Ross Almazan 
Member since Apr 12, 2008


Stats

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • Nada.
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Zip.

Friends

  • No friends yet.
Become My Friend Find friends »

Recent Comments

Re: “Town Business: E. 12th Street Remainder Parcel Decision Coming Soon

Correction on the original UrbanCore proposal for E. 12th St. It was never slated to be "luxury condos"... the original proposal was for 100% market rate apartments.... that is a significant difference and saying it was "luxury condos" is slanted reporting. http://www.urbancorellc.com/#!lake-merritt…

Posted by Ross Almazan on 02/22/2016 at 7:27 PM

Re: “Affordable Housing on Public Land

Regarding the E. 12th street parcel...agreed the City completely bungled the development process of surplus public land. Rightly so they pulled back on the previous Urban Core proposal. I also agree affordable housing needs to be addressed in any potential development / proposal opportunity in Oakland public land or not (check out the SPUR'S recent smart and informed recommendation for future downtown Oakland development http://www.spur.org/sites/default/files/pu… ).

That said, while I get the E12 Coalition's position, I don't agree with their unbalanced rationale presented in this Opinion piece...

"Every few months, news of another major, market-rate high-rise development coming into Oakland makes headlines..." - yes they may make headlines, but the fact is none of them have broken ground. There are zero construction cranes. Developers are interested, the City has welcomed/approved them, but none of them have secured financing. If that was the case we'd see the cranes we see in SF, San Jose and all the cities up and down the West Coast...but nothing. So the fear of displacement because of that is unfounded...it's happening in spite of that.

"The developers behind the new Uber headquarters are planning two acres of high-rise housing, retail, and office space on a parcel at 21st Street and Telegraph Avenue." Sure but they are partnering with local developer Alan Dones an Oakland native who is African American....who's original plans was to include 15% of the housing to be affordable/low income. But now that Lane (Uber developers) are on board..."he said that percentage could increase now that Lane Partners is in the picture. Dones added that the developers would search for state grants and new market tax credits to help pay for more affordable housing."...here's the article http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/bl….

E12 Coalition also begins with..."What would it look like if the City of Oakland worked not just with corporate developers, but with neighborhood residents to determine what should be built on our precious public land in Oakland?" Well according to the city website, they are reaching out to community stakeholders: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/PlanDowntownOak….

But going back to the Alan Dones / Lane Partners (Uber developers) project...
“‘The development team will host a public forum at Impact Hub Oakland about “transforming adjacent properties into a vibrant community of stores, homes, offices and plazas.' It will be the first step in what will likely be a lengthy public process before the site is entitled and constructed." (The forum did take place on Nov. 3rd.) Furthermore, Dones goes on to say “I can’t emphasize enough that our objective is starting with community-first approach here. That means we talk to the community about this, we get ideas and feedback...We also really start from the beginning, building into the DNA of the project what it ultimately comes out to be, like addressing Oakland’s serious affordability crisis.”

E12 Coalition also says..."The City of Oakland is selecting a developer for the parcel at 1911 Telegraph, hoping to see a high-rise, mixed-used development and a hotel." Well the good news is that they have narrowed the short list to three developers that all include an affordable housing component. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/bl…. One of the developers is Bridge Housing which has a great track record of building affordable housing in Oakland: http://www.bridgehousing.com/properties/av…
http://www.bridgehousing.com/properties/mu…
http://www.bridgehousing.com/properties/fa…
http://www.bridgehousing.com/what-we-do/ma…

Going back to the E 12th parcel... the E12 Coalition definitely presents a proposal worthy of consideration. But it should only be judged on the merits of what it can do to address the affordability crisis, how it can provide what the community really wants while balancing the needs of the overall housing density needs of downtown Oakland and the region (see the SPUR report). It should not be judged by the unbalanced criteria presented in the E12 Coalition Opinion piece. Urban Core is also coming back with a revised proposal that in my opinion addresses these criteria....http://www.bct4oakland.com/#home-page.

