|Sunday, May 19: Council Districts 2 & 4 Host Budget Town Hall Meeting|
Sunday, May 19: Council Districts 2 & 4 Host Budget Town Hall Meeting - Glenview Elementary School, 4215 La Cresta Avenue - Note change of location - 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
I encourage you to attend this Sunday's Town Hall meeting at 3:30 pm at Glenview school. After a 30 minute presentation on the Mayor's proposed budget, the floor is open for questions and discussion. I am very interested to hear from the people I represent on what their priorities are for City services. If you can't make to the meeting, please email me your thoughts at email@example.com.
To frame the budget discussion, here are some facts and history:
During the five years of recession, the City cut back on personnel, which meant decreased levels of service in every department. There are 720 fewer full-time positions than in 2007. The remaining employees made big concessions in pay for four years in order to help the City survive.
This year, City revenues are trending upward. This is very good news, but the budget remains tight for a number of reasons:
-- Revenue increases are offset by an even higher rise in costs for medical benefits and required pension contributions by the city.
-- Employee concessions expire in July and it is not clear whether labor negotiations will yield any savings.
-- Measure Y, which pays for 63 police officers, expires in late 2014.
-- Deferred maintenance on roads, sidewalks and City facilities is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
-- Unfunded liabilities for pensions, and retiree medical costs exceed two billion dollars.
The Mayor and City Administrator's proposed budget has done quite a good job of balancing needs given the tight resources. They have clearly prioritized public safety by committing to more police academies so we can start on the path of increasing the number of officers in OPD. Though most departments have been cut by 5% or more, it keeps the libraries at the same hours. It even adds a few staff to deal with graffiti and illegal dumping.
Nevertheless, many needs remain.
Park maintenance remains at bare bones levels. Our wonderful new parks around Lake Merritt will get minimal care under this budget.
There has been a big loss of code enforcement inspectors in this budget. Only four remain for the whole city! Most instance of neighborhood blight will go unaddressed under this scenario.
The Animal Shelter has a tiny staff and is open only 20 hours a week.
Recreation center hours will be somewhat reduced.
There is little to address the issue of homelessness or homeless encampments.
More staff in needed in the crime lab to process fingerprints and DNA.
The loss of Redevelopment funding means there is almost no funding for affordable housing.
Please let me know which of these services you think is most important to preserve.
There is much more information about the budget and City finances on the home page of the City website -- in fact, so much detail that it is not easy to sort through.
Visit www.oaklandnet.com for more information. Among the documents to look at, I suggest starting with summary available here.
I hope to see you Sunday afternoon.
Be a Part of the Conversation about the City of Oakland's FY 2013-'15 Proposed Policy Budget
Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna J. Santana have proposed a balanced budget based on expected revenues and proposed expenditures. Before the City Council holds formal budget hearings later in May and in June to deliberate the budget, a series of Community Budget Town Hall Meetings, hosted in partnership with City Councilmembers, will be held to gather input from Oakland residents.
Council Districts 1 & 3
Saturday, May 18, Noon to 2:30 pm
Beebe Memorial Cathedral, 3900 Telegraph Avenue
Council Districts 2 & 4
Sunday, May 19, 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Glenview Elementary School, 4215 La Cresta Avenue
Council District 6
Monday, May 20, 6:30 to 8 pm
Frick Middle School, 2845 64th Avenue
Every meeting is open to all members of the Oakland community, regardless of the Council District of residency. No R.S.V.P. required. Visit mapgis.oaklandnet.com/councildistricts for a map of Council Districts and locator tool.To request interpretation services in languages other than English, please contact Silvia San Miguel, at least five business days prior to the meeting date, at 510.238.6448 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit oaklandnet.com for budget-related documents including the Administration's priorities, the principles behind the budget proposal, a four-page Budget-in-Brief fact sheet and an eight-page Budget Backgrounder fact sheet.
