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City Attorney Sues Owners of West Grand Hotel for Appalling Conditions

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The Oakland City Attorney this week sued the absentee owners of the West Grand Hotel, a single room occupancy rental property that has a reputation for for drug activity and unsafe, inhumane living conditions.

For years, the West Grand Hotel at 641 West Grand Ave. has been a nuisance to the neighborhood and a danger to the dozens of people who live there, according to the City Attorney’ OFFICE.

< p>The property has long been a center of drug activity, including sales, storage and distribution of cocaine and heroin, the City Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Since April 2013, Oakland police have arrested at least 23 people for drug sales and other drug crimes connected to the property, and officers have recovered firearms and large amounts of drugs packaged for sale inside the building.

City inspectors also have documented dangerous building and fire code violations, including lack of fire extinguishers or alarms, exposed and unsafe wiring, broken windows, infestations of mold and cockroaches, overflowing dumpsters, nonworking toilets and showers, cooking appliances used in the hallways and extremely unsanitary conditions unfit for human habitation.

“The owners of the West Grand Hotel are responsible for the appalling conditions in the building, and for allowing their property to become a public nuisance in the neighborhood,” City Attorney Barbara Parker said.

“Every tenant in our City has a right to safe and humane living conditions,” Parker said. “We have many responsible landlords in Oakland. Unfortunately, the owners of the West Grand Hotel treat their tenants as nothing more than ATM machines while their buildings literally fall apart.”

The lawsuit, prosecuted by the Neighborhood Law Corps unit in the City Attorney’s Office, asks the court to declare the West Grand Hotel a public nuisance and shut it down for a one-year period.

The lawsuit seeks damages for years of unpaid Rent Program service fees and substantial civil penalties and damages from the owners.

In addition, the lawsuit asks the court to appoint a receiver to take control of the property, relocate the tenants and make all necessary repairs, with the owners responsible for all costs. The lawsuit also asks the court to order the owners to live at the West Grand Hotel until the nuisance is abated.

 

The West Grand Hotel is owned by Oakland JMO, LLC, which is not licensed to do business in California. The LLC was incorporated in Georgia in late May 2012, just two weeks before the company bought the West Grand property. Rent checks are sent to the address of a Beverly Hills attorney who acts as an agent for the company and is named as a defendant in the city’s lawsuit.

 

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Bay Area

Mayor London Breed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi Celebrate Grand Opening of 100% Affordable Housing in Mission

“As a proud representative for San Francisco, it was my privilege to join Mayor London Breed in celebrating Casa Adelante’s grand opening,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “This development will be a vital anchor for The Mission’s Latino community, providing families with the homes they need to survive and the services they need to thrive. It was an honor to help secure $2 million in federal funds for the community-serving nonprofits in Casa Adelante, and House Democrats will continue fighting to expand affordable housing as we Build a Better America.”

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Twitter.com photo.

2828 16th Street provides 143 affordable homes for low-income families, including 36 homes for public housing residents

Mayor London N. Breed joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and community leaders on May 5 to celebrate the grand opening of Casa Adelante — 2828 16th St., a 143-unit, 100% affordable housing development in the Mission District.

Formerly known as 1990 Folsom, the development designates 36 units for public housing residents relocating from Potrero Hill and Sunnydale HOPE SF sites. The remaining 107 units are designated for low-income households making between 40% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Additionally, 2828 16th St. offers 30 units with accessibility features for people with impaired mobility and three units with features for people with impaired vision and/or hearing.

“These 143 units come at a time when addressing housing affordability for all San Franciscans is crucial,” said Breed. “2828 16th Street allows families to stay rooted in their community while providing critical on-site services that will help them thrive in the neighborhood they call home. This project is a perfect example of how we are working to make San Francisco a more affordable place to live for everyone.”

“As a proud representative for San Francisco, it was my privilege to join Mayor London Breed in celebrating Casa Adelante’s grand opening,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “This development will be a vital anchor for The Mission’s Latino community, providing families with the homes they need to survive and the services they need to thrive. It was an honor to help secure $2 million in federal funds for the community-serving nonprofits in Casa Adelante, and House Democrats will continue fighting to expand affordable housing as we Build a Better America.”

