James Vann 
Member since Jun 23, 2010


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Recent Comments

Re: “Landlords and Tenants Continue to Fight Over Oakland Rent Control 'Loophole' Despite Moratorium

It is not surprising that Oakland is the only city with such a prehistoric rent law that, in effect, incentivizes owners - by making a few long-neglected repairs -- are able to forever exempt their buildings from all rent regulations ... forever !! Regrettable, but not surprising because Oakland antiquated 1980 law was actually written by landlords ... and tenants have been fighting and struggling ever since -- little by little -- to inject some measure of fairness into the city's arcane rental policies and regulations.

Posted by James Vann on 05/03/2018 at 5:37 PM

Re: “Landlord Agrees to Pay $1 Million to Renters and City of Oakland in Settlement of Tenant Protection Case

Congratulations to the Asian Law Caucus who did a fantastic job of organizing the tenants to remain strong throughout, and especially to Atty Robert Salinas who took on the tenants' case in early 2016 when there was no assurance of compensation ... and most of all to the TENANTS themselves who withstood unbelievable housing conditions and owner treatment throughout the ordeal. Finally, Oakland Tenants Union is proud to have played a small role in meeting early with the tenants' group and sharing our knowledge of and experience with Oakland's almost indecipherable rent laws.

Posted by James Vann on 05/03/2018 at 5:15 PM

Re: “Oakland Landlord Evicts Tenant, Then Hangs Pro-Trump Billboard on Building

It is unfortunate that such much misinformation gets spread so quickly. instead of seeking out what is truth and what exists that might be helpful.
1. Although Oakland's rent laws are weak they still provide certain protection for tenants against owner abuse, and should be asked about and utilized (Oakland Rent Program (510) 238-3521)..
2. It seems that Mr ALkebulan's unit is a "covered unit", and what the owner is attempting is illegal. The city provides no-coast legal service for these types of issues through East Bay Community Law Center (510-548-4040)..
3. As long as Mr ALkebulan pays the rent and abides by the terms of rent agreement, he has in effect established a "permanent right of occupancy.
An owner cannot just remove a rental unit. There are specific requirement that must be met.
4. The rent law is "silent" on whether a unit is legal or code compliant -- all units where rent is collected are covered units. An owner may be required to make health & safety repairs, and it is only the code inspector who determined if required work will cause "temporary" relocation. If so , the owner must pay the tenants relocation expense -- which would be appx $12,000.
5. The worst comment on the page is the one above which states that "all residents pay for the cost of rent control." To which I will only reply that without even Oakland's' weak rent protections, unmitigated landlord greed would have long assured that no working class household's would currently be able to reside in Oakland.

Continue to stand firm Mr ALkebulan !!.

Posted by James Vann on 11/23/2017 at 1:47 PM

Re: “Can Oakland Protect Chinatown and Eastlake?

Gary Patton does an exceptional job of precisely describing the fate of Chinatown and Eastlake neighborhoods in the event a baseball stadium is installed at Laney College as proposed by the Oakland A's. If the Peralta Trustees give a green light to the proposal, the existing peaceful and affordable neighborhoods will disappear almost overnight. QUESTION: Where does a current Oakland resident who is forceably displaced get a replacement apartment ? You're right ... far away from Oakland ! One look at a stadium superimposed on the Peralta site exposes the real motive of the A's and their deep-pocketed investors. The present site is too small. The true objective of the A's and their investors is the land occupied by Chinatown & Eastlake, Laney College, Dewey Continuation School, La Escuelita Elementary, and the OUSD administration. The A's and their investors envision a mega-development of shopping malls, multi-level parking structures, office towers, high rises of luxury condominium, boutique shops, fancy restaurants, and night life entertainment. The bottom line here is not the A's -- they will sell out to new owners and be gone within 5 years -- Neither the A's or their investors will shed one tear of concern for the city of Oakland or its people -- THEIR OBJECTIVE IS MONEY, LOTS OF IT !! And they will "play" Peralta and the City like chumps to get to their ultimate goal.

Posted by James Vann on 11/12/2017 at 4:02 PM

Re: “The Beat Won’t Go On: Chicago Landlord Evicts Coffee With A Beat, Longtime Adams Point Shops

What is happening to small businesses all over the Bay Area is truly deplorable, immoral, unconscionable, and harmful to the quality of life of the neighborhoods these essential businesses serve. It is most regrettable that businesses have no rights in California beyond their initial lease. In the 60's, the City of Berkeley, in an heroic attempt, enacted commercial rent control to "save" a popular College Ave pharmacy/coffeeshop. The state stepped in and voided Berkeley's action proclaiming that commercial rent control is "preempted" by State law. This horrible situation will not change until small commercial owners come together, organize, and bring mass pressure on the legislature to change the existing law.

Posted by James Vann on 03/31/2017 at 9:25 AM

Re: “As People of Color Disappear from Oakland, So Do My Memories

Congratulations, Tigray, for a well-written and well-expressed article on important and urgent issues that screams for adequate attention by Oakland policymakers. There are current voices, like the community assembly of The Oakland Post Salon, Block by Block Organizing Network, and others, that attempt to formulate and pressure Oakland leaders to take action on topics such as those you raise. I hope you will join them.

Posted by James Vann on 12/28/2016 at 11:22 AM

Re: “Updated: Fearing Displacement, Oakland Chinatown Advocates Demand Community Benefits from Developer

Victoria, perhaps if you read my comment more thoroughly, you will observe no criticism of development, per se. You will notice instead that I refer to the new developments as "welcomed." The impact fees you mention (the first application of such fees by the way) are meager and a minor offset for the many negative impacts of development (Berkeley and Emeryville collect $29,000 for each new unit constructed). At the current construction estimate, the $2.3M will produce about 4.5 affordable housing units.

Vincent states the issue much more concretely -- Oakland's overwhelming need is housing that current residents who are being displaced in droves can afford. Not one current resident will be able to afford the new apartments, which developers construct for maximum profit -- as is their right. But since the Feds no longer support housing for the least able, it is the city that carries the responsibility of assuring housing availability for all incomes. As part of the right to negatively impact the city with new construction, it is only equitable that developers must contribute to ameliorating the city's extreme housing need.

Posted by James Vann on 08/03/2016 at 6:13 PM

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