A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Very Important New Land-Use Law

The San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday ran an article about SB375, which is designed to encourage local governments and builders to concentrate growth in urban areas close to public transportation. The Chron calls the law, which was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in late September, "perhaps the state's most important land-use law in more than 30 years." This could have pretty important ramifications, potentially positive and negative, for communities like ours.

A question of love

A commentary on Prop 8 from MSNBC.

Monday, November 24, 2008

WOBO Membership Meeting Dec. 2; 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland is holding their regular membership meeting at Vo's on corner of Grand and Webster on December 2 starting at 6:30 p.m. WOBO is a group of cyclists who in addition to gourging themselves on Vietnamese food, holding barbecues in the park and generally cutting loose, has also achieved real change by working with the City of Oakland to make roads more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians.

For example, on Monday November 3, the City Council voted to add a dedicated staff engineer to the bicycle and pedestrian unit. You are probably thinking, "What's the big deal?" Well, change doesn't come easy. WOBO pushed for this for two years. The new engineer will make a difference because each step the city takes to make roads safer and more bikable must be reviewed. Without this additional city staffer, modifications represented by the bike and pedestrian plan would not happen.

Please take a minute to visit WOBO's Web site and send a letter of thanks to council members. (All you have to do is click, click, click.) There is also an action call to request a halt in the construction of closed medians on MacArthur Boulevard, which will turn the street into a freeway, rather than a community corridor.

Bike to the Movies Night

The Parkway Speakeasy Theater at 1834 Park Boulevard is offering cyclists free valet parking and discounted movie tickets for the first two shows if you ride your bike the theater. (This week, however, they will be closed for Thanksgiving.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bank Fraud -- Wells Fargo

A fake e-mail is being circulated to Wells Fargo customers from fraudsters who are seeking to steal identities. DO NOT CLICK ON IT. It is from security-services@online-updates.com. The text is below.

Your Online Banking is Blocked

Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on you account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on you account.

So we have decided to put an extra verification process to ensure your identity and your account security.

Please click on continue to the verification process and ensure your account security. It is all about your security.

Thank you.

Continue To Online Banking

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Westlake Community Coalition Meeting

This Tuesday, November 18, the Westlake Community Coalition will hold its final 2008 meeting @ 5 PM. Meeting will adjourn @ 7 PM. Location is First Congregational Church on Harrison X 27th Streets, in the Smith Library. (Next meeting may be prior to spring.)

Purpose of meeting is reformation, and re-establishment of implementation priorities for 2009 city activity. We will submit a request for action to appropriate city offices/officials.

If you have special topic/item of concern, please, convey to Barton before Monday evening. Agenda and priorities establishment for coalition will be determined by prior input, and agreements concluded Tuesday. Crosswalk safety identification, street lanes narrowing cyclist routes/lanes, recirculation/median alteration, trees replacement, bus stop eliminations and addition, are among items to be accentuated in the efforts of coalition.

Between December and February it is likely that the Caltrans-funded study of this community will generate our attention and require participation. For this reason, it is prudent to distinguish among our members, and to the community, the existing recommendations in need of implementation, independent of the 18 month study project. All of our previous efforts should not fall into "needs further study" slot.

The intersection of Harrison, 27th, 24th, Bay Place, adjacent to Whole Foods (and affected by popularity of the store), needs special attention. Collaboration with the First Congregational Church, Westlake Middle School, and Whole Foods management, is in the interest of everyone living nearby. The traffic patterns there, and the problems associated w/the loading dock on Harrison, and street hazards on Vernon should not be ignored. Persistent traffic problems do not go away without persistent attention and requests for improvements. City priorities are dictated by input, communication from those who are aware, interested in change and active. The coalition has attention of city reps. You are part of our coalition. Every participant is significant to success.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanksgiving Food Drive

Belinda Gilchrist-Day of Project Darries wants to remind people that November 17 is the last day to donate to the neighborhood food drive. Donations are being accepted at the First Christian Church at 111 Fairmount and there is also a drop off box on the porch at 339 Oakland Avenue.

Photo courtesy of Cloned Milkmen.

Neighborhood Watch Meetings: December & January

The HarriOak and Adams Point neighborhoods are coming together to organize a network of neighborhood watch groups. If you want neighborhood watch signs on your block, you MUST attend two organizational meetings at the Westlake Middle School. The first meeting is Tuesday, December 16, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The second meeting is Tuesday, January 20, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. We will publish the room location as soon as we know it.

Here are some notes from a Fairmount block captain who recently attended the city's big Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee meeting at City Hall.

1) I recently attended a Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee Meeting at City Hall. A presentation was given by Deputy Chief Jeffrey Israel of the Oakland Police Department regarding the recent increase in burglaries in Oakland. There was a great deal of information provided including tips on taking preventative measures. A good deal of emphasis was placed on neighbors taking an active role in observing activities in your neighborhood. Here are some items to consider:
a) Potential burglars observe activity in a neighborhood, or lack thereof. If they walk up and down a street will they be observed or greeted? Sometimes the fact that their mere presence has been observed could be enough of a deterrent.
b) Some "casing" techniques are riding up and down the street on a bicycle, sitting in a parked car for a long period of time, someone knocking door to door, or it could be someone that you don't recognize just sitting in place for a long period of time.
c) One of the most effective ways to assist the police department is to funnel information to them. If you place a call, try to be as detailed as possible. Include such details as a description of clothing, direction of travel, height and build, etc. If it is not an emergency that does not require 911, you can reach the Oakland Police Department non-emergency line at (510) 777-3333.

