Playground For the Rich

root - Posted on 11 June 2001

Oakland is under siege by developers seeking to make their riches by displacing downtown residents with the 10 K Plan.

by Lynda Carson

Oakland Ca--Last week during the Oakland City Council meeting, the sparks were flying before the vote was cast 5 to 3 "for" on the agenda item "S-15.1/Residential Infill Development Project." The item sets in motion the process to continue with the downtown 10 k Plan.

There were no staff reports to provide any details, and City Staffers scrambled to answer the many questions that arose. It became crystal clear that Mayor Jerry Brown was trying to make an end run around C.E.Q.A.-California Environmental Quality Act- so as to proceed as quickly as possible with the 10 K Plan with as little opposition as possible. Mayor Jerry Brown's henchman Robert Bob, City Manager, overrode any and all misgivings and rushed it through, despite the lack of the staff report. Council Members Nadel, Brunner and Wan voted against the agenda item S-15.1, and were alarmed by the intent of Mayor Jerry Brown to narrow the scope of the Master Environmental Impact report for the whole of the 10 K Plan during the next five years. Council Members Spees, Reid, Mayne, Chang, and De la Fuente sided with the Mayor in this attack against democracy.

Oakland, nearly 54 square miles, is under siege by developers seeking to make their riches by displacing downtown residents with new settlers brought in by the 10 K Plan. Like the founding developers of this nation who cared little for the native inhabitants who were displaced and died off as gentrification occured, Oakland's City Officials continue to pursue their efforts to make downtown Oakland a playground for the rich. As these efforts unfold it's plain to see that every step possible is being taken to steamroll over the rights of the environmentalists/citizens that seek E.I.R.'s before an individual project permit is granted. The strong Mayor Jerry Brown now operates as the strong dictator of Oakland, and presently seeks a third waiver from environmental laws that he feels are cramping his style.

Rumors are flying that the local chapter of the Sierra Club owes the Mayor a favor and plans to back him on this. Mayor Jerry Brown's intent is to narrow the scope of the Master Environmental Report needed during the next five years for the Central District of Oakland, where the heart of the infamous 10 K Plan proceeds. Mayor Brown has nothing but contempt for the California Environmental Quality Act known as C.E.Q.A., as he tries to do the two-step around it, bulldozing the poor into oblivion to make way for the rich.

Still in the way of Mayor Brown's 10 K Plan is St. Mary's Center, and a contingent of 24 hotel buildings in the Central District that contain SRO's (single room occupancy hotels). A minimum of 1,811 units are in these SRO's , and the Mayor believes that the poor people in these hotels are of no value to the Oakland he envisions. In his obsession to arrange for a Final Solution to rid downtown Oakland of the poor, the Mayor had his city staff analyze the estimated value of all the SRO's of the Central District in order to figure out the cost of a massive relocation plan. The cost to take over these properties and relocate all the occupants of the hotels came to a whopping figure well over 100 million dollars, which may be why the plan is still on hold at this point. Despite this setback, strategies to implement the 10 K Plan still are unfolding very quickly.

Not only are the low-income renters at risk from the 10 K Plan, but Alameda County Social Service Providers and the huge non-profit sector located downtown feel the pressure from the City's marketing strategies that attempt to sell off downtown Oakland to the highest bidders. City Officials rudely act as though they can run roughshod over the inhabitants of downtown Oakland, in their rush to show off the Central District to wealthy developers prospecting for gold.

The 10 K Plan has estimates of 6,000 units of new housing over an area of 30 to 40 city blocks to make room for the 10 thousand new settlers Mayor Brown wants to bring into town. If you think the Palestinians are having problems with settlers in their homeland, just wait and see how Oaklanders shall feel about being pushed around
once things get really heated up.

There are seven contrived districts that make up the 10 K Plan Area, with the 6,000 new rental units split up among them. They include the Valdez District, Lower Lake Merritt District, San Pablo Gateway District, Old Oakland District,
Lower Broadway District, Loft District, and the Lake Merritt Channel District.


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