Mastodon East Canyon 22X Neighborhood Council: We Had a Happening September Meeting!

We Had a Happening September Meeting!

Here’s a recap:

Home Match

Rachel Mathews’ presentation about the Home Match program, which carefully matches Oaklanders who have a spare bedroom with Oaklanders who need a spare bedroom, received an enthusiastic response. 

As with renting a room on Craigslist, a rent is established as are house rules, but unlike Craigslist, the FREE service provided by Home Match gets down to the nitty gritty of matching based on a huge list of factors. They also help with creating a legal agreement and they provide support when friction becomes uncomfortable, which happens sometimes. Visit Home Match online.

Crime Report

Together, Tom Donovan and our Community Resource Officer, Aaron Johnson, discussed Oakland’s crime rates. 

You can view crime data from the last 90 days from Oakland’s Crime Watch Maps website.  You can sort the data by column, including crime type and police beat. Tip: if you’re looking for what’s happened in Beat 22x, click on the Police Beat column and you’ll find the data somewhere in the middle of the report (in rows 8537 to 8749 for the September 21, 2023 report which has 18,100 rows including all types of crimes).  Here is a link to the data.

You can view weekly crime reports by Police Area, although most recent report available as of this writing is from August 20. We're in Police Area 3. View the reports here. 

You can also search on an address or zip code in Oakland to view individual reported crime activity during the previous week, or any other week, on a map! View the map here. 

Block Organizing

Toni Bird and Ryn Beeley from Oakland’s Maxwell Park neighborhood talked about their experiences with block organizing, especially in the wake of a tragic incident that happened on their block. 

A neighbor who had been outside gardening was shot and killed by an occupant in a speeding car. Ryn had been gathering  neighbors on the block for casual, outdoor suppers during COVID, but neighborhood organizing was new for Toni, who was first on the scene after the shooting. An officer at the scene encouraged Toni to get involved in organizing her block. Could organized neighbors  have prevented the shooting? It’s impossible to know, but Toni and Ryn were clear that it’s helped with the healing.

Talking about the Gunfire 

In early August, gunfire broke out at the complicated intersection of MacArthur and 38th – and Excelsior  and Canon and Adel Court. Scott Kaminski owns Slapwagon Studios, which is right there, as is the Adel Court Senior Apartment building. The  gunfire was out in the street and no evidence other than proximity implicated Slapwagon Studios. Nonetheless, upset neighbors immediately speculated that the studio, which operates at all hours, was involved.

This incident terrified both the neighborhood residents and the folks working inside the studio early in the morning. Gunfire struck the Southern Cafe building, the Kanna dispensary building, and a large glass window at the Adel Court Senior Apartments. 

So what happened? While there’s no evidence of involvement by  anyone at the music studios, there was a problem that makes even Scott Kaminski wonder if uninvited visitors at the studio may have been connected. 

Scott had worked with an engineer earlier in the day whom he didn’t know well, but their work together went smoothly. When the engineer wanted to use the studio that night and early morning, Scott, seeing no red flags, agreed. 

Scott has clear rules for Slapwagon Studios to protect everyone’s safety and wellbeing. One rule is no alcohol in the studios! The engineer that night broke many studio rules, including the prohibition of alcohol. In fact, the engineer drank so much that he passed out in his car, leaving no trusted person in charge of that studio. Video, which Scott reviewed with OPD in the hours after the incident, show that some folks working in one part of the studio fled after the gunfire stopped. In the other part, folks hunkered down until 7am before feeling safe enough to leave. Like everyone else, they were terrified! Video footage from other cameras in the area shows the incident in the street, but not anyone associated with Slapwagon Studios.

Officer Johnson reported that the OPD investigation is active.

Scott expressed his dismay about the incident and concern for the fear everyone experienced, especially the seniors at Adel Court. Not being sure what happened with an engineer whom he didn’t know well  and who violated studio rules and Scott’s trust makes it all the harder. But one thing is clear: Scott will never allow that engineer back in the Slapwagon Studios. 

Always trying to improve the experience at the studios for everyone, including neighbors, Scott is proud that Slapwagon Studios has become an East Bay cultural hub for musicians. 

Scott invites all the neighbors to join him and members of the Slapwagon community for a barbeque this Saturday, September 23,  from 2-6pm. He’ll provide tours of the studio and answer your questions! Please take him up on his offer! Let’s all get to know each other, our wonderful people in East Canyon 22X.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Brian Cassidy of Oakland's Neighborhood Services Department introduced neighbors to a FREE city service that brings a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) expert to people’s homes, businesses, and neighborhoods! CPTED (pronounced “SEP-ted”), focuses on the  reduction of crime through intentional design of the built environment.

Some of the CPTED principles Brian covered are these:

Natural Surveillance–Designing landscapes that allow clear, unobstructed views of surrounding areas, improving visibility with lighting or see-through fences, and avoiding lighting that creates glare or shadows.

Maintenance Strategy–Keeping your home painted, clean and repaired, not leaving vehicles stored in the front yard for long periods of time because they are a target for thieves/burglars and give trespassers a place to hide, and maintaining vegetation to improve visibility and communicate ownership.

To have someone from the CPTED program come out to assess your home or business or neighborhood, FOR FREE, get in touch with Brian Cassidy at or 510-238-6200.

Three Big Safety Ideas

Nathan Stalnaker of District 4 Councilmember Janani Ramachandran’s office presented Three Big Safety Ideas.

Automatic License Plate Readers

Automatic license plate reading cameras, called ALPR, are either mounted on patrol cars or along roadways. They capture vehicle license plate numbers along with state of issue, time, and geo-location.

The Oakland Police Department has some of these cameras mounted on patrol cars, but currently does not use them due to concerns about OPD’s ability to comply with privacy policy data requirements. These call for OPD to store data for 6 months and report quarterly to ensure compliance with local and state laws. 

City leaders have arranged for a $1.2 million loan from the State of California to purchase ALPR cameras to be installed along state roadways.  

More information about all the twists and turns from The Oaklandside.

Pursuit Policy Revision

Nathan noted that the City Council will consider an item introduced by City Councilmember Kevin Jenkins to expand the circumstances under which Oakland police officers can chase suspects in cars. This raised some questions from neighbors. We called on Officer Johnson’s expertise. 

Regarding the safety of police chases in general, Officer Johnson expressed confidence in the ability of officers to chase safely due to strong training. However, he noted that suspects themselves have neither the training nor perhaps the motivation to drive safely during high-speed pursuits. It is the fleeing suspects that put the lives of bystanders at risk.

Commercial Ambassadors

Nathan shared Councilmember Ramachandran’s interest in expanding the number of Commercial Ambassadors in Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). The Dimond Improvement Association is currently exploring the possibility of creating a BID for the Dimond. Here’s more information from the Dimond Improvement Association. 

And here is more information about Oakland's Community Ambassador program courtesy of  The Oaklandside.