Security Measures at City Council Meetings
Our District 2 Council Staff: Joanne Karchmer Has Moved On and Mandalyn Mendoza Will Join My Staff Soon
Caltrans Construction on 880 to impact Chinatown and Laney College area
Bella Vista Community Peace Walk
Lakeshore Avenue - Lake Park Avenue Complete Streets Project Almost Completed
"Are You Smarter than Your Smart Phone" Safety Awareness by the Oakland Police Department
Neighborhood Services Division: Halloween Safety Tips
Anonymous Tips May Now Be Sent to the Oakland Police Department Using Nixle Tip Watch
Lincoln Elementary School's Participation in the Green Gloves Program
Postponing 2013 Sewer Service Charge Rate
The Estuary Crossing Shuttle Survey
Grand Opening of Beautiful and Affordable Apartment Building on 6th and Oak
A Visit by Oakland's Sister City, Fukuoka, Japanese Delegation Visit


Congratulations, Oakland A's!






The next City of Oakland Business Closure Date will be Monday, October 8, 2012. Police Fire, and emergency services are not affected during the holidays or business closures.



Every 3rd Thursday:  Twilight in the Lake, 2121 Harrison Street - 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm



Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6: Armenian Apostolic Church 60th Annual Bazaar and Food Festival -  St. Vartan Armenian Church, 650 Spruce Street (off MacArthur). 


Experience the Premier Armenian Food Festival of the East Bay!


The event will include:

-- Authentic Armenian food, dance, music & culture
-- Games for kids, cultural displays
-- Unique vendors
-- Live dance performances
-- Full meals available until 8pm

-- Vegetarian and a la carte items served all night


Adults $3.00
Kids Under 14: $1.00
Children under 6: Free


Facobook Event Page Link:!/events/434175103284701/ 


More information:



Saturday, October 6: Oakland Financial Planning Day - 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612 - 9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Come for a free 1-on-1 personalized financial advice and financial workshops at City Hall. 


- Help in planning for your or your children's education?

- Debt and mortgage payment problems

- Retirement concerns

- Advice on how to invest your money

- Questions about budgeting


No strings attached.


Dozens of professional financial planners will be available to meet with you. Don't miss this chance for a free, private consultation on financial issues that matter to you with experts from the Financial Planning Association and highly qualified CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.


Call 1.977.861.7826 or visit



Tuesday, October 9: Oakland Fire Department's Fire Prevention Day, "Have 2 Ways Out" - Lake Merritt Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue - 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. Estimated 500 - 600 hundred kids will come. There will be gifts! If you are interested in setting up a tour for your school, contact Karen Cox, 510.238.7255 or email


Thursday, October 11: Fire Safety & Preparedness Fair in Celebration of Fire Prevention Week - City Plaza, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza - 11:00 am - 2:00 pm


Come speak to experts about what to expect in an emergency, how to prepare yourself and your family with the best survival strategies during and after each emergency situation. Participants will include the Fire Department, Office of Emergency Services, Emergency Medical Services, Police Department, Home Depot, EBMUD, PG&E, State Farm, AAA, Farmers, B.E.S.T., Reed Brothers, Bay Alarm, and more. There will be live demonstrations and giveaways!


For additional information contact: Karen Cox (510) 238-7255 or email 


Thursday, October 11 to Wednesday, November 7: 2012 Re-Create Art Contest - Various locations

Students in Oakland schools are invited to participate in the 2012 Re-Create Art Contest, Oakland's annual recycled art competition. Participants will use discarded or reused materials in a creative application of the 4Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. All students in grades K-12 are eligible to participate in the contest. Fifteen prizes valued at $500 will be awarded to students who enter this year's contest and exhibition.


A public reception to recognize participants and contest winners will be held on Friday November 16th, 6-8pm at 1423 Broadway, Oakland, CA.




The Oakland Re-Create 2012 Art Contest and Exhibition is sponsored by the City of Oakland Public Works Agency and produced by MOCHA. For contest deadline and entry information, click here to see Re-Create Art Contest and Exhibit


Free Re-Create Workshops:


MOCHA will provide FREE hands-on workshops at several Oakland Public Library branches to assist the students in creating artwork from discarded materials:

  • Thursday, Oct 11, 3:30pm - Asian Branch Library, 388 9th St., Ste 190
  • Saturday, Oct 13, 1:00pm - Martin Luther King Branch Library, 6833 International Blvd.
  • Tuesday, Oct 16, 3:00pm - Melrose Branch Library, 4805 Foothill Blvd.
  • Wednesday, Oct 17, 3:00pm - Montclair Branch Library, 1687 Mountain Blvd.
  • Thursday, Oct 18, 3:30pm - Rockridge Branch Library, 5366 College Ave.
  • Friday, Oct 19, 1:00pm - Brookfield Branch Library, 9255 Edes Ave.
  • Wednesday, Nov 7, 3:00pm - Lakeview Branch Library, 550 El Embarcadero  


