Art replaces graffiti, finding funds for affordable housing

 bella_vista-mural2.jpg   bella_vista-mural3.jpg  bella_vista-mural-blue.jpg

Bella Vista Volunteers Create New Mosaic Mural
Councilmember Guillén is proud to announce the progress on the first of several mural projects coming to District 2. The first mural, “Garden of Delights,” is a mosaic at the Bella Vista Child Development Center (along E. 24th St. near the corner of 10th Ave.). The design for the new artwork was created by local artist Pam Consear. An enthusiastic group of kids, parents and neighbors from the Bella Vista School and surrounding neighborhood have been helping with the installation. Funding for this mural and the other six murals in the works comes from Councilmember Guillén’s graffiti-abatement budget for District 2. The murals were selected through a community wide call for proposals last spring. We’ll keep you posted on the unveiling of the “Garden of Delights” mural next month. 

Council Adopts Development Impact Fees to Create New Funding for Affordable Housing

Last week, the City Council and our community were able to find common ground on impact fees. These new fees could generate $66 million for affordable housing over 10 years. While substantial, these fees are a relatively small part of the solution when compared to the magnitude and urgency of the need for affordable housing. To have the resources to seriously begin addressing the need now, we must continue with a comprehensive array of actions, particularly the passage of city and county bonds to acquire and preserve existing affordable housing and build new affordable housing.

The graduated fee plan divides Oakland into three geographic zones. Developers of multi-family housing in the downtown, Uptown and a portion of Lake Merritt neighborhoods (Zone 1) – with high-priced land and incoming businesses – will pay $7,000 per market-rate unit starting in September, increasing to $24,000 per unit by July 2018. Council District 2 includes some properties that fall under Zone 1 and Zone 2.

The fee for development in West Oakland, East Lake and parts of North Oakland (Zone 2) will start at $5,550 per market-rate unit, increasing to $19,250 in July 2018. A $710 fee will be initially imposed on any development in East Oakland neighborhoods east of 23rd Avenue (Zone 3), and increase to $13,000 by 2020.   

The impact fee will encourage developers to include affordable housing in their projects or charge them a fee so that the City can build affordable housing on other sites. A $750 per-unit fee would also be charged to fund transportation projects, beginning in July 2017.

The legislation also restricts spending of impact-fee funds on moderate-income housing to 15%. Impact fees will provide an ongoing revenue stream to fund affordable housing at all income levels up to 120% AMI. This amendment provides clear guidance to City staff that the majority of impact-fee funds should go toward housing for low- and very low-income households.

Council Discusses Infrastructure Bond Options
Oakland has more than 800 miles of paved streets, 1,000 miles of sidewalks, 929 miles of sanitary sewers, 400 miles of storm drains, 134 parks and public spaces, and 304 public buildings – and more than $2.5 billion in unfunded capital needs. Our city has a current pavement-maintenance backlog totaling $43 million. With repair costs rising rapidly as streets deteriorate, we currently rank 89th out of 109 Bay Area cities in pavement conditions. If you drive around District 2 very often, you can easily understand why.

Although we’ve secured nearly $60 million in grants for transportation and parks projects over the past couple years and receive $10 million annually in local Measure BB funds, Oakland still needs significantly more capital investments to address deferred maintenance needs and make needed ongoing repairs and essential improvements to our community’s infrastructure.

That’s why the City Council is considering a $600 million infrastructure and housing bond for the November ballot. Approximately $400 million of this funding would help us repair streets and sidewalks, and implement bike-and-pedestrian improvements. About one-quarter of the funding would go toward important citywide public-safety and quality-of-life services. As part of the City’s comprehensive housing strategy, a portion of the bond funds would also be used to slow down displacement of existing residents through the acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing. These funding priorities fit within a “Fix It First” approach to spend public dollars to repair and maintain existing facilities rather than build new ones.

A February survey of residents showed that more than two-thirds would support this bond and its priorities. The City Council is expected to discuss the bond and draft ballot language in June-July. I’ll keep you posted about the progress, and please let me know what you think as this proposal makes its way through the review process.


