April 20, 2017 meeting notes

7 Board Members, 35 neighbors @ 6pm, at least 45-50 by end of meeting.

General Announcements:
100×100 project – call WOEIP (510) 257-5640- if you want to participate, or email 100×100.woeip@gmail.com, $50/month stipend for allowing placement in easy access place on your property. Largest air pollution study of its kind.

Street trees planting by the Sierra Club is almost done for the season but to get on the list for next time – treesforoaklandflatlands.org by the Sierra Club tree team
WON has endorsed the effort to get more money for street tree maintenance
Street trees are the city’s liability, but they are not maintaining them.

visit our blog Westoaklandneighbors.wordpress.com

EBMUD has tours, Resident tours are offered each month on the first Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. and third Wednesday starting at 1 p.m. Schedule a tour. They really want to be a good neighbor.

Update from Lynette McElhaney’s office
Alex (speaking for Brigitte Cook who is on her first vacation in 6 years)

-Recovery from fire on San Pablo, city council authorized release of 700K to go towards relocation assistance for survivors from fire – 8-12K per person to help get situated. It is a requirement of the owner of building to pay these funds, city will start collecting the 700K back from owner asap.

Compassionate Communities – started about 8 months ago to help house unsheltered neighbors. Allow them to stay in place so we can focus on services to get them into housing, hoping to help lessen the impact of them being there. Team that is responsible for the orderly decommissioning of the camp – plan to do within the month.
mostly successful with a lot of lessons learned. have been able to house just about every one of the original residents. 1 lesson learned from St. Andrews Plaza experience is the need for everyone providing services etc. to be on the same page. Fear that if we don’t decommission it as orderly as possible there were be more problems.
If you let it get too big it will get unmanageable. 30-40 folks is max. Using K-Rails has been the only way they have been able to keep the size contained.

2015 – 2000 people counted as homeless. Expect it to be at least 3000 now (based on January 2017 census, though those numbers haven’t come yet). Many people living at the edge where they bounce in and out of homelessness – maybe living in a car or doubling up with other people.
20% of KK (20 million) to house people who are homeless.
OUSD says 1000 kids are homeless in their system.

Neighbor’s questions: Alliance location: please do research on who is going into there, very carefully, and make sure they are on the up and up (ed. Regarding cannabis related business)

(ed. Regarding the encampment) The longer people stay the more they will get comfortable and entrenched there. Normalizing. All the city has to do by law is to have a plan and not necessarily enforce it so he is dubious

Neighbor question (Richard): in the last 4 years our neighborhood has declined drastically. more homeless encampments, less illegal dumping being picked up, graffiti is not being cleaned up as much. crime in neighborhood has spiked.
Richard has reached out to the developer of the lot next to Lynette’s home. He proposes to the council office that a compassionate community is to be located there, the developer is open to that.

Neighbor question: (unrelated to cannabis or encampments) Can we fix the pump at DeFremery pool so that the kids can use the swimming pool? It was closed all last summer.

Joe DeVries chimed in – note he is staff on Cannabis commission – which meets 3rd Thursday which means he usually cannot make it to our WON meetings despite being the a city administrator of the Compassionate Communities Pilot.

Portapotties and other services continuing, but intense case management is no longer available to the new people in the encampment.
Only 7 people of original 40+ have not been moved into housing. He thinks the speed with which they placed people is because of the services and not having to harass them, continually displace them

The plan for next site is not set but:
Looking at 34th & Mandela – caltrans lot South of 34th & Mandela – optimal Northern site is not acceptable because of condition (contamination?). Site across the street is not available – currently for sale. They would only use the third of the south lot. 24/7 security. Create a buffer with the shipping containers away from the eucalyptus.

-> Lots of neighbor concern here. Fire danger of being so close to eucalyptus. Mother with infant whose fence / backyard borders that lot. The drug dealing near their home has finally gone away and they are not interested in the possibility of it coming back given the track record with the 34th/Magnolia encampment. She is not interested in her husband having a gun held to his head again. Neighboring businesses very worried about their customers turning away. Massage Therapist asks who will pay my bills when my clients no longer feel safe coming to my studio? Concern that property value will drop when the new encampment is setup.

Joe DeVries: Let’s talk about property value impact of unregulated homeless encampments, please consider how much of a greater benefit it is to have a regulated one.
Part of the plan is to reunify people with their families if they are out of town. Every individual is different.
It had a positive impact on the community to implement this pilot – previously there was garbage everywhere, needles on the street, etc. Made a commitment to the neighborhood that they would shut it down and they still are holding to that commitment.
Budget for previous site was very small compared to what they’re planning to do at next site – 4x the budget is earmarked for next site. Not 80K site like it is right now. To do it right need to scale up, expand services, expand security.
Notes that October 17th k-rails came in at 34th/Magnolia. If you’re counting from that it is now a week overdue.