For those unable to attend one of the above meetings, other engagement and feedback opportunities are:
● The City's newly launched open data platform, www.data.oaklandnet.com, to explore and visualize budget data
● A community-created visualization tool, openbudgetoakland.org, to view data and interactive infographics
● Survey and community engagement opportunities at www.EngageOakland.com
● Emailing suggestions and comments to email@example.com
Key upcoming legislative dates:
● May 23 - City Council Budget Hearing #1
● June 13 - City Council Budget Hearing #2
● June 27 - Final City Council Budget Hearing/Adoption
|Port of Oakland's 2013 College Summer Internship Program|
The Port of Oakland's College Internship Program starts on Monday, June 3, 2013 and ends on Friday, August 2, 2013. The Program offers an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the Airport, Seaport and Commercial Real Estate lines of business. The Program Assignments may be at the Port administration building at 530 Water Street, the Oakland International Airport or the Port Maritime area.
This job opportunity is open to students currently enrolled in college or graduate school. For more information, visit here to download the program description and application or obtain a packet from the lobby security area in the Port administration building at 530 Water Street.
Although the deadline for applying for the Port of Oakland's Summer Internships is May 17, the Port will continue to accept applications after the deadline until the internship positions are filled. Required supporting documentation like a transcript may be submitted after applying.
In order to promote environmental sustainability, applicants are encouraged to submit their completed application online to the link: PortofOaklandIntern@portoakland.com.
For questions, contact Pamela Bell at 510.627.1419 or Gishela Portugal at 510.627.1151.
|Anniversary Productions Presents, "Compared to What?" by Judith Offer|
May 17-19, 24-25 (various times - see below): Anniversary Productions Presents "Compared to What?" written by Judith Offer, First Christian Church - 29th and Fairmount Streets
We highly recommend this play about a fascinating part of Oakland history - the fight of the Pullman porters for their civil and labor rights. Written by District 2 resident Judith Offer. The play is in its final two weekends, so be sure to catch it before it's gone.
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|8th Annual Walk to End Poverty|
Saturday, May 18: 8th Annual Walk to End Poverty - Lake Merritt Bandstand, 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Come join the Walk to End Poverty community fair. The event features Kid Zone, entertainment, free snacks, and free boating!
|4th Annual "Strike a Pose" Yogathon by Asian Health Services|
Saturday, May 18: 4th Annual "Strike a Pose" Yogathon, Madison Square Park - 849 Madison Street, 8:30 am - 11:30 am
The Asian Health Service's HIV/AIDS department is hosting their annual Yogathon this Saturday at Madison Square Park. The event is on the National API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day to break the silence about HIV/AIDS in API communities and to encourage individuals to get tested for HIV.
To help support this cause, click here.
|Saturday, May 18: 13th Annual Malcolm X JazzArts Festival at San Antonio Park|
Saturday, May 18: 13th Annual Malcolm X JazzArts Festival at San Antonio Park (16th Ave and Foothill Blvd from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Three stages of music and dance, live art, kids zone, food, crafts and information. Free for the community. www.eastsideartsalliance.org.
|Theater: "Cops & Robbers" at Kaiser Center - Performances at 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm (dates below)|
Cops & Robbers
Saturday, May 18 @ 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Friday, May 31 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 1 @ 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Location: 300 Lakeside Drive
This is a one-man play that takes a revolutionary look at the relationship between law enforcement, the media and the black community. Written and performed by Jinho "The Piper" Ferreira, a rapper, actor, award winning screenwriter, playwright and law enforcement officer, and directed by Ami Zins and Lew Levinson.
This series of performances is supported in part by the Rotary Club of Oakland, with tickets for youth from OUSD and a variety of other Oakland based youth organizations, which will receive access to a special curriculum being created by Dr. Dawn Williams Ferreira.
|Monday, May 20: Councilmember Noel Gallo's Community Meeting to Discuss Traffic and Pedestrian Safety on Park Boulevard between I-580 and Leimert|
Monday, May 20: Councilmember Noel Gallo's Community Meeting to Discuss Traffic and Pedestrian Safety on Park Blvd between I-580 and Leimert - Glenview Elementary School - 4215 LaCresta Avenue, 6:30 pm
Engineering staff from the City's Transportation Services Division will join Councilmember Gallo to provide updates and discuss possible next steps for improving safety for families trying to cross Park Boulevard.
