January 2012 E-News
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In This Issue
January Events
...And Coming in Early February
Redevelopment funding ends in all California cities
Fighting back against "Citizens United" - The CA Disclosure Act, AB 1148
Update on Occupy Oakland
Six-Month Pilot: Five-minute grace period at parking meters
The Asian Advisory Council on Crime with Deputy Chief Israel
Want a Rain Barrel?
2nd Annual Oakland Running Festival
Self-Guided Tour and Signage on the Story of Lake Merritt

Dear District 2 Community,


I was hoping for a less tumultuous year in 2012, but it looks like we're off on another roller-coaster ride.  Just when we thought our City budget picture couldn't get any worse, the State Supreme Court ruled that all Redevelopment Agencies must end by February 1, which also ends a huge portion of funding for City activities and positions. 


As usual, Oakland experiences the highs and the lows.  The New York Times listed Oakland and its restaurants as one of 45 destinations worldwide worth visiting in 2012!  And yet, we are also front page news for heart-breaking incidents of small children killed by gunfire.  


So, we struggle on, appreciating the good and trying even harder to change the bad. In this issue of the E-News, you can read some of both.  One special District 2 story is about Oakland High senior Mohammed Jones Shabazz, our own local hero who pushed two girls to safety when bullets started flying at a crowd.  He suffered a bullet wound to his back in the process, but miraculously was out of the hospital in two weeks.  Read the tribute to him below, along with the announcement of the Stop the Gunfire event this MLK Day at Regeneration Church in the Eastlake.  


Best wishes for the New Year,


PK sig

District 2 Councilmember

January Events       


Saturday, January 14: Annual Rose Bush Pruning Day at the Morcom Rose Garden - 700 Jean Street off Grand Ave at Ace Gardening Center - 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon


Volunteers are needed to help City staff prune the 5000 rose bushes that make the Morcom Rose Garden a spectacular jewel in Oakland's public spaces. Rose pruning at the garden is an annual event that prepares the rose bushes for hearty blooming beginning in the Spring. City gardeners and East Bay Rose Society members will be on hand to give instruction in proper pruning techniques. Pruning instruction will start at 9:00 am sharp for those who bring their own pruners. If you don't have pruners, come anyway because there will be other important tasks to do. Wear gloves and long sleeve shirts, and bring a water bottle for your use. Here's one more reason to participate in the Morcom's annual rose pruning day: you'll get to see the garden's facelift, especially the beautiful, new paths replacing the broken asphalt paths funded by the East Bay Regional Parks' Measure WW. 



The Morcom Rose Garden is recognized as one of the

"Top Ten" Rose gardens in the country. Photo by Ken Katz.


Sunday, January 15: "In the Name of Love," a Musical Tribute Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Paramount Theatre - 2025 Broadway - 7:00 pm  


Living Jazz (formerly Rhythmic Concepts) will present "In the Name of Love", the 10th Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


It will be a non-denominational musical tribute to Dr. King in celebration of civil rights and cultural diversity in the City of Oakland.  "In the Name of Love" will showcase both international and local talent, children from Oakland public schools, local non-profits and businesses working to make a difference, and will honor an outstanding humanitarian through the "Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award."


The MLK Tribute will also include the Oakland Community Exhibition, a pre-concert event held in the Paramount's lobby, providing exposure to non-profits and businesses doing great work in the Oakland community. Reserved seating is $18. For children 12 and under, it is $8.


Monday, January 16: Stop the Gun Fire MLK Gathering - Regeneration Church - 238 E. 15th Street - 10:00 am


The Regeneration Church will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday with the first "Stop The Gunfire Gathering." A diverse cross section of the Bay area will come together to celebrate the spirit of non-violence. This event is free to the public.  