Transportation Update: Construction on New Embarcadero Bridge to Begin May 11
The Embarcadero Bridge over Lake Merritt Channel (between Oak St. and 5th Ave.) is scheduled to close on May 11 for demolition and reconstruction. Construction of a seismically safer new bridge, with $23.3 million in funding from federal, state and city ($1 million from Measure B) resources, should be completed by May 2018. The new bridge will be widened (by 22 feet) to accommodate two traffic lanes, bike lanes and a 12-foot wide multi-use path on the Estuary side to connect to the Oakland Waterfront Trail. It will be 6 feet taller to help small boats navigate from the Estuary to Lake Merritt, and will improve the lake’s water flow and water quality. New street lighting, rainwater landscaping and restroom facilities are also included. A new traffic signal at 5th Ave. will be added as part of Embarcadero roadway improvements.

During construction, the Embarcadero (between Estuary Park and 5th Ave.) will be closed, and through traffic will be detoured to the 7th St. Bridge. For project updates and more info

Good Jobs at New Hotels
We need to make sure as Oakland grows, we don’t leave our working families behind. I’m pushing for an update to the Oakland Planning Code that would require all new hotel projects to show that their employees would be paid good wages with benefits, follow Oakland’s minimum-wage law, and provide paid sick leave. The City would also be required to take into account the impact of new hotel jobs on public services, transit and housing, and could reject a hotel application if wages were too low. I support and welcome hotel and motel development in Oakland, but we need to be able to guarantee that these projects and the associated jobs are high quality and aligned with our city’s long-term objectives. The measure passed through committee this week, and now moves to the full Council for consideration at its May 3meeting.



Saturday, May 7 | East Lake Clean-up Day
9:00 am-12:00 pm | Clinton Square Park, corner of 7th Ave. and International Blvd.
Help make our neighborhood a more welcoming, safe community by joining us at Clinton Square Park to pick up trash and paint over graffiti. Afterward, share lunch with fellow volunteers. Cohosted by Councilmember Guillén, the East Lake Merchants, and Bentley 8th-graders Lily Pham and Kira Parrish-Penny. For more info: Maria Henderson,

Saturday, May 7 | Astro Tot Lot Fundraising Kickoff
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Astro Tot Lot on Lakeshore Ave. in Eastshore Park
Councilmember Guillén is working with the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation and Ka’Boom! to raise funds to install a new tot lot at Astro Park. We’ve raised $10,000 to date, but need help from the community to reach our goal. The Astro Tot Lot is a heavily used playground in need of a makeover to provide new, safe play equipment for the many children it attracts. Come learn more about the history of the park and help us install a new one. Bring your photos showing what the Tot Lot looked like when the flying saucer was there – we will have a picture board! If you can’t make it to the launch party, you can still donate online:

The last revitalization of the Tot Lot occurred 20 years ago. According to a recent survey, its young visitors come from Cleveland Heights, Adams Point and the Grand Lake neighborhoods as well as other communities throughout Oakland. Last fall, Councilmember Guillén launched a community process for envisioning a dream tot lot. At meetings facilitated by a playground architect, community members were encouraged to describe what they would like to see there. In order of priority, participants expressed support for new play structures that are accessible for disabled children, and benches, picnic tables and shade for their parents. The conceptual plan that emerged from this visioning process now serves as the foundation for securing funds to implement these community-driven improvements. For more info: Richard Raya,


April 28-May 9 | Bike Share Station Maps
Get ready to ride! The bikes will be docked at stations with automated kiosks where riders can pick them up or drop them off. By the end of the year, the bikes should be available at 21 stations in Oakland, around Telegraph Ave., in the downtown and west of Lake Merritt. During the next couple of weeks, stop by one of these libraries to check out maps showing possible locations for bike share stations in Oakland, and share your comments:

  • Main Library, 125 14th St., during library hours
  • Asian Library, 388 9th St., during library hours
  • Temescal Branch Library, 5205 Telegraph Ave., 4:00-6:00 pm

View map online

More stations will be added, bringing a total of 70 stations to Oakland by 2018.