May 23: Older American's Month Celebration, "Unleash the Power of Age" & the Mayor's Budget Town Hall for Seniors
Thursday, May 23: Senior Town Hall Meeting and the Celebration of the Older American's Month, Downtown Senior Center - 200 Grand Avenue, 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon.
The Mayor's Commission on Aging is united in its dedication to lobby, advocate, collaborate and educate in support of the older adult communities of Oakland. The month of May is Older Americans Month and what better time for us to provide our older adults with a platform for their voices to be heard and unleash the power of age.
You are most cordially invited to be our guest at the Senior Town Hall Meeting hosted by the Mayor's Commission on Aging to be held on Thursday, May 23, 2013 from (9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Downtown Oakland Senior Center, 200 Grand Ave. (Harrison and Grand Lake). Free parking is provided at the senior center parking lot.
Below is the program:
9:00 am to 9:30 am
Registration and visit informational booths
9:30 am to 9:45 pm
Welcome: Chair, Mayor's Commission on Aging and Manager of the aging and Adult Services Division.
9:45 am to 10:45 am
Older adults select one groups in which to participate. The focus groups have been specifically designed to meet the critical interest of older adults. Topics include active living, food and housing, employment, transportation, and healthcare.
10:45 am to 11:15 am
Remarks by Mayor Jean Quan, Opportunity for greetings by other elected officials.
11:15 am - 11:45 am
Focus Groups will share findings of participants
11:45 pm - Noon
available to the centers and building sites, for more information, contact Barbara Ellis, call 510.238.7298 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Alameda County Master Gardeners' Free Monthly Workshops|
The Alameda County Master Gardeners provide FREE monthly workshops at the Gardens at Lake Merritt every 4th Saturday from Noon to 1:00 pm. This month on May 25th Sam "The Compost Man" Foushee presents Great Compost Made Easy.
Please join us!
|Thursday, May 23 and Saturday, June 15: Tour EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant and Food Scrap Processing Facilities|
Thursday, May 23, Twilight Tour at 5:30 pm & Saturday, June 15, Morning Tour at 10:00 am: The EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant and Food Scrap Processing Facilities
Find out how EBMUD and its customers are working together to make sure pollutants do not enter San Francisco Bay, and to conserve energy and water, and protect natural resources. Tours will last about one hour and are limited to 10 people per tour. Participants must be able to walk one mile. Please wear comfortable clothes and closed toe shoes.
Location:EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant, 2020 Wake Avenue, Oakland
Parking: Park in small parking area at front gate
To reserve a spot, contact: Allison Garrett, 510.287.1445, email@example.com
|BART Board of Directors to Hold Evening Meetings|
The BART Board of Directors has scheduled two evening Board Meetings to encourage public participation and input on important policy and budget matters before the board.
The evening meetings will provide access for those customers who want to provide feedback about the system and how their tax dollars are spent but are unable to attend our regularly scheduled 9 am Board Meetings.
The evening Board Meetings will cover the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget (FY14 begins July 1, 2013) as well as other important policy items such as possible changes to bike rules. The full agenda will be posted on the BART website the Friday before each meeting at www.bart.gov/about/bod. If you cannot attend the night meetings, the Board meetings are streamed live on our website at the same address and are archived there as well.
The public can learn more about BART's proposed budget which emphasizes system sustainability and increased passenger services like station cleanliness and new rail cars, at www.bart.gov/about/financials.
Evening Meeting Schedule:
May 23, 6:00 pm
June 13, 6:00 pm
The meetings are held in the BART Board Room which is located at: Kaiser Center Mall, 344 20th Street, Oakland, CA, Third Floor
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|7th Annual Indie Awards Ceremony @ the Kaiser Center|
Thursday, May 30: 7th Annual Indie Awards Ceremony @ the Kaiser Center - 300 Lakeside Drive, from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Join in celebrating Oakland's local economy, a party for locals by locals. Enjoy an evening under the stars on the beautiful Kaiser Rooftop Garden and Terrace, overlooking Lake Merritt.
