Defending Our Democracy, Lake Merritt COVID Testing, Public Safety Survey & More

What a joyous day as our nation celebrates democracy and looks forward to continuing our struggles for justice. Congratulations to Oakland's own Vice President Elect Kamala Harris, making herstory as the first Black and Asian woman elected to the White House with President Elect Joe Biden. 

While Oakland votes are still being counted, I want to offer my congratulations to the likely winners: Councilmembers Elect Carroll Fife and Treva Reid; Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Noel Gallo and Rebecca Kaplan; and City Attorney Barbara Parker. See Oakland election coverage from Oaklandside.


Thank you to everyone who voted, got out the vote and organized in Oakland and across the country this election season. I was inspired to join Wednesday’s #CountEveryVote rally, gathering with community to defend our democracy. Thank you to Bay Resistance and the 15 other community organizations who created this space for us and who continue to organize. 


Together, we have the collective strength and care to continue marching forward in action, love, and community for as long as it takes to build the world we need and deserve.

 In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:

  • Public health updates at Lake Merritt Vending Pilot Program 
  • Tuesday’s Council meeting and agenda highlights
  • Community engagement opportunities to reimagine public safety
  • Important news and resources, including reopening updates


Walk-Up COVID-19 Testing & PPE Kits
Lake Merritt Vending Pilot Program Update

A month into our Lake Merritt Vending Pilot Program, we are grateful to have significantly expanded the program’s public health supports with the help of incredible partners:

[1] Community Ready Corps has been conducting temperature checks, public education, and distributing COVID PPE kits with face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves.

[2] CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) has been providing free COVID-19 testing from 12-6pm on Saturdays and 12-4pm on Sundays. Walk-up or register in advance; no insurance required. Thanks to the Alameda County Health Department for helping to make this happen! I got tested last week and my results are negative. 

If you haven’t already, come by on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am - 6pm. The Oakland Black Vendors Association has also officially launched an Instagram page: @black_vendors_association.

Again, thank you to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC), the Oakland Black Vendors Association, James “Old School” Copes, A2Z Media, city departments, Alameda County Health Dept., CORE, CRC, and the broader community for your collaboration as we work together to ensure access, safety, and equity at the Lake for everyone in our city and to support entrepreneurs and our Black and Brown communities during these uncertain times. 

Lawn Restoration of Grassy Area Near Cleveland Cascade: You may have noticed that Park Services Staff recently put up fencing on the grassy area of Lakeshore Ave across from the stairs. Thank you to City staff for working to repair broken irrigation heads, aerate the lawn area, and seed and add soil.

TUESDAY 11/10: Council Meeting Preview
Appointment of the Homeless Commission

Tuesday, November 10th’s 1:30pm City Council meeting will include the following important agenda items:

  • Item 2.11: Authorizing the City to Apply for Prop. 68 Funding for the Lincoln Square Park Recreation/Community Center Rebuild/Expansion Project
  • Item S2.33: Grant to the Friends of the Public Bank East Bay to aid in the development of a public bank
  • Item 3.2: Public Hearing on Electric Bike Share Program
  • Item S10: Commission on Homelessness Appointments


See details to join the meeting and provide public comment. You can also share e-comments here.

Make Your Voice Heard
To Help Reimagine Public Safety

To ensure community perspectives are being integrated into the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force's ongoing work to reinvest 50% of our police resources into community programs and services that address the root causes of violence, several community engagement tools and listening sessions have been developed which you can learn about here.

  1. Take a Community Survey to share your perspectives and ideas.
  2. Email your perspective to [email protected].
  3. Call (510) 663-4399 and leave a detailed voicemail with your ideas and suggestions.
  4. Participate in an upcoming Community Listening Session on Tuesday, December 8 from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm; Saturday, January 9 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm.
  5. Connect your base-building organization or coalition to help engage, collect, assess, and share the perspectives of directly-impacted people most affected by policing and public safety in Oakland for integration into the Task Force’s recommendations. Find the Request for Proposals here.


In case you missed Thursday's public forum with Mayor Schaaf and the Police Commission with the four finalists for Oakland Police Chief, you can learn more here

As this work to support community safety continues, we must also recognize the pain and trauma that our communities -- especially in deep East Oakland -- have been going through and are enduring right now, as this year’s spikes in homicides and gun violence persist and take the lives of loved ones.