To put a face on the violence, here's a story from District 2 resident Andrew Park:


Mohammed is a 17-year old senior at Oakland High. Like other Oakland youths, he is struggling in school, more interested in girls and parties, and loves Facebook, texting, and basketball. Mohammed is a 4-year team member of Trybe basketball, one of the our best youths, with qualities that our society does not always value: character. Ask anybody who knows him, and they will say that he is nice, polite, considerate, compassionate, respectful and never complains. So it is no surprise, that he acted heroically the night he was shot, just before Christmas. That night, when the young man walked up, pulled a gun out to shoot indiscriminately into the crowd, Mohammed and most everyone else ran for cover, except for two girls that looked shocked. Instinctively, Mohammed left his place of safety to push the two girls down out of the way. He got shot in the back, with the bullet shattering two ribs, puncturing a lung, and permanently lodging in his left shoulder. This unfortunately is the story of too many Oaklanders from 2000 in 2011, but this is not a negative story. Through the help of family, friends and neighbors, Mohammed is using this terrible violent act to change his life. And his strength is amazing to see. His goals are to play basketball again, graduate from high school, enroll in college and be like one of his coaches, "JB," tutoring kids at Harbor House and helping the community. He and his family plan to be at the Martin Luther King day gathering at Regeneration Church to speak on the effects of gun violence. We hope that this event, along with youth like Mohammed would be catalysts in changing the course of violence in Oakland by being unified to stand up for peace: http://bit.ly/vqbhZT.




Monday, January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Film Festival - African-American Museum and Library at Oakland - 659 14th St - 11:00 am to 7:00 pm - Free admission 


11:00 am The Rise & Fall of Jim Crow: Promises Betrayed (1865-1896)


Noon        Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Liberty, Passion & Life


1:00 pm   Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961)


2:00 pm   Threatened, Attacked, Jailed: Freedom Riders


4:00 pm   Mighty Times: The Children's March


4:45 pm   Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change


5:45 pm   King: Montgomery to Memphis





Monday, January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the Gardens at Lake Merritt 
- 9:00 am to 1:00 pm - the Gardens are adjacent to the Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue - Volunteers are invited to join what will be a large effort to beautify the Gardens at Lake Merritt and repair its paths. 



Wednesday Jan 18: Grand Lake Neighbors Meeting Considers Monument Element in Complete Streets Proposal - Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave -7:00 pm to 8:30 pm


The Lakeshore Complete Streets Project, which will provide pedestrian and transit improvements at the intersection of Lakeshore and Lake Park Avenues and also at the Lakeshore and MacArthur Blvd intersection, has been approved for contract and will proceed to construction in the spring or summer 2012. Because community members hold differing opinions about whether a "monument" element should or should not be included in the final design, Traffic Engineers from the City's Transportation Services Division would like to discuss that design feature one final time with community members before construction begins. Please be sure to attend and share your thoughts on this topic.



Saturday & Sunday, January 21 & 22: Oakland Chinatown Lunar New Year Bazaar 2012 - 9th & Franklin Streets and Pacific Renaissance Plaza - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm - free admission


This two-day celebration features free cultural entertainment and booths offering traditional goods popular during the lunar new year. As part of the Chinese New Year celebration, visitors come to Oakland Chinatown every year to buy presents, decorations and special foods, and Chinatown's restaurants become a hub for many friends and families to gather for traditional Lunar New Year dinners.







Friday, January 20 through Sunday, January 29: Oakland's Second Annual Restaurant Week


The Travel Section of the Sunday, January 8th New York Times started its highlight of Oakland in its listing of The 45 Places to Go in 2012 this way:  


"Oakland, California


New restaurants and bars beckon amid the grit. Tensions have cooled since violence erupted at the recent Occupy Oakland protests, but the city's revitalized night-life scene has continued to smolder."


If your new year's resolutions include trying more of the restaurants that are the Oakland buzz, the upcoming Second Annual Restaurant Week has deals for you. Go here to find out about restaurants that are making special offers.


...And Coming in Early February
Saturday, February 4: Oakland Asian Cultural Center's Lunar New Year Celebration of the Year of the Dragon - Pacific Renaissance Center, 388 Ninth St, Suite 290 - 11:00 am to 4:30 pm - Free event open to the public.