Monday, May 9 | Public Hearing on Fossil-Fuel Products at Oakland Bulk Terminal
5:00 pm | Oakland City Hall, Council Chambers, Third Floor
The City Council will hold an informational public hearing to receive information, testimony and other evidence about the public health and/or safety impacts of the transportation, loading, handling and/or export of fuel oil and gasoline products through the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal proposed to be located at the Oakland Army Base; the adequacy of existing regulations; and the City’s ability to regulate the transportation and handling of such products. A copy of the proposed Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal’s Basis of Design is available online. Send written comments to Heather Klein at

LakeHouse Commons Holds Community Meeting
East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) and UrbanCore hosted a community meeting last week to present information about the LakeHouse Commons development (E.12th St. remainder parcel). They provided an overview of the program and design for the new mixed-income housing and mixed-use project that are targeted to break ground next spring. The participants discussed the mix of units, affordability and design concepts. If you weren’t able to attend, but want to provide constructive feedback on this development, or attend future community meetings over the course of the coming year, please contact: Ener Chiu, or Gretchen Taylor,

Getting Ready for Summer Fun  | Lake Merritt Grills
The new grilling areas at Lake Merritt are ready for use. Information about the designated grilling areas is posted at each site and online (click on ‘Parks’ under ‘Our Services’). The report on the recommended amendments to the Oakland Municipal Code, Park and Recreation Area Use Regulations, which include noise regulations, was presented at the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission meeting (Item 8) earlier this month. The Oakland Municipal Code allows PRAC to set the hours of use in parks. This will be discussed after the review and approval of the recommended amendments is done. The advisory group recommended a few changes to the proposed amendments, and the item will be considered again at its May 11 meeting. 


earth_day-garden_kids.jpg earth_day-group.jpg guillen-weed_warriors.jpg

Acting Locally on Earth Day in District 2
Thanks to all the volunteers – young and old – who fanned out across District 2 Saturday to celebrate Earth Day and clean up our parks and gardens. Let’s keep it up all year-round!

main_squeeze-front.jpg main_squeeze-owners.jpg

May 1-7 | Small Business Week in Oakland 

Oakland activities for Small Business Week will include free training classes and workshops for entrepreneurs, artists and makers, including “Tech Tools for Small Businesses,” a full day of training and networking dedicated to diversity in entrepreneurship, and “Access to Capital and Financing” workshops in English, Spanish and Chinese. 

One of the things I love most about Oakland are the small businesses that serve our residents and visitors. District 2 is fortunate to have thriving commercial business districts including Lake Merritt, Eastlake, Lakeshore and Chinatown. For every $1 spent locally, that dollar multiplies as it gets circulated. As part of Small Biz Week here in Oakland, I’d like to welcome “Main Squeeze” (3435 Lakeshore Ave.), which specializes in premium organic juices. 

I popped in recently to welcome James and Omar to the neighborhood, and wish them the best of luck on the welcome addition to the neighborhood. If you haven't visited Main Squeeze yet, please go and juice up after your next yoga session or when you're on the Avenue. Omar and James are ready to greet you with a warm smile and great organic smoothies!

Small Business Week events and workshops | City of Oakland business support services

On Friday, May 6, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras Sweet will visit Oakland as part of National Small Business Week. For more info:

Saturday, May 7 | Derby Day at Camron-Stanford House
12:00-3:00 pm | 1418 Lakeside Dr.
The first Kentucky Derby was run in 1876, the same year that Will Camron and his family moved into Camron-Stanford House. Put on your biggest hat and summer whites. Sip a Southern beverage. Enjoy mouthwatering morsels. Sit on the veranda or stroll through the gardens. Play a game of croquet. Toss some horseshoes. Watch the race. For tickets: Members $45, guests $55,

Thursday, May 12 | A “Grand Opening” for Grand Avenue’s New Bike Lanes
Meet up at 7:00 am | Grand Lake Ace Hardware, 1221 Grand Ave. 
Get ready for the new bike lanes on Grand Avenue. In tandem with Oakland’s effort, the City of Piedmont will also install a road diet and restriping on its part of Grand Avenue. The work on Oakland’s side is beginning today, and the removal of existing pavement markers (expect some grinding noise) and installation of new striping, signs and pavement markers should be completed by May 11. Join us for the “grand opening” ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a morning bike ride at 7:15 am to City Hall – the route will also tour the new protected bike lanes on Telegraph Ave. – for Bike to Work Day. Let us know you’ll join the pedal pool

Friday, May 13 | 5th Annual OPD Open House
4:00-6:00 pm | Police Administration Building, 455 7th St.
Please join your neighbors for food, fun and festivities at the 5th Annual Oakland Police Department Open House. Come meet and mingle with the men and women of OPD.