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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: “Oakland Councilmembers Accuse Mayor Schaaf of 'Bait and Switch' With Soda Tax Revenue

There has not been a sudden, unexpected worsening in city finances from the start of the soda tax election campaign in 2016 to now to justify any emergency need to divert expected soda tax revenue to any other purpose. The City's budget office has consistently projected large deficits in each of the 5 year projections they have published ever since they were required to do so by Council several years ago.

Posted by Len Raphael on 04/30/2017 at 12:59 AM

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