Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Uber White Male

Uber's newly released diversity stats show a company dominated by white and Asian men.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 2:21 PM

Ride hailing giant Uber released information regarding its employee demographics today, and the data shows what many have suspected: Uber's employees are predominantly white and Asian men, and white men occupy the company's upper-most echelons. Women, Blacks, and Latinos mainly hold lower-paying, non-tech and non-leadership jobs with the Silicon Valley giant.

According to Uber's stats, men make up 64 percent of its total workforce. Among its "tech jobs" — some of the best paid that involve engineering and coding — men account for 85 percent of Uber's workforce.

When it comes to racial diversity, the company's stats are just as stark: 50 percent of Uber's total workforce is white, while Asians account for another 31 percent. Black and "Hispanic" people account for only 9 and 6 percent, respectively.

UBER
  • Uber
With respect to Uber's tech jobs, Blacks and Latinos are virtually shut out.

Only 1 percent of tech workers at the company are Black. "Hispanics" make up only 2 percent of tech workers.

The data drops a week after Uber announced that it's scaling back its plans to move to Oakland, one of the most diverse cities in California with a large Black and Latino population.

"We applaud Uber for finally releasing the diversity data it's held onto for so long," said Orson Aguilar, president of the Greenlining Institute, a nonprofit based in Oakland. "But the company still clearly has a long way to go, given its extremely segregated tech workforce. Uber should strive to have its workforce meet the diversity of its drivers, who are 50% people of color."

Greenlining and other Oakland groups have been pressuring Uber over the past year to support local efforts aimed at diversifying the Bay Area tech workforce and protecting women and non-white owned businesses and nonprofits from the region's rapidly rising rents.

Many in Oakland cheered the tech firm's announcement it won't move thousands of employees here over the next couple of years, however. Uber's office workers are perceived as a force for gentrifying Oakland and further driving up the city's already extremely high price of housing.

In recent weeks, Uber has come under withering criticism for what critics call its white, male-dominated culture that has allegedly permitted sexual harassment and racism.

In response, Uber has expanded its racial diversity programs and brought in new leadership to try to soften its corporate image.

Uber isn't the only tech company with a diversity problem, however. Most tech companies are dominated by white and Asian employees, with men making up the majority of the workforce in "tech" occupations and management jobs.

In Silicon Valley venture capital firms, the demographics are similar, with white and Asian men leading the investment companies that own large stakes in firms like Uber.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Oakland Mayor Literally Raises A's Flag Over City Hall An Hour After Raiders-To-Vegas Vote

Mayor said her "heart aches" for Raiders fans.

by Nick Miller
Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Literally an hour after NFL owners voted to allow the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf flew an Athletics flag at City Hall.


At a rooftop press conference attended by team president David Kaval and A's mascot Stomper, Schaaf raised the flag, in celebration of A's Spirt Week.

The mayor said in a statement that her "heart aches today for the Raider Nation."

"These are the most committed and passionate fans any city or team could hope to have. They deserved better.”

The Raiders intend to play two more seasons in the Coliseum before finalizing construction on a new arena in Las Vegas.

Landlord Of West Oakland Building Destroyed By Fire Was Working To Evict Tenants

A 2005 city inspector wrote that 'babies are getting asthma and very sick' in the building.

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 11:33 AM

Tenants of the San Pablo Avenue apartment building destroyed by a fire early this morning were resisting a controversial eviction, according to court records and interviews.

The residents even obtained a restraining order against the building's landlord. And, now, their lawyer is calling for an arson investigation.

Records also show that the West Oakland building's dangerous conditions were known to the landlord, master tenant, the City of Oakland, and other authorities.

The building's landlord, Keith Kim, was seeking to evict Urojas Community Services, a nonprofit that leased part of the building for a transitional-housing program that served dozens of homeless and very-low-income people.

But Urojas and some of its clients who lived in the building refused to leave.

James Cook, an attorney with John L. Burris Law Offices who is representing Urojas, said in an interview that Kim initially tried to evict the nonprofit right after the deadly Ghost Ship fire last December. Most recently, Kim gave Urojas a 30-day notice to vacate the building, but Urojas was fighting this eviction.

The legal battle had escalated in recent weeks.

