Connect with us

City Government

Oakland City Council Approves Luxury Development Despite Public Outcry

Published

on

Oakland’s City Council has voted to enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with UrbanCore and East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. to build 252 market rate units on a hotly contested parcel of public land located at E 12th St. by Lake Merritt.

<p> 

 

On Tuesday, over 100 Oakland residents disrupted the City Council meeting after hearing that the council was set to vote on the exclusive agreement with UrbanCore, despite over a year of protests and public hearings that have shown widespread opposition to the development.

 

 

Even after the E 12th St. neighborhood organized a coalition and put together a proposal for 100 percent affordable housing on the parcel, which garnered the support of several community organizations, labor groups and educators, the council sided with a developer who is promising 30 percent below-market rate units on the site.

 

 

City staff issued its recommendation to give the project to UrbanCore before the public hearing last week to discuss all the proposals.

 

 

The same developer’s earlier proposal for the site had zero affordable units and several months ago the council was set to approve the development until a legal memo by the City Attorney was leaked and revealed that council members were aware of the proposal’s violation of California’s Surplus Lands Act.

 

 

Under state law, public-owned land that is going to be developed must have a minimum of 15 percent affordable housing units on site and must prioritize the proposal with the most affordable units.

 

 

The E12th Coalition’s competing proposal had 25 more affordable units than UrbanCore’s, and also had a majority of units for households making between $28,000 and $46,000 annually while a majority of UrbanCore’s below-market rate units are for households earning over $55,000 a year.

 

 

When protestors shut down Tuesday’s council meeting and demanded that the meeting be adjourned to avoid a vote, council members moved to an undisclosed location and continued the meeting privately.

 

 

A few members of the press were admitted to the private meeting. But when Post staff and other credentialed media personnel subsequently attempted to enter the council meeting being held in the mayor’s office they were barred from entering by police stationed outside the mayor’s doors.

 

 

The ENA with UrbanCore ultimately passed 6 to 1 with an abstention by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and one ‘no’ vote by Councilmember Noel Gallo, who dissented “with honor.”

 

 

Councilmember Abel Guillen, in whose district the E 12th St. parcel rests, said after the vote, “We’re trying to maximize public good for the maximum number of people and UrbanCore’s proposal does that.”

 

 

According to Guillen, UrbanCore’s total 360 mixedincome units (252 of which are market rate) would curb displacement in Oakland more than the E12th Coalition’s 133 below-market rate units.

 

 

“We all want to minimize the displacement of current residents, particularly among Oakland’s shrinking African-American population,” said Guillen in a Facebook post.

 

 

“The new residents for the new affordable units will be selected by lottery, so we can’t know the ethnicity of the new residents, but picking 133 new units rather than 360-plus units mathematically means more displacement citywide,” his post continued.

 

 

Councilmember Gallo, the lone dissenter of the agreement, said he had supported the “People’s Proposal” that had been submitted by the E12th Coalition.

 

 

“We need to use our public land to help those with the greatest need and that is the role of the government,” said Gallo in an interview with the Post. “City Council is always making an emergency about homelessness and affordable housing and talks a lot but then sells them out to make a dollar.”

 

 

“The market will take care of market-rate housing,” said Gallo. “We don’t need the city or the council to do that.”

 

 

Gallo said that another reason for his decision was that he is unsure whether choosing UrbanCore’s proposal is in compliance with the Surplus Lands Act.

 

 

“I’m sure somebody’s going to sue us about that,” he said.

Business

Mayor Breed, Supervisor Mar Launch Grant to Support Storefronts Impacted by Vandalism

Up to $2,000 in financial relief available to repair storefront vandalism at neighborhood businesses

Published

on

SF Storefront Vandalism Grant Program Banner/Photo Courtesy of City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar announced Wednesday the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant program, which provides up to $2,000 in financial relief to restore and repair damages from vandalism at neighborhood storefronts. The program launches during a time when many small businesses are recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Opening and operating a successful small business in San Francisco was becoming increasingly difficult, and the pandemic has made it that much harder,” said Breed. “It has never been more critical for us to provide support to our small businesses in every way that we can, which not only means making it easier to open and operate a small business, but also providing relief when they face challenges. With the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, we are letting our small business community know that we have their back and will fight to ensure that they can continue operating for years to come.”

The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant provides financial relief to restore small businesses impacted by deliberate actions that result in the destruction or damages of storefronts. This program will offer either $1,000 or $2,000, depending on the total cost incurred to repair physical damages. The $1 million program is designed to serve more than 500 small businesses with gross revenue of less than $8 million that can provide proof of damages from vandalism incurred since July 1, 2020.

The fund will directly support small businesses with financial relief in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done. The fund will also allow small businesses to make improvements that enhance security and prevent crime. This includes replacement locks, a new security gate, fixing an alarm system, adding new lighting, replacing windows, etchings on windows, and many others. Improvements are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, based on fund availability.