- Sample some of Oakland's freshest restaurants
- Check out amazing local performers on three stages
- Shop the Indie Marketplace
- Peruse cutting-edge art exhibits
- Experience a variety of fun interactive activities and DIY demos
- Discover great organizations doing great things in The Town
- Bask in the glow of all things Oakland
Celebrate the businesses and artists that positively impact Oakland's unique culture, economic health, and resiliency with 1,600 of your fellow Oakland lovers!
Tickets are just $10 in advance, $15 at the door; includes all food and entertainment
Buy them now at www.OaklandIndieAwards.com.
|OMCA's Natural History Gallery's Opening|
Friday, May 31: Oakland Museum of CA's New Natural History Gallery Opening
, OMCA - 1000 Oak Street (see museum hours below):
Mark your calendars! On Friday, May 31, the Oakland Museum of California will kick off a grand party in celebration of the unveiling of the newly remodeled and redesigned Gallery of California Natural Sciences. Marking the completion of the OMCA's major transformation, visitors can now enjoy the entire Museum-and all three of its main galleries-for the first time in five years.
The weekend begins with a creature-filled opening celebration during Friday Nights @ OMCA, with live music, food trucks, dancing, an animal costume contest, and family activities. The weekend continues with closing events for the we/customize exhibition, and culminates in Free First Sunday. With the entire Museum open, there will be something for everyone.
Also, a special recommendation from Pat: Be sure to see the Art of Hung Liu exhibit. It is spectacular. Her paintings are big, boldly colored and extraordinary. (I personally don't think the small reproductions in the flyers and ads capture the power or feel of her big paintings. They are fabulous.) Do see it. Closes June 30.
Wednesday-Thursday, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed Mondays and Tues
Visit www.museumca.org for more information.
|Movie ON the Parkway Theater|
Friday, May 31: Movie ON the Parkway Theater @ 7:30 pm
Come to the Inaugural East Lake Neighborhood Outdoor Movie Night featuring Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!
|Bella Vista Park Spruce Up|
Saturday, June 8: Bella Vista Park Spruce Up - 10:00 am to 12:00 Noon
Weed, clean and complete the park mural. Adult mural helpers are needed to assist school visiting artist Pam Consear in completing an environmental mural on the theme of bats as pollinators, made by 7 year olds. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
|Love Our Lake Day|
Sunday, June 9: Love Our Lake Day, Lake Merritt Boulevard (formerly 12th Street), from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
The Measure DD Community Coalition and the City of Oakland are sponsoring a celebration of the grand opening of Lake Merritt Boulevard and Amphitheater in the four acres of newly landscaped parkland at the south end of Lake Merritt. Now that a pedestrian friendly Lake Merritt Boulevard has replaced the former 12-lane two block-long freeway that cut off the access to the lake, the once derelict south end has been transformed into an inviting location for enjoying the lake. A dedication ceremony will take place in the amphitheater at 2:00 pm. Mayor Jean Quan and community advocates will offer their appreciation to the Oakland voters who approved Measure DD, the $198 million Clean Water Safe Parks bond measure, which is the source of most of the funding for improvements around the lake. Oakland's own performing artists will provide free entertainment before and after the ceremony.
Complementing the grand opening celebration of Lake Merritt Boulevard and Amphitheater, Walk Oakland Bicycle Oakland and the City of Oakland are sponsoring Oaklavia, a Sunday Streets festival during which a travel lane encircling the lake will be closed to vehicular traffic. From 11:00 am to 4:00 pm you'll be able to walk, bike, skate and dance around the lake. You'll find activities for children, food trucks and much more as you travel the Oaklavia route.