Friday, October 12: Magic Lantern Art Show for Adults - Children's Fairyland - 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Join us for a special adults-only evening showcasing some of the Bay Area's most innovative video and projection artists, presenting site-specific artworks among Fairyland's fantastical architecture, sculptures, and amusement rides. Prices are $25 pre-sale only, no tickets will be sold at the door. The show will feature artists Susan Chen, Fictilis, Emily Alden Foster, Erica Gangsei, Lydia Greer, Daniel Healey and Michael Deane, Ranu Mukherjee, Jeff Ray, Darren Russel,Eric Stewart, Jayne Vidheecharoen, Bryan Von Reuter,Maggie Wong and Seth Neill. Musical performances by Clipd Beaks, Mwahaha, and White Cloud, Bryan Von Reuter, and Taser Island: A huge thank you to Anchor Brewing Co. 



Saturday, October 16: Autumn Lights Festival - Gardens at Lake Merritt, 666 Bellevue Ave - 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm


Imagine the Gardens at Lake Merritt filled with lanterns, carved and lit gourds, ponds glowing from submerged bubbles, and electric fireflies flickering in the trees. All this will be created by local Bay Area artists along with other surprises during the first Autumn Lights Festival. Fire art cars and live fire performers will also light the night. Attendees will be invited to participate during the evening by creating luminarias and neon bubbles. Music and sound installations will fill the night. Refreshments, a silent auction and food trucks will add to the festivities.


Sponsored by the City of Oakland, this organically grown event is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, an all-volunteer non-profit organization. Proceeds from the event will be used for Garden improvements for the enjoyment of the entire community.


Tickets are $25 if purchased in advance at or $35 at the gate and include one drink (wine or beer).



Saturday, October 20: Lakeshore Neighborhood Plant Exchange - Now is the time to divide the iris bulbs and sort out the plants that need a new home - Get ready for this semi-annual Free Event - 3811 Lakeshore Ave (easy on-street parking) - 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm



For more information, visit




Saturday, October 27: Lakeshore Avenue Fall Festival Trick'r Treaking Parade and Crafts Fair - The Lakeshore Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Avenue - 10:00 am - 1:00 pm




Wednesday, October 31: Halloween Party - Bella Vista Park, 2631 11th Avenue - 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm. Come Trick or Treat at Bella Vista Park! There will be prizes and giveaways, games, food and music performances.



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Security Measures at City Council Meetings


Because of the well-publicized disruptions that have occurred at City Council meetings recently, I want to share my thoughts on the issue of maintaining safety and civility at City Council meetings. It is fundamental to democracy that a meeting be run in such a way that citizens can participate in a civil and orderly debate on issues. The Brown Act, a state law, guarantees every person the right to speak on any issue before the City Council.  But cities are also allowed to make reasonable rules regarding this speech, such as limiting the number of minutes that a single person can talk. We are also allowed to have enforce rules to maintain safety and order in public meetings. 


In past years, our system of rules has worked reasonably well most of the time, and in fact, rigid enforcement of rules was not required since the vast majority of participants behaved respectfully to other participants and honored the spirit of the rules.  However, in the past year, there have been groups of advocates who have intentionally flouted all the rules and the rights of others -- ignoring time limits, yelling throughout the meeting at Councilmembers, and worse, yelling at other speakers who disagreed with them. The impact of this disruptive behavior has been to discourage many average citizens from attending Council meetings. We are seeing fewer and fewer people who are willing to hazard a visit to the City Council, lest they be harassed while speaking or while trying to leave the building. This chilling effect on participation in meetings is, in my opinion, a very negative impact on the democratic process in our city and needs to be remedied.


It is in this context that the City Administrator and Council President decided to implement stronger security measures for the last Council meeting.  In addition to enforcing existing rules, the new rules allow citizens to fill up the seats on the main floor of the chamber, but require that the overflow of people be seated in the two hearing rooms on the first floor, where they can watch the meeting on the big screens. There are ambassadors (civilian City employees) to help people understand and negotiate the new system. If a person in the hearing rooms has signed up to speak, he or she can go upstairs to the main chamber when their item is called.  If seats in the main Chamber are vacant, they can stay upstairs.