The building on 2828 16th Street transformed a vacant and underutilized property into a mixed-use development with space for the arts, nonprofits, early child care, and education. In addition to the 143 units, the development features an inner courtyard, rooftop urban farm, two community rooms, and bicycle parking.

The property also includes an affordable childcare center operated by the Felton Institute, ground-floor space for Mission-based nonprofits Galería de la Raza and HOMEY to provide community empowerment and cultural enrichment programming, and on-site social work and property management services provided by Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC).

“I am incredibly proud of the work that TNDC and MEDA have done, in collaboration with funders and our City partners, to bring 143 affordable new homes for families in District 9 at Casa Adelante — 2828 16th Street,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “This 100% affordable housing development, that will be home to more than 300 community members and includes on-site childcare and a rooftop urban farm for free produce, is exactly what is needed to keep our working families and residents home in San Francisco.”

“In celebrating the opening of Casa Adelante — 2828 16th Street, we celebrate the opportunity for families, children, and individuals to build stability and vibrant futures in San Francisco,” said Maurilio León, CEO of TNDC. “This building is a testament to innovation in affordable housing. With on-site services like a rooftop farm providing access to free produce and options for affordable childcare, TNDC and our many partners are actualizing a strong community for current and future generations.”

“Casa Adelante — 2828 16th Street symbolizes how we have upended the narrative in the Mission, as we continue to turn the tide of displacement of residents and arts and cultural institutions in our community,” said Luis Granados, CEO of Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). “MEDA is honored that in conjunction with the Mission community, co-developer TNDC, numerous funders, and valued City partners, 143 households and three esteemed organizations all now have a place to call their permanent home.”

Completed in November 2021, the eight-story, 155,000-square-foot building and associated landscaping were designed by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (LMSA) and GLS Landscape to address the community’s need for family-centered homes, affordable arts space, and cultural preservation. 2828 16th Street received a LEED Gold Certification in recognition of its achievement and leadership in sustainable design and construction.

2828 16th Street represents a joint venture partnership between Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) and Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). The development team leveraged low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, a mortgage, and federal Project-Based Vouchers.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development invested more than $46 million into the project through the 2015 General Obligation Bond. Bank of America, Barings Multifamily Capital/MassMutual, and Century Housing Corporation provided additional financing. Local firms LMSA, GLS Landscape, Nibbi Brothers General Contractors and Gubb & Barshay were enlisted on the project.

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Art

Marin Fair Competitive Exhibits Open for Entry

“We are thrilled to provide an array of online competitions for our community during our outdoor only 2022 Fair,” said Director of Cultural Services Gabriella Calicchio. “The Competitive Exhibits program is the heart and soul of the Fair and we’re excited to bring our talented community together again to participate.”

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Marin County Fair “So Happy Together!” returns June 30-July 4

Courtesy of Marin County

2022 Marin County Fair Poster depicting a variety of farm animals with the Marin County Civic Center and Marin Fairgrounds property in the background. San Rafael, California — With Marin County Fair’s June 30 opening day just around the corner, the Competitive Exhibits categories for the 2022 Fair are now available on the Fair’s website MarinFair.org.

The competitive exhibit program, which usually takes place indoors, will remain online for one more year and will include competitions such as fine art and photography, decorated cakes and cookies, wine and beer label design, clothing and textiles, cartoon art, exceptional art, poetry and creative writing, hobbies and crafts, and more. The Plein Air painting competition on the first day of the Fair will take place outdoors. The agriculture competitions will remain outdoors and will include poultry, rabbits, sheep dog trials, pocket pets, dog care and training, and small animal round robin showmanship, to name a few.

“We are thrilled to provide an array of online competitions for our community during our outdoor only 2022 Fair,” said Director of Cultural Services Gabriella Calicchio. “The Competitive Exhibits program is the heart and soul of the Fair and we’re excited to bring our talented community together again to participate.”

The full list of categories and entry guidelines is available online at MarinFair.org. Submissions will be accepted from May 6 to May 31 and winners will be announced online during Fair time.

The 2022 fair will also focus on outdoor entertainment including the headline concerts, performers roaming the grounds such as jugglers, unicyclists, and stilt walkers, and interactive art experiences for fans of all ages. Returning fair favorites will include traditional carnival rides, the Global Marketplace, the Barnyard, food and drinks, and fireworks every night over the Civic Center’s Lagoon Park.