And, if you want to love the lake while sailing or paddling on the water, contact the Lake Merritt Boating Center in the Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Avenue or 510.238.2196 about a boat rental.
|Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission to Consider the City's Application for a Fenced Dog Park Area at Snow Park|
Wednesday, June 12: Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission To Consider the City's Application for a Fenced Dog Play Area at Snow Park - Lakeside Park Garden Center - 666 Bellevue Avenue, 4:30 pm
Following on a presentation and discussion at the May Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) meeting regarding a dog play area at Snow Park, the City's application for a conditional use permit will be considered at PRAC's June meeting. PRAC's decision will become a recommendation to the Planning Department, which is the next stop in the application process. A staff report will be available here by close of business on Friday, June 7.
|Oakland Crime Reduction Project: Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations |
I think the Bratton crime reduction plan for OPD is excellent. The shift to smaller geographic areas for each captain is very likely to make the police more effective in reducing crime, based on my observations of various OPD configurations over the years. It is also a system that enhances the ability of citizens to communicate with the police. The plan increases the number of investigative staff which was sorely needed. The challenge, of course, is whether OPD has enough officers to make it work. But I think that Bratton and Wasserman took that into account in designing the plan.
I also want to share my thoughts on the unexpected changes in OPD leadership last week. While I was sorry to lose Chiefs Jordan and Toribio in the command role, I am seeing significant positives in the new situation. Chief Sean Whent is a very capable and determined commander. With the new Bratton plan for reducing crime, Chief Whent has a clear blueprint for what he needs to implement. On the issue of compliance with the federal order, there is also more clarity with Federal compliance director Tom Frazier and his team actually present and interacting with OPD on a weekly basis. There is a lot to do, but at least there is clear direction for the Department.
The full five areas will be implemented in about a month. Two areas in east Oakland are already in place and seeing good results.
You can read the full plan here.
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|Earth Day: District 2 Graffiti Removal Day|
Graffiti has become a huge and an on-going problem in Oakland. Not only does it affect livability and the beauty of our City, it encourages criminal activity, creates blight, negatively impacts our residents and visitors' perception of Oakland and affects our local economy.
To celebrate Earth Day, the District 2 Office and East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBASE) decided to organize a Graffiti Removal project in the San Antonio/Eastlake area. My staff, community volunteers and I talked to local merchants and identified buildings around the Clinton Park area who would benefit from our help. Public Works and the merchants donated gallons of paint and volunteers painted over the graffiti, cleared the weeds and picked up garbage.
We want to thank the Tse Chi Foundation, EBASE, Thu Pham, Dana King and friends, and concerned local merchants and community members for coming out to help!
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|Economy Inn: Update |
Shortly the Economy Inn at E 12th St and 1st Avenue will re-open under new management. Last year the City Attorney's Office went to trial to shut down the Economy Inn for running a business that relied upon prostitution as a business model. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte ruled in the City's favor closing the Economy Inn for the maximum period of one year provided by state law.
The Economy Inn's owners requested that the Court allow the business to reopen before the end of the year (August 1, 2013). The City Attorney opposed the request but asked the Court to retain jurisdiction (oversight) over the Economy Inn and impose a number of conditions on the operations IF the Court decided to allow reopening.
Judge Harbin-Forte granted the Economy Inn's petition to reopen the motel before the end of the year. But importantly, the Economy Inn must comply with a number of court-ordered conditions for two years. During this period a national motel chain will be the operator, not the current owner, and a court-appointed receiver will oversee the operations.
We believe this is a relatively positive outcome. The conditions imposed on the Economy Inn owners include but are not limited to the following:
- Continue court-appointed receiver's supervision of the Economy Inn's operations for an additional two year period
- Hire a professional hotel management company to run the Economy Inn, which will be rebranded "America's Best Value Inn" before the motel can reopen
- Provide security patrol by a private company from 4:00 pm to 4:00 am
- Meet with community members at least twice a year to discuss and address any concerns related to the motel
- File periodic reports updating the Court regarding the motel's operations
- Make all the cosmetic changes outlined in owners' proposed business plan, including but not limited to upgrading the room décor, replacing mattresses and repainting
Two other important provisions of the court's order are:
- The permanent injunction against any prostitution activity at this property will remain in place
- The City Attorney has the right to immediately ask the court to close the motel if there are any incidents of prostitution without filing a new lawsuit or having a new trial
The above conditions are important because the City Attorney brought this case under the Red Light Abatement Act, and there is little guidance as to what the Court or the City can do once the motel reopens after one year as allowed by state law. Granting the petition to reopen with conditions attached allows for continuous supervision for two more years to make sure prostitution does not return.
