[fosc] Info on Oak to Ninth Referendum and the need to get signatures before August 16

nancy sidebotham nannystu at pacbell.net
Thu Aug 10 12:04:59 PDT 2006


Hi all, 

Final push to get signatures!!!  Any registered voter wishing to
sign can email me or call me and I will come over.  Sigantures
will also be collected these weekend at the Laural Music
Festival and at some of the major shopping districts.

Below is information on Oak to Ninth for those wishing more
information.

Nancy Sidebotham
635-2678

-------------------------------------
1)  Dear Friends and Supporters:

We are in the last week of our referendum drive and we must pour
on all the 
steam that we can muster in order to gather the necessary 18,700
valid 
signatures by Thursday, August 17,2006.

1)We have done well so far but we need your help for the final
week. Imagine 
what a shame it would be if we failed by just a few signatures
to qualify 
our referendum for the ballot!!!

Remember, we are talking about 64 acres of public waterfront
property which 
the developer is purchasing for a mere 18  million
dollars....with the 
expectation of a build-out value of two BILLION dollars at
today's prices.

Remember, this is the same land that the voters of Oakland
decided should be 
predominately parks and open space by passing the Estuary Policy
Plan.

PLEASE please take the time this week to do something for our
own beautiful 
city -

**Be sure that you have signed the petition. WE WILL BE ON
PIEDMONT AVENUE 
BY PEETS OVER THE WEEKEND with petitions, and at the Laurel
World Music 
Faire (among other places). Come sign a petition. Come help
collect 
signatures there or in other parts of town. Call 836-0828 to
volunteer. More 
and more people know about the referendum and are eager to sign,
but we need 
more petitioners!

**Circulate a petition among your friends.

**Tell others about the importance of this effort.

Join us at City Hall on Thursday, August 17, 2006 when we march
to the city 
clerk with our petitions ...
"...the right of the people to petition the Government for a
redress of 
grievances."

Go to www.abetteroaktoninth.org
or call 510-836-0898 or 510-914-8355
or come to 1305 Franklin @13th in downtown Oakland (10am to 8pm)
-

in order to find out how to participate, to get updates or ask
questions.

ONCE THE WATERFRONT IS GONE, WE CAN NEVER GET IT BACK!

Best wishes,

Valerie Winemiller
Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee
---------------------------------------------
2) Dear fellow Oaklanders,

Following is the Oak to Ninth Referendum Coalition response to
objections 
raised by Pat Kernighan in her August Newsletter against the
referendum. 
Some of these points are also relevent to answering the project
support in a 
My Word column in today's Oakland Tribune.

Please forward this message to your friends and neighbors. We
are in the 
final 7 days of collecting signatures to put this development
deal on the 
ballot for Oaklanders to decide.

We can achieve this historic goal by each one of you signing the
petition 
and by each of you going out and encouraging kindred citizens to
sign the 
petition.

Contact info for the Oak to Ninth Referendum Coalition:
Phone: 836-0828
Further information: www.ABetterOakToNinth.org




OAK TO NINTH
Response to Objections to the Case for Referendum
______________________

Oakland District 2 Councilmember Pat Kernighan recently voiced
“dismay” at 
the Oak to Ninth Referendum Coalition’s opposition to the poorly
conceived 
development agreement voted by the City Council in June.  Ms
Kernighan 
circulated an extended diatribe against the Referendum Coalition
through her 
District newsletter, reportedly sent to 2500 recipients.  It is
unfortunate 
that Kernighan and other councilmembers chose not to establish a
dialog when 
so many concerned citizens made these same arguments before and
during the 
Council hearings on the proposed Oak to Ninth development.  Much
time, 
effort, and money would have been saved by all working together
to give 
Oakland the best waterfront project possible.  Now the debate
may have to be 
carried out in the media and at the ballot box in order that the
people of 
Oakland can decide for themselves what they want their
waterfront to look 
like.

So let’s begin the debate by responding to Councilmember
Kernighan’s 
objections:

KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION: "The project was supported by a broad
array of 
community and environmental organizations."