The Lunar New Year Festival will highlight Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Indian, Okinawan, Mongolian, and Korean cultures, with performances by OACC's amazing partner organizations, teaching artists and artists in residence. Also, there will be a variety of Asian and Pacific Islander arts and craft activities for youth.


Featured performances by OACC Teaching Artists, Ensembles & Resident Artists:

  • American Center of Philippine Arts
  • China Spirit Music Ensemble
  • Dohee Lee & Adria Otte
  • Ger Youth Center
  • Judith Kajiwara
  • Patty Chu's Chinese Folk Dance Ensemble
  • Ryu-Q Murasaki Daiko
    Shaolin Buddhist Temple & Education Foundation
  • and more!




Thursday, February 9: A Forum Hosted by the Citizen Police Review Board on the Oakland Police Department's Response to Occupy Oakland Encampments and Protest - City Council Chambers, City Hall - 6:15 pm


In response to overwhelming public interest, the Citizens' Police Review Board will hold a public forum on the Oakland Police Department's response to the Occupy Oakland encampments and protests.


The goals of the forum are to:

  • Allow the police department to respond publicly to questions from the Board, as representatives of the citizens of Oakland about the planning and implementation of police actions around Occupy Oakland and how the department is addressing misconduct;
  • Understand lessons learned in order to appropriately respond to future crowd control situations and protests; 
  • Provide information to the public on OPD's policies on use of force, protests, crowd management, and mutual aid; and
  • Determine whether the Board will recommend future policy changes based on these events.

The forum will not address questions of specific individual officer discipline; the CPRB is legally prohibited from having such discussions in open session.   


Questions? Contact Ryan Hunter at the CPRB for more info: rhunter@oaklandnet.com or 510.238.3120. 


Redevelopment Funding Ends in all California Cities


The California Supreme Court delivered the worst-case scenario for California cities with its decision on December 29 regarding Redevelopment Agencies. In its ruling in California Redevelopment Association et al. v. Matosantos et al., the Court upheld ABx1 26, the bill eliminating Redevelopment Agencies, but struck down ABx1 27, the bill that would have allowed agencies to remain in operation as long as they made a payment to the State. The Court's ruling essentially eliminates redevelopment and leaves no mechanism for reinstatement.


This decision will shift property tax money from cities to the State. The end of Redevelopment funding on February 1 is devastating to Oakland and other cities, which now receive a large amount of funding from their Redevelopment zones ($108 million to Oakland last year). This loss will drastically reduce our ability to attract economic activity will eliminate all funding for affordable housing and funding for 160 full-time salaries in positions in many departments. The City Council and Administration are just beginning to sort out what cuts to make, but we must do it quickly. The likely dates for City Council meetings on the topic are January 24 and January 31. The staff report should be available on-line by close of business on January 20.


Many cities and employee organizations are lobbying the State Legislature to delay the dissolution date and develop alternative strategies, but I am not optimistic about getting a reprieve from the State. You will be hearing much more about this in the weeks to come.



Fighting back against "Citizens United"-- The California Disclose Act, AB 1148


Like many other Americans, I was appalled at the holding in the U.S. Supreme Court case "Citizens United" that corporations are people for purposes of free speech rights and that money is speech under the Constitution. The practical result of this decision is that corporations or anyone else with deep pockets can put unlimited amounts of money into political action committees to pay for advertising messages on candidates and ballot measures.  It will take years, if ever, to pass a Constitutional Amendment to undo this ruling, but in the meantime, there is something we can do in California to lessen the impact of big money on our democratic processes.


Several of our Assemblymembers are sponsoring the "California Disclose Act", AB 1148, which would require that political ads disclose the names of the largest donors to the ads. Typically the public never knows who is behind the TV ads and mailers for ballot measures because the Committee name is all that must be disclosed, ("Committee for Mom and Apple Pie"). The Disclose Act would require that the actual names of the top three funders of the ad be stated in each ad.


