City boycotts border wall, cast your vote for federal spending, new mural at healthy market

Thanks to all the residents who contributed to the continuing support of our District 2 community outreach efforts, such as this bimonthly newsletter. The coming year promises to be a very challenging one for Oakland, and now more than ever, we need to keep each other informed and to get involved in efforts to strengthen and celebrate our wonderful community. Oakland is a great place to live, work and raise a family. I love doing my job for our neighborhoods, and count on your feedback and support to get things done.

Wall Contractor Ban

Earlier this month, I introduced legislation that would direct City departments to refrain from entering into new contracts with businesses whose goods or services would support Trump’s border wall construction.

Call to action: I urge individuals and local organizations to join together in supporting this effort. Let your councilmember and other elected representatives know you want Oakland to take a stand against Trump’s border wall and other anti-immigrant policies. Take our short survey and let us know your thoughts.

One of the major tools that we have is our financial and social leverage. Our tax dollars should not be spent on the wall. Oakland is the first city to initiate the process for a potential financial protest of Trump’s border wall.

The Council’s Finance and Management Committee will consider the resolution on March 14.

Oaklanders’ Concerns about ICE Raids
Over the past several weeks, I have been hearing from many families who are understandably anxious about Trump’s anti-immigrant positions and threats about deportation. Those fears are leading to false rumors and misinformation tying police activities involving arrests in recent days to federal immigration raids in the East Bay. These speculations are unfounded. It is important that we face the real threat of Trump’s deportations and anti-immigrant actions with clear heads. The Oakland Police Department has protocols and policy on immigration enforcement.  In brief, ICE is allowed to enforce immigration laws within Oakland and they are not required to inform us of their operations. However, the enforcement of immigration laws is purely an ICE mission. The Oakland Police Department does not enforce immigration laws nor do we assist ICE in enforcing federal immigration laws. Read the OPD policy


Funding for Continuum of Care Programs Renewed
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing $5.2 million to renew all of the City’s current Continuum of Care grants. These programs form the backbone of the delivery of our homeless services that assist a wide range of housing-vulnerable populations, including the Families in Transition scattered-site program; the Matilda Cleveland Transitional Housing Program, the Housing Fast Support Network, the Oakland Homeless Youth Housing Collaboration, the North County Homeless Family Rapid Rehousing Collaborative and the North County Homeless Youth Rapid Rehousing Collaborative (described below). These six transitional-housing and rapid-rehousing programs provide housing and supportive services to homeless singles, families,and transition-aged youth, for up to 24 months to assist them in reaching self-sufficiency and stable housing.

Rapid Rehousing for Oakland Youth
A new $1.2 million HUD grant will provide rapid-rehousing services for 60 homeless, transition-aged youth (ages 18-24) in Northern Alameda County. With no existing rapid-rehousing program for this age group in the area, this project will close a gap in the continuum of homeless services currently available to homeless youth. This project is a partnership of leading local agencies in the field of homeless youth, including the City of Oakland, East Oakland Community Project, First Place for Youth and Covenant House.



Saturday, February 18 | Participatory Budgeting – Vote Kickoff
2:00-5:00 pm | Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd.
Your vote counts. Help us decide how to spend more than $550,000 in federal funding to benefit low- and moderate-income communities in District 2. All District 2 residents can vote, regardless of age or citizenship status. Food, music and activities for kids provided. For more info

Saturday, February 25 | Abel’s Mobile Office Hours – Talk & Tacos
10:30 am-12:30 pm | Tacos Sinaloa, 2138 International Blvd.
Join Councilmember Guillén for his community office hours in the San Antonio neighborhood. Enjoy lively conversation and delicious food at Tacos Sinaloa.

Monday, February 27 | Deadline for Community Development Grant Proposals
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1
Is there a worthwhile community project that you think the City should fund? The U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development has extended the Request for Funding Proposals deadline for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for FY 2017-19, and added another mandatory training meeting for prospective District 2 project applicants. Priority activities are being identified through the Participatory Budgeting process and will be distributed at the February 27 meeting. Only proposals addressing district priorities will be accepted or considered for funding. The deadline to submit District 2 proposals is March 13 (by 2:00 pm). For more CDBG info

Community Meetings on I-580 Ramp Resurfacing
Tuesday, February 285:30-8:00 pm | Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Thursday, March 26:00-8:00 pm | Westlake Middle School, 2629 Harrison St.
Caltrans will host two open-house meetings on its ramp-resurfacing project along I-580 from Fruitvale Ave. to Hollis St. The work will begin in March, and will resurface 20 on-/off-ramps, modify drainage systems, install guardrails, curb and dikes, and loop detectors, and upgrade 10 curb ramps to comply with ADA standards. Construction will occur during day/nighttime hours and involve on-/off-ramp closures. The February 28 forum will provide general project updates. For more info call Caltrans Public Information Office, 510-286-1227


Building Momentum for a Public Bank in Oakland
Last week, more than 100 people attended a community forum co-hosted by Councilmember Guillén to learn more about the possibility of establishing a public bank for Oakland. A panel of experts discussed the history of public banking, best practices for forming a bank, current models and next steps for Oakland. “Let’s put our money where our values are – in Oakland,” said Councilmember Guillén. The City Council’s Finance and Management Committee is expected to hear a request for a feasibility study on public bank later this month.