COALITION RESPONSE: Environmental and housing groups supporting
this project 
were few and far between. While Greenbelt Alliance apparently
supports it, 
their only useful comment has to do with a simple-minded claim
of "infill." 
Can a project on the edge of the city with serious access
problems and badly 
served by public transit be called “infill”? The Better Oak to
Ninth 
Coalition would call this a case of urban sprawl in infill
clothing.  The 
Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters of Oakland, and the
Green Party, 
each with large numbers of Oakland members, as well as various
preservation 
and community interest groups, oppose the project, as-is.  Even
East Bay 
Housing Organizations  -- EBHO -- (a 20-year coalition of 250
pro-affordable 
housing organizations, practitioners, and supporters) opposed
the housing 
agreement, reputedly the project’s most successful component.


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION: "[The project provides] affordable and
market-rate 
housing . . ."

COALITION RESPONSE: The affordable housing will be primarily
paid for by 
city redevelopment funds.  The developer requires that the
affordable 
housing be built atop a supermarket and three floors of parking
at ground 
level, of which the developer will own both commercial
enterprises.  The 
affordable housing is not integrated throughout the project, but
is 
concentrated on only the two parcels most affected by Freeway
880 noise and 
air contamination.  There is no requirement to incorporate such
mitigating 
measures as air filtration and noise baffling.  150 units of
affordable 
housing will begin construction in 2013.  The remaining 315
units will not 
begin construction until 2016 to 2018 – 10-12 years from now. 
Moreover, to 
finance the appx $114 million subsidy for the 465 affordable
housing units, 
the city must allocate all tax increment funds from all city
redevelopment 
areas for the next 10 years.  In order to pay off the city‘s
total cost – 
including bonds and interest -- for these 465 units; funds that
would 
normally be available to support affordable housing developments
throughout 
the city must now all go to Oak to Ninth.  Unlike other cities,
which 
require the developer to construct and to fund the mandated 15%
affordable 
housing component, Oakland will not only pay the cost of the
housing, but 
will buy back from the developer the city's own land where the
housing will 
be built, and at greatly inflated prices.  This means, simply,
that other 
less costly affordable projects may not get built for the next
decade.  
While the Oak to Ninth affordable housing may be somewhat
affordable for 465 
future residents of the new Oak to Ninth neighborhood, the
ultimate price to 
the city and its ongoing affordable housing programs is huge.


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION (to the slogan of the Referendum
Coalition: "Don't 
Sell Off Our Public Park Land!"):  “No parks are being sold by
anyone. The 
land for the development project has been zoned and used for
industrial 
activity for most of the last century. It is now a contaminated
brownfield.”

COALITION RESPONSE:  The Estuary Policy Plan, approved
unanimously in 1999 
by the City Council, and incorporated in the Oakland General
Plan, calls for 
some 42 acres of parks in the Oak to Ninth area. To approve this
project, 
the City Council passed a special ordinance, specifically for
this 
developer, to override the General Plan, and did so without
holding separate 
hearings as required by the City Charter.  Nether did the City
develop a 
Specific Area Plan -- spelling out the city’s desired vision --
as called 
for by the Estuary Policy Plan.  Instead of the open access to
the 
waterfront envisioned by the EPP, vistas to the water will now
be blocked by 
8 story apartment buildings fronting on narrow streets,
interspersed with 24 
story skyscrapers.  Will this type of construction “wall off the

waterfront,” or not ?


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION: "The City of Oakland is not selling any
land, park or 
otherwise. The Port of Oakland is selling land, a decision they
made 3 years 
ago, under the review and approval of the State Lands
Commission.”

COALITION RESPONSE:  The Port of Oakland is holding the areas
overseen by 
State Lands in trust for all the citizens of California. While
the Port of 
Oakland exercises significant fiscal independence, the Port of
Oakland is 
most certainly a city body, is part of city government.  All its

commissioners are appointed and ratified by Oakland’s mayor and
City 
Council.  The Oak to Ninth development could not take place
without the 
consent of the Oakland City Council.  Through the Referendum
petition 
campaign, we are asserting that it is the people of Oakland who
have the 
final say on what happens to their waterfront.


