration, Oakland police officers will be issuing citations (fines up to $1,000) and/or confiscating fireworks to anyone in possession of illegal fireworks or igniting fireworks. Officers will arrest anyone caught discharging a firearm. Possession of large quantities of fireworks carries penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 and imprisonment. Check out the PSA

Officers will be deployed to specific areas that have the highest amount of illegal fireworks activity in the past. If you have any information about the illegal storage of fireworks, no matter how large or small, commercial or residential, please let OPD know about this public-safety threat to our community – it’s anonymous.

To report the sale, possession and lighting of fireworks, call the Fireworks Tip Line, 510-777-8814 or email Fireworks@oaklandnet.com.

To report any gunfire, including celebratory gunfire, call 911 from a landline or 510-238-3211 from a cell phone. You can drop off fireworks in collection barrels at the following fire stations: 1603 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, 1445 14th St., 1235 International Blvd., 934 34th St., 5008 Bancroft Ave., 1401 98th Ave.

Saturday, July 14 | Community Lunch and Celebration for New Affordable Housing
11:00 am-1:00 pm | 2227 International Blvd.
Meet the design team and learn about the new housing community while enjoying some food and games! Hosted by Satellite Affordable Housing Association (SAHA).

Lakeshore Update | Bring Back Lakefest?
Last week, I provided a legislative and community update to a meeting of the Lakeshore Business Improvement District. I also raised the idea of bringing back Lakefest. What do you think? Email me at aguillen@oaklandnet.com

Proposition 10 | Repeal of Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act Is on November Ballot
Approximately 60% of Oakland residents are renters. Oakland’s rent stabilization ordinance currently covers 60,000 units. A third of Oakland’s 92,000 apartments – 32,000 units built after 1983 – are exempted from rent control because of the state 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which restricts the ability of cities statewide to stabilize rents and rent increases for much of its housing stock.

The state proposition to repeal Costa-Hawkins, which I support, has qualified for the November 6 ballot. Costa-Hawkins currently prohibits cities from imposing rent control on single-family homes or condos, and bans cities from capping rent on any building that was built after February 1995 (earlier in cities that already had rent control before the law went into effect). In Oakland, rents can’t be capped on buildings built after 1983.

Costa-Hawkins also allows landlords of rent-controlled units to raise monthly payments to whatever they want after a tenant moves out – known as “vacancy decontrol” – which can motivate some landlords to try to unfairly evict their tenants.

If voters pass the proposition in November, it would open the door for Oakland to place more of its housing units under rent-stabilization regulation and extend eviction protections to more tenants. This would provide a crucial tool in our efforts to prevent displacement, especially while we work to increase the supply of affordable housing in Oakland.


Wednesday, July 4 | New Season of the Oakland Municipal Band Begins
1:00 pm | Edoff Memorial Bandstand, opposite the Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave.
Join us for the 107th year of concerts in Lakeside Park. Since 1912, the Oakland Municipal Band has been presenting free concerts at Lakeside Park in the heart of Oakland. It is one of the oldest musical organizations in the nation. Some attendees have been enjoying the concerts for more than 50 years! 

This concert, led by guest conductor Jason Park, features vocalist Eliza O’Malley of the Berkeley Chamber Opera singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” The program also features the world premiere of an arrangement of Stephen Foster tunes by the band’s euphonium player, Don Howe. Pack a picnic lunch. You can bring a lawn chair, but several chairs are available if you cannot bring your own.

Lincoln Square Park Summer Nights
5:00-8:00 pm | First Fridays: July 6, Aug. 3, Sep. 7, Oct. 5
Lincoln Square Park, Oakland Chinatown
Free fun and food for all ages. Enjoy outdoor activities, music and dancing, sports and exercise, cultural performances, games and great food. For more info

Chinatown Art | Chinese Ink-Wash Landscape Painting by Kam Cheung Mok
Opening Reception:  Friday, July 6, 6:00 pm; exhibit open thru August 30
“Sky, Mountain and Waterscape” is a series of 25 Chinese ink-wash landscape paintings documenting memorable natural landscapes around the world. Subjects include wildflower field in China, glaciers in Norway, cherry blossoms in Japan, and waterfall in Yellowstone. Terrains, rivers, waterfalls, and skies vary in color and mood, transporting the viewer to different seasons and geographic locations.