This is truth in advertising. Knowing who is advocating is an important part of evaluating the motivation for the message. I and Coucilmember Schaaf have introduced a City Council Resolution of Support for AB 1148, the California Disclose Act. It will be heard in the Rule & Legislation Committee in City Council Chambers in City Hall at 10:45 am on January 19, and at full City Council likely on February 7, 2012.


If the legislature passes the Disclose Act, it will be put on the next Statewide election for voter approval.


For more information, see www.caclean.org


Here are some examples of how it would have worked in some past ad campaigns by PACs: Instead of "Stop the $2 Billion Tax Hike" Committee, voters would know that the actual donor was the Phillip Morris corporation (Prop 86 in 2006 to tax cigarettes and use the funds for children's health care). Instead of the "Committee to Stop Hidden Taxes", voters would know that Chevron, American Beverage Association and Phillip Morris paid for the ad (in support of Prop 26, which passed in 2010). Instead of "Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote," voters would know that the campaign was funded almost totally by PG&E (Prop 16 in 2010).
Update on Occupy Oakland


Recently the remaining Occupy Oakland activists have alleged in on-line postings that the Oakand police have arrested people who are doing nothing more than peacefully assembling and speaking, and being arrested for those constitutionally protected activities. That is not an accurate description of what has happened.


Here is the part of the story that the protesters are not telling: 


The City and police have consistently advised the protesters that they may not store belongings overnight on the plaza. People can gather there all night if they want to, but they cannot pile up items and leave them there. A permit had been issued for a teepee and a few tables, but during the week before New Year, this had grown into a very large pile of belongings, sleeping bags, food-related gear and all manner of junk. The permit was revoked and they were asked to remove all the items. They refused. On December 30th, two police officers spoke with the group and told them they needed to remove the pile of belongings off the Plaza. They refused, so several hours later a larger group of officers arrived to remove the pile. Numerous of the protesters physically tried to stop the officers from removing the stuff and it was this tussle between the protesters and police officers that resulted in the arrest of people who were doing so.


Since that date, the protesters can be seen at various times of day coming up to police officers who are standing peacefully to yell at them, insult them (often with very foul language), and generally try to provoke a reaction from the police. The police stand there and take the verbal abuse, as they are trained to do. It is only when the protesters have engaged in illegal acts that they have been arrested.


I personally am very disappointed that our local Occupy movement has gotten so off track from what the Occupy Wall Street movement was supposed to be about. Instead of taking on issues of income disparity, Occupy Oakland is now focusing almost exclusively on their own conflicts with the police. I see this as a cynical effort to keep getting news coverage and drum up support from people who believe the police are engaging in wholesale violations of civil rights.


In the many videos that are circulating by Occupy participants on the internet, we see only what is happening once an arrest has started (which often turns into a physical altercation when other protesters try to pull the arrestee out of the hands of the police officer). Almost never do you get to see the events that led to the arrests. We should get to see some of this in a few days, as the police are going to post their own video from the little cameras on their uniforms and other OPD cameras. I expect this footage will give a fuller story of what has been happening.

On a related note: The Grandlake Theater marquis had a flagrantly false statement on it for several weeks in December. It stated Mayor Quan and the City Council are spending $400,000 per month on security for City Hall plaza. The correct number is $30,000. The marquis was wrong by a factor of 10. This expense is still $30,000 that we shouldn't have to be spending, but as long as people keep up their efforts to "re-occupy" the plaza, we will continue to provide the security.


Six-Month Pilot: Five-minute Grace Period at Parking

The City has launched a six-month pilot program that grants a five-minute grace period at multi-space meters and allows parking control officers to cancel incomplete tickets at single space meters. New procedures will provide drivers who are parking at multi-space kiosks with a five-minute grace period added to the expiration time printed on the multi-space receipt that the driver has displayed on the dashboard. At single-space parking meters, Parking Control Technicians in the process of issuing a parking ticket can cancel the ticket if the driver approaches the officer before the citation has been completed and issued. The pilot program will end on June 15, 2012. Before then staff will prepare an analysis and report on the effectiveness of the pilot program and its impact on the business community, customer service, parking revenues and compliance.


