Grand Lake Neighbors October 2023 Meeting Minutes

GLN Monthly meeting minutes 10/18/23
Barnett Hall, Lakeshore Baptist Church
NEXT MEETING: WEDNESDAY, November 15, 2023
Questions: Eric Hughes – hughesearthur@gmail.com

  • Crime reports and project status from OPD
    • Not reported this month.
    • We were not able to provide phone access to OPD, as requested.
    • As of Friday, 10/27/23, you can DM (on X/Twitter & Instagram) OPD @oaklandautoburg if you see an auto burglary in progress. Include details: location, vehicle/individuals description, license plate.
  • Michael Ford (MFord@oaklandnet.com) from the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) gave an update on the Walker lot cameras and the upcoming enforcement of sidewalk parking ordinances. 
    • The City contracts with Elite Security for parking lot surveillance. The lot is monitored 7 days a week, 3pm to 11pm. Elite has a positive working relationship with OPD.
      Note: the cameras in the Trader Joe’s (TJ) lot on Lakeshore are privately installed and monitored.
    • This is a “pilot program,” and there will be ongoing evaluation of its success in part measured by the number of “bips” in the lot, which have apparently dropped from 14 per month before the cameras to eight recently. Daily reports are provided to OakDOT from Elite.
    • The City has promised to coordinate with and learn from the TJ lot security staff. 
    • The estimate is that in August, 32 crimes were interrupted or prevented. No arrests were made.
  • Michael Ford also provided an update on the initiative to start ticketing vehicles that park partially on sidewalks.
    • This is a “come clean” change in a 2003 policy – reviewed by OakDOT and found to be in violation of current state laws. 
    • This is controversial and was a significant issue for many of the attendees. 
    • Warnings will be distributed in November, enforcement will start in January. 
    • Many in the group would like to see a moratorium on enforcement, as there is no clear process on how issues will be addressed. Vehicles fully parked in the street will block emergency responder access on many of the narrower streets in the Crocker neighborhoods. The fire department claims they need at least 14 feet, and some streets are as narrow as 18-20 feet.
  • There was also discussion of upcoming plans to place cameras and license plate reading (LPR) technology across Oakland. 300 cameras have been approved.
  • Debra Israel from Nikki Bas’ office:
    • The council office is collaborating with the Lakeshore BID and Grand Lake business association (GABA) on solutions to crime and homeless impacts, and finding ways to work together more closely. Just about everyone would like to see more events and music throughout the commercial districts.
    • 911 upgrades are in the works, and we’ll look forward to further updates on that.
    • Lakeshore Homes is installing cameras around their neighborhoods. 
    • Carol Knight (of the Lakeshore BID) organized a walk-through with Debra and the Public Works to prioritize power washing of the areas. 
    • Restaurant parklets permits are being extended to 2025, higher fees
    • $1M for community ambassadors was approved for downtown, Fruitvale and Heggenberger.  
    • A recent State law (AB645) provides for a pilot program in 6 cities for automated speed enforcement cameras.  The pilot will be in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland.
    • Traffic safety – OakDOT will install a protected bike lane on Lakeshore along the lake. This is partly in response to the bicycling death of a 4 year old there.
  • There were no representatives from Dan Kalb’s office at the meeting, but they sent a link to their recent public safety meeting on facebook. 
  • The second half of the meeting was dedicated to narrowing down over 20 neighborhood safety priorities that were identified in the September GLN meeting. 
  • We want to emphasize that the overall list of priorities will continue to be tracked – we aren’t forgetting about any of them.
    • Three initiatives were chosen by hand vote:
      • Establish a police “substation” on Lakeshore. We clarified that this won’t really be a “substation”  but rather a work area where OPD can gather. This initiative is led by Carol Knight, and was begun before it came up at GLN.
      • Increase traffic enforcement and ending OPD’s no stop policy. This is led by Tim Gardner. An initial planning meeting was held on 10/26/23.
      • Facilitate police access to video camera footage. This is led by Eric Hughes. An email thread was started on 10/25.
      • There are three other initiatives that are already in progress:
        • Clean up the neighborhood (Eric) – An email mailing list was created on 10/25/23 with 20 members.
        • Work to fill empty storefronts on Lakeshore (Eric). There is an existing mailing list that is temporarily dormant. 
        • Work with OPD to make their communications with neighbors more accurate and comprehensive (Debra Israel)

Next steps:

  • Organize the groups in such a way that there is ongoing collaboration, communications, and progress.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Comments welcomed below.