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Grand opening of the Frank Kiang Medical Center, the new medical clinic operated by
Asian Health Services at 250 E. 18th Street
Reports
How Can We Bring Our Police Back and Maintain Other Vital City Services?
The Canada Geese Are Back, Don't Feed Them - Here's Why, and Cleaning Up After Them
MacArthur Blvd. at Wesley Avenue: Hillside To Be Stabilized and Filled
12th Street Redo Brings Changes Soon
Kwikway to be Restored and Reopened
Garfield School Moms Graduate from Family Literacy Center - a Beautiful Oakland Story
Mandana Plaza Park Facelift to Start Soon
'11 - '13 Community Development Block Grant Applications Available
Scarlett Oaks on Mandana Boulevard Lost to Disease
Asian Health Services New Clinic on E. 18th
Urban Youth Harvest Request for Donation of Extra Fruit Growing in
Neighborhood Update for Highland Hospital Acute Tower Replacement Project
AC Transit Real-Time Arrival Info Available for All Transbay Lines on Your Computer and Smart Phone
OUSD Summer Meal Program Announcement 2010 - Join Us for a Free Meal
Gateway Park - Miss the June 2nd Planning Workshop? You Can Still Comment By Taking this Survey by Monday, July 19
Oaklavia
Events

 

Tuesday, July 20
Central Estuary Specific Plan Public Hearing
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, July 20 - 22Peralta Hacienda Summer Camp
Wednesday, July 21Roles and Responsibilities of Oakland School Board with Chris Maricle, California School Boards Association
Thursday, July 22Consideration of Possible Funding Measures for the November Ballot
Friday, July 23Intimate Evening at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate
Saturday, July 243rd Annual Peace Bike Ride around Lake Merritt to West Oakland
Wednesday, July 28Hidden Jewels of Oakland Splendor Tour - Free, Shuttle Service Provided for $3
Tuesday, August 3National Night Out
Thursdays, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 16, October 7, and October 21 Live in the New Old Oakland - Live Summer Concert Series. No Cover!
Friday, August 6East Bay Express Celebrates Winners of 2010 Best of the East Bay Readers' Poll and Editors' Picks at Jack London Square Waterfront
Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 22Oakland Arts and Soul Festival
Sunday, September 5Oakland Pride Festival

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How Can We Bring Our Police Back and Maintain Other Vital City Services?

Dear neighbors,

Last week you saw the City lay off 80 police officers in order help balance the City's budget. This is a very bad outcome for all of us who live in Oakland, to put it mildly. It is the opposite of everything I have worked for over the past five years. It happened because City revenues are so far down that the City is unable to pay for the level of services that have existed in the past.

For those of you have read my earlier articles on the budget, you know that the police were not the first casualty of the City's financial crisis. Many more jobs and many millions of dollars were cut from every other City department before it resorted to cutting police. The newspapers don't write about those cuts.

Click here to read more...
The Canada Geese Are Back, Don't Feed Them - Here's Why, and Cleaning Up After Them

We're sure you've noticed the annual influx of Canada Geese to Lake Merritt. It's pretty maddening to have them back, "fouling the footpath", as they say in the UK, especially now that our brand new footpaths and lawns are so beautiful.

The year-round resident population of geese, about 150, are joined by the migrant geese beginning in May looking for a hospitable place to molt their flight feathers and re-grow them, which takes place over a 4-8 week period. Last year at the height of the influx, usually toward the end of June, there were 1500 Canada geese at the lake, the year before 1650. This year the most were 1233. (yes, someone actually walks the Lake and counts them!) Last weekend there were 1099 geese around the lake. By September most of the migrants will have taken flight again, leaving the lake for another year. For a chart of the number of geese at the lake by month over the past three years, go here, courtesy of Joel Peter, Project Manager at the City.

Click here to read more...
MacArthur Blvd. at Wesley Avenue: Hillside To Be Stabilized and Filled

601 MacArthur, the abandoned construction site at the intersection of MacArthur at Wesley, has been a major blight on the neighborhood ever since the developer walked away from the project after excavating the hillside. I have been working for more than four years to try to get the situation remedied.

The history on this site is very long, but briefly, the main problem has been that none of the owners have had any assets against which the City could proceed. After the bankruptcy of the original developer, his lender took the property by foreclosure. The lender, Scripps Lake Merritt, LLC ("the LLC") owned the property as a limited liability corporation and that entity had no assets to use to fix the site, meaning that the lender held it as a corporation with the property itself as the only asset of the corporation.
 
