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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Well the responses listed here explain why we are in this crisis. I lost my rental home in Oakland in 2015 after having lived there problem-free for 17 years. The landlord had promised me he would never sell in 2013 when my husband passed. In March 2015 he sent me an email saying he was coming over with a real estate agent in two days. When I expressed obvious shock and confusion, he first tried to say he had told me about this already and then when I said that was not the case, tried the "oh, I must have told your husband about it, but not you"- possibly the worst and stupidest lie I've ever been told. The house was immediately shown and sold to a young wealthy tech couple in their early 20's who worked in SF and just wanted to be near the BART. I had to move by late May. I got conflicting advice from City of Oakland Rent Adjustment Board and others - some said I had rights being over 60 and having lived there over 10 years would require a year's advance notice of the landlord selling, other attorneys I spoke to said I had no rights at all in a single family home. For two months I frantically searched all corners of the east bay - running into massive competition with other renters offering higher rents to landlords, flirting with landlords, you name it. I finally found a 2 bedroom cottage in Lafayette, successfully advocated for my two senior indoor only cats to be admitted, and signed a year's lease June 1. On July 3, I received a letter saying the Lafayette property had sold and all the buildings and many of the trees, were going to be torn down and rebuilt.
So without being fully unpacked, and already having had to give up my washer/dryer, piano, dining room table and chairs, and many, many other things, I moved again in October 2015. This time I bought an affordable condo further out in Walnut Creek. I have a 45 minute commute in the am (BART parking fills up way before I start work in Berkeley) and usually wait until 7pm before attempting the return home. I am most definitely a displaced Oaklander but I have come to appreciate that at least no one can sell me or price me out, and the City of Oakland is truly not invested in protecting ANY renter. Even the idea that a landlord give advance notice (vs 2 days) to a long-term renter is outside the scope of the greed mentality.

Posted by JeanetteSarmiento1 on 04/30/2017 at 12:10 PM

Re: “The Secret Sidewalk May Not Be Secret Much Longer

I used to go to the secret sidewalk as a teenager, in the mid-eighties. I went once during the day, but it was a nighttime party hangout spot that couldn't be beaten. It was rare that my friends and I would meet anyone else on the sidewalk, although one night, the word had gotten out, and a full blown party was happening. For the most part, we crossed the tracks, climbed up to the bridge,and headed east.We followed the rules of the sidewalk: Never straight, always foreward, never sideways, and sometimes in reverse. We would smoke a bowl with Buddha (a white figure, spraypainted on a large rock), and once we passed the jail (a metal barrier, to keep cows off the sidewalk, I think), we would enter the valley, near the end of the sidewalk, and sit down hanging our feet off the side, and party. We sometimes went to the end of the sidewalk, but mostly stopped where the Troll (the only homeless person we knew of, living in a tiny, low space under the sidewalk) was. He rarely talked to us, and never took the drugs and alcohol offered to him. If we were really lucky, a train would come, lighting up the whole valley, and rumbling loudly until disappearing into the tunnel underneath and near where we were sitting. Good times.

Posted by Phoenix Mueller on 04/30/2017 at 7:20 AM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Yeah, Iam Rhiannon, Berkeley has a loophole. It sounds as if it's a bait and switch scam and it SHOULD be closed... But I'm not a resident of Berkeley. I AM a resident of Oakland. Do keep in mind, HUGE swaths of Berkeley's rental units are occupied by students. Yeah, they are residents, but are also... Transient. Here for a few years and then gone.

Oakland on the other hand, has a bread and circuses and temper tantrum mentality... If the populace can't demand other pay for what they want, they tie it up so thoroughly the developers go away and no one get's housing.

Witness the proposed construction for the MacArthur transit village... Potentially about 400 new housing unit are now completely stalled. Not because there isn't low income housing reserved, but what is reserved is all on the lower levels.

Do you think that encourages needed new development?

