Perata Takes Public Stand On Blair Park

Blair Park has now raised its profile.  Don Perata, in his Oakland mayoral bid, took a public stand against developing this Moraga Canyon road-side park last week, joining fellow candidate Jean Quan in opposing the development.  As you may recall, the City of Piedmont owns this parcel and has been going through a lengthy approval process to create a sports complex there.

Friends of Moraga Canyon have been against development of two play fields there and raised many traffic, environmental and overall safety matters with the City of Piedmont.  Meanwhile supporters of Blair Park’s development continue advocating for two fields and other amenities in the park.

Last October, concerned citizens attended a Montclair meeting with Council Rep Jean Quan and a staffer from Council Rep Jane Brunner’s office.  Wlad Wlassowsky, manager of Oakland’s transportation services division, attended and asked for all concerns.  Their next step was to reach Piedmont officials about the EIR (environmental impact review) process.

Fast forward, and Piedmont city officials are about to release the review on June 18th.  You may check all public materials posted on Piedmont’s website, to get up to speed.  And while you wait, here’s the full letter from candidate Perata.

3 thoughts on “Perata Takes Public Stand On Blair Park

  1. The difference in the approaches to stopping the Blair Park project taken by Perata and Quan is that between day and night. Perata promised to use the resources of Oakland government to STOP the project. Quan tap danced around the issue at that October meeting pretty much saying it was our problem to resolve. Quan has yet to even acknowledge the email I sent her and to Harbord neighbors.

    “Vice Mayor Quan–

    As you know from having participated in neighborhood meetings on the subject, a large number of us on Harbord Drive and Moraga Avenue, are absolutely opposed, for many excellent reasons, to Piedmont’s efforts to convert Blair Park into a Piedmont Sports complex.

    Today I received a campaign mailing from Don Perata in which he said he was unalterably opposed to what I see as the rape of Moraga Canyon associated with Piedmont’s attempt to convert Blair Park to sports fields. Mr. Perata proposed a number of solutions regarding how, if elected mayor, he would stop the conversion. He wrote that when meeting with Piedmont’s elected leaders “I’d leave no doubt that Oakland will stop their project cold. But I’d also offer options.” And he outlined them in his mailing.

    Can we count on you Ms. Quan, if elected Mayor of Oakland, to stop that Piedmont project, which Mr. Perata described as an ecological mess–in which I concur. And if so how? Citizens of Oakland, particularly those of us in Montclair, should not be treated as if were Piedmont vassals.


    William L. Schwartz”

  2. If necessary, Oakland can establish a blockade at both ends of the street Moraga Canyon. In fact, Oakland could establish road blocks all the way around Piedmont and charge tolls for all land vehicle access. There are no freeway on or off ramps in Piedmont. We could impose a tariff on all goods delivered into Piedmont – including artificial turf.

    Actually, I’m not recommending any of the above. I’d rather suggest a more cooperative approach.

    I’m a past Field Coordinator for the Jack London Youth Soccer Sports League, which encompasses Oakland, Piedmont and Alameda. To the extent the three cities permit, youth soccer teams from all three cities play together on fields in all three cities. While everyone prefers to see kids play on natural turf, the limited available land and water resources made me an advocate of artificial turf. Natural grass needs time to rest, hollows need to be filled and reseeded. Mowing and irrigation have their costs.

    Oakland has natural grass fields that are used at the maximum sustainable level but the City cannot afford to install artificial turf on enough fields to satisfy youth and adult demand. If the two cities, or all three, could cooperate, Piedmont could use its funds to support installation of artificial turf at more locations such as Raimondi and Oakport for full size fields. Increased use of artificial turf at schools would permit after school and weekend use by youth club teams. Piedmont Avenue Elementary could follow the example established near Beach Elementary in Piedmont by allowing the installation artificial turf and sharing the space. Nearby Oakland schools, that might be candidates, include Montera Middle School, Emerson Elementary School and possibly Crocker Highlands Elementary School.

    There are numerous locations in Oakland and Piedmont that accommodate both youth soccer and baseball in different seasons. Small soccer fields are stripped in the outfields during the fall. As natural grass fields, their use is limited. Bushrod Park in Oakland is used heavily for youth and adult soccer, youth football and youth baseball. While the principal area can accommodate two youth soccer fields while avoiding the baseball infields, adults often reserve the fields for Sunday soccer use. There is a much smaller area at Bushrod, facing onto Shattuck Avenue that also accommodates U-8 and younger soccer. Improving these areas for soccer with artificial turf would increase their effective capacity by supporting practices after school and full game schedules on Saturdays and Sundays – all at lower maintenance costs. The initial capital costs, however, are substantial.

  3. I agree with Perata’s letter that “passive resistance” is not what Oakland needs regarding the Moraga Sports Complex (it’s not what our suffering city needs in general!). The Moraga Sports Complex does not have community support or support from several environmental groups. If Quan cannot even take a stand on a no brainer issue such as this, what does that foretell if she should, God forbid, become the next mayor of Oakland!? Quan likes to take credit, not responsibility. I have had my fill of environmental disasters, and feel angry that Quan has “tap danced around the issue” like an exec from BP. It’s our problem to solve? Fine. We have Perata on our side. Job done!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s