Police reforms put on the ballot, potholes filled, beautiful mural tackles graffiti

New Police Commission Will Strengthen Public Oversight, Accountability
The City Council took action this week to place a new structure for stronger public oversight and accountability for the Oakland Police Department on the November ballot. The proposed reforms will help address the components and root causes of police misconduct, and ensure that officers are a positive reflection of our vibrant city and make residents feel safe.

If approved by the voters, a new seven-member citizens commission would investigate complaints and make disciplinary recommendations to the City Administrator. It would be authorized to review all OPD policies and propose changes, and form a Community Police Review Agency to investigate complaints of misconduct and recommend disciplinary measures. The commission will also have subpoena power, independent legal counsel and access to OPD personnel files by the head of its investigative team. The mayor would pick three of the seven commissioners, with the other four selected by a citizens’ panel appointed by the mayor and City Council.

An independent citizens commission for police oversight and accountability is a critical reform; it is an essential structural scaffolding for public trust and community policing.

While revising police oversight, we must also work to ensure that we have the police officers Oakland deserves by digging deep to improve the recruitment, hiring practices and training procedures of our officers. The recruitment and hiring of more officers must be fully integrated with reforms in the training they receive. What makes good cops is good people with good training. We are mindful of and grateful for the dedicated service and sacrifice of the many good peacekeepers that protect us.

pothole-filled-crew.jpg filling_potholes_(1).jpg

Results: Pothole Blitz in District 2
Public Works completed its annual Pothole Blitz in District 2 today, working from a list of potholes identified by residents and City priority locations. We will keep you posted on the results. I had the opportunity again this year to join our Public Works staff to help them fill potholes last Friday morning. Being out in the field with our Public Works ambassadors helps me understand how things get done at the street level. It also helps me better advocate for the needs and concerns of the residents of Oakland. Filling potholes is only a temporary solution. This November, voters will have a chance to approve infrastructure bond funding, which will allow Oakland to make substantial progress in completely repaving the streets in most need of repair.


New Mural at Little Stars | Beauty Tackles Graffiti
A second mural designed to beautify our neighborhoods and fight graffiti has gone up in District 2 at the Little Star Preschool (164 14th St.) Previously defaced with graffiti and a patchwork of gloomy gray squares, the colorful new mural features abstract stars, animals and floral designs. Centrally located in the heart of Oakland’s Downtown and Chinatown, the Little Stars wall is visible to pedestrians walking by and children in the school’s playground.

Funding was provided by Councilmember Guillén’s graffiti-abatement budget, and the 30 x 30-foot mural was selected from more than a dozen proposals from community organizations, neighborhood groups and business associations, in partnership with property owners, merchants and local artists, who identified opportunities for murals to enliven and revitalize blighted walls in District 2 neighborhood.

Leading the design and coordinating the installation was Caroline Stern, founder of Deco Art. She has worked on several City of Oakland projects and public-school exteriors, including projects with Girls, Inc. and Youth Uprising.

The first District 2 mural, “Garden of Delights,” is a mosaic at the Bella Vista Child Development Center (E. 24th St.), which was created by Oakland mosaic artist Pam Consear and an enthusiastic group of kids, parents and neighbors earlier this spring. Councilmember Guillén has several more murals in the works. We will keep you posted on their progress.

Classrooms2Careers | Summer Career-Building for Oakland Youth
The Classrooms2Careers program is based on the Earn & Learn model, a national initiative that prepares students for successful careers by combining career-oriented academic curricu­lum, relevant work experience and student financial assistance. The partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the Oakland Housing Authority, City departments, local businesses and non-profit organizations provides valuable learning opportunities through employment for Oakland youth. For more info and opportunities to get involved

Saturday, July 30 | Astro Tot Lot Fundraiser and Informational Gathering
10:00 am | Eastshore Park on Lakeshore Ave. (across from the Lakeview Library)
We are on a tight deadline to raise funds for the Astro Park Tot Lot renovation. We’re 80% of the way there, but we need your help to get across the finish line. Our grassroots fundraising group has pulled together $100,000 from Measure WW, another $100,000 from KaBOOM, and more than $40,000 from individual donors. We need to raise another $60,000 over the next few months to fully match the KaBOOM grant. Our goal for the month of August is to raise $10,000.  Will you pitch in to help us reach out goal? Every contribution helps! Come by the Tot Lot to learn more about the project, and how you can help. There will be a Bubble Party for kids and we will raffle off a few pairs of A’s tickets. If you would like donate online, please visit our Tilt page to make your tax deductible contribution today. 