The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is one tool in preventing crime and improving safety in neighborhood commercial corridors. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) also funds programs to help small businesses and neighborhood organizations improve safety through ambassadors and activations to increase foot traffic and community patrols. The fund is not meant to replace the loss of stolen goods and does not include damage to shared spaces.

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in burglaries and vandalism in every neighborhood targeting small businesses already struggling with unprecedented economic challenges. As we work to prevent these crimes and strengthen safety on our commercial corridors, we must also respond immediately to provide relief to mom-and-pop businesses with direct and tangible support as they recover from these incidents,” said Mar. 

“Following requests from businesses in the Sunset, I worked with Mayor Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to create the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant and secured an initial $1 million funding allocation,” said Mar. “The fund will provide financial relief to small businesses in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done, including direct costs of property damage or getting a replacement lock or new security measures.”

To apply, eligible businesses are asked to provide receipts, photos of damages and furnish a report from the San Francisco Police Department or from 311 in the case of graffiti. Applications can be found by visiting oewd.org/VandalismRelief.

“On February 26 at 4:00 a.m., a burglar managed to break into my small business without activating the alarm. An hour later an opportunistic looter came into my store and stole additional merchandise. Small businesses are already hurting hard from the pandemic and these crimes are a gut punch to small businesses,” said Michael Hsu, owner of Footprint on Taraval.  

“Since hearing about the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, I’ve put in my application to get up to $2,000 to help provide some relief to my business. We need more programs like this to support small businesses in our neighborhood that are struggling from being victims of burglary and vandalism. I’m thankful for our city leaders for initiating this program. Together with the community and leaders, we will get through these tough times.”

“Since the pandemic, I have heard so many stories from small businesses that have been burglarized or vandalized. As a small business owner, myself, I feel and understand their pain and loss,” said Albert Chow, president of People of the Parkside Sunset, a Taraval merchants and residents association. “The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is a safety net that is critical to ensuring that our small business owners are able to recover.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Francisco has provided immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including making available more than $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 small businesses, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals, and assistance applying for state and federal funding. This includes legislation introduced and signed by Mayor Breed to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants.

“As we reopen and rebuild, many of our small businesses continue to struggle to make ends meet. These challenges can feel almost insurmountable when small businesses also become victims of vandalism” said Kate Sofis, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.  “San Francisco’s Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant will help alleviate the financial hardship caused by deliberate acts of damage to property. It is one of many tools the City has to support our business community and the vibrancy of our neighborhoods as we work together towards economic recovery.”

“The San Francisco Post’s coverage of local news in San Francisco County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.”

Continue Reading

Activism

East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…

Published

on

Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

Bay Area

New Assemblymember Mia Bonta to Caucus With 3 Legislative Groups

The 18th Assembly District includes a large portion of the city of Oakland and the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Bonta was elected in a special election on August 31, defeating fellow Democrat Janani Ramachandra.

Published

on

Assemblymember Mia Bonta, (third from left), with (left to right) Senator Steve Bradford, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurman, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, assemblymembers Isaac Bryan Reggie Jones-Sawyer, and Kevin McCarty.

Soon after Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) was sworn in last week to represent California’s 18th Assembly District — which covers parts of East Bay — she signed on as a member of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus (CLWC), the California Latino Legislative Caucus (CLLC), and the California Black Legislative Caucus (CLBC).

Bonta is the 11th member of the Black Caucus and the only lawmaker representing a district in the Bay Area. In the Latino Caucus, she is the 30th member, and out of 120 lawmakers in both houses of the state Legislature, she is the 39th woman.

“Special congratulations to our newest member @MiaBonta, who was sworn into the Assembly this morning! #AD18 has chosen a fantastically fearless representative, and I look forward to working with you Assemblymember Bonta! #CALeg,” wrote Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D- San Diego).

Mialisa “Mia” Tania Bonta, who is Puerto Rican of African descent, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1993 and a Master of Education (Ed.M.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1996. Bonta also received a J.D. from Yale University Law School in 1999.

Her work experience includes over 20 years working with nonprofits, including serving as CEO of Oakland Promise, a college and career prep program for Alameda County high school students.  She was also president of the Alameda Unified School District Board from 2018 to 2021.

“Congratulations to @MiaBonta on her election to the Assembly, which not only made her the first Afro Latina in the Legislature, but also raised the number of women in the Legislature to an all-time high,” California Lt. Gov., Eleni Kounalakis stated on Twitter.

The 18th Assembly District includes a large portion of the city of Oakland and the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Bonta was elected in a special election on August 31, defeating fellow Democrat Janani Ramachandra.

“I am deeply honored to represent the 18th Assembly District. Our district has a long history of bold, progressive, leadership and I plan to continue this work in our diverse district,” Bonta tweeted September 7. “I’m ready to fight for bold solutions to issues like homelessness, housing affordability, climate change, and criminal justice reform for AD-18 and all Californians. I am ready to get to work.”

Bonta steps in to replace her husband, Rob Bonta, who vacated the AD 18th seat in April after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed him California Attorney General, replacing Xavier Becerra, who is now United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Continue Reading

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