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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Guest Essays

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on President Trump: 'Move Beyond Anger to Action'

Can't wait tell she gon...................e.

Min. Edward J. Ailsworth

Posted by Edward J. Ailsworth on 11/06/2017 at 2:10 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Regardless of whether it's Uber occupying the Sears building or not, Oakland needs a steady influx of revenue. Those millions of dollars Oakland NEEDS to fight homelessness and improve it's infrastructure (just two things the City needs to work on), won't come if they keep buckling to the demands to STOP GENTRIFICATION. I'm tired of hearing, "I was born and raised in Oakland, and I rent here, and they owe me an opportunity to afford to live here..." Well guess what, I was born and raised here, own a home here, and Oakland owes me the opportunity to actually benefit from things my PROPERTY TAXES say I'm entitled to. Well maintained streets, decent schools, low crime, businesses to spend my money, etc. I haven't gotten jack from this Oakland EXCEPT a higher tax bill EVERY YEAR. So until I start getting something in return, I don't care about what the anti-gentrification community has to say.

Posted by Melissa Kittell on 07/02/2017 at 2:04 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

As to Uber gate... While the wheels of justice turn slowly, they do turn surely. The near criminal CEO, Travis Kalanick has been ousted as has the board member trying to walk in his shoes.

While some may be salivating for blood on the walls, I view this as a positive step.

Guilt by association must NOT be allowed. The approximately 12,000 employees shouldn't be penalized because the boss is a jerk.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/14/2017 at 9:16 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Well, a quick google on Mr Aguilar shows he is yet another out of state, out of bay area academic carpet bagger come to waggle their fingers in our faces and attempt to shame those they don't approve of or pay them off in some way and no real experience in much of anything.

In short, no story here. Ignore him and move along.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/14/2017 at 9:08 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Who the hell is Orson Aguilar and what office was he elected? Companies, corporations, and small businesses purchase real estate for their own reasons with the ultimate goal to earn a profit or create a return on investment. Zoning is the municipal process in which industries can distinguish where they are welcome and where they are a burden. Zoning is the process, not some community "activism" or whatever that nonsense is called. People are investing,with real money, into Oakland. That's a good thing. As they do, prices will likely rise as demand soars. If you can't afford it-leave or get a higher paying or second job. I fled the suburbs, Antioch, a few years ago, to move to Oakland. Love it. Orson- did you take Economics in high school or college? Nothing personal here, but the demands your group is making on a property owner are wrong.

Posted by michael.sagehorn on 06/13/2017 at 10:35 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Bravo, John Seal.

I read this opinion piece along with the mostly withering comments the other day and was energized, saddened and disgusted, in quick succession. It closely reflects my torn feelings about gentrification in general, and in Oakland specifically. After having been both a renter and recent homeowner here close to downtown Oakland for more than 22 years, Ive seen how dramatically the city has changed. From Friday and Saturday nights where downtown was literally a ghost town to the 100 fold increase in traffic and building activity, Ive witnessed the transformation firsthand. To say that the influx of money and revitalization to the area in general has been positive would be an understatement. I welcome the city finally picking up steam from then Mayor Browns initiative during his time in office to bring 10,000 new dwellings downtown. There are strangely and sadly a lot of residents who seem to have wanted to keep Oakland the way it was. No thanks. Stagnation is always death.

The thing is, I believe that a good many opponents and activists were not against change per se, but rather against the seemingly wholesale selling out to what seems to be happening at the expense of people who have lived here their whole lives. The tech gold rush that started in the late 90s across the bay has now come to roost here in Oakland, for better or worse. Ill not get into the obvious reasons nor make a judgement about its coming about.

There is, however, something much more troubling happening here that is in lock step with what has happened state-wide and collectively as Americans: the complete and total sell out of virtuous values like integrity and character. Uber and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, have never, ever displayed anything other than what could easily be portrayed by the worst, most evil villain in a super hero movie, sans the trappings. Just this week, weve once more been exposed to a former Uber executives illegal handling of personal medical records, not to mention CEO Kalanicks cautionary *wink-wink* email detailing in the most fratish-way what to avoid at the then 2013 Miami celebration. And folks are bemused by the trail of idiocy the 45th has committed? Really?

This company embodies and emanates every disgusting human quality an American company can represent. The lot of them are scumbags. Full stop. They do not represent anything I believe in, they do not represent any qualities a responsible, good-citizen model of corporate America would condone, and they certainly do not reflect anything the best of Oaklands hard-working, creative, historically blue-collar citizens represent in any way shape or form.