Chinatown Cleanup
The break in the rain gave us an opportunity for another neighborhood clean-up in Chinatown last Sunday. Thanks to PickITup and all the people who helped out, and local restaurants who provided discounts to volunteers.

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Ownership Change for 1100 Broadway
Ellis Partners is buying the 1100 Broadway lot – located directly above the 12th St. BART station – from SKS. They have committed to me that they will build an office tower at the site, which has been vacant for 30 years. SKS had previously obtained City entitlements to construct a 20-story, 320,000-square-foot building. Ellis Partners will be coming to the City Council this month to request assignment of the contract from SKS. Depending on the permit process, construction is expected to begin in early 2018, with occupancy in spring 2020. We will keep you posted about efforts to “activate” the site in the interim (food trucks, outdoor movies and concerts) now that ownership has transferred.


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Healthy Market and Mural Unveiled
We celebrated the re-opening of Three Amigos Market & Deli (1554 13th Ave.) in the San Antonio neighborhood and unveiled its new mural last Saturday. The mural was made possible by Councilmember Guillén’s anti-graffiti fund.

The store is part of the HOPE Collaborative’s Healthy Corner Store Project, which is helping to make more healthy and affordable food available in Oakland’s lower-income neighborhoods. The transformed 2,500 square-foot food retail space is now an oasis of healthy food options, including a fresh deli, smoothie bar, healthier snacks and groceries, and fresh produce.

Only two blocks away from Franklin Elementary School, the store is a destination for many students and their families to pick up snacks and groceries after school. Three Amigos Market, on the corner of Foothill Blvd. and 13th Ave., is well-trafficked and visible from a distance because of nearby vacant lots and a parking lot. The storefront was getting tagged frequently.

Working with HOPE Collaborative and Jose “Peps” Garcia, an Oakland artist affiliated with EastSide Arts Alliance and a member of HOPE’s Healthy Corner Store team, this new community-developed mural – approximately 10 feet tall by 20 feet wide – promotes access to healthy food. For more info: Sarah Ting,

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Laney College Wins Awards for Tiny-House Design
Hear the story about Laney College’s award-winning net-zero energy tiny house. Councilmember Guillén has secured City funding to help replicate the model to address local homelessness. “The Tiny House Competition – Build Small and Win Big” challenged collegiate teams to design and build net-zero, tiny solar houses. During the competition, students exhibited their houses to the public, and were judged in categories that included architectural design, livability, communication, affordability, energy efficiency, appliance load, technology/electrical and mechanical systems, transportation and sustainability. Watch the video to learn more about the project and the benefits of tiny homes.

Finishing Up the Astro Tot Lot Renovations
There has been no construction lately due to rain, but we’re still on track for ADA site improvements – and completion by early March. The next phase of work is anticipated to begin next Thursday, February 23. The contractor will need 15 dry days of work. The fences will be removed when it is safe for play. The playground will be opened to the public once a certified inspection is completed. Check our Facebook page for more updates.


Books for Bella Vista
Check out this story about getting books into the hands of young readers. Book Trust came to Bella Vista Elementary to hand out books that about 300 students had selected from the Scholastic book catalog. The non-profit is helping to raise reading levels by purchasing books that children have chosen themselves, and which they can keep. “For us, it’s an equity issue,” said Executive Director Amy Friedman. “And it’s the choice piece that’s key. If kids are given books they pick out, which they actually want to read, they’re more likely to become regular readers.” Children get to pick out $7 worth of Scholastic books monthly. Book Trust and the school district share the costs. Read more about it. (photo: EdSource)


Free Legal Help for Oaklanders Facing Immigration-Enforcement Threats
Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership is providing free legal consultations, community presentations and a hotline for Oakland residents who are threatened with deportations or who are impacted by immigration enforcement activity. Through Councilmember Guillén’s leadership, the City of Oakland put $300,000 toward the partnership’s efforts. Read more

Plan Ahead, Be Prepared
The Oroville Dam spillway evacuation is a good reminder to make sure you have a “Go Bag” ready for emergencies, as Oaklanders know from the Hills Fire and the Loma Prieta earthquake. Check out the City of Oakland’s disaster preparedness webpageAre you ready 

Friday, February 17 | Deadline for Seismic Retrofit Grants
Applications for seismic retrofit grants are due tomorrow. The City of Oakland has secured more than $360,000 in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for owner-occupied one-to-four-unit homes and “soft story” apartment buildings of five or more units. Interested owners of eligible properties are encouraged to fill out an online application. For more details on the residential seismic retrofit grants: For more info: Residential Lending and Rehabilitation Services, or (510) 238-6164

FridayFebruary 24 | Food Distribution for Low-income Families and Seniors
The City of Oakland’s Hunger Program, the Emergency Food Providers Advisory Committee and the Alameda County-Oakland Community Action Partnership are sponsoring a food distribution for low-income families and seniors at various locations throughout Oakland. To find a distribution location: For more info: Phyllis Turner,