Cleaning up parks, getting feedback on plans and priorities


Today, Oakland Unified Schools, the Peralta Colleges and the State of California will recognize the birthday of César E. Chávez – truly one of the great labor and civil rights leader of our time.

Sadly, the City of Oakland does not yet recognize this holiday. When I was a trustee for the Peralta Colleges, I worked closely with SEIU and the Peralta Federation of Teachers to make the celebration of his historic contributions – and those of the movement he led and still inspires to this day – a reality on our local community-college campuses.

I’m hopeful that, in future years, the City of Oakland will officially recognize César Chávez's birthday and his legacy of economic justice and peaceful nonviolence to change the agricultural industry in California and throughout the country.

In recognition of César, I hope you'll join me in San Antonio Park this Saturday… ¡Si se puede! Yes, We Can!


Saturday, April 2 | Chávez Day of Service in San Antonio Park

10:00 am-2:00 pm | Community Clean-up and BBQ, 1701 E. 19th St.
Join Councilmember Guillén, Oakland Parks and Recreation and neighbors to clean up and beautify San Antonio Park. Stay for a community picnic to celebrate afterwards, with hot dogs and burgers provided by Oakland Firefighters Local 55 and beverages by Safeway. And no fun day is complete without a bounce house for the kids. Wear comfortable work clothes. Tools and cleanup materials will be provided. For more info: Maria Henderson, District 2 Policy Analyst,

Court Approves Sale of Empyrean Towers for Long-Term Low-Income Housing
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has authorized the sale of the Empyrean Towers in Chinatown to an affordable-housing developer to rehabilitate the building as long-term low-income housing. The landmark decision recognizes the principle of “social responsibility” in bankruptcy law, guaranteeing that the building will be maintained as affordable housing. The order will allow the nonprofit Resources for Community Development to make urgently needed repairs and improvements to the property, which has a history of unhealthy living conditions.

The rehab project connects to our other efforts to clean up graffiti, neglect and blight in Chinatown, and is consistent with the City's strategy to help preserve affordable housing through the rehabilitation and conversion of housing units to permanent affordability.

Update on Chinatown Graffiti Cleanup
Our 30-day pilot program to clean up graffiti in Chinatown has been extended due to rain. City crews are targeting 20 buildings on which graffiti is most prevalent. We’re seeking matching funds from Chinatown businesses for this initiative. If you want to get involved: Jessica Chen,


Wednesday, April 6 | Deadline to Comment on Downtown Specific Plan Alternatives
The City has released its report on Downtown Specific Plan alternatives, which contains policy and design recommendations for the Downtown’s future. These recommendations are based on community input gathered during hands-on workshops, open houses, tours and conversations with residents and business owners. The community will choose from among the options to develop the “preferred alternative” – which forms the foundation for the Downtown plan. The report and related information are available on the Plan Downtown Oakland website. You’re invited to attend several public meetings where City staff will be presenting this report in the coming weeks. Check out the schedule of public meetings. Feedback collected during these meetings will help shape the Draft Specific Plan (which should be presented this winter). Send comments on the Plan Alternatives Report by April 6:

As your Councilmember, I want the new plan to encourage complete streets with pedestrian-bike safety and mobility. Recognizing our need to provide more housing, the plan should incorporate a substantial amount of new and affordable housing along this major transit corridor. More housing in the downtown provides more around-the-clock foot traffic to sustain an essential mix of commercial uses, and also put more “eyes on the street” that helps increase neighborhood safety. To help sustain Oakland’s economic growth and diversification, we want to continue to foster downtown as a tech incubator and environment for innovative businesses. I also want to see Chinatown fully integrated into the plan and the growth of our downtown.