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION: "The City does not even own the land. In
order to 
create the parks envisioned in the Estuary Policy Plan, the City
would have 
to buy the land from the Port, clean it of toxics, and then
build the parks. 
It is highly unlikely the City could find enough money to do
that for many 
decades to come. The amount of money allocated by Measure DD is
a fraction 
of what would be needed."

COALITION RESPONSE:  This is a false argument.  The City could
easily have 
this patch of land transferred from the Port to the City,
without cost.  
Money, however, is available, but the city, beyond the
allocation of $18 
million in Measure DD funds, has put virtually NO EFFORT into
applying for 
funding for park cleanup and improvements at the waterfront. 
According to 
park management experts, the city moved this project forward
while ignoring 
opportunities to apply for public funding of several kinds. 
Promoting a 
more reasonable development plan could also attract private
funding.  In the 
case of Oak to Ninth, the City is willingly surrendering to the
developer's 
demands, while abandoning other funding opportunities.  Why?


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION (to the Coalition statement: "Why is
Oakland selling 
off our public land and limiting public access?): "There is no
public access 
now at the Oak to Ninth area. You can't limit access if there is
none to 
start with."

COALITION RESPONSE:  This is another false argument. Development

automatically means that an area will change. The question is
HOW will it 
change?  We believe this is Oakland’s last chance to have a
usable, 
accessible, nearby waterfront access area. The Estuary Policy
Plan forecast 
Oak to Ninth as “the major waterfront destination for parks and
open space 
for Oakland and the region,” with three major park areas --
similar to San 
Francisco’s Crissy Field. Instead the Council-approved scheme
replaces the 
planned parks with a modest expansion of one pre-existing park
(Estuary 
Park), a reduced-size Channel Park (which will not serve for
public assembly 
due to being adjacent to 390 residential condominiums).  Instead
of a third 
major park, open space will be created on a concrete wharf by
demolishing 
80% of the Ninth Ave Terminal, a significant and highly
re-useable historic 
building.  This is not acceptable.


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION: “The Oak to Ninth development will create
public 
access by building 20+ acres of new public parks on the east
side of the 
Channel, plus build out the Bay Trail, at no cost to the public,
where no 
parks, trails or public access exist now. The developer is also
donating 
several acres of cleaned-up land on the west side of the Channel
to expand 
Estuary Park. Out of the 64 acre project, 32 acres will be
public open 
space!"

COALITION RESPONSE:  The 32 acre figure is untrue, and is
contradicted by 
the Oak to Ninth Development Agreement, which states the
development will 
consist of “29.9 acres of parks and open space” (Exhibit A,
Article II).  
Even this 29.9 acre number includes 9.76 acres from the
footprint of the 
proposed demolition of 80% of the historic Ninth Avenue Terminal
(Site Map, 
Exhibit “H”). Therefore, the net acreage of new parks and open
space to be 
provided in the development is only 20 acres (29.9 minus 9.76 =
appx 20 
acres), not even close to the unsubstantiated claim of 32 acres.
On most of 
the park areas, the developer would not be permitted to build
housing 
anyway, because of Trust Lands restrictions. While supposedly
"donating" 
park land (which is presently in public ownership), after its
clean-up the 
developer will make back much of the land cost by selling the
affordable 
housing parcels, ‘F’ & ‘G,’ now publicly owned land, back to the
City for an 
estimated $29 million dollars.  It cannot be overlooked that the
total price 
the developer will pay for the entire 64 acres of project land
is only $18 
million.


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION (to the Coalition statement: "Elected
officials are 
going against the mandate of Measure DD):  “Measure DD was a
funding 
measure. It did not guarantee full implementation of the Estuary
Policy Plan 
- it merely allocated bond money toward that goal."

COALITION RESPONSE:  Huh?  The DD ballot measure specifically
declared to 
voters that their funds would go toward waterfront parks.  Does
this mean 
the voters agreed to pay for them, but City Council can then
decide on its 
own not to build them?