How You Can Help
If you see prostitution activity at this property or anywhere else, please call the Oakland Police Department and file a police report. Police reports can be used as evidence in civil lawsuits against property owners who are allowing or catering to prostitution activity. You can call the Police Department's Prostitution Hotline at 510.238.2373 (calls can be anonymous).
-- based on a media release by the Oakland City Attorney's office
|OPD to Introduce ReportIt
Shortly, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) will begin community outreach to introduce ReportIt, a free, secure online service provided by LeadsOnline that allows citizens to record serial numbers and upload images of their phones, electronics and other valuables. The information entered is accessible from anywhere, regardless of loss, theft or natural disaster. LeadsOnline (www.leadsonline.com), the nation's largest online investigation system, is used by law enforcement agencies nationwide to recover stolen property, reduce metal theft and solve crimes. When an item is sold to a pawn or secondhand shop, the product information is entered in the LeadsOnline database and is immediately viewable by participating law enforcement agencies across the country. Recent robbery trends indicate that cell phones and electronics are commonly targeted during robberies but rarely recovered, in part because victims are unable to provide serial numbers. By using ReportIt, people can easily provide secure records of property to police or insurance carriers in the event items are stolen or damaged. The LeadsOnline system will allow OPD to search for items using a variety of parameters, including item descriptions and serial numbers. For more information, please contact Sergeant Chris Bolton, OPD Chief of Staff, at email@example.com.
-- based on Oaklnad Police Department media release
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Public Works Kicks Off Annual Blitz to Fill 3,000 Potholes
To keep the City of Oakland's vehicular and pedestrian traffic safe, Oakland Public Works will conduct its Annual Pothole Blitz. This year's Blitz, which started on April 29, will continue through June 26. Each week, the Blitz will re-locate to another district in the City, starting on Claremont Avenue between Clifton Street and Hudson Street.
Last year, the Streets & Sidewalks Division of the Department of Infrastructure & Maintenance filled 2,800 potholes city-wide during the Blitz. Crews expect to repair more than 3,000 this year. The focus will be on traffic corridors, schools, hospitals, high traffic pedestrian areas and problem streets. Where necessary and feasible, the repairs will focus on long-lasting solutions to recurring potholes instead of short-term patches.
Potholes are a never ending battle because repairing them is just a band aid fix on our city's old streets. Oakland's finances are so limited that roadways, which should be repaved every 30 years, are now scheduled to be repaved every 85 years, in other words, once in most people's life times. The Oakland Streets Fact Sheet will tell you more about the costs of repairing streets.
Everyone is encouraged to call the City's Public Works Call Center hotline at 510.615.5566 to report your least favorite pothole. Remember to give a precise address.
You can also use any one of two other methods to Report a Problem. Use the online form at www.oaklandpw.com. Use the mobile appSeeClickFix. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to report your favorite pothole.
Check out the Oakland Streets Fact Sheet here.
|Tzu Chi Foundation's 2013 Global Peace Celebration|
The Tzu Chi Foundation, whose name means "compassion and relief" is an international humanitarian organization founded in 1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen. The foundation has nearly 10 million volunteers worldwide who support local and global programs from neighborhood clean-ups to earthquake relief. They have an office in the Eastlake and often lead community clean-ups in District 2.
On Sunday, they held their 2013 Global Tzu Chi Day Celebration at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza in Chinatown. It featured a beautiful Buddha Bathing Ceremony and members offered a public prayer for world peace. The Foundation is founded on the Buddhist principles of gratitude, respect, love for the community, charity, compassionate medicine, ethics, and disaster relief. During the ceremony, the volunteers took time to pass out corsages to mothers in celebration of Mother's Day.
If you would like more information on their world relief efforts, contact Almon Shen at email@example.com or call 510.879.0971.
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|Free Walking Tours Offer Glimpse of Downtown Oakland's History and Current Renaissance
Downtown Oakland has undergone a renaissance that has captured national media attention, with Uptown emerging as a premier arts and entertainment destination. Local residents and visitors can glimpse both today's happening scene and landmarks from Oakland's past during the 2013 Oakland Tours season.
