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Re: “Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed

Good thing the eco orgs are joining the lawsuit because Oakland doesn't have the deep pockets to fix it's original screwup on the contract. Stadium conracts, police and fire contracts, garbage contracts, port contracts, is there a pattern here?

Posted by Len Raphael on 04/22/2017 at 9:29 PM

Re: “Community and Labor Groups Say Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Has Stacked the Planning Commission with Real Estate Industry Reps

In the planning process for the market rate apartment project between 51st and 49th on Bway, my sense is that the developer took the concerns of the neighbors more seriously than city staff or the planning commission. The developer must have been used to citiy governments less desperate than Oakland's for any development, no matter what the shortcomings.

When neighbors (or nimbies depending on you point of view) questioned the need for every unit to have it's own air conditioning system, the Planning Commission blandly referred it back to staff where it remains buried to this day.

When Kaiser took over the old Welfare building across from Tech, one Planning Commissioner kept going on about Kaiser should be required to place a terrance with greenery on the facade. That Commissioner was a landscape architect. Good idea but trivial in the overal picture. (But she was correct: Kaiser's landscaping is awful.)

Forgetabout the Commission, when I first asked about what city planner was assigned to the project, I was told by experienced staff that I must be mistaken because the staffer who I had inquired about was "too inexperienced to be put on such a large project." He was. and he was.

On the Pleasant Valley Safeway project which would be fine if it were in Pleasanton , it wasn't staff or Planning Commissioners that thwarted the united front of nimbies and smart growthers favoring high density mixed use on that site. It was the highest levels of our former Mayor's administration that was too timid to push the owner of the parcels to go mixed use.

The Commission's makeup reflects the overall failure of several City Hall administrations to guide and encourage growth.

Posted by Len Raphael on 04/22/2017 at 6:05 PM

Re: “Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed

So what exactly did they say they were shipping? Or did Oakland even ask? That would have been something the author here should have investigated, o/w a good article, thank you.

Posted by Todd Pratum on 04/22/2017 at 5:57 PM

Re: “Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed

That is because you have a group of idiots running the show in Oakland. You get what you vote for, a bunch of wan a be'es

Posted by Jim Mzt on 04/22/2017 at 5:53 PM

Re: “Community and Labor Groups Say Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Has Stacked the Planning Commission with Real Estate Industry Reps

Gary Patton is right that long before our current mayor, the Planning Commission has been stacked with members who depend on development for their livelihood. Hobart Johnson is dead right that much like everything else Oakland city government has done for years is neglect long term planning, be it public safety, schools, public transportation, recreation, or housing. Just take a walk thru Mountain View Cemetery on a weekend and multiply by a 100 the number of people holding picnics on graves, and you'll get an idea of the future impact of the CIty's failure to plan for open space and recreation.

Yes, for the Commissioners to do their volunteer jobs properly, they should be digging into the details of the projects presented to them. My limited experience from attending Commission meetings on the two projects on Bway and 51st is that only a few of the Commissioners make the effort to do that. The others at most seem to have only read the staff report.

You don't have to be an architect or real estate broker to read staff reports. And even many architects are not up to the task of visualizing very large projects. Appointing people outside of the real estate industry, and upgrading city staff qualifications and tightening revolving door employment rules for the staff, would be a better solution for the interests of all residents and businesses, current and future, than filling the Commission with people from the real estate industry, regardless of non-profit or for profit.

Len Raphael
Temescal

Posted by Len Raphael on 04/22/2017 at 5:13 PM

Re: “Can Legal Weed Save the Music Industry?

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Posted by Smith Cartel on 04/22/2017 at 4:40 PM

Re: “Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed

Alas, even earlier than 2013 when the development agreement was made, most environmentally-aware citizens would have thought about the threat of hazardous bulk materials being handled at the terminal.

Didn't occur somehow to Oakland's officials and their staffers. So nothing was done to protect Oakland's citizens, not to mention the city's finances, if a future environmental threat were to arise.

Maybe it's just me, but this sounds like business as usual in Oakland. We invariably seem to get our butt kicked.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/22/2017 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Community and Labor Groups Say Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Has Stacked the Planning Commission with Real Estate Industry Reps

This undemocratic packing of the Planning Commission may not have begun with Libby Schaaf, but it certainly has continued, and even been increased by her. Remember that her main financial backers are developers and that most of her campaign finance comes from outside Oakland.

The problem for Oakland is that it really would benefit from the urban livability and social function insights of people like Jane Jacobs whose 1961 book "Death and Life of Great American Cities" took on redevelopment baron Robert Moses in NYC.

Not that Oakland is necessarily a great American city, but so much of Oakland has been neglected for so long that this city has never quite lived up to its potential.

Oakland needs a vision which is about Oakland and its unique resources and needs. This is not the same as a vision of short-term profit which motivates developers and their captive pols.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/22/2017 at 8:28 AM

Re: “Community and Labor Groups Say Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Has Stacked the Planning Commission with Real Estate Industry Reps

Rich people doing what they alwsys do in urban areas.. They relocate the poor and black&brown people. This is all by design and it's going on all over America, basically a cleansing of undesirables.

Posted by Mr Jones on 04/22/2017 at 8:14 AM

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