I want to address an observation that I have heard from quite a few people.  "Why don't you just arrest the disruptive people and remove them from the room?"  That works when there are just a couple of people acting out.  But where there are large groups of disruptive people acting together, as has been the case, it would require a very large number of police to do this safely.   


I realize that many citizens may perceive that these security measures and stricter enforcement of existing rules will restrict the right to participate in Council meetings. However, I see it differently. I think these rules will make it more likely that average citizens can and will participate, because citizens will not have to be afraid of harassment by rowdy groups of other citizens. 
There are no doubt refinements in implementation that need to be worked out in the communication between the Chambers and the ambassadors and police so that the system works as intended, but I think that is quite doable.  And these measures do not need to be permanent. If major disruptions stop happening, we can return to a less regimented way of monitoring how people behave and how many people can be allowed in the Chamber at a time. I am interested in your comments on the issue of maintaining a safe and respectful environment for the public to participate in City Council meetings.

Our District 2 Council staff: Joanne Karchmer Has Moved On and Mandalyn Mendoza Will Join My Staff Soon 


After six years of providing outstanding service to District 2 constituents, Councilmember's Aide Joanne Karchmer has left our office to take a position in Governmental Affairs with the Port of Oakland. Many of you have benefited from Joanne's excellent advocacy and dedication to improving services at the City and I know many people will miss her--we certainly will! We wish her all the best in her new job at the Port.

Joining my staff on October 10 as Councilmember Aide is Mandalyn Mendoza, who has lived in the Bay Area since her teens. Mandalyn is a graduate of SF State and brings 8 years of experience resolving issues and delivering services for clients, particularly through children's services agencies in the Bay Area. We are excited to welcome her to our District 2 staff.

With these changes, I am also making changes in staff assignments. Mandalyn will work with the San Antonio community, where her command of Spanish will be particularly useful. She also will work with the Cleveland Heights community and Lower Park Blvd merchants. My Chief of Staff Jennie Gerard whose geographic assignment has covered these neighborhoods will now work closely with the Grand Lake community and business improvement district while continuing with the Bella Vista neighborhood. Scheduler and Executive Assistant Sarah Lin, whose fluency in Cantonese and Mandarin has made her indispensable to Chinatown residents and merchants, will expand her coverage of important meetings there.

I am very appreciative to have such a talented team of staff members. Each of them are very dedicated to improving our City and serving our constituents. 


Jennie Gerard: 238-7023 (works Monday - Thursday) 

Sarah Lin: 238-7246 (works half days, five days a week)

Mandalyn Mendoza: 238-7021 (will work four days a week)


Caltrans Construction on 880 to impact Chinatown and Laney College area


The construction project's scope is to remove existing median double metal bean guardrail for the installation of the concrete barrier. The purpose is to reduce the need for barrier repairs and exposure of Caltrans maintenance personnel to traffic:


There following are issues of local interests:


-Leased parcels under the freeway will have to be cleared temporarily on a limited basis for construction purposes.


-City streets passing under the freeway will require temporary lane closures.


-Noise generated from construction demolition and equipment.


-Construction work will occur during both daytime and nighttime, possibly some weekends.


-The Posey tube and on-ramps to the Webster tube will be closed at nights for construction.


-Construction time is estimated to be from 6 - 7 months.


-Signage, prior notices and detour plans will be available.


For more information, contact project manager, Ron Klaaina at 510.286.4193 or email


Bella Vista Community Peace Walk 


The Bella Vista Neighborhood is located between Park Boulevard and 14th Avenue, south of 580. They came together for a peace walk and celebration on September 27. The Elementary School, Child Development Center (CDC), Friends of Bella Vista Park, Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC - 17Y), EBAYC, churches, and business owners participated. About 600 people showed up for the walk.


The purpose of the walk was to combat the recent crimes committed in the neighborhood and showcase the neighborhood's real assets - beautiful parks, rich history, Victorian houses and international diversity. Many immigrants who did not speak English came out to show their support. Andrew Park, resident and Founder of Oakland Trybe, a faith-based youth outreach program stated, "We are working to change the tone. It is empowering to see neighbors out in force walking together, kids singing, and people mixing. It sends a message that we care and that we are proud to live here." Andy Nelsen, Deputy Director at East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), a community after-school program said, "We are trying to build power to get something done. Power comes from relationships, people working together, building strength in numbers that lead to getting our neighborhood safer. Getting kids connected to initiatives like this helps improve their community."