-> Neighbor concern about current encampment. Lots of neighbors give anecdotal evidence of failure to keep area clean – trash constantly overflowing, needles everywhere, portapotties must be full or at least filthy because people stand outside the door to pee into the portapottie.
Neighbor doesn’t know what to do.very frustrating since the encampment since November. Fed up. Porter potties spilling out, trash not being picked up. she has more trash near her place than ever before (she is 1 block up on 34th) – trash, balls, etc. in her backyard, constant littering nearby. Other neighbors state that there is more trash than before, and encampment is failing because people are now camping on West side of Peralta. Neighbors talk about property values dropping.

Joe: Not seeing the same thing (trash, portapotties), is down there 2-3 times a week. October 17th was official first start date so end being a few weeks late – really we’re only a few days past. (neighbor notes that it was always always always told to us that the move date would be April 1.) Confidence is low.

Joe: City is seeking sites to do SROs. Need another henry robinson (multipurpose site, see here for info on it and other shelters) which has a 90% success rate for getting people into housing. Looking to acquire abandoned hotels, toured some on San Pablo so trying to work with owner for master lease. Looking at SROs downtown – getting a master lease so people have stability.

Part of cities budget proposal – putting together a dedicated team from public works and OPD so that they’re not being peeled away from the community priorities.

Neighbor question (Nancy Nadel) – 34th & mandela is not an appropriate site for encampment. Yes for a housing building in the vein of planting justice where they can take over. Yes we need a temporary site that is not 34th & Mandela. That location is too hard to keep it from sprawling out. Mandela is a traffic / speed death trap (note Nancy was in a terrible car accident at that intersection). Other neighbor notes: Dealing with Caltrans is like dealing with the devil (so why waste time?)

Neighbor note (Sean)- 14 months ago city passed an emergency ordinance that would allow them to skip the permit process to rehab city owned property. Nothing has happened in the last 14months to move people into the emergency shelter program that was passed. The office and city fails residents on a regular basis. Is failing the people under the freeway. It is disgusting that this social experiment being run on human beings at 34th & Magnolia. it is a failure. they need to be in housing. We can’t sign on with magical thinking, know you’re a good guy. Use the things that you have not already used but you have been authorized to use.

Joe response: Emergency ordinance was only for a year. We did not respond fast enough and we did not use the tools authorized, takes ownership of that. It is our recommendation that it get extended. During that time we looked at other models – Santa Rosa, Eugene. Other communities have provided services in place with some success so we wanted to try that as well.

Site management. More intensive case management.

Board member comment (Elaine) – want to make it clear to those who have not been to previous meetings that Brigitte has been here every month with updates, and has each time asked us to provide suggestions and/or connections to locations / properties that ought to be considered for future encampment sites.

Board member comment (Peter): west oakland has been required to take more than its weight – dumping, encampments, etc. Don’t see these things in Rockridge, Claremont. As a resident it is a pattern. We don’t get the streets completely repaved. I am a supporter of the Compassionate Communities program. I think it will make a dent in the problem but you are asking a lot of the residents. Some of the people who are living in the camps are asking a LOT of the residents. Most of the people in this neighborhood will cut a lot a slack.

Neighbor question (Sandy): How many potential sites have you considered? It does seem WO takes too much of a burden, why isn’t there a site in other places, Montclair, etc. I think there are churches with big empty lots throughout Oakland, not just WO. They are compassionate.

Joe response: They’ve learned that people have developed a sense of community and are not willing to move so easily. They’re looking into possibly an RV site and 2 other sites. East Oakland, other parts of west oakland. Trying to get RVs off the street so we can do less aggressive enforcements. Want to follow model of SF Navigation center so they have a more controlled sanctioned site

Neighbor comment: If we were able to look at the list of available sites that we have been asking for then maybe we can work together. We have shown we are a compassionate community, a patient community. Nancy comment: We have been asking for a list of city owned properties to help collaborate for months with no response.

Board member comment (Pastor Lankford): 1) Church is the answer. Many of these houseless people were part of the local churches so they already have a connection. Mt Zion – huge parking lot, pastor is willing to participate. Good Samaritan. Many others out into East Oakland. 2) hire local people to do the cleanup and other jobs.

Neighbor comment (Ellie) – has reached out to different departments to ask questions and was surprised that some departments are not talking with each other. Public works, police – can you lay out a coordinated effort with all the departments that should be involved. Can you come back with something that gives us confidence that this is happening?

Joe response: We have a standing interdepartmental meeting every Friday AM. Recently added OFD. A lot of cross departmental work including the county, more than ever before. County has implemented coordinated care programs which includes prioritizing people with highest need.

Put in k-rail and portapotties about a month ago at wood street. Working with VA for San Pablo and Grand. Whole spectrum of housing work being investigated

Neighbor question (Hilary): enforcement of people who are in encampment that we have – need some way to enforce. Fines, etc obviously won’t work if they don’t have money. Check and balance needed otherwise there is no consequence for bad behavior.

Joe response: When the new police chief had her first day – we told her we don’t want to criminalize homelessness, but we don’t want criminal behavior to go unchecked. SF has 2 officers per precinct that are specifically focused on this. We have to deal with the illegal activity that is happening, break up the criminal enterprise. Want to require people to be more accountable. Within next 1.5 months we should have these dedicated officers, we’re writing the job descriptions right now.

