Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Must Reads: Uber Buys Oakland Sears Building for Expansion; Oakland City Attorney Sues Wells Fargo for Predatory Lending

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Uber, the controversial ride app giant, has purchased the old Sears building in Uptown Oakland for it new East Bay headquarters. The San Francisco Business Times$ broke the story last night. Uber plans to add 2,000 to 3,000 employees in Oakland as part of an expansion plan, the Trib$ reports. Uber has attracted huge amounts of investment capital, but is also facing a potentially costly class-action lawsuit from its drivers. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf hailed Uber’s announcement, and the city hopes the company’s move will spur more office construction in downtown.

click to enlarge Barbara Parker.
  • Barbara Parker.
2. Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker has sued Wells Fargo, alleging that the banking behemoth preyed on Black and Latino residents with toxic mortgages in violation of the law, the Trib$ reports. Parker alleges that Wells Fargo steered Black and Latino residents into expensive high-risk loans when they had qualified for traditional loans.

3. The state Controller’s Office has launched a probe into the City of Richmond’s finances, pointing to irregularities in the city’s financial reporting and the city’s relatively poor fiscal condition, the CoCo Times$ reports.


4. Berkeley Human Welfare and Community Action Commissioner Cheryl Davila was fired from her post for authoring a resolution calling on the city to divest from Israel because of the country’s treatment of Palestinians, the Trib$ reports. Councilmember Darryl Moore said he fired Davila, his appointee, because she did not tell him that she had been working on the controversial resolution for a year.

5. Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of legislation that will renew the ability of cities and counties to use property tax revenues to redevelop low-income and blighted areas and build affordable housing, the LA Times$ reports. The legislation replaces redevelopment, which Brown dissolved in 2012, although it is much more limited than that program.

6. The Metropolitan Water District, which serves Southern California residents, is in negotiations to build a massive water recycling plant that will lessen the agency’s dependency on Northern California river water, the LA Times$ reports.

7. And Volkswagen revealed that it sold 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide that were equipped with fraudulent computer software that allowed the vehicles to pass emissions standards when, in fact, the cars were heavy polluters, the AP reports (via the Chron$).  

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