"Next thing I know, I get up this morning, my client’s building is on fire, it’s up in smoke," Cook told the Express.

"I want it to be investigated as an arson."

Two have been confirmed dead in the fire and 86 people are displaced.

It's unclear what caused the blaze, but the structure has a recent history of numerous building code violations, including broken plumbing and heating, exposed wires, pests, electrical problems, and more.

Urojas Community Services filed the most recent complaint with the city, alleging that Kim had "deferred maintenance," allowing the building to fall into a state of disrepair. This housing-habitability complaint was verified by a city inspector who went to the address on March 3, according to city records.

The inspector noted that there was a major plumbing leak spilling sewage into the first and second floors. "The 3rd floor is occupied with squatters," the inspector wrote.

According to court records, Kim and a group of men tried to physically evict some of the residents in February. In response, the residents sought a court restraining order against Kim.

Tenant Brenda Corley, who also helped manage the Urojas program, wrote in a court document that Kim showed up with twelve men on February 14 to "forcibly remove items" and change locks.

"They threw our items into the street," Corley wrote. "The men threatened violence if anyone intervened."

According to Corley's account, Kim also told the building's tenants not to pay rent to Urojas Community Services, the master tenant. And Corley accused Kim of calling the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services agency to ask that Urojas' funding be cut off. (The county helps fund Urojas' programs.)

The Express was unable to reach Kim for comment, but a temporary restraining order was granted by the court on February 15 preventing him from physically evicting tenants from his building.

The restraining order was later dismissed, on March 6, after Corley and Kim both failed to show up to a court hearing.

Cook said that Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney had intervened in the dispute between Kim and Urojas to try to reach a deal. But Cook said that McElhaney was trying to resolve the situation by having Urojas vacate the building, and working with Kim to possibly secure it as an affordable-housing site.

Gibson McElhaney did not return a call or email seeking comment.

Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and her staff toured the building in February, according to a building inspector's report. McElhaney was reportedly working with Dignity Housing West, Inc. to take over part of the building for an affordable housing center, a move that would have displaced Urojas.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives is on its way to conduct an investigation of the fire alongside the Oakland Fire Department.

So far, one person has been confirmed dead, and several seriously injured. Other bodies could be hidden in the three-story building.

The Alameda County Sheriff's office is flying a drone equipped with a thermal camera over the building to locate hot spots and search for survivors or victims.

The fire comes almost four months after the deadly Ghost Ship fire that killed 36.

Other city and court records show that the building's substandard condition was known to the landlord, Urojas, and other authorities.

In May of 2016 a city building inspector found that a smoke alarm was missing in one of the units leased by Urojas from Kim.

A lawsuit filed in August of last year by a woman who used to live in the building alleges that the complex had no locks on the doors, no heat, defective plumbing, inadequate wiring, and other serious defects, including "hazardous fluids and materials" on the premises.

The woman filed a complaint with the city and felt the landlord and property manager had been given adequate time to fix the building's defects. Instead, the woman was sexually assaulted in August 2015, according to the lawsuit, due to the fact that her unit had no locks on the door.

In 2013 Oakland building inspector Timothy Low cited the building's owner for "hazardous and injurious" conditions and hit Kim with $3,239 in fees.

In 2005 city inspectors were called to the building to investigate a complaint that women and young children were living in overcrowded rooms infested with mold and leaky plumbing. "Babies are getting asthma and very sick," reads a building inspector's comments.

In 1996 another building inspector found that the fire escape was "tied up so tenants cannot get away in case of a fire."

Keith Kim bought the building in 1991 through a company called Mead Avenue Housing Associates, according to county records.


Fire Destroys West Oakland Apartment Building. Multiple Rescues Reported.

Building has long, and recent, record of code violations.

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 7:46 AM

A 4-alarm fire destroyed an apartment building at 2551 San Pablo Avenue in West Oakland early this morning.

According to the Oakland Fire Department's Twitter feed, some residents had to be rescued. Firefighters battled the blaze from truck ladders, spraying water onto the roof and through windows. The smoke plume could bee seen as far away as deep East Oakland.


Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen wrote that some residents had to be rescued from the roof by firefighters.


The building, like many apartment structures in Oakland, has a long and recent history of code violations.

In December, a complaint filed with the city alleged that there was no working heat in the building, and that there were "electrical issues" and a large pest infestation.

