Tag Archives | Joel Parrott

Update: Letter of Protest over Oakland Zoo’s Plan to Destroy Park’s Trees

One of the doomed trees

One of the doomed trees

Wow. THANK YOU to everyone who sent in a letter to the Tree Services Division to protest the Oakland Zoo’s permit application to cut down over 50 protected oak trees in the heart of Knowland Park.

Over 600 letters (and additional phone calls) were sent to the Tree Reviewer by the June 23 deadline, with copies to the Mayor, City Council, and Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC).

Here’s the letter we sent to Tree Services with our objections and questions. Continue Reading →

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Save Knowland Park – The City Council voted…

By now most of you have probably heard that the vote did not go our way at the Oakland City Council on Tuesday night, with a 6–2 vote to pass the “conservation easement” ordinance, moving the zoo one step closer to breaking ground. However, two courageous Councilmembers did stand with the public and voted against approving this fake “conservation easement” that will smooth the way for the razing of the heart of Knowland Park: Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan. Continue Reading →

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Whose Offices Will be in the Planned Ridgetop Center?

And Couldn’t They Be Someplace Else?

The Zoo's published depiction of the ridge-top building as seen from Golf Links Rd.

The Oakland Zoo’s development plans for Knowland Park include offices—yes, offices– in the 34,000 square foot, 3 story central gondola terminal building, which is planned to also include a restaurant and gift shop. The whole thing will be perched atop the most sensitive and pristine area of the park, a ridge where the threatened Alameda whipsnake was trapped in surveys, where a statewide rare plant community of chaparral provides cover and habitat for many kinds of animals, and where scat from large predators is regularly found. Why, you might ask yourself, would a “conservation”-minded organization decide to build a huge structure in that particular location, rather than looking for a site closer to the existing Zoo or on already-disturbed land?

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Bait and Switch: How the Zoo and the City of Oakland used a 1998 MOU to Mislead the Community

The current legal case is a complicated one. Part of the difficulty arises because a very different version of the Zoo’s expansion plan was approved in 1998 than the one approved in 2011.  When the Zoo presented its expansion plan in 1997, there had been considerable community outcry, because those plans were quite different from what had been originally described in the 1996 Zoo Master Plan.  So, city-facilitated meetings between community representatives and the Zoo were held over a period of many months. These meetings, described as grueling by the volunteer community representatives, finally resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Dr. Joel Parrott, the executive director of the Zoo, and representatives of community groups, one of which was the direct predecessor of Friends of Knowland Park.

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Earth Day at the Oakland Zoo: New and Improved Greenwashing?

Everyone is welcomed (well, almost everyone) to the Oakland Zoo for its Earth Day,April 14. The theme this year is “Action for Animals”. Local environmental organizations have been invited for a fee of $30 to set up a table and bring informational materials about what they do to protect the environment. It is suggested that groups may want to bring materials to conduct letter-writing campaigns to further their cause. The event is described on the zoo’s website:

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