Peter Brown 1 
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Re: “Special Deal Would Benefit Influential Oakland Developer

As several have already said, this is not about zoning changes or height limits. To that I will add, it is not about tech workers or any particular population. It's about markets and interests; property interests. Gerry Brown campaigned on supporting the arts and limiting the excesses of Capital; once in office, he shamelessly promoted the interests of global corporations and big developers, to the detriment of Oakland artists and low-income workers. Between 2000 and 2012, 50,000 low-income people had to move out of Oakland due to increasing housing costs. Brown spoke in glowing terms of "elegant density" and other urban planning jargon devoid of any real economic content; his 10K plan to save the city's tax base was this; move out the "old industrial" population that now needs help, and move in "the new"; market rate people who can't afford SF rates. What we see going on today is a drastically more aggressive process, obviously carefully planned out and now being rapidly implemented throughout Oakland with the help of backroom deals and, according to one of my sources, actual widespread bribery. The old manufacturing base is replaced by the highly roboticized (read "vastly fewer workers") new manufacturing base. Thus, Oakland and the entire country are full of workers no longer needed; unemployable; in the way; not to be educated; to be moved out.
Silicon Valley is expanding, becoming Silicon Bay, with SF as a global hub (perhaps THE global hub) of software/app manufacturing. The corporate interests behind this, grown fat on government/military funding (read Google; funded by Pentagon; funded by your taxes and mine), have no intention of being stopped by a few isolated, broke-ass poor folks and artists.
To challenge and stop the deeply unfair nature of what's going on, we'll need to unify all who can be unified, and challenge the right of "the Market" to determine who gets to live where. Gosh sakes (avoiding more divisive term), I know folks who work at Laney College (where I teach) who commute from Tracy! I have students who drive in from Vacaville!
As I recently heard a local minister say "this isn't about money, it's about power. We need to start getting strategic, and tactical, about organizing to take over our city."
Partial demands asking for, or demanding, fairness within the existing process, will be used to defeat us and deflect & dissipate our energies into deciding "where we want curbs painted & where we want street trees" while Global Tech Capital goes about its business laughing at us.
What do Oakland's people need? Housing as a right. Everyone in, no one out. No more evictions. No more luxury development. Develop the city to house, educate, employ and provide healthcare for ALL residents regardless of assets or income. Our government will either defend the people against the corporations, or protect the corporations as they plunder us and destroy the planet. Any "middle ground" between those is rapidly disappearing.

Peter Brown
Laney instructor of Machine Technology
Oakland resident since 1970

Posted by Peter Brown 1 on 11/06/2015 at 9:27 PM

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