Oakland Magazine covers Knowland Park Fight, and Other Updates

Looking west at sunset from the area the zoo wants to fence in

Looking west at sunset over the area the zoo wants to fence in

News Updates:

Oakland Magazine covers Knowland Park Fight

Did you see the recent article in Oakland Magazine about Knowland Park and the fight to save it? If you missed it, read it here:


It’s a great article overall.  It’s good to see the issue getting out there in the media and continuing to be discussed – especially now that we know the zoo is pushing to bar the public from even more of the park to make up for the habitat destruction caused by siting the project on Knowland Park’s most sensitive habitat.  There is a short discussion of the article on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/saveknowlandpark), including corrections of a few factual errors.   This is a golden opportunity to respond to some of the claims that zoo execs make for this article.  Please add your comments, and consider including two points:

  • Thank the editors for covering this important community issue; and
  • Ask them why the only picture included in the online version is a rendering of the zoo’s proposed Interpretive Center, rather than actual photos of the Park itself, which were included in the print edition. Ask them to please post photos of the Park, since some readers may not have seen what is really there, and many more readers will see the online version.

Regulatory Agencies Update

The zoo still does not have the regulatory permits it needs from the state and federal wildlife protection agencies. Those agencies have been doing their job and trying to protect the threatened species whose habitat will be damaged by this grandiose project. First they asked the zoo to move the project – and the zoo refused. Then they asked for much more detailed information about the project plans than the inadequate and incomplete materials the zoo had submitted. Finally, they are requiring more mitigation than the zoo planned on because the agencies recognized that there were more significant impacts than the zoo disclosed.

We are pleased that these agencies are really trying to protect habitat for species. It is truly dismaying that an organization that calls itself a conservation organization isn’t willing to walk their talk in their own backyard.

Financing Questions Continue

We’re also continuing to raise questions about the financing of the expansion. Several Park supporters have visited the zoo recently and noted a LOT of deferred maintenance on the existing zoo. If they can’t even keep up with maintaining the current zoo, how can they be so sure they can keep up with a huge, expensive new infrastructure? As citizens, we notice all the many needs Oakland has – and pumping even more money into an expensive, expansive zoo isn’t really the most pressing among them, nor is it the answer to Oakland’s money problems, since the zoo keeps the gate proceeds. We’ve been asking the city for documentation on the finances of this project for a long time, with no response.

Call for Volunteers

Here’s a message from our volunteer coordinator, Elise Bernstein:

As we gear up for the expected vote in the City Council (on allowing the zoo to take even more of the Park), here’s what you can do:

1. If you have any familiarity with an elected official, either on the Council, Alameda Supervisors or state Assembly or to any of their staff, please let me know. We are meeting with all of them, and they respond best to constituents and certainly to those they know. We appreciate any leads, and we hope that you could join our meeting with them too.

2. Call to Action: When we receive notice that the Knowland Park issue is on a Council agenda, we will alert our supporters to a Call to Action. We will organize a meeting of supporters at City Hall the evening of the vote. When I contact you, please respond to the Call to Action & come with friends.

3. Call to Action: We may request hand-written letters from supporters to their City Council Members. Please join in this campaign when this Call to Action is sent out.

4. We may alert our supporters to other actions moving forward. Please be prepared to respond quickly to our alerts.

To volunteer now, contact Elise at elisebernstein@gmail.com

As we have said for the last seven years – this fight is not over. We intend to keep fighting for Knowland Park and its plants and wild creatures. Go there and enjoy it – and renew your commitment to fight to protect it – magnificent open space that all creatures can enjoy for free!

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