Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Updates on Blight Complaints

Inoperable Vehicles

There were a smattering of nine inoperable/abandoned vehicles in North Oakland that were reported quite some time ago, but were not either tagged or towed. Working with the Oakland Police, it was determined that there were some operational issues with the tow company. All nine vehicles have been tagged and the property owners notified. If the vehicles are not made operable or properly stored they will be towed within 10 days of tagging. In the vast majority of these cases, it appears that the tow companies were provided a junk slip but never towed the vehicles. The Abandoned Vehicle Detail will now be on-site waiting for the tow company to ensure the vehicle has been towed. We appreciate the efforts of Sergeant Steinberger and the Abandoned Vehicle Detail. Approximately 100 abandoned and inoperable vehicles have been removed from North Oakland since We Fight Blight begin its efforts last spring/summer.

Caltrans Right of Way

On January 7, 2009, we sent a letter to Caltrans Executive Director, Will Kempton, identifying a long list of problems with the underpasses in North Oakland and the highway onramp at 51st Street. This included overgrown vegetation, excessive litter, debris and refuse, excessive graffiti, homeless encampments, uneven and failed pavement, damaged guardrails, dead and dying landscaping. All of these issues contribute to the appearance of blight and pose a safety hazard to the traveling public. We requested that the issues be addressed in a timely fashion. We did get an immediate response from Director Kempton indicating that the matter was being delegated to District 4 Executive Director Bijan Sartipi. We also observed that a portion of the damaged guardrail on the highway onramp was fixed. However, to date we have not gotten any response from Director Sartipi or his Deputy Director for Maintenance, Nader Eshqipour. We are ware that Mr. Eshqipour was recently appointed to the position of Deputy Director for Maintenance and that he prides himself on being responsive to public concerns. Nevertheless, we have yet to hear from either Mr. Sartipi or Esqipour. We Fight Blight will wait unitl February 7, before we send another email request to Director Kempton. We feel one month is sufficient time for Caltrans District 4 to acknowledge our concerns and identify a plan to remedy them.