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City Council Scheduled for Discussion Impacting the Fate of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle

On Jan. 16, the Oakland City Council is scheduled to decide whether to greenlight a new up-market estate tower, despite overwhelming opposition in the Black community. If approved, it would threaten the future of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a longtime entertainment venue and cultural institution at 410 14th St. owned by Geoffrey Pete, and the surrounding downtown area in the Black Arts Movement and Business District that the council created in 2016 as a way to protect and enhance the historic and cultural legacy of the city’s African American community.

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Rendering of Tidewater Development’s proposed 1431 Franklin Street residential tower. Rendering by LARGE Architecture.
Rendering of Tidewater Development’s proposed 1431 Franklin Street residential tower. Rendering by LARGE Architecture.

By Ken Epstein

On Jan. 16, the Oakland City Council is scheduled to decide whether to greenlight a new up-market estate tower, despite overwhelming opposition in the Black community. If approved, it would threaten the future of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a longtime entertainment venue and cultural institution at 410 14th St. owned by Geoffrey Pete, and the surrounding downtown area in the Black Arts Movement and Business District that the council created in 2016 as a way to protect and enhance the historic and cultural legacy of the city’s African American community.

San Francisco-based Tidewater Development corporation’s proposal, which already has the full backing of the city’s planning commission and planning department, would construct a 40-story residential tower with 381 dwelling units, of which 10% (38 units) might be affordable for low-income Oakland residents.

At stake for many people in Oakland, who spoke with the Post about what this vote could mean for the city’s future, is whether the culture and heritage of Oakland’s Black community will be honored and maintained and whether Pete’s club will be allowed to flourish in an economic environment that is hostile to small business and in which everything is subservient to gentrification and the interests of corporate market-rate real estate interests.

Many point to the policies and decisions that have led to the dramatic decline of the African American population in Oakland, which has decreased from 47% in the 1980s to 22% currently. City efforts to privilege the desires of wealthy developers over the needs of the Black community have been a major contributing factor this decline.

The conflict over Geoffrey’s and the Black Arts district reached the Oakland City Council Dec. 19 after working its way through the city’s planning process for several years.

According to backers of Geoffrey’s and the Black Arts Movement district, there were many flaws in the process that led to the planning commission’s approval of Tidewater’s proposal.

  • Planning commissioners acknowledged publicly that they were unaware that the Black Arts Movement and Business District even existed when they were conducting their hearings.
  • . The commission ignored the fact that Geoffrey’s was entitled to critical protections as a recognized historic resource.
  • The commission ignored the fact that Tidewater had not sought permits or permission to alter Pete’s building, although such alterations are an integral part of Tidewater’s proposal.
  • Ignoring mandatory deadlines, the commission also failed to provide, in a timely manner, relevant Public Records Act information requested by Geoffrey’s.

Further, the planning department staff has refused to meet with Pete throughout the appeal process, nor did the city utilize its own Department of Race and Equity to examine the equity implications of this matter.

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Oakland Post: Week of February 14 – 20, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of February 14 – 20, 2024

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Oakland Post: Week of February 7 – 13, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of February 7 – 13,, 2024

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PRESS ROOM: Oakland Pic Hosts New Year’s Career & Resource Expo 

OPIC CEO Pastor Raymond Lankford expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating: “This Career Fair is not merely a gathering of employers and prospective employees; it’s a platform for opportunity, growth, and community collaboration. We are thrilled to bridge the gap between Oakland’s talented residents and the employers who recognize their potential. Together, we are building a stronger Oakland.” 

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Connecting Employers and Talent in Oakland and Beyond 

OAKLAND, CA – Oakland Private Industry Council, Inc., is hosting the New Year’s Career & resource Expo on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 12 noon at the Oakland Coliseum – Eastside Club – 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland CA 94621.

This exciting event brings together over 70 employers, all seeking to hire Oakland residents with various skill levels to fill a wide range of employment opportunities. Additionally, a collaborative of resource agencies will be in attendance, providing further assistance to job seekers.

OPIC CEO Pastor Raymond Lankford expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating: “This Career Fair is not merely a gathering of employers and prospective employees; it’s a platform for opportunity, growth, and community collaboration. We are thrilled to bridge the gap between Oakland’s talented residents and the employers who recognize their potential. Together, we are building a stronger Oakland.”

For more information or to request media access, please contact Yawo Tekpa at yawot@oaklandpic.org.

OAKLAND PIC HOSTS NEW YEAR’S CAREER & RESOURCE EXPO 

  • Who:             All job seekers, with all ages and experiences welcome
  • What:              Connecting Employers and Talent in the Community
  • When: Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 12 noon
  • Where: Oakland Coliseum – Eastside Club – 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland CA 94621.

OPIC INVITES YOUR ORGANIZATION TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR UPCOMING NEW YEAR’S CAREER & RESOURCE EXPO!!!

Dear Esteemed Employer & Community Organization Partner,

Oakland Private Industry Council, Inc. (OPIC) is excited to wish you a warm welcome into 2024! A new year, a new HOPE!!!

We enthusiastically invite your organization to participate in our NEW YEAR CAREER & RESOURCE EXPO at the OAKLAND COLISEUM!!!

DATE: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2024

TIME: 12:00 NOON – 3:00 P.M.

LOCATION: OAKLAND COLISEUM – EAST SIDE CLUB

ADDRESS: 7000 COLISEUM WAY, OAKLAND CA 94621

Participating Employer & and Community Resource Partners will receive one six-foot table and two (2) chairs for this event. Additional information, including event details and logistics, will be forwarded after you sign-up.

Please confirm your attendance by completing the online registration link below by JANUARY 31, 2024 at the latest.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bfv0LXBexc26AeE_cosSoQrpYrx2HXOIwn1bG47chwU/edit

Thanks to our invaluable network and partnership, we are giving HOPE to many community members through quality employment opportunities and supportive resources.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact Yawo Tekpa, Assistant One-Stop Operator/Events Coordinator, at (510) 419-0392 office/ (510) 499-6657 cell.

Sincerely,

Raymond Lankford                Yawo S. Tekpa,

CEO                           Assistant One-Stop Operator/Events Coordinator

raymondl@oaklandpic.org                   yawot@oaklandpic.org

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