On March 2 of this year, the Urojas Community Services group complained to the city that the building suffers from "deferred maintenance" by the landlord. Urojas leases space in the building to run a substance abuse treatment center and transitional housing.

Neighbors say the building has been in a state of disrepair for a long time.

It's unclear if anyone died in today's fire. Check back for updates.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Darwin BondGraham, Ali Winston Receive Society of Professional Journalists Award For Oakland Police Reporting

by Nick Miller
Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 5:57 PM

10337762_10101094999968083_2735212270408761044_n.jpg

This evening, the Society of Professional Journalists — Northern California chapter will honor Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston with this year's James Madison Freedom of Information "Journalist Award," recognizing the reporters' work covering the Oakland Police Department sexual-exploitation scandal.

The SPJ's James Madison FOI award celebrates exceptional work in journalism that advances the public's access to government information.

In recognition of BondGraham and Winston, the SPJ committee wrote:
BondGraham and Winston overcame numerous obstacles to publish one of the biggest stories of 2016, an East Bay Express expose of the Oakland Police Department’s sexual exploitation of a minor and related misconduct, which made national headlines. BondGraham and Winston used public records, social media research and persistence to illustrate how OPD brass ignored the abuse. The journalists also weathered a leak investigation into the possible sources of their reporting, and scrupulously protected the privacy of the victim even when other outlets published her name.
BondGraham and Winston also won an SPJ Excellence in Journalism award last year for their reporting on the OPD series.

Other recipients this year include fellow weekly journalist Thadeus Greenson, of the North Coast Journal, and also reporters with KQED and The Sacramento Bee.

The James Madison awards also recognize whistleblowers, students, public officials, legal counsel, citizens, and nonprofits. Learn more at SPJNorcal.org.

Richmond Sues President Trump Over Threat To Cut Off Funds To Sanctuary Cities

by Alice Feller
Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 5:38 PM

COURTESY WIKI/COMMONS
  • Courtesy Wiki/Commons
The city of Richmond is taking President Trump to court.

This afternoon, officials announced that the city filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's Executive Order 13768, which was issued on January 25 and that would deny federal funding to “sanctuary Jurisdictions" that don't abide federal immigration policy.

At a press conference, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt argued that ”statements by the Trump administration suggest that Richmond will be targeted for protecting our residents," and that Trump's "harmful approach" won't stand.

"We will not allow intimidation to disrupt our commitment to our residents and their safety," Butt said.

Richmond has one of the most racially diverse populations in the United States, if not the country, and police Chief Allwyn Brown said that the city “uses the proven, effective community-policing model, which recognizes that everyone is safer when there is trust and free interaction between the police and its residents.”

Joseph Cotchett, one of Richmond’s attorneys, called Trump's order unprecedented abuse. “With a wave of the pen, they can cut off funds that were granted by Congress.”

Richmond has been a sanctuary city since 1990, and receives approximately $77 million annually in federal monies annually, most of which is spent on affordable housing.

Cotchett added that the phrase “sanctuary jurisdiction” has no legal meaning, and that Trump's order is so broad that the administration could withdraw federal funding at any time, even without a hearing, and with little justification.

Funds for police protection and public education also could be withheld under the executive order. Medicare and Medicaid could also be cut off, a possibility that has the hospitals especially worried, Cotchett said.

The Richmond lawsuit states that, specifically, the order violates the Fourth and Tenth amendments, the separation of powers and spending clauses, and the due process clause because of vagueness.

Richmond is the second Bay Area city to sue President Trump over his sanctuary city threat.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

UC Berkeley Students Inspire Legislation That Would Make California Colleges Provide Abortion Pill On Campus

Lawmaker says Senate Bill 320 is crucial, given GOP attacks on Planned Parenthood.

by Suhauna Hussain
Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 8:22 PM

Abortion pills such as Cytotec could be made available on California college campuses if a new bill passes the Legislature.
  • Abortion pills such as Cytotec could be made available on California college campuses if a new bill passes the Legislature.
UC Berkeley and other California colleges would be required to make abortion pills available on campus, if a bill inspired by local university students passes this year.