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12th Street Redo Brings Changes Soon

Work on the Measure DD-funded 12th Street Project at the south end of Lake Merritt is progressing quickly. So far most of the work has been adjacent to the roadways, but this will soon change. Beginning as early as the week of July 19, there will be lane diversions on eastbound 12th St near the Alameda County Courthouse, and westbound East 12th St. at 1st Avenue. Additional changes to 14th St and 12th St are scheduled to occur later in July. Changeable message signs, which have been installed, will alert motorists.

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Kwikway to be Restored and Reopened

You are probably familiar with the vacant Kwikway fast food restaurant, long a neglected eyesore in the Grandlake neighborhood, located across the street from Splash Pad Park. At long last, improvement is imminent!

The owners of the site have been in communication with me and neighborhood leaders for several years with a goal of finding an acceptable business operator to take over the restaurant. The owners, the Hahn family, understand that a chain fast food restaurant with a drive-through window is not acceptable to the neighborhood because of the intense traffic that it would generate. We all agreed that the best solution would be to find an independent business operator who could invest in an upgrade of the building and offer a restaurant without a drive-through window that would be attractive to the neighborhood.

Finally, such a person was found. Gary Rizzo, who operates Somerset, an upscale restaurant on College Avenue, leased the Kwikway space earlier this year. He has been working for months on design plans and getting through the permitting processes at the County and City. The Hahns cooperated by not charging him rent during this time. With the participation of Council aide Joanne Karchmer and myself, we have met with planners and inspectors to streamline the process and get this moving. Work is starting very soon and I think we will see an attractive, finished facility open and offering a menu of delicious food by late fall.

Garfield School Moms Graduate from Family Literacy Center - a Beautiful Oakland Story
 
I wanted to share an inspiring story with you. I was privileged to attend the graduation celebration for 25 Garfield School parents from their Family Literacy Center. The graduates are young women whose children attend Garfield school, located at Foothill Boulevard and 22nd Avenue. Most of these moms didn't speak English when they started the three year program, some had never even had formal schooling. For three years they attended reading and language classes three and half hours a day, four days a week. They also volunteered in their children's classrooms in the afternoon. They learned to speak and read English, with a focus on the importance of reading to their children every day. Through this marvelous program they became able to understand what their children were being taught at school and help them with their homework, as well as build the skills they would need to gain employment themselves.

I cannot tell you how proud these young women and their families were of their accomplishments. The ceremony and dinner celebration in the Garfield gym was a joyous occasion and one that I found very moving. The Family Literacy Center at Garfield was funded mainly by the Toyota Foundation and in cooperation with the Oakland School District Adult School. Unfortunately, the Toyota grant has ended and the funding for ESL classes in the Adult School has been greatly reduced due to loss of state funding, but I can tell you that this was money well spent. Financial resources do matter! The lives of these Oakland families was profoundly changed by the availability of this program.

 
Mandana Plaza Park Facelift to Start Soon

The long-awaited facelift of the Mandana Plaza Park tot lot will take place most likely during the week of July 26. This beloved and busy park took quite a beating during the County's flood control project in 2005. To make up for that stressful period, I committed to fund improvements to the park. A couple of years ago interested neighbors met with me to determine what improvements would be the most welcome. Of the many ideas, the ones settled on were the replacement of two uncomfortable ad benches, the addition of two trash containers and the installation of decomposed granite in the scruffy, weedy planting strips where dog owners often don't clean up after their pets. For the five days that the work is underway, the tot lot will be closed to the public, and adjacent parking will be eliminated to make way for contractors and supplies. Tots and their adults will have to find another play location for a week, but will return to a nicer park when it is completed.
'11 - '13 Community Development Block Grant Applications Available
 
Every two years the Community Development Block Grant District Advisory Boards identify their funding priorities and then invite organizations and agencies to apply. Each district advisory board identifies specific services aimed at addressing needs of their CDBG community. District 2's CDBG community includes Chinatown, the Eastlake and San Antonio. The City recently published the application guidelines for applying for the FY '11 - '13 CDBG grants. If you are interested in seeing the funding categories and reviewing the application, go here, then scroll down to CDBG Application Process, click on View Attachment A. CD Districts Strategic Plan Priorities for FY 2011-2013 Funding and FY '11-'13 application materials. Please note that applicants must attend a mandatory Orientation Workshop scheduled for the week of July 26.

