In case you missed my lengthy screed last month about understaffing in the Public Works Department and Oakland’s over-reliance on volunteers, all 2,230 words of it is available on this link.
My follow-up this month is far briefer but just as bleak with the exception of the Lake Merritt Weed Warriors as reported by Jennie Gerard:
Here’s great news! The Lake Merritt Weed Warriors will continue under new leadership. Galen Quaring and Leigh Anderson will begin after our September workday. They bring a great love of Lake Merritt and surrounding landscaping, much gardening know-how, and deep appreciation for the Weed Warriors. We’ll be in good hands!
The news from Splash Pad Park, unfortunately, is far less positive. The individual who trashed the California Native Garden two months back returned and totally destroyed a second Channel Island Mallow and most of a second shrub. As for two SeeClickFix complaints I filed, I’ve received no response regarding the lack of irrigation in the pedestrian plaza on the corner of Lake Park and Lakeshore. The far more serious complaint about the break in an irrigation line underneath the plaza that occurred in 2012 was closed not once, but twice without explanation. Subsequently, I left a voice mail for the city’s Irrigation Supervisor that hasn’t been returned.
A voice mail left for the Supervisor responsible for the maintenance of the Splash Pad fountain was similarly ignored. The now-derelict fountain is the most glaring evidence of the park’s current state and the one that has the most negative impact on community members and especially children. Along with all the other problems that I outlined last month, I’ve concluded that the 20th Anniversary of the park’s opening which we were supposed to celebrate in October of this year to honor Walter Hood makes no sense. Why celebrate a park that can’t be protected from vandals or properly maintained and as a result, has become something of an embarrassment?
On a positive note, a few days ago, a car speeding out of control took out the stop sign at the corner down the hill from my home. Within an hour, an employee in the city’s Department of Transportation had replaced it. This is the kind of response we should be seeing citywide in all departments. Why that’s not the case is well-beyond my expertise and especially so since I have a hard time balancing my checkbook. One way or the other however, Oakland has to figure out how we can properly maintain our parks, trim our trees, pave our streets, house the homeless and keep us all safe at the very same time.