Lake Merritt Dog Park Decision Delayed — Again; Rockridge Safeway Expansion Approved



A deeply divided Oakland City Council deadlocked last night on the question of whether to approve a controversial dog park proposed for a green space on Lake Merritt. The council’s 4-4 vote means that Mayor Jean Quan will have the final say on the dog park — and she said last night that she would not make her decision until January — when new councilmembers join the panel. Earlier in the evening, Quan asked the council to delay making a decision until April 15 to give her and city staff time to analyze alternative sites for the dog park.

Councilmembers Nancy Nadel, Ignacio De La Fuente, Rebecca Kaplan, and Libby Schaaf voted for the dog park, while Pat Kernighan, Desley Brooks, Larry Reid, and Jane Brunner voted against it. In January, Nadel, De La Fuente, and Brunner will be replaced on the council by Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, Noel Gallo, and Dan Kalb, respectively.

Last night, the council also unanimously approved a scaled-down proposal to expand the Safeway supermarket at the corner of College and Claremont avenues in Rockridge. The compromise proposal won agreement from area residents who had opposed Safeway’s original expansion plan because they said it would have created a store that’s too large for the neighborhood. Brunner hammered out the compromise in recent weeks — as one of her final acts as councilmember.

Finally, the council voted 5-3 to substantially reduce taxi medallion license fees in the city. Voting in favor of the reduction were Brooks, Brunner, De La Fuente, Reid, and Kaplan. The issue must come back to the new council in January for a second vote.

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