Neighbor comment (Kathleen) – There are laws that the city of oakland have chosen not to enforce – we are compassionate people who seek solutions for the betterment of our community. We also expect the rules to be enforced. When we move forward with sanctioned set of camping facilities, we need to revisit enforcement when people are occupying our public right of way or our public space.

Peter – weaving in and out of this discussion is Caltrans. How can we support the city in dealing with Caltrans. Rob Bonta, Jerry Brown. Joe doesn’t think Caltrans is entirely intractable, they’ve become more responsive in the last decade. On land use they are challenging. I don’t know that Assembly member is the right person to go. DOT and Governor are more likely target. Peter suggests that he harness the anger and resentment in the room to get some action moving.

Cannabis – Joe DeVries

Oakland has regulations from seed to sale. Previously there were 8 licensed dispensaries. 1mil visits per year, zero complaints. Crime analysis for calls for service -data shows it has gone down. They are good neighbors.

Cultivation of plant production of tinctures – has been unregulated. 2 years ago started looking at developing MERSA – modeled our ordinances to match state requirements. 2 weeks ago after long and controversial debate adopted our cannabis ordinances. soon will release applications for permits-. will tax it, charge fees, etc.

now the previously unregulated grow facilities will have to submit security plans, odor management plans, biz plan. Facilities will be inspected by building & fire inspectors, will have to meet same codes. Equity program – licenses will go into effect – people who live in certain police beats / beats disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. people who were incarcerated for marijuana charges will have priority. incubator component – you can get your permit faster if you provide incubator space for people in the equity program. We need the industry to be regulated – stop fires, stop robberies by grow sites.

You can go online and click on govt, special permits, click on cannabis services – and will show you a map where all the categories are, permits, etc. ( city info here-scroll down for Medical Cannabis for other useful links plus instructions on how to use the map) Manufacturing, non-volatile industry in light industrials. Anywhere there is a school there is 600ft radius they can’t operate. Permits are yearly permits that don’t run with the land. Won’t stay with property forever like conditional use permits, it is a discretionary permit that can be revoked.
Neighbor question: Will tax money stay in the community?

There is a 5% gross receipts tax on all medical cannabis, 10% on recreational. Goes into general fund. first $3 mil will go to equity fund for low interest loans. Long term, that is up to city council. If people want to lobby for particular services from those funds they can. People in this industry want to be considered legitimate. Plans must include removing garbage, cameras on outside, cleaning up graffiti. There is power thru city to really regulate and help make them better neighbors than other businesses are required to be.

The city has to hire additional tax and revenue people to deal with the cash that will come with this industry, currently an all cash business. They are considering public banks (note: 100K proposed for Public Bank feasibility study, city council voting 4/25)

Related: Unfortunately the new tenant in Alliance space could not be here, hoping to come to next meeting.
West Oakland Walk- Architects Norman Hooks & Philip Banta
Article about them: http://www.oaklandmagazine.com/West-Oakland-Walk-Honors-Neighborhood-Achievements/
Details of WOW in the WOSP: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/agenda/oak047540.pdf

Creating the loop from downtown to west oakland – west oakland walk. Structure already in place. (include slide show on blog). develop an architecture walk too for the west oakland walk. most fascinating development = fifth dimension of oakland. architects masters of 3, 4th time and spirit. wow is a storyline for the history of oakland. incredible people, icons for the next generation. what do they want to do along the walk? series of iterations they are proposing, improvements to implement. not to ask for a dime from the city – money will come from reaching out to foundations, federal institutions, regional and state groups to get grants to get it done. proposing a highline? it’s better. that cost 150mil. but this is better. it’s on the ground plane, existing roads no money to acquire those assets. major exercise in whole greater than sum of its parts. Opportunity to celebrate what’s great about oakland. networks of parks places and people. oakland heritage alliance walk. what can we do to make it happen? founders circle – asking for $$ developers who have stake in oakland. asking for letters of support from neighbors. where can we send the letters of support? website name reserved, have to get money to build the website. grant writer is on it. been working on it pro bono for the last 8 years. these guys love west oakland/oakland. whatever improvement they make they want it to serve more than one function. propose a street tree solution for the entire walk. reached out to pga, longstanding architecture firm – expressed interest in working with them. they have complete inventory of trees in oakland and designed frank ogawa plaza. wow factor app they are creating for the walk. they could design it but they want community input – more fun, better ideas. sierra club based in oakland has huge surplus of trees. atlanta has something similar going on. labor of love. have a lot of design work to do to get the grant app process started. will come back when they have options to show us so we get input.
Oakland History:
Betty coming back in May because joe’s time went over

parcel sold on wood street

tent city urbanism betsy morris of cohousing has 30 copies to sell pg 60
Board notes:
need a new logo designed


One Comment Add yours

  1. Lee says:

    I am so sorry I could not be at this meeting. So many concerns were not brought up or glossed over. Something about this whole concept is not right. The ultimate goal is to get these citizens off the street not in another encampment. The homeless situation should be shared by more than the residents of West Oakland this is a whole city problem. This is so shameful and getting worse.


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