Many Oakland residents can now find out whether their home might be seismically unsafe.
The nonprofit civic organization Open Oakland this week launched a website that maps many of the seismically unsound "soft-story" apartment buildings across town.
The website, softstory.openoakland.org, uses data compiled by the city last year.
Owners and renters can see if their home is considered at risk and whether or not it has already been retrofitted. Many of the soft-story buildings mapped on the website ring Lake Merritt.
Oakland is behind Berkeley and San Francisco when it comes to mandating seismic retrofits for soft-story buildings. A panel of landlord and tenant leaders has been meeting this year to try to work out a compromise on how the retrofits will be funded.
Watchdog investigating Kaplan
In a sudden reversal, the State Fair Political Practices Commission has decided to investigate allegations that Oakland Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Rebecca Kaplan violated state election law through her use of a campaign fund to support countywide ballot measures.
The complaints, filed by Oakland resident Gene Hazzard and mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, came after this newspaper reported that one of Kaplan's 2010 mayoral campaign workers was paid through the ballot measure fund, even though he claims not to have worked on the measure.
The state watchdog initially found that the complaints didn't show any violation of state election law but reversed itself last week after obtaining information from Oakland's Public Ethics Commission. Both agencies said they couldn't disclose the information provided because it was connected to an ongoing investigation.
Kaplan's spokesman, Jason Overman, replied that she did nothing wrong. "This is just dirty, desperate mudslinging from our opponents," he wrote in a prepared statement.
Mission parking restored
Hayward will reinstall on-street parking on the east side of Mission Boulevard from B Street to D Street on Monday.
Parking along the street was removed in 2013, when the city created a one-way traffic loop through downtown as part of its Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project.
"We have been getting requests from merchants in downtown that they want more parking, and we want to accommodate them," said Morad Fakhrai, Hayward transportation director.
Restoring the parking also is intended to reduce speeding on the street, which was made one-way and widened to five lanes in 2013.
"When there are fewer lanes, people tend to slow down and follow the speed limit," Fakhrai said.
After drivers become accustomed to the change, plans call for restoring some parking on the east side of Mission, reducing the street to three lanes for about a block and a half, he said.
Downtown merchant Allen Davidson has been asking for parking on the street since before the one-way loop was put in place.
"I think this is great, but I don't understand why this wasn't done from the beginning of the project," said Davidson, whose family owns Eden Jewelry at B and Mission. He would prefer to see more parking restored on the east side of the street, home to his shop and other businesses.