Pilot Program at Lake Merritt, Wildfire Resources & More

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. I also want to usher in Filipino American History Month and appreciate the contributions of my Filipinx community. 

In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:

  • Next steps to increase safety, health, and inclusivity at Lake Merritt
  • How to prepare for wildfires and tips on keeping your home and community safe
  • Monday’s Education Partnership Committee meeting focused on school and public safety planning
  • Tuesday’s Council meeting and agenda highlights
  • News and resources


Sustainable, Healthy Use of Lake Merritt
Pilot Program Beginning this Weekend

The issues at Lake Merritt are complex, with groups having different needs and perspectives, all of which are important and that we are working to honor -- families and elders facing challenging issues living at the Lake, entrepreneurs / vendors of color seeking economic stability during uncertain times, park users, and wildlife conservationists. In a recent update, I shared the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission / PRAC’s recommendations for sustainable use of Lake Merritt, which sought to balance the two perspectives below:

  1. What is going on around the Lake is not sustainable and must change ASAP.
  2. People need healthy outdoor places to gather and engage in commercial activity, especially during these unprecedented times.


On September 16th, PRAC voted to recommend a pilot program to deter illegal parking and vending; promote compliance with park rules and County rules during COVID; and address challenges such as late night noise. 


The City, in coordination with the Oakland Black Vendor Association, is developing this pilot for merchandise vendors to take place along El Embarcadero and in the Lakeview Library parking lot on weekends beginning this Saturday, October 3rd, 10am - 6pm. Note: If air quality reaches the 150+ Unhealthy level, the program will be postponed until next weekend.


The city is working to resolve concerns related to late night noise, large gatherings prohibited under COVID, etc. in coordination with the launch of the pilot. Our goal is to reset the tone at the Lake and address the core issues that we’ve heard from neighbors, while also maintaining an inclusive, equitable and safe public space during COVID and beyond.

OPD will work with our municipal code officers this weekend to warn vendors of increased enforcement action as the pilot begins, and my office will continue to engage and encourage vendors to participate in this new pilot.

We welcome your feedback. We are grateful to the City Administrator’s Office, City Departments, James “Old School” Copes, Oakland Black Vendors Association, and PRAC Commissioners for helping make this pilot happen quickly and supporting multiple, complex interests.

In addition, the Downtown Streets Team, has relaunched its Oakland Team to support unhoused individuals providing them with work beautifying Lake Merritt, including litter pick up around the Lake. In return for their volunteer services, Team Members receive a basic-needs stipend, case management, employment services, and a support network. Team Members are giving back to Oakland while working to overcome barriers to housing and employment. You may see the team beautifying the lake as they relaunch their program this month. 

Wildfire Preparation Resources
Safety Tip Sheets

Check out the City’s wildfire resource page and the National Fire Protection Association’s safety tip sheets on topics such as heating, carbon monoxide, safety equipment, household equipment, transportation, and more. Here are a few basic tips:

  • Be Ready: Create and maintain defensible space year round and harden your home against flying embers.
  • Get Set: Prepare your family and home ahead of time for the possibility of having to evacuate.
  • GO! When wildfire strikes, go early for your safety. Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire. 


MONDAY: Education Partnership Committee Meeting
Safety Plan for Police-Free Schools & Engaging Youth to Reimagine Public Safety 

On Monday, October 5th at 5:30pm, we'll hold a meeting of the Education Partnership Committee which I co-chair with OUSD Board member Aimee Eng. We will discuss the OUSD school safety plan to create safe, healthy, and welcoming school environments for all youth and families, as OUSD phases out school police by the end of the year. Thank you to the many community and youth leaders, including the Black Organizing Project, for your long-time leadership to get us here. We will also discuss the City's Reimagining Public Safety Task Force with youth to hear input and flesh out youth engagement. 


See details to join the meeting and provide public or e-comment.

TUESDAY: Council Meeting Preview
Speeding Enforcement, Banning Chokeholds, Gender-Inclusive Language & More

On Tuesday, October 6th at 1:30pm, the City Council meeting will include the following important agenda items:

  • State of the City: Mayor Schaaf will deliver her annual State of the City address. 
  • Agenda Item 2.6: More effective methods for speeding enforcement, such as automated cameras and alternative, civilian-staffed traffic enforcement. I'm pleased to co-sponsor this resolution with President Kaplan, CM Kalb and CM Thao.
  • Agenda Item 2.23: Improving open space in Brooklyn Basin. I’m proud to have worked with Sogorea Te' Land Trust to name one of the parks Sii Tka Park: Ohlone for “into the water” and pronounced Seed-Kah. 
  • Agenda Item 8: Using gender-inclusive and gender-neutral language in city materials and communications. Thank you to City Attorney Parker for authoring, and to CMs Thao, McElhaney, President Kaplan, and Mayor Schaaf for partnering together with me. 
  • Agenda Item 12: Banning the use of carotid restraints (choke / neck holds) and all forms of asphyxia for the Oakland Police Department.


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

City & District 2 News and Resources
Low-Income Housing, County Reopening, Asian-Black Solidarity

Oakland’s Chinatown & Asian Communities Spotlighted in The New York Times: Check out this wonderful article in the New York Times on Asian-Black solidarity in Oakland Chinatown! Shoutout to the Good Good Eatz partners who were highlighted -- Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory, New Green Fish Seafood, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce -- and thank you all for your leadership to build community and healing. 

Low-Income Senior and Family Apartments in District 2 Brooklyn Basin: There are 82 low-income voucher units available in the new Vista Estero senior housing development and 50 units in the new Paseo Estero family housing development at Brooklyn Basin. Applicants are selected through a lottery. Apply by 5pm, November 2. See these flyers in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese for information on how to apply for the senior and family apartments.

Spotlight on District 2 Leader, Artist & Biz Owner Regina Evans: Check out this wonderful KQED piece highlighting the work of Regina Evans, who has led powerful efforts to bring art and spirituality to end sex trafficking of minors in our community and organized many healing events for survivors along International Boulevard in District 2.

Commercial Eviction Moratorium Extended Through March 2021: The COVID-19 emergency eviction moratorium to protect renters, nonprofits, and small businesses which I first authored in March is tied to the end of the City's  Local Emergency for residential tenants and to the Governor’s Executive Orders for commercial tenants. Last week, Governor Newsom signed an executive order allowing local jurisdictions to continue banning commercial evictions of tenants affected by the pandemic until March 31, 2021. Residential tenants and property owners may contact the Rent Adjustment Program at (510) 238-3721 or [email protected] with questions. Commercial tenants and property owners with questions should email [email protected].

Alameda County Enters Red Tier: On September 22, California announced that Alameda County is in the Red Tier of the color-coded four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Through October 6, County health officials will monitor adjusted caseloads, positivity rates and other metrics to ensure they remain stable and then determine changes to permitted or prohibited activities. Learn more about activities that are currently open / not open. 

Autumn Lights Festival 2020: Join this year’s free broadcasted version of Autumn Lights Festival with three nights of presentations October 16-18 to benefit nonprofit Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt. The festival will showcase illuminated art along with in-depth conversations with artists about their inspiration and creative process.

Capital Improvement Projects Survey--Complete by 10/31Act now and help us make the improvements YOU want to see in your community! The City of Oakland’s Capital Improvement Program guides investments in big projects that can range from restoring aging public buildings, to improving streets and sidewalks, to creating or improving our parks. Request a project in your neighborhood for consideration by taking a short survey or suggesting a project idea here no later than October 31. 



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  • Nikki Fortunato Bas, Council President