Connect with us

Activism

Councilmember Loren Taylor Supports Rezoning ‘Portion’ of Mills College for Development

The Huntington News, the Northeastern University independent newspaper, quoted Meena Ramakrishnan, a 2013 Northeastern graduate who obtained a master’s degree from Mills in 2022. “It is part and parcel of Mills’ DNA that marginalized folks are given an education. It’s part of the educational curriculum, the staff, and the faculty they hire are people of color or disabled folk or gender non-conforming people. It’s been like that for a long time, and so there is a lot of disappointment on campus that Northeastern does not share that kind of ethos and those values, and that they’re going to come in and attempt to change the fabric of Mills

Published

on

District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor.
District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor. (Photo: Amir Aziz)

By Ken Epstein

District 6 Councilmember and candidate for mayor Loren Taylor says he is in favor of office buildings, retail, and residential development on a “portion” of the 135-acre campus of Mills College at Northeastern, which is in his council district.

The proposed zoning change came to light two weeks in ago in a report to City Council. Buried in a draft plan for future housing in Oakland, submitted to City Council by Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Administration, is a map of zoning changes that would allow for higher density real estate development, including condominiums and retail.

While city staff did not say who had submitted the proposed zoning change, and Schaaf did not reply to questions from the Post, Taylor did discuss his position in a text to the Post.

“I am not opposed to rezoning a portion of the site – not all of it. (I) need to better explore the plan of the current zoning to have a definitive response,” he told the Post in a text.

“There have been several proposals submitted to my understanding, from affordable housing to small footprint corporate offices to much-needed East Oakland retail,” he continued. He added, “I haven’t seen/review(ed) them, though. As I understand it, every proposal retains the vast majority of the campus for higher education through Mills/Northeastern. (However,) I don’t know what has transpired since Northeastern took over.”

Taylor also said he did not know who requested the rezoning of Mills at Northeastern nor did he know what Schaaf’s position is on the rezoning proposal.

Mills College officially merged with Northeastern University on June 30, 2022, despite considerable opposition from students, faculty, alumnae and supporters in the community.

The map shows the entire Mills campus in East Oakland as changed from zoning designation “RM-4 Mixed Housing Type Residential – 4 Zone.”

According to the City’s definition, “The intent of the RM-4 Zone is to create, maintain, and enhance residential areas typically located on or near the City’s major arterials and characterized by a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, small multi-unit buildings at somewhat higher densities than RM-3, and neighborhood businesses where appropriate.”

City Council staff indicate that the RM-4 Zone would permit the development of the entire site with condominiums, townhouses, and retail businesses.

The current zoning of the Mills property, RM-3 Zone, has been in place for at least the past 20 years, according to a staff member in the City’s zoning division. Dramatic changes are now in the works after Northeastern University in Boston took over Mills, with pledges of a merger of many of the best aspects of both institutions.

Taylor has been outspoken in support of the takeover of Mills by Northeastern, as has Schaaf, with whom he has been closely allied.

According to an article in the Northeastern University (NU) newsletter, Taylor has been deeply involved in the merger discussions between the university and Mills.

“Taylor says he was involved in talks with the college and university as the merger evolved from idea to reality. ‘When I’ve had conversations with leadership at Mills and Northeastern,’ Taylor says, ‘I’ve always come away reassured. I hear, feel, and sense that there’s a true commitment to ensuring the legacy of what Mills had. I look forward to seeing that happen,’” the NU newsletter said.

Though the proposal is to rezone the entire 135 acres of the campus, City staff told the Post that only part of the campus was being considered for development.

Press conference on July 19, 2022, at Oakland City Hall supports fight to save Mills College and calls for an independent state investigation of the merger with Northeastern University. “This merger was sudden, confusing, and done with very little transparency," said Councilmember Sheng Thao, a Mills graduate.  Photo courtesy of the Office of Sheng Thao.

Press conference on July 19, 2022, at Oakland City Hall supports fight to save Mills College and calls for an independent state investigation of the merger with Northeastern University. “This merger was sudden, confusing, and done with very little transparency,” said Councilmember Sheng Thao, a Mills graduate.  Photo courtesy of the Office of Sheng Thao.

“The undeveloped western edge of the Mills College campus adjacent to MacArthur Blvd. was identified as a potential location for the addition of infill housing. Any rezoning of that portion of the campus would only occur if the community and decisionmakers support such a change and only for the purpose of facilitating the addition of housing along this undeveloped campus edge,” according to the City’s zoning staff.

The Housing Element, including zoning changes, is scheduled – following discussion and modification – for a final decision in January.

A lawsuit against the merger between the two institutions has been filed, and the coalition of groups and individuals working to Save Mills is still pushing for a state or federal investigation of the merger.

A June 6, 2022, a headline in the Huntington News, the Northeastern University independent newspaper, stated, “Some Mills College Students, Alumni, Upset by Northeastern merger.”

The newspaper quoted Meena Ramakrishnan, a 2013 Northeastern graduate who obtained a master’s degree from Mills in 2022.

“It is part and parcel of Mills’ DNA that marginalized folks are given an education. It’s part of the educational curriculum, the staff, and the faculty they hire are people of color or disabled folk or gender non-conforming people. It’s been like that for a long time, and so there is a lot of disappointment on campus that Northeastern does not share that kind of ethos and those values, and that they’re going to come in and attempt to change the fabric of Mills.”

While Mills has been a liberal arts college for generations, “Northeastern has a reputation for science and business oriented studies, (and) it was considered a predominantly white institution until 2014, and white students still overwhelm other groups at Northeastern,” according to the news article.

The article continues: “Racist incidents at Northeastern are a cause for concern for the students of color who call Mills their home. As recently as 2019, the #HereAtNU and #NUExperience student movement saw dozens of students of color sharing their experiences with racism and discrimination at the university, with #BlackAtNU forming for students to demand improvement.”

“There were incidents where the campus police were targeting students of color, mainly Black males. So, my question is — are you bringing that foolishness here?” asked Tasha Poullard, a Mills graduate quoted in the Northeastern newspaper.

“Mills College — in my personal opinion — is one of the calmest, most serene and safe campuses I’ve ever been on,” Poullard said.

Activism

Oakland Post: Week of February 14 – 20, 2024

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

Published

on

To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

Continue Reading

Activism

Oakland Post: Week of February 7 – 13, 2024

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

Published

on

To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

Continue Reading

Activism

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.” 

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending

Copyright ©2021 Post News Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.