by John Zaro
The horrible conditions of the streets of Oakland had been legendary. Every time a resident did a SeeClickFix request for either potholes to be repaired or streets to be repaved there was either silence or excuses. About four years ago, myself and two other neighbors started pressing harder, went to city led meetings, and spent a lot of time trying to get the attention of our city Council member, to no avail. Then about two years ago, the city’s new Department of Transportation, and more locally a new councilmember for our area started to move on these things. Finally, slowly… across all sectors of Oakland, residents began to see some action.
Then, this summer, my particular neighborhood encompassing Laguna St., Madeline, and Hearst, was paved, to much celebration. Our councilperson Sheng Thao was instrumental in making this happen, pointing out that this area contained a middle school (Brett Harte), an elementary school (Sequoia), and several day care centers. The lesson I learned was that things happen slowly in Oakland, but you’ve got to advocate for what you need, and apply pressure on a consistent basis.