If you have any questions about applying, please contact Catherine Firpo here or 510 238.6183.

Scarlett Oaks Removed on Mandana Boulevard Afflicted by Butt Rot

Sadly, Mandana Boulevard lost five grand Scarlett Oaks due to rot than made them a hazard. Four trees had to be removed in the 700 block and one at the Lakeshore Homes Association park at Carlston Avenue. We have received many calls asking why trees so fully leafed out and looking so healthy were removed, and why something wasn't done to save them. They were beautiful, mature trees that provided lovely shade and enhanced the streescape. Like everyone we've talked with, we are very sad to see them go.

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Asian Health Services Opens New Clinic on East 18th Street
 
Asian Health Services has opened a beautiful new health clinic in District 2. The clinic is located on the Second Floor of the Metropolitan Bank building, at 250 E. 18th Street, right across the street from the Lucky grocery store.

The clinic is named the Frank Kiang Medical Center in honor of the late Frank Kiang, a widely respected community leader who also founded Metropolitan Bank, served as a Port of Oakland Commissioner, started the Organization of Chinese Americans, and contributed to the Oakland community in countless ways.

Click here to read more...
 
Urban Youth Harvest Request for Donation of Extra Fruit Growing in Your Back Yard

PUEBLO's Urban Youth Harvest program is looking for Oakland residents who have fruit trees on their property that produce more fruit that the owners can use. PUEBLO employs Oakland's young people to harvest the excess fruit on private property and deliver it to low-income seniors who lack access to fresh, nutritious produce. If you have fruit to offer, please email here or call 510.535.2525. Let PUEBLO know what kind of fruit you have and when it will be ready for harvesting. PUEBLO will set a time that is convenient for you to come and collect what you cannot use.
 
Neighborhood Update for Highland Hospital Acute Tower Replacement Project

The Highland Hospital Acute Tower Replacement Project is necessary to comply with state seismic requirements for healthcare facilities. When the project is complete in 2017, Highland Hospital will meet the State of California mandate for seismic safety.

On November 3, 2009, the County of Alameda Board of Supervisors awarded the construction of the Highland Acute Tower Replacement Project to Clark Design/Build of California, Inc. The County requires that the contractor include small, local businesses on its team and implement the County's Enhanced Construction Outreach Program. The Highland Project must also comply with the County's Green Building Ordinance; the buildings must meet a minimum LEED-Silver rating from the US Green Building Council.

Click here for an informational flyer regarding the update process.

 
AC Transit Real-Time Arrival Info Available for All Transbay Lines on Your Computer and Smart Phone

NextBus provides real-time arrival information on your computer and smart phone for over half of AC Transit's bus lines, and now includes all transbay service. Click here for more information and to see the complete list of lines that have NextBus technology.
OUSD Summer Meal Program Announcement 2010 - Join Us for a Free Meal

Free meals will be available for all young people up to 18 years old (excluding infants) at Oakland schools this summer. In other words, in addition to our summer school students, young people throughout the community can come to one of these sites for a free meal.

Please review the attached document and note the school sites, dates, and serving times that the program is available. AM Snack is served for 15 minutes and lunch for 30 minutes.

If you have any questions, please contact Nutrition Services at 510.879.8345.

Meals will not be served Saturday or Sunday. Meal times are subject to change.

Gateway Park - Miss the June 2nd Planning Workshop? You Can Still Comment By Taking this Survey by Monday, July 19

A variety of exciting new concepts were presented recently for the Gateway Park, which promises to be a landmark new park where the new bridge touches down in the East Bay. If you missed the meeting and presentation, not to worry-there are still opportunities to experience the excitement of shaping the future Gateway Park by taking the survey by Monday, July 19.

Gateway Park will spruce up the entry to Oakland and the East Bay and enhance improvements being planned for the neighboring Port area. Beyond providing a launch point for the future Bay Bridge bike and pedestrian experience-connecting to Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands- Gateway Park can also create a network of trails linking all of Oakland to the park. It will provide an exciting new destination on the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail.

Click here to read more...
Oaklavia

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland sponsored Oaklavia on Sunday, June 27. Modeled after similar events in other cities, this event blocked off a route of several miles through downtown just for pedestrians and bicyclists. It was really fun, and I highly recommend it for next year to novice bicyclists like your Councilmember, because you can ride pleasantly and safely, not looking over your shoulder for a car that might hit you. There were lots of families out with their kids on bikes having a great time. Click here for Walk Oakland Bike Oakland's website.