The Asian Advisory Council on Crime with Deputy Chief Jeff Israel

On Decmeber 15, the Asian Advisory Council on Crime (AACC) met at the Chinatown Oakalnd Police Resouce Center chaired by Deputy Chief of Police, Jeff Israel.  Updates included the installation of security cameras around the Pacific Renaissance Plaza. Jennie Ong, Executive Director of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, confirmed a similar plan is underway for other Chinatown areas.  Concerns about the decrease in police patrol and the number of robberies were raised.  Deputy Chief Israel stated, "Due to the funding cuts and Occupy Oakland protests, we have had to direct our energies onto the targeted areas. We would like to respond to everyone or return to regular patrolling schedules, but we cannot ignore Frank Ogawa Plaza right now." Deputy Chief Israel continued, "We are definitely stretched very thin. The problem is, if we don't respond back immediately, the Occupy activities escalate, so we are forced to take action. My job has become so people-intense that I personally would like to focus back on what I was hired to do." Officer Robert Sayaphupha stated his schedule at the OPD Resource Center has been reinstated and he would be happy to address community concerns.


For more information, contact the OPD Resource Center at 510.238.7930 or email Officer Sayaphoupha at RSayaphupha@oaklandnet.com.


Photos and Article By Sarah Lin, District 2 Assistant 

 Want a Rain Barrel? Read On

Detain the rain and help protect Oakland's watersheds. You can play a key role in preventing creek erosion and flooding while conserving water and harvesting rain that can be used for landscape irrigation. The City is offering discounted rain barrels and tanks for residents. Take advantage of this exclusive offer while supplies last. Purchase a barrel or tank in advance, online, at a discount of 50-75%. Then come to the next scheduled Oakland delivery event to pick up your tank at the Urban Farmer Store in Richmond or delivered for a small fee.


This program offers high-end rainwater tanks at a 50-75% discount, as well as periodic workshops and presentations. It is being managed by a collaboration of local organizations: Watershed Project, Merritt College, Urban Farmer Store and DIG Cooperative. Residents can choose the tank of their choice through the City web-page and place an order online (www.oaklandpw.com/rainbarrel), then get their tank at a pickup event or at The Urban Farmer Store. Operating under a challenge grant, the program has a goal of encouraging Oakland residents to buy and install 4,000 tanks (or the equivalent of 250,000 gallons of rainwater catchment systems) by December 2012. (Note: Painted barrels shown here are from Kentucky, not from the City program).


The Oakland Rain Barrel Program is funded by the Federal Recovery & Reinvestment Act and the State Water Resources Control Board to mitigate urban flooding and improve Oakland watersheds through rainwater harvesting and residential stormwater retention. The program is a three-year initiative to build healthier urban communities by providing reduced cost rain barrels to Oakland residents (as per city grant requirements, purchasers of rain barrels must be Oakland residents). Get yours today. For more information, click here.

2nd Annual Oakland Running Festival on March 23 - 25, 2012!

Time to Get in Shape!  



Whether you are a marathoner or just want to run with your young children, the Oakland Running Festival has an event for you and it's not to late to start training. Events include the marathon, half-marathon, team relays, twilight 5K run and Kids' Fun Run. Go to www.oaklandmarathon.com for more information.  


Once Upon a Time, Happily Ever After: Self-Guided Tour and Signage on the Story of Lake Merritt 

Have you seen the new signage around Lake Merritt, which uses storytelling to explore the complexity of the lake? Needless to say the story of Lake Merritt is not one story, but many stories. While Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After... does not (couldn't possibly) capture all of them, it does reflect the multifaceted nature of Lake Merritt as a place, and underscore the important role it plays in the fabric of the City of Oakland. Go here about/to read more about this project and find out how to download a podcast for a self-guided tour of the lake.




Pat Kernighan
District 2 City of Oakland Councilmember