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION: "The $18 million in DD money earmarked
for the area 
from Estuary Park to Union Point Park is a fraction of what it
would cost to 
buy, clean and build all the parks envisioned for that area in
the EPP."

COALITION RESPONSE: Measure DD was never intended to supply all
the money. 
The understanding was that the Measure DD money would be
leveraged to get 
matching funds to build the parks from other sources, including
federal and 
state government, as well as private and nonprofit funds. 
Little attempt 
has been made for matching funds.


KERNIGHAN’S OBJECTION (to Coalition statement: “Oakland cannot
afford this 
corporate welfare”):  "Just the opposite of corporate welfare,
the developer 
is giving the City millions of dollars in public benefits --
donating clean 
land to expand Estuary Park -- donating approximately 20 acres
of clean land 
for the rest of the parks east of the Channel -- building approx
20 acres of 
park at no cost to the City as well as maintaining all 32 acres
of parks in 
perpetuity -- building all the public infrastructure for the
area: sewers, 
utilities, streets, sidewalks, etc -- contributing $1.6 M toward
job 
training programs for Oaklanders and guaranteeing that 300
Oaklanders will 
get apprenticeship jobs, which will get them into the union
construction 
industry for a lifetime of high-paying work -- selling clean
land at the 
developer's cost to the Redevelopment Agency to build 465 units
of 
affordable housing. The developer is thus foregoing millions of
dollars in 
profit that he could have made by selling that land for market
rate 
housing."

COALITION RESPONSE:  First, Councilmember Kernighan woefully
overstates the 
amount of park.  Even the developer does not claim to provide 32
acres of 
parks.  As quoted above from the official city document, a total
of only 20 
of 64 acres are in new parks proposed for the development (not
counting 9.76 
acres of wharf from the historic Ninth Ave Terminal site).

* Many of the areas to be "cleaned" are proposed to simply be
capped with 6 
inches of concrete, allowing pollutants to continue to leach
into water and 
land.

* Most of the park area is land on which housing cannot be
built, by law.  
This is not a donation.

* While the developer is building public infrastructure within
the project 
area, there are many costly items the city will have to pay for,
including 
vehicular and pedestrian safety accommodations, police and fire
services, 
and road improvements outside the project to handle the huge new
traffic 
flows. Most importantly, there is no provision for a new school
to serve the 
thousands of children from this development. The two nearest
schools are 
acknowledged by OSUD as already overcrowded.

* While the job training and employment provisions are a
positive step, the 
agreement calls for only six percent of jobs to go to local
residents.  By 
comparison, the Fox Theater rehabilitation project will employ
almost fifty 
percent local residents.

* Perhaps the developer offers to contribute two million dollars
toward the 
affordable housing, but he will be paid by the city 160% more
than his full 
cost for all the land for just the two parcels, F & G.  Not to
be forgotten 
is the fact that the Development Agreement permits the developer
to sell any 
or all of the site before even one shovel of dirt is turned.  A
financial 
analysis by a UC professor shows that the developer could walk
away with $79 
million dollars by selling the project land before initiating a
single 
construction operation.  Even Al Davis did not do as well!

* 2700 market-rate condominiums at this location, most with
panoramic views, 
would be valued at today’s prices for one-and-a-half to two
BILLION DOLLARS. 
   The coalition is certain there are many developers willing to
take on 
such a project.  Otherwise, the city should consider being its
own 
developer!


***The Better Oak to Ninth Coalition supports the intent of the
proposed 
provisions for affordable housing, training, and jobs.  However,
this 
agreement, at best, represents only a modest success, achieved
after a long 
struggle by community activists, in the face of strong
resistance from the 
developer and little support from the City Council.  Upon
qualification of 
the Referendum, the Coalition will seek to negotiate
improvements in the 
current agreement, without giving up the affordable housing
units, job 
training, or employment agreements already in place.