2) A few of you may have observed the Neighborhood Watch Signs that were installed along Fairmount Avenue between Harrison Street and 29th Street. Currently there are 3 signs up. We are currently awaiting the installation of 2 additional signs. These signs are at the very least a visual reminder that a watch group exists on our street, however to be an effective watch group will require real participation through keeping a watchful eye on our street with a willingness to call the police department when appropriate.

3) Our relatively quiet street had a few incidents over the last few weeks. Some of these occured in the early hours of the morning. Several residents were awakened and the police were called on the scene several times. These turned out to be domestic disturbances with no observed physical violence or arrests taking place. A reminder: It is not enough to simply stand by your window or balcony, rubbernecking over what may happen next. Do not leave it up to your fellow neighbors to call the police in these instances. Take action and make the call yourself! Good work to those who took the initiative to make those calls.

4) We are having an Emergency Preparedness Meeting at the First Christian Church on Monday, November 10 at 6:30pm. This FREE training class is sponsored by the Oakland Fire Department. I have attached 2 informational sheets regarding this class, which is called the CORE 1 Home and Family Preparedness Class. We will have a Core 2 class on the following Monday November 17 at 6:30pm. This is open to all who would like to attend. See Attached Information:

Photo courtesy of Adam Rice.

New Traffic Plan Underway

Design, Community & Environment, a planning and design firm based in Berkeley and Ventura, has begun work on a community-based transportation plan for the Harrison Street/Oakland Avenue corridor. They held an initial meeting with neighborhood stakeholders Tuesday night at the First Congregational Church with the goal of establishing an effective consensus for calming traffic and improving neighborhood livability along the corridor. DCE is a respected firm that has done extensive work for Bay Area communities, including the Adams Point Urban Design Plan, the Albany Bicycle Plan, the Ames Research Center Environmental Impact Study for redeveloping Moffett Airfield, the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve Master Plan and the Marin County North-South Bikeway Feasibility Study for the Marin County Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services.

As part of the planning process the firm will be holding a community workshop in January. We will publish the details once we know them.

The Harrison/Oakland study is made possible with a grant from Caltrans. Below is DCE's transportation planning brochure.

Design, Community & Environment - Get more Business Documents

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Crime Meeting: November 20, 2008

The next meeting of the Beat 8x Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council will be held Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at the First Christian Church at 111 Fairmount Avenue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Core Training

Robert Carson, of Fairmount N.O.W. (Neighbors On Watch), has organized Core emergency-prepared training for our community. There will be two sessions, details below, held at the First Christian Church at 111 Fairmount Avenue.

November 10 (Monday) CORE 1 Home and Family Emergency Preparedness - Approx. 2 1/5 hours, starts at 6:30 pm

November 17 (Monday) CORE 2 Neighborhood Preparedness And Response - Approx. 2 1/5 hours on Monday starts at 6:30 pm

If you are planning to attend, please e-mail Robert at robertfcarson at gmail dot com so he can get a headcount.

Also, see materials below.

Core Document1 - Get more Business Documents

Core Doc2 - Get more Business Documents

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Local Election Results

Editors Note: We originally reported Measure OO as having failed. That was wishful thinking. The measure, which was a greedy grab for taxpayer money by Kids First at the expense of programs for the elderly and parks and a bunch other programs that benefit the entire city, passed by about 6500 votes. As explained below, it locks Oakland into paying people to run afterschool programs and means there will be fewer ways of funding for other, equally and perhaps more pressing city needs. Oakland will now be spending more on teenage recreation on than on its libraries.

Measure N: FAILED (This is the Oakland Unified School District tax)
Measure NN : FAILED (This is the police tax)
Measure OO : PASSED (This was the set-aside measure sponsored Kids First)
Measure WW : PASSED (This is the East Bay Regional Park District tax)

Councilmember At Large: Rebecca Kaplan
Rebecca Kaplan 61,431 or 62 percent of the votes
Kerry Hamill 36,845 or 37 p percent of the votes

AC Transit District Director, At Large: H.E. Christian Peeples
H.E. Christian (Chris) Peeples 171,355 or 64 percent of the vote
Joyce Roy 94,697 or 35 percent of the vote

East Bay Regional Park District Director, Ward 1: Norman La Force
Norman La Force 21,699 or 50 percent
Whitney Dotson 21,052 or 49 percent

photo credit: joebeone

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Police Nab Burglars

Police arrested two men suspected of rash of burglaries in the Montclair area on Monday, October 27, after a resident noticed a suspicious car on Balboa Drive. The suspects, Chas Langley, 24, of Marin City, and Kevin Simmons, 31, of Denver, were driving a stolen, blue 1989 Honda. According to the Oakland police, burglaries in the Oakland Hills have jumped 73 percent since Sept. 1. Thirty burglaries involved suspects kicking in doors in North Oakland and the Oakland Hills. Langley and Simmons are suspects in at least ten of those burglaries.

Police are continuing to investigate a rash of burglaries in HarriOak, including one burglary and one attempted burglary that occurred on 2900 block of Harrison in October, as well as a burglary on the 300 block of Oakland Avenue, where a burglar entered through an open window. One person has been arrested. A truck was also stolen from the corner of Pearl Street and Orange on Tuesday night.

Police are urging residents to call about any suspicious person or vehicle (510) 777-3333. They also said burglars appear to have been deterred by burglar alarms and surveillance cameras.