Tuesday, August 2 | National Night Out in District 2
7:00-9:00 pm | Check for the event near you
District 2 neighbors will be hosting more than 60 different events ­ – with 3,000+ residents signed up – for National Night Out, a time for neighbors to get together and have a block party or other outdoor event to build neighborhood spirit and unity. With more than 560 events slated throughout Oakland, these block-by-block, “good neighbor” efforts are also a first defense against crime. For more info: https://solar.oaklandnet.com/go/nno

Thursday, August 4 | Community Meeting on Merchants Parking Garage
6:30-8:00 pm | Mockingbird Restaurant, 416 13th St. (between Broadway and Franklin St.)
The owners of the Merchants Parking Garage (1314 Franklin St.) will hold a community meeting to gather community input about the proposed redevelopment of the parking structure as mixed-use retail and housing. Located in the heart of downtown, the site has been identified as a key opportunity site in the Lake Merritt Station Area Specific Plan. The project team will introduce themselves, the site and the initial concept, and will be available to answer questions and collect your ideas before beginning the design process. Light snacks and drinks from local small businesses will be provided. For more info: Greg Pasquali, Carmel Partners,gpasquali@carmelpartners.com

Free Green House Call | before August 11
You can save money, energy and water this summer with a free Green House Call from the Rising Sun Energy Center. They will schedule a convenient appointment with you and send out two Energy Specialists who also happen to be highly skilled local youth. You will receive a home energy and water assessment, upgrades, and access to more tips and resources. The Energy Specialists will provide and install efficient light bulbs, shower heads, faucet aerators, and more. This service is only available through August 11. Sign up today.


Saturday, August 6  | Oakland Buddhist Church Obon Festival
3:00-9:00 pm | 825 Jackson St.

The festival program begins with a tea ceremony, and will feature taiko drums, koto performance, obon dancing and a temple tour. Free admission, food will be available for purchase. More info


Lincoln Summer Nights | 3rd Fridays
August 19, September 16, October 21 | Lincoln Square Park, 261 11th St.
Movies for kids and families at 6:00 pm
More activities such as Ping Pong, tai chi, dancing and badminton, 6-10:00 pm
Come join the fun – people of all ages welcome. Sponsored by Friends of Lincoln Square, EastSide Arts Alliance, AYPAL, The Spot, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Chinatown merchants and Lincoln Square Staff. Lincoln Square serves more seniors, youth and children than any other park in Oakland, with 1,000+ users every day.


Reviewing Effects of the Grand Avenue Road Diet
Oakland and Piedmont city staff recently reviewed data about Grand Avenue traffic collected in late May, after the road diet had been in place for about two weeks. We expect a report next month. The preliminary findings indicate vehicle speeds decreased 1-2 mph. There were slight increases in traffic queues, with an average increase of about 1-2 vehicles during peak hours, and at times as many as 4-5 more cars, except at the Wildwood/Jean intersection, where the queues southbound (coming into Oakland) increased significantly in the afternoon peak hour. No significant diversion off of Grand onto adjacent streets was measured. City staff are evaluating several recommendations to mitigate the traffic queues, such as supplemental signage and signal timing changes.

Confirming one of the typical benefits of road diets, the number of bicycles on Grand Ave. increased, 17% at Mandana and 54% at Wildwood. The number of pedestrians remained about the same, accounting for seasonal variation.

Several additional street improvements are still in the works, and a complete plan is expected next month.

Got a question or problem with city services? We have added a constituent-request form to our City website to help make it easier to communicate with us.