Early bird tickets sold out within one day of release. Discounted Fair tickets are still available for adults and teens through June 29. The Fair is a one-price gate featuring 28 carnival rides, exciting exhibits, spectacular firework displays, first-rate concerts and exciting attractions are FREE with gate admission. Tickets are available online only at MarinFair.org.

Headline concerts will soon be announced, and reserved gold circle tickets will go on sale May 16. Reserved concert seating in a special section is $60 per person and includes Fair admission.

Special Admission Days:
Kids Day at the Fair – Thursday, June 30
Children 12 and under are FREE on Thursday, June 30.
Senior Day at the Fair – Thursday, June 30
Seniors 65+ are admitted FREE

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Activism

Board to Review Project Homekey Site Agreements

Addressing homelessness has been an urgent priority for the Supervisors, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), other local governments and partnering agencies. The Larkspur property represents an opportunity to revitalize an underutilized parcel and serve vulnerable Marin residents experiencing homelessness through evidence-based interventions.

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The Project Homekey facility in Larkspur will be owned and operated by Episcopal Community Services in partnership with the County of Marin.
The Project Homekey facility in Larkspur will be owned and operated by Episcopal Community Services in partnership with the County of Marin.

Anticipated 2023 opening of Larkspur property to address homelessness

Courtesy of Marin County

In February, the County of Marin was awarded $15,497,200 in Project Homekey funding to support the creation of 43 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing chronic homelessness. On May 10, the Board of Supervisors approved three agreements governing the use of the grant funds and operations for the site at 1251 South Eliseo Drive in Larkspur.

The funds will support the acquisition, rehabilitation, and operation of a former skilled nursing facility. It will be owned and operated by Episcopal Community Services (ECS) in partnership with the County of Marin.

Addressing homelessness has been an urgent priority for the Supervisors, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), other local governments and partnering agencies. The Larkspur property represents an opportunity to revitalize an underutilized parcel and serve vulnerable Marin residents experiencing homelessness through evidence-based interventions.

“Episcopal Community Services is a welcome addition to our coordinated system of care here in Marin County,” said Gary Naja-Riese, Director of Homelessness and Whole Person Care for Marin HHS. “I look forward to the deep history they bring in supportive housing and direct work with unhoused individuals. This partnership with the County will create a place to call home and ensure needed services for 43 disabled Marin residents experiencing homelessness.”

The agreements include:

  • details about the County’s contribution to the costs of construction and renovation;
  • conditions and requirements on the property deed, such as tenant protections, rent limits, and a requirement that the building be used to provide permanent supportive housing for 43 low-income individuals;
  • preliminary operational requirements for ECS operations at the site. This initial draft is based upon activities and outcomes from the original Homekey application and will include some of the basic expectations for site operation and compliance with HHS Division of Homelessness & Whole Person Care operations standards. Closer to the opening date, the County and ECS will amend the Operating Agreement to include a more detailed Scope of Work with information about additional clinical support for clients and the Community Services Safety team.

Since the funding was awarded, the County and ECS have made considerable progress in assembling and convening the Community Advisory Group (CAG). The CAG is tasked with communicating the views, concerns, suggestions, and voices of a broad spectrum of community stakeholders to the County and ECS as the project moves forward. The feedback will help provide input on program design, public safety, and community relations, which will be critical to the success of the project.

“The CAG is up and running and includes residents and neighbors from Kentfield, Greenbrae, and Larkspur,” said Supervisor Katie Rice, the Board President who represents constituents near the South Eliseo location. “I look forward to supporting their work with the project team to address issues of concern raised by community members, and toward ensuring South Eliseo a success for all involved.”

Eighteen CAG members have been appointed, including at-large community members, representatives from the Kentfield School District, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Marin Police Authority, the City of Larkspur, and Marin County Parks. At least one individual with lived experience of homelessness will be added. The members of the CAG have formed three subcommittees — Communications, Program Design and Public Safety — each of which will meet monthly and be attended by CAG members as well as County and ECS representatives

Additional information about the project, including a list of frequently asked questions, can be found at www.1251seliseo.com. The site also allows anyone interested to sign up for the recently launched project newsletter and submit comments or questions.

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