Oakland Blasts Piedmont’s Blair Park EIR

The Oakland Planning Department was quite hard on Piedmont’s Draft Environmental Impact Report about plans for a sports complex in Blair Park. This is what Eric Angstadt in Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Agency wrote in the city’s official response to the EIR: “In summary, the DEIR does not adequately address the impacts of the Moraga Canyon Sports Field Project, including most notably, impacts on the City of Oakland, which is immediately adjacent to the project site.”

The Canyon in Spring

City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Jean Quan also commented: “The DEIR’s conclusion that many of the environmental impacts are “significant and unavoidable” without a more thorough analysis does not do justice to the Project itself, and to the people of Piedmont and Oakland who must live with the consequences should the project proceed without full analysis and mitigation. The DEIR must include a reasonable range of potentially feasible alternatives for all the impacts.”

What comes next? Piedmont has a couple of months to respond to the comments, and in November a final EIR will be produced. During this time (and after), officials from both cities can sit down and try to reach a plan that meets the needs of Oakland and Piedmont. It’s hard to imagine that if Piedmont continues to disregard the concerns of its neighbors, a lawsuit won’t be in the offing.

Friends of Moraga Canyon has a good summary of the anti-Sports Complex position as well as all of the relevant official document relating to the project.

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Good Deeds, Good Drinks

Do you like to leaven your volunteering with a catered gourmet meal and cocktail hour? Then spending a weekend in September restoring a portion of the Big Trees Trail in Joaquin Miller Park may be just the good deed you’ve been looking for.

Volunteers for Outdoor California is recruiting folks to help build new sections of the Big Trails Trail which have eroded in two spots leaving the root network of adjacent trees vulnerable. It’s two days of moderate manual labor, and plenty of sustenance to maintain the aforementioned labor. On Saturday, September 11 the work day begins at 8 am and ends at 3 pm. Happy hour starts at 4pm, dinner and entertainment begins at 6:15pm. Volunteers are encouraged to start camping at the site Friday evening. This will be the second time V-O-Cal has partnered with the City of Oakland to work on projects in Joaquin Miller Park. In 2007, 200 volunteers came out to build half a mile of new trail.

Mayor’s Race Takes Shape

Well, Ron Dellums made the only decision he could have sensibly made Wednesday and announced that he wouldn’t try to win a second term as Oakland’s mayor. As of Wednesday, there were 10 candidates who took nomination papers from the City Clerk’s office with the hope of following Dellums as Oakland’s mayor.

As much as we don’t like to admit it, even at the local level money plays a huge role in elections. Here in Oakland, we’ve limited the amount candidates can raise and spend on elections. Each candidate for mayor can spend up to $370,000, or around $0.70 for every resident. Terence Candell, who just submitted his signatures and became an official candidate Wednesday, said he barely has $10,000 now. He said it takes people to win an election. True, but it also takes money. Here’s the cash on hand for mayoral candidates who’ve reported contributions to the City Clerk.

  • Joe Tuman’s campaign manager said that he hopes to report the size of his war chest by Friday.

Village Bank Robber Returns

The Trib’s reporting that the same guy who robbed the Wells Fargo in Montclair at the end of June returned this morning for another take at the till.

OPD describes the bank robber as a black man in his late 20s or 30s with a goatee. He’s about 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 180 pounds. His signature item of clothing is a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap, which he was wearing during both robberies. He was last seen on Tuesday morning running down Mountain Boulevard toward Park Boulevard.

Let’s hope the third time’s not lucky.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $5,000 in reward money for information leading to the robber’s arrest. Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3326 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.

Joaquin Miller Path a Go

More than 20 years ago, when City Councilwoman Jean Quan’s kids were in elementary school, Quan worried about the condition of the path that linked Joaquin Miller and Montera schools to the edge of the village at Scout Road. It’s taken some time, but this month, construction crews will finally begin repairs on a big chunk of the narrow, old and dangerous pathway.

With $140,000 from the Pay-Go Funds of Quan and former At-large Councilman Henry Chang, combined with $20,000 from community donations, the trickiest, twistiest, and steepest section of the pathway will be renovated by the time school starts at the end of the month. Sue Piper, policy analyst for Quan, said “We are dealing with the worst part.”

When this phase of construction is finished, the crosswalk will be realigned with a new landing, there will be a connection between the landing and the pathway, and a new layer of decomposed granite will rejuvenate the pathway between the landing and the cellular equipment. Oakland Unified will have to deal with the stretch between the landing and the schools. The entire length of the path between Ascot and Scout is 1,950 feet.

While this is a big step, there’s some money left over, and donations made in the next couple of weeks will help push the renovation as close to Scout Road as possible. Contributions are tax deductible.

Joaquin Miller School Pathway Project Account #P330610
c/o Sue Piper, Council District 4 Office
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Note: Put Joaquin Miller School Pathway Project Account #P330610 in memo