Lakeshore Avenue - Lake Park Avenue Complete Streets Project Almost Completed 


The Lakeshore Avenue - Lake Park Avenue Complete Streets project is nearing completion. Trees and other landscaping will be installed very soon throughout the project. There will be a dedication of the new streetscape and transportation improvements sometime in the next month. In the meantime, all things new require some adjustment, so our engineers will be monitoring operation or the intersection and drivers and pedestrians as well will need to get used to the new layout. Specifically:    


-- Because the Lakeshore crosswalk was moved closer to the intersection with Lake Park, southbound cars on Lakeshore stop closer to the intersection than previously.  However, the No Turn on Red rule still applies at this location.  The No Turn On Red is an important feature for the safety of pedestrians crossing Lake Park there. The No Turn On Red sign will be relocated shortly closer to the intersection as a reminder. Some adjustments to the timing of the lights are in the works to improve the traffic flow and pedestrian safety. 

-- Two of the three northbound lanes of Lakeshore under the I-580 freeway are now dedicated to left turns. Only one lane is a through-lane now. Drivers have no doubt discovered this through firsthand experience, and it is necessitating that drivers who want the through lane to approach from a different lane than normal on MacArthur or Lakeshore in order to wind up in the through-lane under the freeway.  The City engineers will continue to assess the operation of the second dedicated left turn lane at various times of day to see if it improves traffic flow and to adjust for any unintended consequences at the intersection of Lakeshore and MacArthur.   


"Are You Smarter than Your Smart Phone" Safety Awareness by the Oakland Police Department


The Oakland Police Department has been working hard responding to the city's rash of smartphone street robberies. Multiple arrests have been made in connection with the 144 stolen smart phone robberies reported since June. According to the FCC, 1 out of 3 robberies in the nation have involved the theft of cellphones, especially in urban areas.  


On September 25, over 600 citizens were greeted by the Oakland Police Department Neighborhood Services Coordinators, volunteers and Safety Ambassadors, Police Services Technicians and officers to spread awareness and safety tips on the use of your cell phones.


The project was created to address the continuing trends of thefts and street robberies targeted at smartphone users. Flyers were passed out to the first selected spots, which were the BART stations and AC Transit bus stops along Broadway near 12th and 14th Streets.


Here are some tips to be aware of when using your smartphone in public:



Be Prepared:


- Register your phones and related devices.

- Keep a detailed description of your devices, including serial number, make and model for reporting purposes.

- Password protect your phone.

- Install a tracking application.




- Don't lend your phones to strangers.

- Avoid talking on your phone while walking down the sidewalk or sitting in your car.

- Earphones decrease awareness of your surroundings and make you an easy target.


According to current crime trends, robbers have their eye on your iPhone, Smart Phone and IPad. Consider turning on "Find my iPhone" feature on your iPhone or install a tracking application for your phone. 


Report emergencies to to 911 or 510.777.3211 or non-emergencies to 510.777.3333.


Please share this information with your Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council and Neighborhood Watch meetings.



Halloween Safety Tips



Anonymous Tips May Now be Sent to the Oakland Police Department Using Nixle Tip Watch  


The Oakland Police Department has launched the Nixle Text Watch system, a new, two-way notification service that allows witnesses to pass along anonymous tips via text message, internet or phone call. The system helps provide information and tips to police regarding violent crimes in an easy, secure and anonymous manner. Tipsters cannot be identified by either the Oakland Police Department or Nixle and may even reply to follow-up questions from the department without revealing their identities. All information regarding the tipster is encrypted and never available to any party when the message is sent. 


"Nixle Tip Watch has the potential to increase our police force by thousands through the enlistment of the community's eyes and ears," says Oakland Police Chief Howard A. Jordan. "In the past, when tips were not shared due to community reluctance and fear, criminals were allowed to reoffend and re-victimize. Tip Watch anonymity removes that element of fear from the community's decision to report."

Citizens can leave anonymous messages in the following four ways:

  • Text "TIP OAKLANDPD" to 888777;
  • Click on the "Tip Watch" button on the Oakland PD's website;
  • Reply to Oakland PD's Nixle messages by clicking on the "submit an anonymous tip" link;
  • Dial 855-TIPS247 to speak anonymously to a hotline center.  

Click here for the anonymous tip website. 



Lincoln Elementary School's Participation in the Oakland Unified School District's Green Gloves Program 


Lincoln Elementary School students are learning how to compost after their meals in their school cafeterias through collaboration with the Oakland Unified School District's Green Gloves program. Children who did not realize waste could be sorted differently can now learn first-hand how their individual efforts can better the environment and public health. Almost two dozen Oakland schools are currently participating in adding the compost component to the existing recycling program.


The Green Gloves program has been helping Oakland schools reduce and sort out waste through efforts of Nutrition and Custodial Services staff. Glenview Elementary School's janitor was the first to receive the Green Gloves award two years ago for his efforts to bring this to his campus which brought about the Green Gloves collaboration. Students learn how to safeguard their health and incoporate environmental values as part of their lifetime habit.


