Tuesday, May 5, 2015

AGENDA NOTES: Oakland City Council likely to approve 12th Street parcel sale

The 12th Street remainder parcel sale will likely
be approved Tuesday night by the City Council.
Oakland City Council Preview
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, third floor
Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 5 p.m.
Twitter hashtag: #oakmtg

12TH STREET REMAINDER PARCEL SALE The 24-story luxury tower imagined for Lake Merritt has managed to find itself at the nexus of upset affordable housing advocates in Oakland and those who always anticipate a shady deal is in the works. Oakland, like other East Bay cities, needs more affordable housing. The nearly acre plot carved out by the city is a public asset, which critics and, at least one council member, Abel Guillen, believe is being sold to the developer UrbanCore, LLC, at a bargain basement price.

At a committee meeting last month, Guillen said the appraised $5.1 million price tag could be a million dollars too low and urged for a reappraisal of the property. Councilmembers Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Larry Reid rejected the proposal. Meanwhile, UrbanCore CEO Michael Johnson told the same committee $1 million in community benefits over and above the sale price were being negotiated. However, the suggested sweetening of the pot, amounts to just $500,000 in benefits, according to a statement Tuesday afternoon from Guillen. At the same hearing, council members added to the resolution that one-fourth of the sale’s proceeds be directed toward the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Tuesday night’s agenda item should attract dozens of public speakers to the podium. On other occasions, critics of the deal have charged it with being an illegal sale under a recent state law restricting sales of surplus public land. UrbanCore’s political contributions to various Oakalnd officials over the past year could also be illegal, according to the East Bay Express, which also shed light on shenanigans last month by the developer who is alleged to have bused in non-English-speaking seniors to unwittingly advocate for the project under the guise it offered low-income senior housing, which it does not.

BUDGET SEASON BEGINS Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s two-year budget will be formally offered to the City Council at 5 p.m., just before the start of the regular Tuesday night meeting. The budget hopes to close a nearly $18 million budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2015-16 with cost-savings and improved fee collection. The proposal also seeks to hire 40 additional sworn police officers and create a Department of Transportation to aid in improving Oakland’s crumbling streets and infrastructure. Schaaf’s proposal, though, only allocates $150,000 toward various race and equity initiatives, but does not fund Councilmember Desley Brooks’ plan for a Department of Race and Equity. The council has final approval of the budget and look for various tweaks and proposals from the council in the next few weeks. Oakland’s fiscal year budget must be approved before June 30.

THIS & THAT Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Dan Kalb will introduce a resolution supporting Assembly Bill 1335 which allows for additional funding for affordable housing across the state…The city will waive the bidding process and give a contract, not to exceed $250,000, to accounting firm Keyser Marston for consultation on the economics of the Coliseum City project…Councilmember Desley Brooks will allocate $50,000 from her graffiti abatement fund for a utility box mural in District 6…At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan will $3,000 from her own graffiti abatement fund for a mural at 1554 13th Street.

POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE Tuesday night the council will honor champions from the hardwood. No, not the Golden State Warriors, but the Bishop O’Dowd boys and girls basketball teams who won state championships last month…The council will also proclaim May 4-8 as “National Small Business Week,” May 8-17 as “Affordable Housing Week,” May 11-17 as “Maker Week” and May 14 as “Bike to Work Day.” The latter, includes a challenge made by YouTube video from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, to see which City Hall can log the most miles to work via bike.

LAST TIME OUT April 21, the Oakland City Council approved the purchase of video security cameras for its Emergency Operations Center, through a Department of Homeland Security port security grant. It also approved the purchase of the controversial Law Enforcement Air Unit FLIR Camera, which is mounted on a helicopter and allows for infrared views on the ground. The council, though, added language forbidding the content collected by the FLIR camera to be retained, stored or disseminated by the Oakland Police Department and Oakland Fire Department. Next council meeting: Tuesday, May 19, 5:30 p.m.


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