Lech Naumovich sent this terrible news: Please check it out and
contact the Lech and the city to let them know there is a problem.
-------- Original Message --------
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Community efforts destroyed by City of Oakland
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 14:08:26 -0700
From: Lech Naumovich <lechroy@...>
To: Office of the Mayor <officeofthemayor@...>,
CC: rgodinez@..., "R Gordon Piper" <rgpiper@...>,
khathaway@..., dedgerly@..., "Laura Baker"
<lbake66@...>, trina.barton@..., temcrk@...
5718 Dover St. Oakland, CA 94609 (510) 495 5885
September 7th, 2007
Honorable Mayor Ron Dellums
AFM Leroy Griffin
Councilmember Jean Quan
City of Oakland
One Frank Ogawa Plaza, Third Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
*RE: Complete obliteration of volunteer project at Caldecott Field*
Dear Mayor Dellums, AFM Griffin, and Councilmember Quan;
It is with great discouragement and disappointment that
I write this letter. As a relatively new member of the Oakland
community, I have attempted to acquaint myself with the challenges this
great city faces and how an informed citizen may help work towards
solutions. In my brief moments in the presence of the mayor, I was
filled with hope through his insightful and promising words. He asked
for citizens to engage and act.
I chose to engage. I became active in my community including serving as
the co-convener for the Mayor's Emergency Preparedness task force, a
volunteer with the City of Oakland's Environmental Services department,
and a neighborhood safety activist in Jane Brunner's Temescal region.
In addition, I am director of Golden Hour Restoration Institute (a local
non-profit), am active with the California Native Plant Society, the
Society for Ecological Restoration, and Gordon Piper's North Hills
Landscape Committee. I also serve as a (currently unpaid) professional
botanist/contractor for the Wildfire Prevention Assessment District
(WPAD) on a suite of sensitive city properties undergoing fuels
reduction such that Oakland remains in compliance with federal and state
laws, while reaching out to the community and educating our general
populace on fuels management project I undertook.
In all my work, I have received some notable praise, but this fails to
compare to the total disregard for my community project at Caldecott
Field, or North Oakland Sports Field, located just southwest of the
Caldecott Tunnel. The project is grant funded and volunteer executed.
The goal was simple: improve fire safety in this area while augmenting
habitat for native plants and animals. Gordon Piper, first and
foremost, helped arrangement what I estimate to be about 100 different
volunteers over about a dozen work days. I personally took on
responsibility for the more sensitive wetland site, located just
upstream of the field proper. Many people, of many different walks
(Oakland high schools, insurance companies, UC Berkeley students, Sports
4 Kids volunteers, and Americorps) helped clear, maintain, plant, mulch,
and weed this site.
Upon returning to the site recently (9-1-07) I noticed that the entire
site was razed to the ground (see photo). All these hours of work,
sweat, and funding were lost to a single scraper. The area had marked
plants with flags, mulch, and other notable signs of activity. The
attached flyer shows some of the educational efforts that were working
in tandem – again, grant funded and volunteer created.
Additionally, such an activity in a Clean Water Act Section 404
regulated wetland is *strictly prohibited and has repercussions through
the California Department of Fish and Game.* Please note, that I have
not notified Fish and Game at this point. Currently, I'm just saddened
*There was NO reason to destroy this site, bar ignorance.*
My heart, and hope, for Oakland was trashed with this site. What do I
tell the volunteers? Why should I ever try to entice anyone into public
service for the City, because it sure isn't fun writing this letter?
I hold you three, and your work, in esteemed regard as community leaders
and beacons of hope, but I am unable to understand how such a complete
failure in communication and understanding occurred. If Oakland is to
show any growth as a city, it must first learn to respect and engage
with the work of those who have volunteered their time and energy into
making this a better place. Community engagement will lead to a
stronger, more beautiful city. Destruction of community projects out of
ignorance, or malice, only begets animosity, abandoning any hope of the
collaboration we so dearly need to foster.
I would like to consider re-conceiving this project but only if you care
enough to pitch in your share: cooperation.
Oakland Resident, Ecologist, ex-Volunteer
CC: Bob Seiben, WPAD Chair
Raul Godinez II, Director of Public Works
Trina Barton, Assistant to the Mayor
Gordon Piper, NHLC and WPAD
Kristin Hathaway, Oakland Environmental Services
Josh Bergstrom, Friends of Temescal Creek
Laura Baker, California Native Plant Society
Deborah Edgerly, City Administrator