The tours offer a glimpse into the city that The New York Times named among the top 5 places to visit in the world in 2012. Also in 2012, Forbes named Uptown among the Best Hipster Neighborhoods in the nation. This year, Oakland has been ranked as the Greenest City in the U.S. by SheKnows.com, the 10th Most Walkable City in America by America Walks and among the Top 12 ArtPlaces in the nation by ArtPlace.
Free 90-minute walking tours of downtown Oakland will be offered every Wednesday and Saturday starting May 1 and continuing through October. The twice weekly guided tours showcase the city's changing skyline, landmarks, churches and high-rises.
The six-month long tour season ensures ample opportunity to take in each of the eight different tour itineraries. Each tour, led by a volunteer guide, begins at 10 a.m. from various starting locations depending on the itinerary. Reservations are recommended by leaving a message on the Tours' 24-hour hotline at 510.238.3234 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The tour brochure, itinerary descriptions, dates and starting locations are available at www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours .
Tour 1 - Old Oakland: This tour explores the 1870s business district where carefully restored brick commercial buildings now house offices, galleries and eateries. The historic district is a visible reminder of Oakland's designation in 1869 as the Western Terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad. The tour starts in front of Ratto's Market & Deli, 821 Washington Street. Tour 1 will be offered June 1, June 26, July 27, August 21, September 21 and October 16.
Tour 2 - City Center: Explore the upbeat style of modern City Center, alongside restored historic landmarks like the Tribune Tower, the Rotunda Building and City Hall. The tour starts in Frank Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall. Tour 2 will be offered on May 18, June 12, July 13, August 7, September 7 and October 2.
Tour 3 - Uptown to the Lake: Nestled among the many new restaurants and clubs, Oakland's vibrant art deco-era landmarks, including the Fox Oakland Theater, the Paramount Theatre and the jazzy blue and silver Floral Depot Building, are the focus of this tour. The tour also features the Kaiser Center's "secret" rooftop garden overlooking Lake Merritt. The tour starts in front of the Paramount Theatre at 2025 Broadway. Tour 3 will be offered on June 22, July 10, August 10, September 4, October 12 and October 30.
Tour 4 - Preservation Park: On this tour, view fine details of the Victorian architecture of several 19th century houses that have been relocated and restored as a nonprofit office and meeting complex in a tranquil setting. The tour starts at the entrance to Preservation Park at 13th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Tour 4 will be offered on May 11, June 5, July 6, July 31, August 24, September 25 and October 26.
Tour 5 - Oakland Chinatown: Explore this multi-ethnic downtown district packed with shops, restaurants and cultural institutions and learn about the contributions made by Chinese and other Asian immigrants to California's history. The tour starts at the courtyard fountain in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza at 388 Ninth Street. Tour 5 will be offered on May 29, June 29, July 24, August 31, September 18 and October 19.
Tour 6 - Jack London Waterfront: Follow the footsteps of Oakland's famous literary son Jack London and see some of his favorite haunts. Visit a wholesale produce market that has been in operation since the early 1900's, alongside newly built residential loft developments. The tour starts by the Jack London Square entry arch at the foot of Broadway. Tour 6 will be offered on June 8, July 3, August 3, September 28 and October 23.
Tour 7 - Churches and Temples: Visit historic places of worship and learn about their influence on the history of Oakland. Featured buildings include the First Presbyterian Church, First Congregational Church and Temple Sinai. The tour starts in front of the First Presbyterian church at 2619 Broadway, Tour 7 will be offered on May 25, June 19, July 20, August 14, September 14 and October 9.
Tour 8 - New Era/New Politics: This tour highlights African-American leaders who have made their mark on Oakland. Learn how Lionel Wilson, Delilah Beasley, Robert Maynard and Byron Rumford changed the city and the Bay Area. The tour starts at the African American Museum and Library at 659 14th Street. Tour 8 will be offered on May 22, June 15, July 17, August 17, September 11 and October 5.
The annual free Oakland Tours program is sponsored by the Marketing Division, Department of Economic & Workforce Development. During the 2012 season, nearly 1,500 residents, visitors and school children toured downtown Oakland on these guided walks.