Introduced this past Friday by Sen. Connie Leyva, Senate Bill 320 would mandate that publicly funded health centers at UC, California State University, and California Community College campuses provide abortion pills — not to be confused with surgical abortions or the morning-after pill — to students.

The state senator advocated for direct access on campuses because it would mean increased equity for women. “Abortions are a constitutionally protected right. It's incredibly important for women to have control over their own bodies,” Leyva told the Express.

There are four facilities within four miles of the UC Berkeley campus that provide abortion pills, or perform surgical abortions, explained Kim LaPean, spokesperson for University Health Services.

Yet UC Berkeley student Adiba Khan says she has friends who encountered financial, transportation, and social barriers while trying to access an abortion through the campus health center's referral process. The Tang Center offers comprehensive reproductive health services on site, Khan said — everything except abortions.

She said both her friends were "really jaded" by the difficulty of their experience. "Abortion is really stigmatized," Khan said.

In fall 2015, Khan and Students United for Reproductive Justice began lobbying campus administration to bring medication abortions to the Tang Center. SURJ members met with campus administrators, collected faculty and student support, and secured grant money to cover costs of expanded services.

Although the students were unsuccessful in bringing the abortion pill to UC Berkeley, Sara Spriggs with ACCESS Women's Health Justice said their efforts inspired the bill that the Women's Policy Institute eventually brought to Leyva's office.

Marandah Field-Elliot, who is involved with SURJ and UC Berkeley’s student government, said that if accessing an abortion in Berkeley is that difficult, then women at other California colleges likely face even greater hardship.

Spriggs explained that the abortion-pill procedure simply involves ingesting two pills, which cause what feels like very heavy menstruation. One should be able to return to normal activities after a day or two.

With federal funding for Planned Parenthood under threat under Speaker Paul Ryan and the Trump administration, Leyva says her bill is crucial.

S.B. 320 is still in the early stages of the legislative process, but could reach the governor’s desk by September, Leyva explained. The University of California will begin analysis of the bill shortly, as it pertains to any possible systemwide implementation.

ICE 'Public Safety Advisory' Criticizing Local Law Enforcement for Immigration Policies Appears to Contain Bad Data

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 7:27 PM

A newly-issued report from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is meant to name and shame local police and sheriff's departments that don't cooperate with the feds by holding immigrants in local jails for extra time so they can be taken into ICE custody to face immigration charges.

The report was requested by President Trump through an executive order as part of a White House campaign to "better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions."

But the report — which was issued without giving local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to provide feedback, or to even review ICE's data — appears to contain inaccuracies.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office was one of the local agencies named in the report as having declined a detainer from ICE.

Detainers are requests sent by ICE to local police agencies asking that they hold a person in jail for extra time, beyond what's legally allowable based on the criminal charges the person faces. The purpose of the hold is so that ICE can take the individual directly into custody to face immigration charges.

Many so-called sanctuary jurisdictions do not honor detainers from ICE because they're not required to under federal law. Courts have also ruled that detainers violate people's constitutional rights.

Furthermore, in California, the Trust Act bars sheriffs and police from carrying out a detainer request in most cases.

According to ICE's report, the Alameda sheriff's Santa Rita Jail declined an ICE detainer issued in January against a Cambodian citizen who was convicted of a domestic violence charge.

The Alameda County Sheriff disputes this claim, however.

"Just to make sure we're doing our job right, we looked into ICE's detainer list, but we could not find the specific case that corresponded in our records with what ICE listed," said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. "When we contacted ICE to do a follow-up, they were unable to provide us with the name of the person, and nothing matching that date and time was in our records."

Kelly said his agency initially looked into the specific case highlighted by ICE to ensure the county jails are operating properly under state and federal laws.

Other local law enforcement agencies in California also told the Express that the ICE report appears to contain inaccuracies, and that they haven't been able to get more information from the feds.

For example, ICE claimed that the Anaheim Police Department released a Mexican citizen despite a detainer request made on January 18. The ICE report listed a charge of burglary as "notable criminal activity" the man was allegedly engaged in.

"What’s listed for us, apparently, is an issue from April 18, involving a man who had a burglary charge," said Sgt. Daron Wyatt of the Anaheim police. But Wyatt said his department doesn't have any corresponding records for a person fitting this description from that date.

