Abel's eNews: Repaving Cleveland Heights streets, safe routes to schools, paint your street, cleanup days

Homelessness: Shelter Crisis Ordinance Extended, Outdoor Safe Haven Sites

The City Council has extended its declaration of a “shelter crisis” in Oakland for two more years, and this week approved the establishment of Safe Haven sites where homeless residents can stay and get access to resources for housing, showers, jobs, health treatment and other support services. I brought forward the original legislation in 2016.

More than 2,000 residents in Oakland currently don’t have the ability to obtain shelter. The ordinance authorizes the City Administrator to suspend provisions of state and local statutes and regulations covering housing, health and safety standards that might hamper the ability of the City to provide additional shelter facilities.

With added new funding in the 2017-19 budget, the City can establish several Safe Haven sites with temporary structures (such as Tuff Sheds or tiny houses) and 24-hour site management, security, portable toilets, wash stations and regular garbage pickup. One of four potential locations identified by City staff is an existing encampment at E. 12th St. and 23rd Ave. on a City-owned lot. The criteria for selecting suitable locations are under review, and the City may contract with non-profits and community groups to help manage the sites.

My thanks to the Homelessness Working Group and all of the community members who have provided input and guidance. While these steps alone will not solve the problem, we also need to speed up the construction of permanent affordable housing and other solutions to make a noticeable dent in Oakland’s efforts to combat homelessness.

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Update on Repaving in Cleveland Heights-Haddon Hill-China Hill
Repaving of several long-neglected streets in the Cleveland Heights and Haddon Hill neighborhood was completed last week, with more than 3.6 million pounds of asphalt laid down to rebuild Merritt, Cleveland and Capital streets. More repaving will be coming to other streets in the area during October and November.

Earlier this year, I pushed to allocate City funding for a cost-sharing agreement with EBMUD to collaborate on street repairs. Rather than just patch up a few streets where sewer lines were replaced, we’re stretching City dollars by sharing costs and repaving streets where EBMUD has done work. Before street work is completed, the City is working on replacing curbs and gutters before repaving the street.

The City will begin additional repaving of more streets soon. The streets to be resurfaced include several on the City’s “worst streets” list and EBMUD’s priority streets, including those repaved last week as well as Wesley Ave., Brooklyn Ave. and Capell St.

The City can’t repave every problem street right away, of course, but we’re working on it. We will keep you posted on the progress.

Looking at the bigger picture, the City Council has allocated $25 million in Measure KK funds for roadwork, almost tripling spending on street repair citywide over the next two years to speed up repaving and repair – targeting 73 miles of streets (more than 1,100 blocks) by the end of 2019. We’re also doubling investments in bike, pedestrian and other “complete-street” infrastructure.

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Safer Routes to Garfield Elementary 
Over the past nine months, I’ve been working with parents, school leaders, EBAYC and the City’s transportation department to improve safety for our kids on their way to and from Garfield Elementary School. So far, we’ve completed a Safe Routes to School Plan, installed signage and a white curb for a loading zone along the school’s street frontage, added a “school bus only” sign, and extended the red curb to allow more space for an additional school bus. I will continue to work closely with our partners to implement our plan to ensure our kids have a safe route to school.


St. Vartan’s Sidewalk Repair
This week, the City Public Works crews made some temporary safety repairs of the sidewalk outside St. Vartan’s Church (Spruce and McKinley) ahead of the upcoming 65th Annual Armenian Food Festival. A City tree caused the damage, and Public Works crews will make more permanent repairs after the festival. Learn more about the festival.

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Want to Paint Your Street? | Apply by November 30
Streets murals can brighten and represent a neighborhood, help strengthen community spirit, add life and surprise to our streets – and potentially help slow traffic. The Oakland Department of Transportation has a new pilot program, Paint the Town!, that lets you paint temporary murals on Oakland roads at intersections of low-volume streets, the midblock of streets or potentially a whole block length. Street murals usually last about a year without maintenance.

The free application will be open until November 30. Up to 30 applications will be approved, with selections made in January. If chosen, applicants will be responsible for paint, supplies and street-closure permits. Applications will automatically be reviewed by the nonprofit Oakland Fund, which will select projects to provide in-kind support, including a designer, paint and supplies, and the cost of permits (artists’ fees are not eligible).

OakDOT will prioritize historically disadvantaged communities. Proposed locations will also be reviewed to determine if the City can make other street improvements there, such as curb ramp upgrades.

Several application workshops will be held in October at Oakland Library branches – check the website for schedule (includes Oct. 116:30-8:30 pm at the Main Library, 125 14th St.). For more info about the program or contact paintthetown@oaklandnet.com510-238-6657

Planting More Trees in District 2 #OakD2
With Councilmember Guillén’s support, Trees for Oakland secured a grant from California Climate Investments (cap-and-trade funds) to plant free trees in Oakland, including 27 new elm trees in and around San Antonio Park in January. Since then, they’ve planted many more trees in District 2 and flatland neighborhoods around town. A project of the Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation, the non-profit is now hiring a part-time Area Tree Supervisor to talk with property owners to help identify more good places to plant more trees – and send volunteers to get them into the ground. Read more

New Faces on District 2 Staff
Many of you have worked with Sarah Ting on the recent budget process, our emerging public lands policy and Measure KK implementation efforts. She’s adding a new title, Senior Policy Analyst, to her work, reflecting this range of important responsibilities as well as her role in staffing me at City Council meetings. You can reach Sarah at sting@oaklandnet.com510-238-7246.