I'm not a newcomer to Oakland. And although I've lived in the City, Berkeley and LA, I have lived in Oakland for the better part of my 50 years. I love this town and its home. I like the 'new' vibrancy Oakland now has like a city should. I don't want it to be stifled. I get the challenge and role the Town has in meeting the housing/ economic demands of the region while maintaining its historical/cultural diversity....

But I'm weary of the consistent tactics evident in this Opinion piece that I see as counterproductive to the ongoing debate....

Posted by Ross Almazan on 12/04/2015 at 2:38 AM

Re: “Affordable Housing Now

I'm not white, I grew up in Oakland (in fact in the Eastlake on E.19th above Park Blvd), lived in Oakland for better part of my life from 1972 through 2001. Always been very proud of my hometown and it's diversity...I am a product of that. After living in SF and LA, I moved back in 2013 and I like this new vibe that Oakland is so deserving of. From my perspective, Oakland feels more alive than it has ever been...it feels vibrant like a city should be....while maintaining it's diversity: http://priceonomics.com/the-most-and-least….

I believe if ANY city can do right by it's history/culture, all of its residents and investment/newcomers...it is Oakland...however not without it's challenges.

I also agree with the author's specific demand: "We want the mayor and the city council to create a real affordable housing plan that ensures sustainable investment in our communities, not development that leads to displacement".

However, I do not agree with the extreme liberties/tactics the author takes to state his/her point:

"We will not be manipulated or ignored by government officials and profit-driven business persons who have zero interest in the wellbeing, security, and quality of life for Black, Brown, and Asian communities." Really? "Zero interest" - Pretty extreme....the most recent development breaking ground in downtown Oakland is an affordable housing project that according to this article was made possible in part by a grant from Oakland: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/bl….

And then.... "We demand an Oakland in which Black families feel free to enjoy Lake Merritt without fear of suspicion that could end in their death — another Trayvon Martin gunned down for being in the "wrong neighborhood." Really? Like I said, I recently returned to Oakland and I love the new vibe. I've never seen Lake Merritt so alive with diversity including people of color in the 40+ years that I've come to love this city. I would ask the author of this opinion piece and EBX to go to the Lake Merritt Facebook page and really see if their claim that "Black families can't enjoy Lake Merritt" is a founded assertion: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-Merrit…. (Or Google "Lake Merritt Sundays" on Google Images for that matter).

Finally "we reject all major capital projects in this city that serve to gentrify neighborhoods and callously displace long-term residents."... There are absolutely ZERO construction cranes in Oakland, despite the fact the fact that people are moving to Oakland, despite the fact that Oakland is the geographical center of the Bay Area and Oakland is NOT getting it's FAIR SHARE of economic investment that other cities in the region are getting in the current economic boom cycle. And if we keep protesting it, we will miss the boat... AGAIN.

So yes, there are many "projects" in the pipeline, but what exactly are you rejecting or protesting? The displacement is happening in large part because absolutely no market rate housing is or has been built in Oakland since the Bay Area has boomed post-recession.

Instead of protesting this ONE project with misleading commentary/tactics or any of the other 1 or 2 in Downtown Oakland projects that MIGHT break ground this year....why not promote constructive dialog that will advance Oakland without being so devisive? And in the process why not give our new mayor the chance to execute her vision that "Oakland cannot afford to sell its soul for growth. Our soul is way too beautiful." ?

39 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by rossrich66 on 04/29/2015 at 11:43 PM

Re: “KQED's Forum On Ron Dellums: Worst. Mayor. Ever.

Amen, I agree totally with Chris' closing comments!


Posted by Ross R. Almazan on 06/30/2008 at 7:38 PM

Re: “Oak to Ninth Still in Court


Although I understand the opponents' point of view of the Oak to Ninth project, I think there is way more harm being done by prolonging their fight. How much longer before the developer just throws their hands in the air and say "enough is enough!" and walk away. That will be the day when ANY HOPE of developing the forlorn stretch of Oakland waterfront goes away. Result...a blown opportunity that would have revitalized the area and a rotting waterfront that will exist well into the 21st century.

Ross

Posted by Ross R. Almazan on 04/12/2008 at 10:56 AM

Readers' Favorites

Most Popular Stories


© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation