combo  
 Artist's rendering of the 12th Street Project at south end of Lake Merritt, soon to break ground
Events
Thursday, March 11 Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts Presenting Department's Strategic Plan Framework to Make Oakland One of Safest Large Cities in California
Friday, March 12 I Like the Parkway Fundraiser for Local Filmmaker'sDocumentary on Rap Therapy for Kids
Saturday, March 13 Volunteer Work Party: Building Monarch Butterfly Way Station at Morcom Rose Garden
Saturday, March 13 FRESH, a Movie Celebrating Farmers, Thinkers and Business People Across America Who Are Re-inventing Our Food System
Wednesday, March 17 Zoning Update Committee of the Planning Commission will consider View Corridors, an element of the Zoning Update
Saturday, March 20 Oakland Parks and Recreation Summer Hiring Fair
Tuesday, March 23 Hearing on Central Estuary Specific Plan - Draft Community-Preferred Land Use Alternative
Thursday, March 25 Community Meeting on Oakland Zoo's Proposed Plans for Implementing Remaining Elements of Its 1998 Master Plan
Thursdays March 25 to April 22 Food and Words, a Free Culinary and Writing Seminar for Youth
Saturday, March 27 Fifth Lakeshore Neighborhood Plant Exchange
Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28 Oakland Running Festival
Thursday, April 1 Special Council Budget Hearing
Friday, April 2 Deadline for Oakland Public Library Patrons to Confirm their Library Record
Saturday, April 3 I-580 Exit Ramp Clean-up Sponsored by Grand/Lake Improvement Committee
Wednesday, April 14 Visioning the future of the area surrounding the Lake Merritt BART Station and Chinatown: A Community Meeting
Saturday, April 24 5th Annual CORE Citywide Emergency Response Functional Exercise
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday until April 15 (Tax Due Date) Free Tax Preparation Services (VITA) Offered by EBALDC
Reports
Good News and Bad News on the Parking Front
City Budget Discussion Continues on March 16 and April 1
Measure DD's 12th Street Reconstruction Project Is About To Start
Major Changes to AC Transit Service Effective March 28
Demonstration of New LED Lights for San Antonio Park
Make Oakland Feather River Camp (OFRC) A Family Tradition!
Cleveland Cascade Improvements Project Gets Underway
Washing Cars w/ Biodegradable Soap
Update: Acute Tower Replacement project at Highland Hospital
Oakland Word Offers Free Creative Writing Workshops: Second Session Kicks Off March 13 at Oakland Public Library
I Love Oakland: 2010 Video Contest - Grand Prize: $3,000
Participate in Census 2010
Wi-Fi Access Available at Oakland Libraries
Keep Oakland Beautiful's Small Grants Program - Deadline to Apply is April 30
6th Anniversary Celebration of Cantonese-Speaking Citizens Academy Alumni
Senior Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett Visits San Antonio Health Clinic
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Good News and Bad News on the Parking Front
 

The bad: Two weeks ago there was big media coverage over allegations that City parking enforcement had favored some neighborhoods over others in the way it enforced parking violations. A memo from a parking enforcement supervisor was produced that directed staff to give warning notices for two types of violations in some hill areas but not other neighborhoods. Let me say emphatically that City rules of whatever type should always be uniformly applied throughout the City. There should be no favoritism. I also believe that citizens should be treated fairly by City departments and that warning notices should be given whenever there is a change in City policy for enforcement.

As a result of these allegations, the City Administrator is researching the records of all tickets given last fall for the two violations in question, parking in the wrong direction and parking on the sidewalk (which constitute only about 2% of all tickets given). The results will be out in a few weeks.

Click here to read more... 

City Budget Discussion Continues on March 16 and April 1
 
The City Council is still struggling to close the remaining deficit in this fiscal year's budget, about $4 million. Last week, we eliminated 26 positions to close the budget gap in one of the non-General Funds which pays for the Planning, Zoning and Building Inspection departments. It was a difficult and painful decision, as it resulted in laying off some very fine people who work in each of those divisions.

Click here to read more...
 
Measure DD's 12th Street Reconstruction Project Is About To Start
 
Oakland achieved a huge milestone this week. The City Council unanimously approved the construction contract for the 12th Street project, which is the crown jewel of the Measure DD Lake Merritt improvements. Construction will start in May. When finished in about two years, the existing 12-lane expressway and seismically deficient bridges will be replaced by a six-lane tree-lined boulevard. There will be a new four-acre park at the south end of Lake Merritt. At the channel crossing, the existing set of culverts will be replaced with an open channel and a bridge for pedestrian traffic. Other improvements along the channel between 10th and 12th Streets will take place. For a good article on the project go here.
 
Click here to read more...
Major Changes to AC Transit Service Effective March 28
 
On Sunday, March 28, AC Transit will implement major service changes in every community from Richmond to Fremont. These changes--resulting in an 8.4 percent reduction in service--were driven by the realities of reduced state funding and declining sales-tax revenue, among other economic factors that make for these difficult times. For detailed information about the changes, please visit here.

Click here to read more...
Demonstration of New LED Lights for San Antonio Park

About a year ago, due to the then-existing inadequate level of lighting at San Antonio park, the City applied for and received federal Housing Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for supplemental lighting at the park.

The new LED lights that will be used are energy efficient, long lasting, uniform-intensity lights that provide better performance than traditional lights. LEDs give off a white glow - as opposed to the yellow glow emitted from traditional low-pressure lights, providing better illumination and contrast resolution.

A few LED lights have already been installed near the San Antonio Recreation Center area, at the top of the hill in San Antonio Park, for demonstration and testing purposes. More will be installed in the near future. You are welcome to drop by the Recreation Center at the park after dark to see what the lights look like. Click here to see an article about San Jose's experience with LED lights for their street lights. It looks like the LEDs are the way of the future! 

Make Oakland Feather River Camp (OFRC) A Family Tradition!

Oakland Feather River Camp has a Family Camp ... where kids get to be kids and parents relax more than they have in a long time. OFRC has been around for 86 years and is a rustic facility within a magnificent natural setting in the low Sierra Mountains. It's a place that encourages community, connection, joy and a love of nature. Kids get to run free within a safe and wholesome environment.

Click here to read more...
 
Cleveland Cascade Improvements Project Gets Underway

The Cleveland Cascade will get a facelift soon, thanks to successful fundraising by the Friends of Cleveland Cascade and additional funding from Measure DD. The Cascade, developed in 1923 as a park with an extensive stairway system and a cascading fountain, extends from Lakeshore Avenue to Merritt Avenue on Haddon Hill in Cleveland Heights. The fountain hasn't worked for many years and, in fact, it no longer exists. Its basins were filled in long ago. Yet the Cleveland Cascade is a much loved element of the Lake Merritt area landscape and is used extensively as a recreational resource. You may have seen exercisers running up and down the stairs, sometimes backward, sometimes on all fours.

Click here to read more...
 
Washing Cars with Biodegradable Soap
 
Soapy suds can reach Lake Merritt and the Estuary in a very short amount of time. The following are some tips to prevent the wash water from entering storm drains where it may flow untreated to bodies of water where they harm fish and other living creatures.
 
Click here to read more...
 
Update: Acute Tower Replacement Project at Highland Hospital

Alameda County is gearing up its multi-year project to replace the Acute Tower at Highland Hospital in order to meet state seismic safety standards. The $660 million project has many elements and will take seven years to complete. For the most recent construction update go to the Neighborhood Update here. If you'd like to receive future Neighborhood Updates electronically, email here. For more information, go here.
 
Oakland Word Offers Free Creative Writing Workshops: Second Session Kicks Off March 13 at Oakland Public Library

Oakland Word, funded by a grant from the California State Library, continues with a second (and final) session at the Oakland Public Library. Oakland Word is a series of free creative writing workshops designed to provoke dialogue and encourage creativity among underrepresented youths and adults.

The month-long session begins March 13, 2010, at 3:00 pm, with a student reading, featuring participants who will read from their writings, at César E. Chávez Branch, 3301 East 12th Street, Suite 271.

Click here to read more...
I Love Oakland: 2010 Video Contest - Grand Prize: $3,000

What do you love most about Oakland? What do you think visitors should see? Share your short films with us. Amateur and professional videographers are invited to enter the 2010 Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau Video Competition to showcase their best short films featuring Oakland.

Click here to read more...
 
Participate in Census 2010
 
Around March 15 to17, every address in the nation will receive a Census questionaires - by filling out the questionaires, we will ensure that everyone is counted and that our area will get the fair share of federal resources. I would strongly urge all of us to fill out the form and mail it back by April 1, 2010.

By filling out and returning the questionaires, we can achieve an accurate and complete count, and ensure that all the communities get their fair share our tax dollars flowing back into our communities.

For more information, contact Minzi (Monica) Xu, our local representative with the US Census Bureau, at (510) 847-6273, or email, or go here.
 
Wi-Fi Access Available at Oakland Libraries

For those of you who don't know, all Oakland libraries have wireless (WiFi) access for the public, as well as at Oakland City Hall area in downtown. Click here for more info.
 
Keep Oakland Beautiful's Small Grants Program - Deadline to Apply is April 30

The City's Keep Oakland Beautiful is accepting applications for the Spring round of its Small Grants Program. The grants awards range in size from $200 to $500. Individuals, neighborhood groups and organizations can apply to use the fund to undertake highly-visible neighborhood improvement projects such as pocket park makeovers and cleanup and beautification of median and easement strips. Evidence of sustainability is an important component of the application. The deadline for the Spring round of application is April 30, 2010. Go here for information on how to apply.
 
6th Anniversary Celebration of Cantonese-Speaking Citizens Academy Alumni
 
I was happy to celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the Cantonese-speaking Citizens Academy Alumni last week. That's a long name for an excellent community group that formed in Chinatown after their members attended one of the City's Citizens' Academies. For a number of years, the City has run a series of educational programs about City government and how to get involved and advocate in an effective way for your neighborhood. The Academies were offered in Cantonese and Spanish as well as in English. The alumni of the Cantonese-speaking series decided to stick together and do something positive for their neighborhood. They regularly do neighborhood clean-ups and sponsor other community events. I congratulate them on six years of service to the community. - PK
 
Senior Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett Visits San Antonio Health Clinic
   
Last week our Congresswoman Barbara Lee hosted a very special guest to Oakland, President Obama's Senior Advisor and long-time friend, Valerie Jarrett. After a VIP breakfast reception, Ms. Jarrett's first stop was in District 2, at the newly remodeled San Antonio Health Clinic on International Blvd at 11th Avenue. The San Antonio Health Clinic is one of the several excellent health clinics run by La Clinica de la Raza her in Oakland.
We are honored to have such an important visitor to one of our District 2 neighborhoods and we congratulate La Clinica for the excellent health care that they provide for our residents.

Senior Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett toured La Clinica de la Raza on March 5 and said: "In an area where the population is struggling each and every day to make ends meet, and doesn't have insurance, you provide an opportunity for them to have the most important care whether it's maternal health care, or helping children with immunizations."