I joined in solidarity with community organizations and leaders last weekend for a truce march to show love and push for peace, healing and life. Thank you to the march organizers Adamika Village, Violence Prevention Coalition, Council of Elders and others; and also to OurOakland, OLC and Trybe. 

City & District 2 News and Resources
Street Sweeping Enforcement Resumes, Reopening Updates, Gerald the Turkey


Street Sweeping Enforcement Resumes Monday 11/9: The City will begin providing no-penalty warning citations through Dec. 31. Vehicle owners are entitled to one warning citation between now and Dec. 31, and are subject to penalties for subsequent violations. As the winter weather, rains and winds arrive, keeping our streets, sidewalks and drains clear and clean is very important for everyone's safety. Residents in Downtown, around the Lake and in San Antonio have shared concerns with my office that litter is accumulating along our curbs causing unhealthy and unsafe conditions. Thank you to dedicated city staff who continue to keep Oakland clean and safe during these challenging times! For parking enforcement assistance contact OAK311 by dialing 311 or 510-615-556. More information here.

County Reopening Updates: Since October 23, the County permitted additional activities including:

  • indoor family entertainment centers that are naturally socially distanced, like bowling alleys and climbing walls, up to 25% capacity; 
  • indoor dining up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less; 
  • indoor worship services up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less;
  • indoor movie theaters up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people per screen, whichever is less
  • expansion of indoor retail and malls up to 50% of capacity and permitting limited food courts
  • expansion of indoor gyms and fitness centers up to 25% of capacity, but indoor pools are not permitted to open
  • expansion of outdoor non-contact fitness classes up to 20 people including the instructor
  • expansion of wedding and funeral services up to 25% of venue capacity or 100 people, whichever is less


Gatherings of a stable group of no more than three households replaces the County’s Social Bubble and includes a limit of no more than 20 people. Learn more about activities that are currently open and not open.

New COVID-19 Testing Site in District 2: The county and Alameda Health System launched a new site at the Henry J. Kaiser Center, 10 Tenth Street. You do not need a doctor’s note or insurance and you will not be asked about immigration status. Any adult can receive a test on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:30-11:30am and 12:30-4pm. Essential workers will be prioritized for appointments from 8:30-11:30am on Tuesday and Thursdays. Children, two and older, can be tested on Saturdays. Make an appointment here.

Arts Technical Assistance Fund: The city is allocating $193K in CARES Act funding to offer digital workshops to provide technical assistance to help Oakland-based arts organizations and artists develop a robust online digital presence. From November 9 to December 10, you can attend 14 free, virtual workshops on topics such as: tools for programming and production; producing content using low-cost tools; creating virtual presentations; social media and marketing. Learn more here.

Gerald the Turkey: We love animals, but Gerald had to go. We’re happy to share he has been released into the wild near Orinda after 7 months earning a reputation for attacking Rose Garden visitors. Sincere gratitude to Oakland Animal Services for not giving up on catching this trouble-making turkey. Thank you also to the Rose Garden's volunteers and patrons. And please, if you visit the Rose Garden, don't feed the wild turkeys!

Little Saigon Harvest Food Court: Big thank you to Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce for organizing a recent wonderful community gathering in Little Saigon at Clinton Park! I enjoyed joining the event, connecting with neighborhood leaders, community members, seeing children in costumes and elders enjoy the pumpkin patch and family friendly activities, and the distribution of COVID kits to promote health and safety.

Did you know our Chief of Staff is an expert pollinator-gardener? Miya Saika Chen is not only a warrior for justice & love in Oakland but also an expert pollinator-gardener for monarch butterflies, planting milkweed along their migration routes to help stem their population decline. This year by September, Miya & her kids raised more than 100 monarch butterflies in their garden – from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Learn how you can join the conservation wave in Miya's piece for Splash Pad News.

Legal Help for Oakland Small Businesses with Lease Negotiations: Oakland has allocated $150,000 of California CARES funding to the nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the SF Bay Area to provide legal advice and assistance on lease negotiations to small businesses that have suffered revenue losses due to COVID-19. Business owners can access these free, multilingual legal services here, such as commercial leasing webinars through mid-December, 1:1 one-hour consultations and longer-term assistance which may include lease negotiation, pre-litigation and settlement negotiations or representation in a court proceeding.



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  • Nikki Fortunato Bas, Council President