Instead, Wyatt said his department was able to identify a man arrested the day before who roughly fits the description, but the man wasn't charged with burglary. Rather, he was arrested and charged for drug possession. There were also warrants for his arrest on drug charges and for possessing burglary tools. Wyatt said the charges were all misdemeanors.

He also said his department wasn't contacted by ICE before the report was released.

And he added that state law forbids the Anaheim police from honoring an immigration detainer against a man like the one the report appears to have singled out.

"We’re bound by the Trust Act that says when we can and can’t honor these. If we’re mandated to honor a detainer, we will," said Wyatt.

The Express also contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which, according to ICE, declined two detainers issued in May and August of last year. One detainer, according to ICE, sought to put a hold on a Mexican citizen who had been convicted of assault. The other was for an El Salvadoran national who was convicted of a domestic violence charge. The specific nature of each case is unexplained in the ICE report, however.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Nicole Nishida said she's been trying to get more information from ICE to check on the two cases, but the agency hasn't responded yet.

"We can look at everyone we've released, but these two people are like a needle in a haystack," said Nishida. Los Angeles' jails book over 100,000 people each year and have a daily population of around 16,000, according to department records.

"We’re trying to ascertain from ICE who these people are," said Nishida.

In Texas, the Travis County Sheriff's Office is openly disputing the numbers of detainers ICE claims it declined. According to ICE, the Travis sheriff declined 142 detainers, but the sheriff says the number was lower — 128.

In Washington state, the Snohomish County Sheriff went so far as to call the ICE report "offensive" and "untrue."

The Express was unable to reach ICE representatives for comment.

But multiple law enforcement sources said that the declined detainer report was issued by ICE's Washington D.C. office, and that it caught local ICE field offices in California by surprise.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Alameda Sheriff's Letter Supporting Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions Draws Criticism From Immigration and Civil Rights Advocates

A local immigrants rights coalition called collusion with Trump and Sessions a 'disgrace.'

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern co-signed a letter sent to Sen. Jeff Sessions last December, supporting his nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Justice.

Now the letter is drawing criticism from local immigration and civil-rights groups.

The note recently surfaced as one of thousands of documents in possession of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the key panel of lawmakers who voted to approve Session's nomination in February. (All nine Democrats on the committee, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, voted against Sessions.)

Letter from the California State Sheriffs Association supporting Jeff Sessions nomination to be Attorney General.
  • Letter from the California State Sheriffs Association supporting Jeff Sessions nomination to be Attorney General.
"[W]e write to convey our support of your nomination and confirmation as United States Attorney General," the letter from Ahern and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood states.

"It is clear from your service in the U.S. Senate that you place a high priority on upholding the rule of law, supporting our nation’s military and law enforcement, and requiring the utmost integrity of yourself and those that serve with you."

Ahern and Youngblood sent the letter on behalf of the California State Sheriff's Association. Ahern is chairman of the association's political action committee.

California's congressional delegation strongly opposed Sessions' nomination, due what they characterized as his past efforts to undermine civil- and voting-rights laws, and his staunch advocacy of anti-immigration policies.

"In the 1980s he was rejected from serving as a federal judge due to his blatantly racist comments," Congresswoman Barbara Lee told her colleagues during Sessions confirmation hearings in January. She called him an "extreme and divisive figure."

In the past, Sessions has called groups like the NAACP and ACLU "un-American," and "Communist-inspired."

Ahern said in an interview that he didn't personally sign the letter of support. Rather, his signature was electronically applied as a matter of routine business for the association. He said the sheriff's association sends out as many as 100 letters each year in support of state and federal law-enforcement appointees, and that the notes are meant to build a relationship.

"We have to work with these people in the future," said Ahern, who confirmed that he voted along with other sheriffs to send the letter of support. "This builds a better relationship if we have a letter of support on file."

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson said he's "totally opposed" to Jeff Sessions. He called the California State Sheriff's Association a "super conservative body," and said Ahern and the other sheriffs have adopted many positions that are at odds with the supervisors.

Immigrants' rights groups issued a strongly-worded statement this morning about the sheriff's letter.

In an email, the Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrants Rights coalition wrote that, "the Sheriff's entanglement and collusion with Trump and Sessions' xenophobic agenda is a disgrace."

