Category Archives: It’s Time

Right Idea. Right Place. Council Agrees. But, there’s a little more work to do.

At the meeting this past Tuesday, a majority of the City Council voted 4-3 to support this dog park. But, for a resolution to be passed, we need 5 votes. Council Member Jane Brunner was absent, and this matter has been continued on to the Tues., Dec. 18th meeting. Plan to attend if you can. In the event that Councilmember Brunner votes against us, Mayor Jean Quan has the option to be the tie-breaking vote.

artist rendering Lakeview Park

Artist rendering of how this park would look with the addition of a dog park

Here is how to Council voted in support of the dog park:

YES: De la Fuente, Schaaf, Nadel, Kaplan
NO: Brooks, Reid, Kernighan

CALL TO ACTION
Please take a moment to do the following:

  • Email both Jane Brunner and Mayor Jean Quan (and us):
    jbrunner@oaklandnet.com; jquan@oaklandnet.com; odogparks@comcast.net
  • Come to the meeting on Tuesday, December 18th at 6:30 pm at City Hall. Although technically public comments can still be heard, both parties (ODOG and Save Astro Park) have agreed that this evening should be about the vote. So while we invite everyone to attend and listen, neither party is encouraging speakers as we all want this evening to be as short as possible. If you have further questions about this, please do not hesitate to email us.

In your email to Council member Brunner, remember to be polite, and ask both Councilmember Brunner and Mayor Quan to join the majority of City Council and support this dog park. Some talking points for your letters:

  • It’s in the Lake Merritt Master Plan (approved by City Council in 2002), Adams Point Plan, it was approved by the Park & Rec Advisory Committee (PRAC) in 2010, and the Planning Commission Staff recommended that it be approved in 2012. (The Planning Commission itself denied this proposal – 3 voted against, 1 abstained, 3 were absent).
  • ODOG volunteers are out every month at lake cleanups for the past 2 years. Other dog parks across town are so well-maintained that we’ve received letters of praise from other park user groups and Oakland Public Works. Mostly private funds will be used to build and maintain this park, and the Memorandum of Understanding with the city lays out sanctions if standards are not met.
  • Oakland has two existing dog parks that are closer to tot lots than this one will be (Hardy Park and Jefferson); they’ve been there for years without any significant amount of incidents.
  • San Francisco has nine dog parks adjacent to kids play areas (Duboce, Dolores, Haas, St. Mary’s, Eureka Valley, Upper Noe, Potrero Hill, Alamo Square, Alta Plaza) and according to SF Park & Rec, a “non-existent rate of incidents.”
  • There are at least 13 other spots within a mile and a half to play sports (see map), several tot lots, and almost nothing for people with dogs. The Piedmont dog park is at least 2 miles away, one way, and Oaklanders have to pay to use it.
  • Dog parks make great neighborhood meeting places, and they build community.
  • At least 47% of households in Oakland have dogs as part of their families; and there are more dogs in Oakland than there are children.

Appeal at City Council

Our appeal is going to be heard by Oakland City Council this fall. If we don’t show up this one last time, we will never get equitable space in our parks.

During the “Save Astro Park” stakeout: this is where they choose to leave an entrance. In reality, the entrance to the dog park is on Lakeshore. (click to enlarge).

Recently, the anti-dog park group has again been spreading misinformation to rally opposition to this long-planned park. They staked out the footprint of the park. But, in their continuing effort to scare parents they made an entrance to the dog park right next to the tot lot. (See photo).

If this blatant fear-mongering makes you as angry as it did at the Planning Commission meeting, let Oakland City Council know! Send an email and tell City Council they should reject these lies.

Send an email to: council@oaklandnet.com and CC: odogparks@comcast.net

Or use our handy form:

Welcome Aboard!

> The Truth About “Save Astro Park”

If you’ve stopped by our website because you met us at our table at the park: Welcome! We’re an all volunteer group dedicated to finally getting the Lakeview Dog Play Area built. It’s been in the works for over a decade now and it’s been through dozens of public hearings. It has been approved twice now (in 2006 and again in 2010) by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

It was included in the Lake Merritt Master Plan, and has been featured on television and radio news, and covered in every major local newspaper. Chip Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an editorial in favor of this park. ODOG (the Oakland Dog Owners Group, who started this process in 1998) has talked about the dog park in its newsletters, sent emails and given presentations to local neighborhood groups. We even went door-to-door delivering flyers.

Why hasn’t it been built yet? Good question. After all these years of publicity, a small but vocal group led by an uptown bar owner stepped up just this year to oppose the project. First they said it was too small and too close to the childrens’ play area. Then, they proposed a different location that was smaller and adjacent to a landmark children’s amusement park and the lake’s wildlife sanctuary. They claim on their website that dogs will scale the fence and attack children. (“The physical and psychological impact of being menaced or attacked by a dog exceed the impact of being hit by a soccer ball” — quote from their website in section about the height of the fence) They also claim on their website businesses will go bankrupt (“restaurants struggle, sales taxes reduce, and perhaps they go out of business” —  from their website).  They claim property values will decrease. As the executive director of Children’s Fairyland recently wrote on the topic, “can we not just tone all this down a little?”

Oakland’s Hardy Dog Park (scroll down in that link for the image) is even closer to the kids’ play area and hasn’t had any incidents in 20 years. We propose (and there’s plenty of evidence to support it) that amenities like dog parks are good for the community, good for business, and increase property values.

There’s 155 acres of parkland surrounding the lake – and none of it is available for walking your dog – even on leash. You can be ticketed if one paw steps on a blade of grass. If you live by the lake and want to socialize with your dog, you’ve got to drive somewhere else like Alameda. Almost every Oaklander we interviewed that drove out to Alameda’s Lower Washington dog park, also stopped and spent money there. Money they would otherwise have been spent closer to home. Trader Joe’s was the most oft-cited example. Local business supports us.