ADA Self-Evaluation Update Survey | Deadline Friday, April 8
Thursday, March 31 | Meeting of Mayor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities
5:30-7:30 p.m | City Hall, Hearing Room 4
Please help us develop recommendations for improving access across all City programs by taking the Americans With Disabilities Act Self-Evaluation Update Survey. Join in a facilitated discussion about program access for persons with disabilities at a meeting of the Mayor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities on March 31. RSVP: For more info: Sherri Rita, ADA Programmatic Access Coordinator,


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Good Schools and Great Kids in District 2
Had a great time at Roosevelt Middle School earlier this month, visiting with Ms. Silva’s inquisitive 8th-graders and exploring the Makerspace Lab – got schooled by a smart bunch of future engineers and designers in the making.

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Walking and Talking Door-to-Door
As part of my Walk & Talks throughout District 2, I spent a couple of sunny Saturday mornings this month knocking on doors to check in with neighbors and get feedback on their top priorities for our city. Several residents invited me in to chat about neighborhood concerns like parking, potholes, trees and secondary units. Mr. Martin (photo, left) was a good sport with some good suggestions, and appreciated our efforts to address neighborhood concerns. While inviting residents to this Satruday’s Chávez Day of Service in San Antonio Park, I also heard some interesting ideas, from residents like Tandra DeBose (right), about improving our parks in the San Antonio neighborhood, which is a big focus for my office this year. Everybody was very receptive and appreciated the personal update at their doorsteps. I may be biased, but District 2 is home to some really nice and interesting people. If I missed you on my rounds, please email anytime with questions or ideas to pursue as your Council representative:


Running around Town
Followed up the Saturday walk at a slightly faster pace the next day in the Oakland Running Festival. I had the opportunity to experience the oft-used political expression “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” The run started at Snow Park at the Lake, and the route circled District 2. I completed a half-marathon with friends and family in support of education.


Easter Breakfast in Lincoln Square Park
Flipped hotcakes for the 60th Annual Pancake Breakfast. Thanks to the Wa Sung Community Service Club volunteers and community members for making the 60th Annual Pancake Breakfast a success!

Wednesday, April 6 | Oakland EarthEXPO
10:00 am-2:00 pm | Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 14th St. and Broadway
Explore the City’s annual environmental fair. For more info



Tuesday, April 5 | Health Resource Fair in Chinatown
5:00-7:30 pm | Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St. #290
Asian Health Services has partnered with ASPIRE, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, California Immigrant Policy Center, APALA and the Alameda Labor Council to host a resource fair and on-site assistance to undocumented residents. Get information on the new health access for undocumented children (under 19 years old) who may qualify for Medi-Cal and health access information for undocumented adults (HealthPAC) along with on-site certified health enrollment counselors (Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish and Mongolian), DACA application assistance, drivers’ license information and college scholarship opportunities through Oakland Promise.

Preparedness Classes
Through June, the CORE (Communities of Oakland Respond to Emergencies) Program will host a series of free preparedness training classes for residents and business owners. CORE teaches self-reliance skills and helps neighborhoods establish response teams to take care of the neighborhood after a disaster until professional help arrives.

Wednesday, April 6, 6:00-8:30 pm
CORE I - Home and Family Preparedness Training  
Mills College, Room CPM 114, 5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Learn how to reduce common household hazards, prepare a family disaster plan and emergency kits, develop evacuation plans and learn how to respond to earthquakes, fires, flooding, hazardous materials and more.

Wednesday, April 13, 6:00-8:30 pm
CORE II - Neighborhood Preparedness and Response Training 
Mills College, Room CPM 114, 5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Learn how to organize your neighborhood, create emergency response teams and how to set up and operate a Neighborhood Command Post.

Saturday, April 30, 9:00 am-12:00 pm 
11th Annual Citywide Disaster Exercise 
OFD Training Division, 250 Victory Ct.
Participate in a simulated neighborhood exercise. This training is for anyone who is not already part of a CORE group or who is part of a CORE group that will not be participating in this year’s exercise.

For more info: Dena Gunning, CORE Coordinator,

Citizen Police Academy
The Citizen Police Academy will now be accepting applications year-around. The 2016 academy begins April 11, and will run for nine sessions through May 31. All classes 6:00-9:00 pm. If you’re a member of Neighborhood Watch, CORE or NCPC (beat #/name) or have other community-involvement participation, include that in your application. To request an application: