No September PANIL Meeting Watch your email for the topic and speaker for the October meeting Wednesday, October 13, 2021
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
The next Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) meeting with the report of the crime statistics for Oakland Police Beat 9X and discussion with NCPC Officer Gischke will be the 6:30 -- 7:00 pm portion of the October PANIL meeting.
Oakland Heritage Alliance
Walking Tours are Back
On Sunday, September 12, the tour is of Mills College Campus – a moderate walking, wheelchair accessible tour led by Karen Fiene, AIA. Face coverings will be required.
Letter to the Editor Low Income Housing near Piedmont Avenue
Letter to the Editors
I am a long-time homeowner on Howe Street, and I am opposed to the housing units being proposed at the parking lot behind CVS. I got your flyer and wrote Dan Kalb. Are there any other updates you have? I think it would really impact merchants and residents if that parking lot is built on. From Lisa Barrow
The Editors Respond
The flyer did not come from PANIL. Someone reprinted a PANIL newsletter article without permission and went door to door with flyers that falsely give the impression that they come from the Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement League. PANIL did host a meeting on this subject in June where Councilmember Dan Kalb described what information he had about the preliminary proposal and answered questions from members of the PANIL Zoom audience. And the meeting was written up in the July issue of the PANIL Newsletter.
PANIL has not yet taken a position on the proposal, as it is still changing and nothing is submitted to the Zoning Department. We will update neighbors as new information becomes available.
PANIL encourages neighbors to communicate with city officials about issues of concern.
Several people have sent PANIL a copy of their letters to Council member Dan Kalb. Points raised, even by those in favor of affordable housing at the site, include concerns about the project proponents’ apparent lack of experience in the funding, construction, or management of affordable housing—or any housing; questions about funding for ongoing operations which will not be covered by very low income rents; and criticism of the proposed staffing level of one social service worker for 200 residents (county caseworkers typically handle 8–10 individuals when full wraparound services are required).
During non-COVID times, the parking lot is often full. A building would cause the loss of an estimated 40% of parking spaces to structural supports, lobby, utility room, stairwells, elevators, etc. Piedmont Avenue merchants are currently being polled regarding the proposal.
The city's Revenue and Parking Departments are also looking at potential impacts of the project because it is the business license taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, and parking meter income from busy commercial districts like Piedmont Avenue that help pay for city services we all count on.
Please do share the PANIL newsletter in its entirety with your neighbors, but do not reprint articles without permission. Because we want to maintain PANIL's long reputation for integrity and accuracy, we want to emphasize that we did not create the flyer. Info about PANIL meetings and activities is at https://www.panil.org/
Help Wanted Two Openings on the Board of Friends of PAL
Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library is a nonprofit community organization that supports our local branch of the Oakland Public Library, the Piedmont Avenue Library (PAL). It is a group of community members who are passionate about our neighborhood library and use our diverse skill sets (in Government Relations, Finance, Marketing, etc.) to advocate for PAL. We are seeking a Treasurer and a Social Media Content Manager.
TREASURER (VOLUNTEER POSITION) Requirements:
• Knowledge of accounting practices and record keeping
• Ability to provide financial oversight and management Roles and responsibilities:
• Serve as a Corporate officer, attend and participate in Board and General Meetings
• Be responsible for all financial affairs of Friends of PAL
• Collect and disburse funds
• Monitor the acceptance of gifts to assure compliance with our policy
• Prepare regular financial reports to the Board and prepare the reports required for the State and Federal filings
• Work with Fundraising Committee to project cash needs and funding sources
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT MANAGER (VOLUNTEER POSITION)
As our Content Manager, you will be responsible for managing digital content for Friends of PAL across our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You will be updating each of these digital channels on a weekly basis to make sure our community stays up to date about the latest happenings at the library. You will have creative license to develop and post fun, uplifting content to make our social channels into inspiring, vibrant destinations that will draw readers and keep them connected to what’s going on at PAL. Working with other board members, you will be responsible for the content on our website and monthly HOOT newsletter.
• Experienced in creating compelling content for social media channels, ideally for community-based audiences
• Able to use WordPress and familiarity with content management tools
• Creative storyteller who can tap into human emotion
• Organized, with a detail-oriented work style
• Able to collaborate with good communication skills Roles and responsibilities:
• Serve as a Corporate officer, attend and participate in Board and General Meetings
• Update website and social media channels on a weekly basis (or as needed) to make sure our content is always up to date
• Create/manage monthly calendar and plan ahead for seasonal and timely posts
• Create new content as needed (e.g., visit the library to take pictures of a new section, interview and photograph a staff member for a profile post, etc.)
• Work with other Board members and library staff to find and/or develop creative content and keep track of updates
• Grow our audience on social media You could be part of a wonderful organization at an exciting time of growth. To learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Efforts Toward Neighborhood Crime Prevention
Last spring, a series of car break-ins and thefts on Montell Street prompted residents to organize a neighborhood meeting to discuss crime prevention with Oakland Police Department representatives. In early May, Brian Cassidy, who works in OPD’s Neighborhood Services Division, gave a presentation on the department’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program. The goal of the program is to make an area less attractive to crime by fostering close communication between neighbors and encouraging the use of residential outdoor lighting and surveillance cameras.
Several uniformed officers participated in the meeting which was attended by about 20 Montell Street residents and several members of City Councilman Dan Kalb’s staff. The officers particularly stressed the value of surveillance cameras and cited several examples of how video footage led to arrests and prosecution. Cassidy also noted that it was important for neighborhoods to report all incidentsbecause allocation of police resources is guided by what gets reported.
Cassidy also reviewed the Neighborhood Watch program which encourages residents to place Neighborhood Watch placards in their windows and to consider posting street signs which read “Neighborhood Watch: We Immediately Report All Suspicious Activity to the Oakland Police”. While that idea sparked interest, subsequent neighborhood email exchanges and conversations raised several questions and concerns. Some questioned whether signs would really be a deterrent to crime. Other question was whether a sign with the message “We report all suspicious behavior” might encourage racial profiling. Some noted that historically some Neighborhood Watch groups were affiliated with efforts to resist racial integration.
In a subsequent interview, Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb commented that he didn’t think there was anything inherently racist in Neighborhood Watch but encouraged people to say, “Let’s watch out for each other but let’s not make the mistakes people have made in the past. I think it’s important that people focus on suspicious behavior not just who happens to be walking down the street.” Kalb also emphasized his support for the use of surveillance cameras. “I’m a supporter of using cameras,” he said, “because evidence is what solves crimes.”
Meet and Greet with Piedmont Avenue Merchants
Montell Street residents haven’t taken further steps to formalize a Neighborhood Watch effort, but neighbors have remained engaged with other efforts to foster communication between the community and police. In July, OPD Captain Robert Rosin asked if a few Montell Street residents would accompany several officers in a “meet and greet” effort on Piedmont Avenue. On two occasions, neighbors walked with officers as they visited local businesses to exchange ideas and encourage neighborhood connections. Several merchants favorably recalled how a beat officer used to walk up and down Piedmont Ave, a practice officers said they wished was still possible but has been curtailed due to budget cuts.
The walking tour also allowed neighbors and police officers to exchange ideas and ask each other questions. One resident asked officers what the neighborhood could do to make their job easier. Several responded by saying that it was important for residents to let them know what mattered most to the neighborhood, whether that was traffic enforcement or other crime concerns. They also repeated their earlier advice to report all incidents or attempted crimes because allocation of police resources is guided by what gets reported.
Officers also described some of the challenges they’ve faced during this past year. When asked about what morale was like at OPD, one officer candidly commented “Well, that assumes we still have morale.” Despite those concerns, everyone who participated agreed that communities are strengthened when residents and police officers get to know each other and gain a greater understanding of our mutual needs and concerns.
Piedmont Avenue neighborhood residents interested in learning more about OPD’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program can contact Brian Cassidy at email@example.com.
By Dave Iverson, Montell Street
Notes from PANIL’s August Meeting What is Alameda County Doing About Homelessness?
Amy Shrago, Chief of Staff to Supervisor Keith Carson, District 5 Alameda County Board of Supervisors, is in charge of health policy and programs in Carson’s office and was the speaker at the PANIL meeting on August 11th. Because it is Alameda County that controls funds that address homelessness, we wanted to hear from the County Board of Supervisors.
In her presentation, Ms. Shrago emphasized that the County and City work in tandem.
She said that there is no current count of homeless in the county. The last count was done in 2019. A count is supposed to be done every other year, but because of the pandemic, there was no census this year and probably won’t be one until 2022. Counts in 2019 put the total of unhoused in Oakland at 3,200, but the informal estimate for the count at is time is about 5,000.
The county’s number one activity is focused on street-based health care. Keeping people from dying on the street is the highest priority. The county has teams of case (navigation) workers, often with a nurse and physician, that periodically visit homeless hot spots to attend to the most vulnerable. Case workers typically handle 8-10 individuals at a given time when full wraparound service is required. In the Rapid Rehousing Program, where little assistance is needed, a case worker might handle 50 cases.
Ronile Lahti asked where homeless persons come from. Ms. Shrago stated that the majority were formerly housed in the same zip code as they are now homeless, but that precise statistics are not available, as no comprehensive census was done since 2019.
Janet Noble asked whether the county could set up tents in some open areas of the county, in a managed campground. Ms. Shrago stated that no supervisor has shown a willingness to provide such a center in their district.
Bill Manley asked if the county has made the effort to find land for tent encampments as many homeless are living in tents on public land such as parks and medians that are not designed or suited for camping. He suggested that this would be a good use of eminent domain efforts to acquire such land.
Asked about how much money the county provides to Oakland for homeless management, Ms. Shrago said that the county “does not write a check” but provides services to the cities. The County does have a program for rental property providers that guarantees payment and covers any damages to apartments. This ensures full rental, albeit below market rate. Link
For more information about Alameda County resources and activities, people can contact Supervisor Carson's Office at Amy.Shrago@acgov.org
Detailed notes, with other questions that were asked and answered during the August meeting, are on the PANIL website.
Where is this:
Do you know where this is? Send your answer to Contact@PANIL.org. Correct answers get honorable mention in the next issue of PANIL Newsletter.
Do you have a photo of a unique element in the neighborhood? Send a jpeg copy to Contact@PANIL.org and it could become the “Where Is This” question in a future issue.
PANIL, a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, is supported by donations to cover the regular ongoing costs of maintenance of the website, newsletter production, and fees associated with reporting requirements to California's Secretary of State and to the IRS. Donations to PANIL also build a reserve fund for the costs incurred when we pay the fee to appeal decisions of the Oakland Planning Department about development or construction in our area. Those costs include filing fees and hiring lawyers to advocate for neighborhood values. You can donate here.