Today, this lawn at Macarthur and Lakeshore next to the roaring 580 freeway sits empty more often than not. We want to see this diamond in the rough really become the gem that the opposition claims it is. We want a gathering place for people and their dogs. We want people out of their cars and into their neighborhood parks. We want to build community.

A dog park here would be used daily by residents in the Cleveland Heights and Grand Lake neighborhoods. Apartment dwellers would have a place to exercise their dogs. Those without transportation could walk to their neighborhood dog park. This location provides easy access for those with mobility issues and the elderly. Baby boomers are aging, and people over 50 make up over a third of residents by the lake. A dog park in this area would be a vital resource for older people to get out and socialize with their dogs.

Again, thank you for stopping by. We’re glad you did. There’s a lot more information available here, so poke around. If you want to join our cause: Like us on Facebook and consider writing a letter to Oakland officials about your support for this park; or subscribe to this blog with the “Sign Me Up” button up top. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or send us an email.

> We debunk some of the misconceptions and fear that “Save Astro Park” has been spreading. Read the Truth About “Save Astro Park”

Thanks for Stopping By!

If you’ve stopped by our website because you’ve picked up a card at ODOG’s Pet Food Express fundraiser this weekend: Welcome! We’re an all volunteer group dedicated to finally getting the Lakeview Dog Play Area built. It’s been in the works for over a decade now and it’s been through dozens of public hearings. It has been approved twice now (in 2006 and again in 2010) by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

It was included in the Lake Merritt Master Plan, and has been featured on television and radio news, and covered in every major local newspaper. Chip Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an editorial in favor of this park. ODOG (the Oakland Dog Owners Group, who started this process in 1998) has talked about the dog park in its newsletters, sent emails and given presentations to local neighborhood groups. We even went door-to-door delivering flyers.

Why hasn’t it been built yet? Good question. After all these years of publicity, a small but vocal group led by an uptown bar owner stepped up just this year to oppose the project. First they said it was too small and too close to the childrens’ play area. Then, they proposed a different location that was smaller and adjacent to a landmark children’s amusement park and the lake’s wildlife sanctuary. They claim that dogs will scale the fence and attack children. They claim businesses will go bankrupt.  They claim property values will decrease. As the executive director of Children’s Fairyland recently wrote on the topic, “can we not just tone all this down a little?”

Oakland’s Hardy Dog Park (scroll down in that link for the image) is even closer to the kids’ play area and hasn’t had any incidents in 20 years. We propose (and there’s plenty of evidence to support it) that amenities like dog parks are good for the community, good for business, and increase property values.

There’s 155 acres of parkland surrounding the lake – and none of it is available for walking your dog – even on leash. You can be ticketed if one paw steps on a blade of grass. If you live by the lake and want to socialize with your dog, you’ve got to drive somewhere else like Alameda. Almost every Oaklander we interviewed that drove out to Alameda’s Lower Washington dog park, also stopped and spent money there. Money they would otherwise have been spent closer to home. Trader Joe’s was the most oft-cited example. Local business supports us.

Today, this lawn at Macarthur and Lakeshore next to the roaring 580 freeway sits empty more often than not. We want to see this diamond in the rough really become the gem that the opposition claims it is. We want a gathering place for people and their dogs. We want people out of their cars and into their neighborhood parks. We want to build community.

A dog park here would be used daily by residents in the Cleveland Heights and Grand Lake neighborhoods. Apartment dwellers would have a place to exercise their dogs. Those without transportation could walk to their neighborhood dog park. This location provides easy access for those with mobility issues and the elderly. Baby boomers are aging, and people over 50 make up over a third of residents by the lake. A dog park in this area would be a vital resource for older people to get out and socialize with their dogs.

Again, thank you for stopping by. We’re glad you did. There’s a lot more information available here, so poke around. If you want to join our cause: Like us on Facebook and consider writing a letter to Oakland officials about your support for this park; or subscribe to this blog with the “Sign Me Up” button up top. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or send us an email.

Volunteering

It’s what we do!

Some have described our plan to have volunteers maintain this proposed dog park as being “not sustainable” and “dubious.” But, what they fail to mention is that currently all of the parklands around Lake Merritt are beautifully maintained by volunteers. We were out there on Earth Day, and we’ll be out there on July 30th, too. You see, we’re part of a project called “Paws to Prune.”

Volunteers also maintain the Morcom Rose Garden, have restored the Cleveland Cascades, and have a hand in maintaining most other Oakland parks, including the existing five dog parks. With the case of the dog parks at Joaquin Miller Park, we share the space with Woodminster Theater. Over several weekends during the summer and fall, the dog park reverts back into parking for Woodminster. Volunteers clean the park, make sure the surface is even, and take down the gates. Then, when it’s over, they put the gates back up. This has happened consistently for over five years now.

During planning, the people connected with Woodminster were concerned that a volunteer maintenance program would not be sustainable. But, earlier this year the president of the group putting on shows at Woodminster said in a letter, “the dog parks in Joaquin Miller Park have been kept clean and odorless by the users … the users have been responsible and cooperative people.”

But, will this transfer over to Lakeview? Well, an entire group of volunteers have spent literally thousands of hours designing this park, drafting proposals, going to meetings, and making the rounds at City Hall. And, since that small group of well-connected opponents surfaced 11 years into this process, a new group of volunteers has had to spend thousands more hours volunteering to hand out flyers, prepare reports, make speeches, build websites, write emails. Honestly, we’d all rather be doing voluntary gardening and cleaning than all this other stuff.

Our volunteers will be out in force on Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 at five Pet Food Express locations in the East Bay. We’re working on some very cool surprises at these locations, so please stay tuned.