Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – March 2021

If you received one of the cards pictured above in your snail-mail box a couple of weeks ago, here’s hoping you promptly tossed it in your recycling bin as this operation is a total scam. KKA Enterprises is registered with the State of California as a Commercial Fundraiser. They’ve been mailing these solicitations for donations of clothing and household goods for years – typically rotating among four different charities, as was reported on the DonateOakland.org website in three blogs posted in 2015. This month’s card identified the beneficiary as the “Cancer Control Society” – the President of which is Frank Cousineau. A Google search for the society’s website opens with this photo of Cousineau’s home in Modesto at 3324 Joshua Way.

When you research the services the Cancer Control Society provides, the focus is on education about alternative cancer treatments including bus tours to quack medical clinics in Tijuana. Mr. Cousineau has a company called Life Support that sells nutritional supplements, but he also offers “Cancer Consultations” for which he charges $150 per hour. According to the California Attorney General’s report on commercial fundraisers,  KKA Enterprises reported $1,247,000 dollars in revenue in 2018. The Cancer Control Society received $10,000 – less than 1% of the total.

As scandalous as this is, the kicker is that none of the donations they’re picking up in Oakland stay here where they would benefit legitimate Oakland non-profits that offer valuable services. Some of those charities operate thrift shops that offer low-income residents inexpensive goods. Others are a resource for free clothing or household furnishings. The KKA donations, on the other hand, are being shipped to their own for-profit shop in Montclair, CA or sold to other Northern California for-profit thrifts. There’s no shortage of local non-profits that would welcome your donations.  Currently, thirteen are listed on the DonateOakland.org website, including four here in the immediate neighborhood:  Uhuru, Urban Furniture, Harbor House Ministries, and Out of the Closet.
On a closely related issue, beware of clothing donation bins like the ones above, which were recently placed illegally at the gas station at the corner of Grand and Perkins. Without exception, the objections to bins such as these are nearly identical to what was described above, plus they are also magnets for graffiti and illegal dumping. In addition, Oakland’s City Council passed legislation a couple of years ago that tightly regulates their placement and operations. If you spot a donation bin within Oakland city limits anywhere other than an industrial zone, it’s there illegally, and those in industrial zones may or may not have the necessary permits. All should be reported to Oakland’s Code Enforcement or alternatively, email us at info@splashpad.org with a photo and the location and we’ll gladly follow up.


In other more positive news, we were super pleased to see that most of the giant sycamore trees on Lakeshore between Walla Vista and Santa Ray are currently being pollarded – the technical term for a pruning method that restricts trees to a certain height. We can’t recall exactly when regular pruning ceased, but it’s directly attributable to severe cutbacks in staffing for the City’s Tree Service Division. The group effort to get this work done using a private contractor was initiated by the Founder and Director of the Oakland Plant Exchange, whose name somewhat ironically is Odette Pollar. She may or may not have been inspired by Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, which had the trees in front of the church and office trimmed last year, and/or the neighbor on Lakeshore at the foot of Rosal who had his done just over a month ago.


In any case, neighbor Jon Barrileaux got involved in the planning process, as did Eleanor Bonifscio, who did most of the subsequent organizing by reaching out to fellow neighbors; negotiating with the City to allow all the work to be covered by a single permit; and vetting potential contractors before settling on Bay Area Tree Care. From what we were told, individual homeowners were billed $900 per tree. Hats off to everybody involved for helping beautify the neighborhood and also for helping save mature trees that start dropping oversized branches when not regularly pruned.

Editor’s Note: Who else desperately in need of a haircut can empathize with what these long-unshorn trees have just gone through?




One response to “Odds and Ends – March 2021”

  1. Nancy Dyar Avatar
    Nancy Dyar

    Maybe Lakeshore Avenue residents could partner some how with Lakeshore Homes, whose homeowners pay to have trees pollarded every 5 years…