You may say, well, a $70 billion-valued company that owns a cheaply-sold plot of land in Oaklands burgeoning downtown can do whatever it likes. No. They cannot.

Ever since the citizens of this nation have become so utterly hypnotized by the almighty bottom-line at the expense of common sense, human virtues to celebrated and maintained (honesty, integrity, concern for your fellow human being, hard work, etc.), as a society weve experienced a dearth of heartless, immoral choices. Human beings matter. Community matters. History matters. Sometimes even tradition matters. Making money at any expense NEVER matters, ever.

For that reason, I say, No. No, I cannot and will not support a leviathan of the tech church of Libertarianism and money-at-all-costs. These scumbags will never be welcome in my home and our shared community of Oakland. Because, in the end, this is about values, integrity and a reflection of the community.

Posted by FigAlert on 06/09/2017 at 11:27 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Pursuant to previous comment, this from a news story published TODAY: "Uber has reached the stage where there is seemingly no low it can reach that will surprise people"

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/201…

Posted by John Seal on 06/08/2017 at 9:44 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

I've joined No Uber Oakland and look forward to Oakland residents giving this disgusting company a very cold welcome. With any luck they'll realize they're not wanted here and will sell the building.

Posted by John Seal on 06/08/2017 at 9:07 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

OK, let's be, to use the new buzz phrase, transparent.

Temescal DISTRICT OF OAKLAND, Rockridge DISTRICT OF OAKLAND. Montclair DISTRICT OF OAKLAND. As much as EBX (and many others try to pretend otherwise) These ARE part of Oakland. Only Piedmont can claim to be a separate entity.

Yes, Rockridge IS largely single story ACTIVE real estate and has no place to put new building. Temescal has some space. What there is, is being rehabilitated quickly. West Oakland has a number of empty lots (from recently demolished industrial buildings). East Oakland has some buildings that should be demolished and haven't been (drive down Fruitvale; look south on East 10th, to point at one). I'm sure we can identify others.

Keep in mind, active or not, someone -- NOT Oakland/Alameda county, owns all of these properties. We can't just take what we want. We should have learned this before first grade. It will take large infusions of money that vanished when urban redevelopment funds were sued out of existence. That was a hit nearly as bad as prop 13.

Now, to quote/paraphrase a developer who has recently suffered losses in Oakland, "a building being burned down twice in 12 months, can't be a coincidence". That's a 35 million dollar development. Yes insurance may pay part of it, but it drives up costs for other developers and sure makes 'em gun shy for building in Oakland... Which I'm certain was the intent.

Ms MacElheny, if this isn't YOUR district, your community, it borders it. And as a whole, does anyone really think the community has NO IDEA who did this and why? Or was it to use the words of a long disgraced former POTUS "outside agitators"? You want community engagement? REALLY? Get off your butt and engage the community!

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/08/2017 at 5:32 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Rockridge has nowhere to build new housing, and that new building on Broadway just north of 51st is Temescal (next to the Wendy's).

Posted by adrian reynolds on 06/08/2017 at 12:46 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Ahhh yes... The long term residents who scream "NO CHANGE IN OAKLAND!!!!!"

Funny, I searched the back articles on this topic. I found RESIDENTS called out as complaining that the high rise would alter the character of the neighborhood of not more than two or three story buildings, but not property owners.

Why do you suppose the author didn't call out owners as the complainers? It would have fanned the flames of his more than obvious position.

And why do think Oakland has a housing crisis? It's every bit bad a raygun wanting to take the country "back" to a world that only existed in Hollywood movies.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/07/2017 at 2:03 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Homeowners against development are indeed a big part of the problem. See the recent argument about homeowners trying to stop 400 units (that will displace no one) at MacArthur Bart. Also, people say they want good paying jobs in Oakland and then complain about tech companies. What other kinds of jobs are they thinking of?

Posted by AndrewOakland on 06/07/2017 at 12:18 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Welcome UBER. The opinions of a few do not represent the masses.

Posted by Josh Shaw on 06/07/2017 at 9:51 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

They wanted to keep Oakland to stay as a horrible place to live. How stupid is that???

Posted by Yuan Yan on 06/07/2017 at 1:11 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Don't say "We" because you do not represent a lot of Oakland's residents. There are a great many of Oakland residents that want to see development and progress being made to this great city.