The Better Oak to Ninth Coalition seeks at least these
additional 
improvements in the development agreement:

--- More open space with better public access; including Channel
Park to be 
free of housing – and capable of hosting large scale outdoor
events and 
festivals so as to avoid the inevitable complaints from nearby
residents;

--- Improved mitigations for public health dangers and
contamination;

--- Preservation and re-use of at least the original portion of
the Ninth 
Avenue Terminal;

--- Improved urban planning within the development, especially
for 
pedestrian access, vehicular and bike traffic; and safe passage
to schools 
and recreation;

--- A better economic deal for the citizens of Oakland,
including more jobs 
and benefits;

--- Effective mitigations to decrease the certain traffic mayhem
the 
development will create along Embarcadero, including a grade
separation at 
5th Ave -- the only N-S access road to the development -- in
order to assure 
pedestrian, bike, and vehicle safety at this busy railroad
crossing, 
projected to serve 75 trains every day.

--- As presently designed, the Oak to Ninth project is bad for
Oakland !

Be sure to sign, and get all your friends, neighbors, and
co-workers to sign 
the Referendum Petition !  Please do your part to help the
Coalition collect 
18,700 signatures by August 17 !!
OAKLAND WANTS AND NEEDS A BETTER “OAK TO NINTH” AND WE CAN GET
IT!

Better Oak To Ninth Referendum Coalition Office:
1305 Franklin St, Room #B-104
Downtown Oakland
Phone:  510-836-0828
www.abetteroaktoninth.org



---------------------------------------------
3)  Hi All,
Someone gave me a copy of the 214-page Oakland
Estuary Plan over the weekend. This is the plan that
was adopted by the City Council in 1999. The City
Council, Port Commission, Planning Commission & many
organizations including but not limited to the
Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Oakland Heritage
Alliance, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the League
of Women Voters, Portobello Homeowners Assn., Jack
London Tenants Assn., the Oakland Museum, Spanish
Speaking Unity Council worked on the Estuary Plan for
years. 
It is a sweeping plan for the Oakland waterfront,
from Jack London Square to the San Antonio/Fruitvale
District. The Estuary Plan envisions the Oak to Ninth
area as "...a major recreational destination within
the city [with] a series of well-defined open spaces,
each building on the intrinsic qualities of the
shoreline...." that would "...establish a powerful
connection between the waterfront & inland areas." it
suggests that "A system of public open spaces should
be created that flanks both sides of the mouth of Lake
Merritt Channel & extends in either direction along
the shoreline....to establish a powerful connection
between the waterfront & inland areas." 
It calls for five separate but related parks & open
spaces along the Lake Merritt Channel, on either side
of the Channel entrance to the estuary, a series of
parks around clinton basin & a park at the site of the
Ninth Ave. Terminal warehouse (by the way, it calls
for the demolition of the terminal). Altogether,
these parks would comprise a total of 46 acres of
land. According to the plan, "Open space is planned
to be the primary new use within the Oak through Ninth
District...." SIGNIFICANTLY, "This use of shoreline
is consistent with the intent of the Tidelands
Trust...." (What is Tidelands Trust? What happened
to it?) 
The plan did not exclude building, by the way. It
actually called for a hotel & a conference center in
the Oak to Ninth area. But per the Plan this area was
supposed to be a PUBLICLY ORIENTED mixed use district
of Oakland. there were suggested height limits: east
of Clinton Basim bldg. heights not more than 85', west
of Clinton Basin 60'. It was inclusionary of the
Fifth Ave. Point community as a "mixed use district of
artists & artisan studios, small businesses &
water-dependent activities." 
Regarding the benefits for low income residents,
what I understand after talking to a staff member from
the City Plannning Commission during our NNO walk, the
Oak to 9th low income housing units will not be equal
in quality to the market rate housing. They will not
be integrated throughout the development but will be
clustered on upper stories in the parcel(s) closest to
880. another ghetto created!
Six % of the construction jobs are to be reserved
for Oakland residents. Is this something to celebrate
when we have high unemployment & so many Oakland
residents desperately in need of jobs in the
construction trades? This is a pittance, it was a
bone tossed to mollify members of the Community
Benefits Coalition.
---Laurie on Renwick 
Maxwell Park









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