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 04/28/2017 at 8:56 PM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Berkeley has a loophole in its condominium conversion ordinance that allows new high density rental housing to convert to condos as long as they do it before any units are rented. At least 90% of the projects approved as rentals in the past several years were never intended as rentals, and have been converted to condominiums. Most of these projects were granted a 35% density bonus in return for 5-10% below market rate rentals, but were not required to 1) put all units, low-income and market rate, on sale to the public; and 2) increase the percentage of moderate income units available. Instead they are being allowed to "condo" some while renting out the required below market rate units.

At least Oakland isn't that sneaky.

Posted by Iam Rhiannon on 04/28/2017 at 12:10 PM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Oh, Ernest Montague, what happens when all the thousands of people you and others depend on (teachers, service workers--you probably like to buy a coffee or eat in a restaurant, right?--non-profit workers, culture workers, laborers, skilled blue collar, etc etc) can't afford to live here? Probably never crossed your mind. Glad to see at least YOU have benefited, which is really all that matters

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 04/27/2017 at 9:39 AM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Supply and demand. Overpopulation.

For the foreseeable future, because of overpopulation, it will not be possible for working class Americans in the California Bay Area to own, or even rent, a home (as envisioned by most Americans, and as defined by Vincent J Cannato in "A Home of One's Own," and as was the case in the first half of the last century, before California's population passed the tipping point).

The "housing problem" will not be "resolved," even when we have millions living in usagi goya ("rabbit hutches").

Posted by Erik Kengaard on 04/27/2017 at 7:51 AM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

This article sure makes a mountain out of a mole hill. Even with the present laws its is actully very expensive and tricky to convert an apartment building into condos.

Posted by bill h on 04/27/2017 at 7:48 AM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

The City of Oakland has no legal nor moral mandate to accommodate everyone.

I lived in SF for years. I always wanted to buy a house there, but could never quite afford it. I moved to Oakland thirty years ago because I could afford a house here. That's life. It's not designed to make sure that all of us receive special treatment. If you can't afford Oakland, move. It didn't hurt me when I could not buy in SF. It was good for me.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 04/27/2017 at 7:32 AM

Re: “Berkeley Police Basically MIA At Saturday's Violent Pro-Trump Vs. AntiFa Brawl

If you throw M80s at a dog in Berkeley, they would arrest you. Apparently, the berkley police think conservatives are not even dogs.

How the police are unable to stop 40 or so 150lb scrawny thugs from assaulting people is nothing short of shocking.

Is someone threw an m80 at you in the commission of a crime, you would have the right to defend yourself using whatever means you can.

It is assault, nothing less.

BTW, the police didn't search antifa. You can watch them march right threw the barriers without going through the checkpoints.

Posted by Jack Crow on 04/26/2017 at 9:09 PM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Even efforts to build new housing in Oakland will be met with NIMBYs screaming "it changes the Oakland I grew up in"... Effectively demanding no changes here while the entire state, as a desirable place to live and work, is flooded with new bodies.

I know... Take a page from Trumps book and build a wall! Yeah, right.

Now that the drug fever has passed, how about a real solution... Like building new units? Naaaa.... Never gonna happen. The bread and circuses crowd has learned how to VERY effectively block ANY new development unless they are able extort a piece of the action from the people who invested in blighted and largely dilapidated property in risky parts of town with the idea of actually having them be more than death traps. As Clarence C. Johnson said, it's called realizing the value of the investment.

Even those who bought 50 years ago are allowed to do that... Aren't they? No? why not? Explain it to me.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 04/26/2017 at 5:27 PM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

"Housing-policy experts say the steady drip of conversions is eliminating affordable rental housing in Oakland." Really? "Housing policy experts" say eliminating rent control inventory is eliminating affordable rental housing? Such insight.

Amazing EBX cant find any "housing policy experts" that say increasing housing supply will have downward pressure on rents. We can blame Oakland officials all we want, but when you try to do two opposing things - constrain market rate housing supply while also keeping rents affordable, you're going to have a byzantine set of laws such as purchasing conversion credits that are going to constantly need revision because of the meteoric rise of market value housing due to constrained supply.

If you bought $1k worth of Apple stock 10 years ago thats worth $10k now, would you sell it to a friend in a private sale for only $1500? No, you would sell it on the market for what its worth. Its called realizing the value of an investment.

Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 04/26/2017 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Condominium Conversions in Oakland Displace Renters and Undermine Affordability, According to Tenants and Housing Experts

Oakland lacks an effect policy for protecting and increasing affordable rental housing.

Oakland officials are not responsive to citizens's requests for help.

That's Oakland in a nutshell, baby!

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/26/2017 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Top Commander Accused of Turning California National Guard Into ‘Criminal Syndicate’

Unless the press continues to ask the hard questions, nothing will be resolved. This has been going on since before MG Baldwin. Go beyond the information the PR person gives any reporter. It's as bad, or worse, as the listed comments in this site.

Posted by littleone on 04/26/2017 at 5:01 AM

Re: “High-Level City Staff Knew of Police Sex Crimes Months Before Oakland Mayor Says She Was Informed

Wow sounds like to me, quite a few TOP RANKED EMPLOYEES!!! NEW & OVER LOOKED THE WELL BEING OF OUR CHILDREN & OAKLANDERS.. HMMM & SHE'S PUSHING FOR ANOTHER TERM. NOT

Posted by Anitra Corbin on 04/25/2017 at 6:44 PM

Re: “Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible to Flooding Due To Climate Change And Sea-Level Rise

Sounds like time to build on higher ground. In San Francisco we have the opposite situation with most of the "high-value" property at risk of floods and sinking into the landfill mud. How will the wealthy cope? Will they lose their fortunes or sell out in time to beat the tides?

Posted by Sebra Leaves on 04/24/2017 at 2:18 PM

Re: “City of Livermore Continues To Hide Records Related To Former Police Officer Accused Of Sex Crimes In 'Celeste Guap' Case

I'm no fan of cops. I am a fan or process.

Were the accused in this anyone BUT, law enforcement Burris would be screaming at the top of his lungs to close off an investigation conducted in this manner.

Please note, I said accused. Innocent until proven guilty? And you don't get to go fishing to prove guilt; else the riders would still be in operation.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 04/21/2017 at 5:11 PM

Re: “Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible to Flooding Due To Climate Change And Sea-Level Rise

Yes, the Oakland low lands are screwed... So are Long Island, Martinez, Concord and Miami Beach (all of Florida for that matter, but is THAT a loss, really?).

Rising sea level WILL effect everyone not just "the most vulnerable" (jeeze! what an emotionally manipulative string to pull). It won't matter if you have money or privilege or not. Everyone get's screwed. Blatantly manipulative attempts like this cost credibility. They don't motivate anyone.

And please do notice, I say will, not if.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 04/21/2017 at 5:06 PM

Re: “City of Livermore Continues To Hide Records Related To Former Police Officer Accused Of Sex Crimes In 'Celeste Guap' Case

Alameda County uses 'Kangaroo Courts' to protect the $fruit$ of Political Corruption.

Posted by Peter Quinn on 04/21/2017 at 8:07 AM

Re: “Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible to Flooding Due To Climate Change And Sea-Level Rise

Despite the likelihood of rising sea levels affecting low-lying neighborhoods in far fewer than 100 years, planning ahead is hardly a task for which Oakland's government is prepared.

Looking ahead even one year regarding serious social and environmental problems would be most unusual for Oakland.

Of course our pols do look ahead at their coming elections. Within a few months of being elected, our current Mayor was busily raising money for her next campaign. Her out-of-town developer sponsors are taking no chances.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/20/2017 at 1:14 PM

Re: “Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible to Flooding Due To Climate Change And Sea-Level Rise

"Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible....by the end of the century".... Hmm... that is some 83 years from now.
I'm sure that the disadvantaged residents of those neighborhoods would place this important concern at about #147 on their list of potential problems they will have over the next 60 years.

Heck by that time nearly ALL of those neighborhoods will have been gentrified and re-gentrified... Thus the number of poor in those neighborhoods will be reduced to near zero.,
It will be entirely a upper middle class or wealthy person's problem, not affecting more than a handful of poor people.

As far as poor people go this rising sea level in Oakland neighborhoods is a non issue for decades to come.

Posted by Dan de'Data on 04/20/2017 at 12:22 PM

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