The demands listed are very short-sighted if not laughable. Change is coming to Oakland whether people like it or not. The Bay Area is only so big and it's getting crowded day by day.

Posted by Robert Hope on 06/07/2017 at 12:27 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

This is the Keep Oakland Poor Committee. Uber will help to fill all those empty shops on Broadway and other Oakland streets. Uber will employ people at all income levels like admin assistants, IT support, janitors. They also will boost local restaurants and hang out in local bars. (adding more jobs for waiters, bartenders) They will even buy local weed

Posted by Kevin Dowling on 06/06/2017 at 4:45 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Oakland logic: Get those high paying jobs out of our city. Hopeless.

Posted by jpr on 06/06/2017 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Ummm.... Jason, it's not wealthy homeowner showing up at planning meetings making ridiculous demands of developers. Both Rockridge and Berkeley are full of UC Berkeley students renting housing for a semester at a time. It's been that way for decades. And THEY love to agitate and are easily motivated to do so without regard to long term effects. Happen to recall the battle over the new Safeway store? Berkeley is infamous for it's no-growth initiatives.

As to high density development near transit, let's have a look at a proposed Oakland project... MacArthur BART transit village. Activists there have brought a 400 unit development to a stand still. Not because there was no low cost housing included, but because it was, and I quote, "all crammed onto the lower levels".

While we're discussing areas other than Oakland, what about Albany?

Development costs money. Someone in the community burned a new development down... Twice in less than a year. How many units did that take out? Before that it was the development on West MacArthur.

Members of the city council "work with building owners"... Who have been operating slums for decades... Instead of closing them down and initiating appropriate legal actions to put those properties to right.

Take a little drive down east 10th, south of Fruitvale... Notice an old, VERY odd building? Looks a bit like it's about to fall down (not to mention holes in the roof). It's been that way for years. Oh! the outrage when people get killed in or near it.

The thing that is missed in the discussion of Uber is they aren't tenants. They BOUGHT the building. A large building well on the way to becoming yet another abandoned eyesore in downtown Oakland. Oakland has many. Have ya heard about the old library building in East Oakland? Site of a number of fires?

And just how is it we think it's OK to require a tech company to hire in Oakland, but not make same requirement for teachers, police and firefighters?! WTF?!!!!

Activists in Oakland and the surrounding areas drive development out and scream it's the home owners. It's not.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/06/2017 at 2:17 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

The author fails to mention Uber has reduced it's planned workforce in Oakland by 2700 jobs, or 90%. Uber didn't specify why, but most people speculate it's the large number of demands made by the community.

The idea of forcing Uber to "hire and train Oakland residents for those high-paying tech jobs" is a ridiculous burden to place on a company that is free to locate elsewhere. There are tons of "techies" who live in Oakland and commute to tech companies on the peninsula, preventing Uber from locating here will not stop the gentrification.

Posted by Oakland_Native on 06/06/2017 at 11:27 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

In previous eras, people moving en masse would trigger development to ease housing pressure. That's not happening now anywhere near where it needs to, because wealthy homeowners are trying to preserve their wealth and the racial / economic / age makeup of their neighborhoods by blocking new development, and landlords want to preserve scarcity for their assets and have maximum leverage over their tenants. Development is isolated to the few neighborhoods where stuff can get built instead of spread to all neighborhoods. (Rockridge has its own nice BART station and is super low-density around that. Same with North Berkeley. Why is that?)

Every market rate condo built for "tech bros" means one older apartment building the "tech bro" doesn't move into instead, and one tenant that isn't at risk of getting displaced. People are being displaced despite new development because *that new development still isn't enough.* You can't just put a wall around the city and you can't just keep playing musical chairs with the same amount of chairs.

Building public housing, affordable housing, fixing the MID, fixing Prop13, repealing Costa-Hawkins, enacting stronger rent control and anti-eviction measures are all super super important, and we need to also start talking about a vacancy tax on residential and commercial spaces to prevent large real estate holders from just camping on vacant properties to preserve scarcity, but there need to be places for everyone to live - even the "tech bros."

"Tech" is not blameless and Uber certainly is problematic for a million other reasons and I think deserves plenty of discussion as to whether they're who we want as an anchor tenant in Oakland. But they aren't /causing/ displacement - homeowners and landlords are.

Posted by Jason Braatz on 06/06/2017 at 11:00 AM

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