ACUDIR has asked Ahern to further restrict his office's contacts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who often seek to arrest undocumented immigrants from the sheriff's jails.

The coalition has also criticized the sheriff's association for opposing Senate Bill 54, a proposed state law that would further limit local and state law enforcement interactions with federal immigration agents.

Sessions has a long history of opposing even legal immigration. He helped defeat the 2007 reform bill that many Democrats and Republicans supported, which would have provided a path to legal citizenship for millions of undocumented people already living in the United States.

Many fear that, as attorney general, Sessions will ramp up deportations and sign off on more aggressive enforcement tactics, such as bringing back workplace raids.

Sessions is also a supporter of continuing the types of hard-line drug war policies that most California lawmakers now reject.

He said during a senate committee hearing last year that "good people don't smoke marijuana."

Medical and recreational pot are big businesses now in Alameda County, and state and local officials have de-emphasized enforcing anti-marijuana laws which have disproportionally impacted Blacks and Latinos.

Ahern said that if and when the state sheriffs association disagrees with the new Attorney General, the group won't hesitate to push back.

"If we opposed any type of actions or anything like that, we do author those types of letters too, and say we object to what’s going on," said Ahern.

Uber Not Coming To Oakland After All?

Spokesman says only 200-300 employees initially to work in Oakland, not up to 3,000.

by Nick Miller
Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 10:54 AM

Uber planned to move up to 3,000 employees to a building on Broadway, but a report this morning from SF Biz Journal says only 200-300 will initially be housed there.
  • Uber planned to move up to 3,000 employees to a building on Broadway, but a report this morning from SF Biz Journal says only 200-300 will initially be housed there.
Is the tech behemoth Uber ride-hauling its ass out of Oakland?

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the Express this morning that Uber reached out to her office "a few weeks ago" to let the city know that there would be a "smaller employee presence" when the Uptown Station building eventually opens.

“Uber’s sole decision to initially open its Oakland offices with fewer employees than originally planned does not negate the fact this prime office location will be put back into full use and made available for rent to other businesses and non-profits, in addition to the presence that Uber will have there," the mayor wrote.

Her statement comes on the heels of a story this morning by the San Francisco Business Times, which reported that the thousands of Uber employees scheduled to move into its Uptown headquarters sometime next year aren't coming.

As per SFBT Roland Li's scoop: "Uber now says it will have a few hundred employees when it opens its Uptown Station office in Oakland – not the 2,000 to 3,000 employees that it announced in 2015."

An Uber spokesperson told the Express that the company plans to grow into the Uptown Station building over the years, and that the first batch of employees are anticipated to move in in quarter-two of 2018.

Uber said it remains committed to Oakland, and that it still employs a community outreach employee in the city.

The location in Mission Bay is an expansion of Uber's existing presence in San Francisco, and a spokesperson said it plans to have workers move there in quarter three of 2019.

Some might say the news throws a wrench in Oakland's plans for the redevelopment of Uptown, and could impact hundreds of housing units in the pipe for the neighborhood. But the mayor was unworried by the Uber's scaling-down.

"Over the past two years Oakland has enjoyed a net gain in new businesses — both small and large — and several large-scale employers have announced plans to move to Oakland," Schaaf wrote. "This has had an impact on the development of new office space which is needed given that a low commercial vacancy rate is contributing to rapidly rising office rents in Oakland."

The BART board also was scheduled to discuss the possible station exit inside the Uber headquarters on April 13. The status of that meeting is now unclear. A BART spokesperson wrote to the Express in an email this morning that "negotiations between BART and Uber are confidential at this point."

The mayor reaffirmed to the Express that Uber had not received any tax breaks or incentives to move to Oakland.

Oakland community groups are demanding more information from Uber after this morning’s news.

“For months, Oakland community leaders have been concerned about Uber’s impact in terms of gentrification and displacement, and have worried that this company does not respect Oakland’s values,” wrote Orson Aguilar, president of Greenlining Institute, a local advocacy group that focuses on issues of social and economic equity. “With today’s report, we’re even less clear about what Uber’s plans mean for our city.”

Aguilar wrote in a statement that he wants Uber to meet with Oakland leaders immediately. “Whatever Uber does with this building will have a huge impact on Oakland. We call upon the company to meet with community representatives right away, and work with us to make the impact positive.”

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