Thank you Green Gloves for keeping our schools clean and green!  



For more information on the Green Gloves Program, visit here.    



Postponing 2013 Sewer Service Charge Rate


Information Memorandum by Public Works:  


Oakland's Sewer Service Charge will not be increased in 2013 as planned.  


A sixteen percent (16%) rate increase in Sewer Service Charge was planned to take effect on January 1, 2013.  In a review of the Sewer Service Fund, staff has determined that the planned 2013 rate increase may be postponed for one year without any adverse affect on the fund stability or the planned programs or projects.  Therefore, the upcoming January 2013 sewer fee rate increase will be postponed for one year, and instead will take effect on January 1, 2014.


A recent analysis of the Sewer Service Fund showed that there were sufficient funds to continue planned programs and projects without an additional rate increase at this time.  This occurred because of:


1) Savings from the City's Labor Unions' concessions and give-backs;

2) A favorable bidding environment for sewer construction projects that has seen contracts completed for less than budgeted; and,

3) The extended time necessary to purchase and manufacture new sewer equipment and hire new personnel. 


Postponing the next rate increase for one year will allow the fund to stay apace with the actual expenditures and will provide a respite to the Oakland rate payers during these difficult economic times.  The one-year postponement will not have any adverse impact on our compliance with regulatory requirements.


For questions, please contact Gus Amirzehni, Principal Civil Engineer, at 510-238-6601.


The Estuary Crossing Shuttle Survey




For those of you who take the Estuary Crossing Shuttle, you can click here to complete a survey and return it to the shuttle bus driver or to Gail Payne, Transportation Coordinator of the City of Alameda Public Works Department, 510.747.7948 or email


The City of Alameda plans to submit a grant application for the third year of funding later this fall so your input and suggestions are critical.  Questionnaires also are available on-board the shuttle bus.  


The shuttle is now running a low-floor bus is to make it easier to board with bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers, grocery carts, etc.  Please come check it out!


Alameda Shuttle Stops:


#1) Marina Village - College of Alameda satellite campus (Atlantic Avenue by Challenger Drive near sculpture of egg hatching)


#2) Wind River - 500 Wind River Way  

#3) College of Alameda (555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway near the campus loop road)


Oakland Shuttle Stops:


#4) Lake Merritt BART (near Laney College) on Madison Street between 8th and 9th Streets

Cost: Free


Who Can Ride:  

- General public
- Commuters to BART
- Pedestrians - Tube alternative
- Bicyclists - fits 12 bicycles
- Students, faculty and staff between the College of Alameda and Laney College


Frequency: Every 30 minutes

  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 12:07 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays  
  • Bus Capacity: 19 shuttle bus seats and 12 bicycles

The shuttle does not run on:

New Year's Day, Day After New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day After Thanksgiving Day, between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day


For more information, visit




Grand Opening of Beautiful and Affordable Apartment Building on 6th and Oak



On Wednesday, October 3, I was pleased to attend the Grand Opening of Merritt Crossing, a new affordable apartment building located at the corner of Sixth and Oak Streets in my district.  It is a project by Affordable Housing Associates, a non-profit housing developer. This award-winning green building by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects provides 70 apartments for low-income and homeless seniors 55 and older who earn 30% to 50% percent of the area's median income. The building will have 5 Studios, 55 one-bedrooms and 10 two-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $485 to $1,038. More than half of the units will have project based Section 8 vouchers                                                                                                                                       

This building and new community will be an asset to the neighborhood. Where once was a weedy vacant lot, we now have a beautifully designed residential building, with high quality construction by Nibbi Brothers Construction.  Amenities include a large community room with computer work stations, laundry facilities, and a meeting room for resident services. Outdoor common areas include a community garden & fountain, and beautifully landscaped courtyard.


We welcome our new neighbors!


A Visit by Oakland's Sister City, Fukuoka Japanese Delegation


Last month, Mayor Jean Quan and the City of Oakland hosted a delegation from Sister City, Fukuoka, Japan. The two cities celebrated the anniversary of signing the sister city agreement in 1962. The delegation was led by the Honorable Mayor Soichiro Takashima. The three-day event featured social events, educational programs, strengthening economic partnership, cultural cooperation and mutual aid during emergencies. The people of Fukuoka were very generous in giving support to Oakland after the Loma Prieta earthquake. We look forward to their future visits.


For more information on the Oakland Sister Cities Program please visit and


 Photo: Mayor Takashima of Fukuoka addresses the crowd.