Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2014

Last chance to protect Knowland Park!

You probably know by now on November 18 the Oakland City Council
voted  6–2  against preserving a critical area of  Knowland Park. This is
one final opportunity to let the Oakland City Council your concerns
and to help save Knowland Park

from Save Knowland Park

ACTION: Less than 20 seconds: Send NEW ONE-CLICK letter to City Council
now – before Tues Dec 9 meeting

City Council to finalize their vote on Tues, Dec 9

Dear Knowland Park Supporters, Turns out there will be ANOTHER City Council vote on their decision to hand over more of Knowland Park for the zoo’s phony “conservation” easement—this “second reading” will finalize the City Council vote taken at their Tues, Nov 18 meeting that so many people turned out for. This final vote is Tues, Dec 9 at the regular City Council meetingat City Hall, beginning at 5:30 pm. We’re still getting information on what is likely to happen at this meeting, the agenda items, and whether people can speak, but we wanted to let you know so you can pleaseHOLD THIS DATE. There is always a chance that we could persuade some on the Council to change their position and change the outcome, if ENOUGH outcry is heard. ACTION REQUEST: Please click now to send this NEW letter to City Councilmembers and the Mayor to save the park, even if you signed our original letter. Every letter counts. And please share this link with family and friends and ask them to sign: If you’d also like to phone, here are phone numbers. Keytalking points you can emphasize are:

  • The public has never had a chance to vote on this project, and granting this “conservation” easement sets a terrible precedent to give away public parkland to the Zoo. When informed that the development will be on the ridgeline, on important wildlife habitat, the public opposes this plan.
  • Zoo management has never observed the terms of its management contractwith the City of Oakland— why would you believe them now?
    • Under its current management contract, Zoo management is responsible for stewardship of Knowland Park, but stewardship of the park is being done by volunteers from groups opposed to the expansion project location.
    • Under its current management contract, Zoo executives are supposed to submit their contracts for evaluation by the City to ensure compliance, but according to City staff, the Zoo has not done this (something the Oakland Museum, another City entity operated by a nonprofit, has done).
    • Under its current management contract, Zoo management is required to file annual capital spending plans, but after repeated public records requests, City staff informed us that since 2005, no such reports had been submitted… until 2014—and even then, that report does not contain the required information.
  • Zoo management has not told the truth about this project. When the project was approved by City Council in 2011, Zoo CEO Joel Parrott said no more public money would be needed. Yet by Fall 2012, Zoo management had put a $125 million parcel tax measure on the ballot, saying they had insufficient money to run the existing zoo. If you approve this easement to make it easier for Zoo execs to build this grandiose project, they will be back to ask for more funds.
  • When a Councilmember asked CEO Parrott the crucial question at the Nov 18 Council meeting, Parrott said Zoo management is not willing to compromise on its expansion location (even after Fish & Wildlife agencies cited “significant and permanent” habitat damage that City Councilmembers were not aware of when they approved the project in 2011). That speaks volumes about Zoo management’s frame of mind— that they believe they are entitled to whatever they want (even additional public parkland at no cost), whenever they want it.

We are taking stock right now of several options, as we consider next steps …and we’ll be seeking your input once we have more information. Meanwhile, enjoy Knowland Park and help to protect it every day! Thanks for everything, Ruth, Tom, and the Friends of Knowland Park Leadership Team

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