Another of our Council Aides, Michael Drane, is moving over to the Alameda County Housing and Community Development Department as a Housing Specialist, initially concentrating on homelessness. We know he will do great work there for Oakland and the rest of the county. 


Helping to fill Michael’s role, Marquita Price has joined our team as a Constituent Liaison, giving us a central point of contact for constituent calls and services. An Oakland native and recent Peralta Colleges Student Trustee, Marquita is a student at Merritt College. Her experience with Oakland community groups will be a big asset to our team. Marquita is also an urban planning and regional officer with the East Oakland Collective, where she works with local community-based organizations on land-use, transportation and community-development topics. She will be in the office Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can reach Marquita at mprice@oaklandnet.com510-238-7021.


I’ve made it a point to bring in CORO fellows to help give the next generation hands-on experience in local government and public service – and bring fresh young eyes, energy and enthusiasm into our work for Oakland’s future. Carlo David, a UC Berkeley graduate and former Matsui Congressional Fellow, is on board for a few weeks to help with planning and outreach for our third annual Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway (turkey dinners for 500 needy families), Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council activities and community engagement around impacts from the proposed A’s ballpark. You can reach Carlo at district2intern@oaklandnet.com.


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Cleveland Heights and Chinatown Convos
Councilmember Guillén and Cleveland Heights neighbors gathered yesterday for a lively conversation about local issues – and great pizza. Thanks to Leaning Tower of Pizza for hosting. Last month, we also met with residents in Chinatown (photo below) to chat about affordable housing, active transportation, utility taxes, neighborhood parks and the A’s proposed ballpark. 


SaturdayOctober 7 | Cleveland Cascade Cleanup Day
9:00-11:00 am | meet at middle plaza between Lakeshore Ave. and Merritt Ave. 
Jump into autumn with a little neighborhood cleanup this weekend. This month’s activities at the Cleveland Cascade include sweeping, weeding, planting, pruning and litter pick-up. Water and tools are provided. Just show up and have fun in the sun. More info: Dang Nguyen, dangitdang@yahoo.com

Sunday, October 8 | PickITup Chinatown
11:00 am-2:00 pm | meet at T4, 1068 Webster St.
Join us this Sunday for the next PickITup Day to help clean up Chinatown streets. For more info: Michael Moon, 510-972-5002.

Thursday, October 19 | 601 MacArthur Community Meeting
6:30 pm | St. Vartan’s Church, 650 Spruce St.
Join your neighbors for the next community forum to talk with the project team. In June, the developer and residents gathered to discuss the proposed Lake House project at 601 MacArthur, which would construct 25 units on the empty lot. Concerns about sidewalk setbacks, the location of the parking garage entrance, the number of units, and distance from the hillside were raised. The project is waiting for planning and zoning approvals. You can also email comments tovaleriecamarda@comcast.net.


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Latinx Read-in: Sharing Stories with Kids
I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my youngest constituents Monday morning, kicking off Latinx Literature Read-in Week at the Bella Vista Childhood Development Center. Shout out to Ms. Seberi and Principal Eutsler and the Oakland Public Education Fund for this great citywide activity.

Saturday, October 14 | Community Safety Fair 
10:00 am-2:00 pm | Lincoln Square Park, 250 10th St.
Check out the Community Safety Fair for health and safety exhibits, free giveaways, refreshments, police K-9 unit, fire trucks and community information booths. This year’s fair is focusing on elderly financial-abuse education and prevention. Hosted by Asian Advisory Committee on Crime. For more info: Frances Chow, 510-268-8108


Saturday, October 14 | FixIt Clinic
1:00-4:00 pm | Oakland Public Library, Asian Branch, 388 9th St.
Bring and fix your broken small electronics, appliances, bikes and toys (or at least learn more about them) with the help of fixit coaches at this do-it-together repair event. A textile/clothing coach will also be available. Workspace, tools and coaches provided. Bring your broken item (carry-in only, no oversized items) and/or parts and tools that might be helpful. People of all ages are welcome. Register For more info

Bay Area SunShares
For the third year, Oakland is participating in Bay Area SunShares, a program where Oakland residents and City employees and retirees can purchase solar panels, zero-emission vehicles and electric-vehicle chargers at a discounted rate. The program will continue through November 10. SunShares pools the buying power of individual participants to get more competitive pricing from solar companies and vehicle manufacturers. Pre-vetted solar installers have been selected and will be available to schedule home solar evaluations. Register by November 10 to receive a no-cost, no-obligation solar proposal. To receive the full solar discount, installation contracts must be signed by December 31. For more info or contact Shayna Hirshfield-Gold, 510-238-6954

Cannabis Dispensary Permits | Apply by November 20
As part of Oakland’s groundbreaking Equity Permit Program, the City will select qualified individuals and entities to operate eight cannabis dispensaries, including four permits available for equity applicants and four permits for general applicants. The City will hold a workshop to answer questions about the application process on Monday, October 910:00-11:00 am at City Hall in the City Council Chambers. Sign up for equity workshops For more info