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2019 Annual Community Meeting

When: January 28, 2019 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Where:  Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd

2019 Agenda

More than 200 people attended our 2019 Annual Community Meeting at Chabot Space & Science Center on January 28, 2019

  • 8

    6 p.m.

    Register, pay dues, cruise our Expo, mingle, have a light snack and purchase raffle tickets to win 2 luxury seats at an upcoming Warriors home game. 
  • 15

    7 - 9 p.m.

    Keynote:  Mayor Libby Schaaf News from Chabot Managing our year-round fire season (OFD Chief Darin White) Upgrading our streets and other infrastructure (DOT Director Ryan Russo) Reducing and preventing crime (OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick) PPNA business briefs, elections and raffle drawing And more! We sent a survey out in November 2018 asking residents to rank issues in order of importance and to suggest other topics. There will be time for lots of audience interaction
  • 23

And more! We sent a survey out in November 2018 asking residents to rank issues in order of importance and to suggest other topics. 

2019 Minutes

Minutes prepared by Nancy Levey, PPNA Secretary & Treasurer

Welcome by Robbie Neely- PPNA Executive Director

Thanks to:

  • City officials for taking item from their busy schedule to join us
  • Lead sponsor, PG&E; our venue sponsor, Chabot Space and Science Center; and our raffle sponsor, District 4 Councilmember Sheng Thao

Change to agenda:

  • Gary Yee, District 4 School Board Member, was unable to join us due to an important OUSD board meeting
  • PG&E unable to join the panel due to bankruptcy uncertainties

Adam Tobin Executive Director Chabot Space and Science Center

  • Adam gave an update of new exhibits and exciting new educational programs and outreach programs at Chabot.  Please visit for more information

Keynote: Mayor Libby Schaaf

Mayor Schaaf expressed gratitude for this neighborhood, her family, the employees of the City of Oakland and the leadership team of the Oakland City Council and the City Administrator.

As she starts her new term, she is focused on looking forward as Oakland’s 50th Mayor and outlined her priorities:

  • Holistic Community Safety
    • Oakland is much safer today than 4 years ago
    • Oakland had its 6th consecutive year of reduction in shootings and homicide
    • Oakland had the lowest 4-year homicide average in recorded history
    • Oakland is off the US’s Ten Most Dangerous City List! While this is worth noting, it cannot be celebrated if any one person in Oakland is harmed. There is still a lot to do to improve safety.
    • Mayor Schaaf noted that the Oakland Police Department is great at getting funds from outside of the City.  OPD is compliant with Federal Laws and is receiving federal funding and grants regardless of its sanctuary city status. OPD’s Cease Fire program is working and is receiving great support from the faith community. This team effort is truly effective. The Mayor was sorry Gary Yee could not attend and discuss OUSD.  The fate of our school district is crucial. The district is struggling but the Mayor is optimistic about the new Governor who is pro education and is increasing funding to preschools and colleges.
  • Oakland Promise
    • This cradle to career program is getting National recognition and is hailed as the most ambitious and comprehensive program of its kind in the country
    • 300 Oakland babies have received $500 college saving accounts, which includes financial coaching for the parents
    • 9000 early scholarships have been awarded to Oakland kindergarteners
    • This program offers college tuition assistance and mentorship and education to families on understanding the resources available to them
    • There was a 14% increase in OUSD African American graduates enrolling in college and overall success throughout all OUSD students
    •  $60 million of private funding has been raised
    • Goal is to scale and institutionalize this effective approach
  • Equitable Jobs and Housing
    • Oakland is experiencing its biggest building boom since 1906. 9300 housing units are under construction today.
    • Housing units next to transit will improve all of our commutes    
    • Mayor Schaaf thanked Oakland citizens for being compassionate about the homeless situation, not just wanting them removed.
    • The City’s relocation of homeless encampments to tuff shed along with providing resources has helped 77% of those participating move on to permanent housing.  Four more sites are being set up now.
    • Oakland’s Rapid Rehousing Center at the Henry Robinson Facility is effective and has moved 88% of its participants to permanent housing and the City has just added 90 more beds in its second location under the Henry Robinson Rapid Rehousing Program.
    • Mayor Schaaf said neighboring communities all need to work together to tackle homelessness. It cannot just be Oakland. It needs to be all surrounding cities working together. 
    • The City has received $12 million in private funds to help people facing eviction. One way to keep people off the streets is to keep them in their current housing. People have unexpected costs that push them to homelessness. The City can now help them--financially and legally--to keep them in their homes.  Oakland has helped 500 families avoid eviction at a cost of $2,500 for each family this year. This is a much more economical way toward keeping people from becoming homeless.
  • Vibrant Infrastructure  - which will be talked about by Director Russo 
  • Responsive and Trustworthy Government

Question & Answers with Mayor Schaaf, moderated by Jay Ward--PPNA resident

Question: Explain details on the new vacant parcel tax-Measure W.  Will unbuildable, private vacant lots be taxed?

Answer: The goal of Measure W is to provide funding for homelessness. It is not the intent to tax open space or green space, but rather apartment units that are going unused or urban lots that remain unbuilt. We need to build more housing in the city and need to utilize our unused spaces.

Q:  We feel unsafe in our neighborhoods because Police response time is too long.

A:  Now all calls made to 911 in Oakland, from land or cell phones, are routed to Oakland PD and not through the CHP. Currently all our 911 call positions are filled, but OPD is not 100% staffed. Response times should be improving.

Q:  Why is the City not helping PPNA with Phase 2 Undergrounding?

Answer:  PG&E’s bankruptcy is not helping our situation.  It will take state legislation to change the qualifications for undergrounding. Phase 2 and 3 are in peril with PG&E's bankruptcy, but with recent wildfires highlighting the need for undergrounding power lines, we might prevail.

Q:  With the City short of Fire Inspectors and the biggest violator of vegetation management being the City with City owned land, what is going to be done?

A:  During the budgeting process, we are looking at ways to backfill funding for the Wild Fire Assessment District that was not renewed when put on the ballot a few years back. But we need to work reinstating the Wildfire Assessment District in Oakland and we need to work on a Regional Wild Fire plan as we are surrounded by risk from surrounding cities. The 1991 Firestorm started in Contra Costa County, so it is imperative to have a regional approach.


PANEL DISCUSSION and Q&A  Moderated by Jay Ward

Panel participants

  • Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • District 4 Councilmember Sheng Thao
  • Oakland Police Department Chief Anne Kirkpatrick
  • Oakland Fire Department Chief Darin White
  • Oakland Department of Transportation Director Ryan Russo

Each panelist began with a quick introduction and a report on their priorities and biggest challenges

  • Councilmember Thao listed her top priorities
    • Wildfire prevention
    • Infrastructure improvement
    • Crime Prevention
    • Economic Development – support for our small businesses
    • Housing our workforce
  • OPD Chief Kirkpatick  introduced our local police officers and listed her priorities
    • Fully staffed OPD.  There is a plan in place to achieve this by 7/1/19
    • Reduce crime- GET THE GUNS OUT
  • OFD Chief White's priorities
    • Community risk reduction
    • Increase inspections throughout the City
    • Keep the community safe
  •  Dot Director Russo
    • After 4 generations of neglect, his goal is to improve the streets, which accounts for 30% of Oakland’s land
    • Use the new funds from state and local taxes and bond measures to accomplish repaving the streets. Lots of effort is going into staffing and signing contractors to get the work done.  The City has tripled the rate of paving since this funding has been received and it will continue to accelerate the output of new paving.

 Question & Answer Period moderated by PPNA resident Jay Ward

  • Survey Response Questions

Q:  What is the City’s specific crime reduction strategy?

A: (OPD) There are many prongs to our strategy. Operation Ceasefire has been working.  There has been a reduction in robbery. OPD is educating citizens on how NOT to be a robbery victim. Foot patrol has increased. OPD is improving use of data analysis and is focusing on identified violators (20% of violators cause 80% of the crimes). The best thing citizens can do is invest in Oakland Promise which gets kids into college, not jail. It gives them a future.

Q: Why doesn’t our phase 2 of undergrounding have a City project manager assigned to it?

A:  DOT office is understaffed. 320 positions are budgeted, only 260 are filled. Since the City does not bill its time for the undergrounding project, DOT prioritizes other projects that can be billed. The City is doing what it can for undergrounding but needs to see if CPUC accepts PG&E’s letter requesting a ruling in favor of including all of Phase 2.

Q:  What is the City’s risk abatement strategy?

A: (OFD-Vince Crudele) Fire vegetation management is year-round now, and readiness is not just during inspection periods. Citizens need to be proactive and keep vegetation under control ALL YEAR. Neighbors need to do self-evaluations monthly and need to be proactive in fuel reduction.  Goat grazing is being done earlier now for fuel reduction.

Q:  Email read by Jay from a concerned neighbor concerned about Measure W- Will the City tax our vacant lot next to our house?

A: (Councilmember)  Measure W will have exceptions. For example, green spaces might be exempt. Councilmember Thao said she will work on understanding everyone’s concerns and wants to be part of the writing of the ordinance. There will be a hearing on 2/6/19. Email her with your Measure W concerns or join one of her Listening Sessions.

Q:  How will the City improve 911 response time?

A: (OPD) Full staffing is critical in improving response time.  Cell phones are now routed directly to OPD 911 and not CHP, which caused delays. 600,000 calls are made to OPD 911 each year. This is a huge number and OPD needs to study how to reduce the number of calls without affecting safety. Not all are emergencies. Response time is more complicated now with 911 texts and photo delivery. ALL need to be handled.  A plan is being worked on to handle all this information flooding into the department.

A: (OFD) Analysis of response time is continually being done.  90% of calls to OFD are being responded to in 7 minutes or less. Tools are being implemented to improve this time. Motorola service is being used to improve turn out time, visual clocks are being positioned so staff sees response time at station exit, fire truck drivers are being trained on fastest routes and learning Oakland roads. Improvement is continual.

Q:  What is in the current 5 year paving plan that will benefit PPNA?

A: DOT is working off the previously adopted 5-year plan designed in 2014 while working on its new 5-year plan (in 2 phases). $25 million is being put to work to accelerate the 2014 plan in 2 years. Algorithms are being used to evaluate which main roads need to be done first. The goal is to improve everyone’s overall driving experience, not just their home streets, which has resulted in major streets getting more funding.  Every street was evaluated and given a rating 0-100. Priorities will be presented to the City Council for consideration.  There will be 8 or 9 community meetings to deliver the plan and discuss funding. Funding now allows the City to work with PG&E and EBMUD to allow full repaving on streets when work is being done, rather than just patchwork. Mountain, LaSalle and Thornhill are currently on this list.

Mayor Schaaf interjected that a newly approved plan will allow more resources for neighborhood streets, and that City is currently very understaffed.

Q: Why was there no public outreach prior to Oakland and Alameda County deciding to switch provision of our electricity from PG&E to EBCE? We were all taken by surprise.

A: (Councilmember) There should be public input going forward. Councilmember was not involved in the original decision.


  • Audience Questions 

Q:  Why don’t we get our fair share of services for the taxes we pay?

A: (Mayor)  It all evens out. PPNA is less dense (fewer citizens per square foot) and dollar spent per citizen is even. PPNA neighbors should get involved in the budgeting process and should review the City website for more information on the process.   OPD responded that with increased OPD staffing, Montclair will have more walking officers.

Q:  There was sewage repair on Castle Drive, but nobody was made aware it was going to happen. Can projects be announced in advance?

A:  Robbie Neely will address that issue outside of the meeting [letters were mailed, and signage is in place in all the work areas].

Q:  Fire risk is our biggest concern, what is our urban firefighting strategy and evacuation plan for the area?

A: (OFD)  First we need to get full staffing ASAP. Evacuating the area is a response issue too. Everyone should know 3 or 4 routes to evacuate their home or business. Better intelligence is crucial for shared response from other districts. OFD is being preemptive on red flag days by positioning response teams out of fire stations for faster response.  Regarding evacuation routing, OFD is looking at what other communities are doing, but Oakland is unique.  Citizens should subscribe to to be kept informed in an emergency.

A: Councilmember Thao will be working with the Fire Chief to educate neighborhoods and will be working with the community to develop an evacuation plan.

Q:  Can we get neighborhood involvement in getting some paving done- you provide the materials, we provide the labor – a SELF HELP approach to our street pothole issues?

A: (Mayor) This would be in violation of City labor laws, but know that the roads are being replaced and fixed as fast as reasonable for the amount of work to be done.

Q:  It is a 3 part question on fire safety- When will you be fully staffed with inspectors, when will City lots be cleared and what is our vegetation management plan?

A: (OFD) There are vacancies, but OFD is working on filling all positions.  Vince Crudele spoke on vegetation management. He reported that there are 416 City owned properties and a budget of $610,000.  He proudly reported that OFD is able to address 2/3 of the City lots, but that some of the lots have wildlife regulations that prohibit them being worked on during dry periods.


PPNA Business Briefs

Robbie Neely reported on PPNA’s top priorities, which are addressed in all PPNA Board meetings

  • Phase 2 Undergrounding
  • Fire prevention, earthquake readiness
  • MON support (organized neighborhoods). Benefits include:
    • Deter crime and increase safety (make sure you join Nextdoor)

    • Preparedness for emergencies

    • Resolution of local issues

    • Community bonding/spirit

  • Hill stabilization
  • Parking, speeding, emergency access
  • Safe and beautiful open spaces
  • Street conditions

Wendy Tokuda was introduced to discuss the upcoming community Firesafe Forum on 5/4/19 at Montclair Presbyterian Church on Thornill  (this forum is in response to so many questions from neighbors on fire safety)The forum will address many issues and will include experts to address our concerns. All are encouraged to attend and participate. More information will be available closer to the date of the forum.The main issues to be addressed:

  • Personal Level : Is your insurance adequate, do you have a home inventory, are you braced against flying embers?
  • Neighborhood Level: Are your evacuation routes planned, do you have neighborhood fire breaks, are you CORE trained, have you done a neighborhood walk-through
  • Broader Issues:  What is wildfire science and what is our strategy, what is Oakland’s Vegetation Management Plan, what is a regional fire prevention district

Nancy Levey, PPNA Treasurer presented brief summary of PPNA’s financials for past 3 years and identified the 3 largest expenditures as communications, administration and insurance and thanked everyone for their volunteer dues that keeps things running for everyone’s benefit. More detail is available here

Helen Nicholas introduced PPNA’s current board and invited the membership to re-elect Teresa Costantinidis (President) and Nancy Levey (Secretary/Treasurer) for another 3 year term.          

Drawing for 2 premium seats at the Warrior vs Rockets game on February 23 was done and winner was Rebecca Eisen, Castle Dr.

Thank you to all in attendance