Updated: Oakland's master plan to displace the poor
By Lynda Carson July 20, 2009
Oakland -- A little known document dated December 12, 2007 called the 'Hoover/West MacArthur Vision Statement' and approved by West Oakland Project Area Committee (WOPAC), gives an inside peek at Oakland's master plan that is in effect to displace Oakland's poor African-Americans from the City.
WOPAC's operations are managed by Oakland's Redevelopment Division staff, and it's operating expenses are paid from the Redevelopment Planning - West Oakland / Coliseum Admin Fund (9101), West Oakland Base Reuse Organization (88679), and Redevelopment Plan - West Oakland Project (P37650). The annual expenditures for WOPAC are around ,500.00 or more to cover expenses for room rental, mailings and out reach activities, plus meeting materials.
According to City records, "The Oakland City Council adopted Resolution No. 76841 C.M.S., which called for the formation of the West Oakland Project /Area Committee (WOPAC) and established procedures for its formation on November 27, 2001. The City Council certified the membership for the WOPAC on March 26, 2002 by Resolution No. 77043 C.M.S."
Extension approvals and funding by the City are needed every year, to keep WOPAC intact and to keep it from dissolving.
During December of 2008, the committee members of WOPAC included (last names only); Beasley, Bouze, Colosky, Eldridge, Ford, Gerstenberger, Gordon, Herbert, Horiuchi, Hurwich, Kidd, Lowe, Mac Donald, Rice, Parrott, Wells, Wyrick-Parkinson.
Interestingly, during a December 10, 2008 WOPAC (committee meeting - 7 months ago) a number of local non profit housing organizations went before the committee (WOPAC) seeking approval to obtain millions of dollars in funding for a number of planned major renovation projects in Oakland, that may result in the displacement of hundreds of low-income renters from their rental housing once the renovation proposals move forward. Speakers from the various non profit housing organizations seeking approval by WOPAC for the funding of their major renovation projects included; Lynette Lee (EBALDC), Janet Patterson, Mitch Hardin, Everrett Cleveland, Lisa Motoyama (RCD), and Carey Barker. Some of the projects needing approval by WOPAC to receive NOFA funding, included the Oakland Point Project, Slim Jenkins Court Project, and Drachma Housing Project, all being low-income affordable housing sites.
Before the above mentioned meeting took place on December 10, 2008, a little known December 12, 2007 statement called the 'Hoover/West MacArthur Vision Statement' which was also approved by WOPAC, was already circulating around the City to those who are closely involved in housing development, and renovation projects across the City.
The "Hoover / West MacArthur Vision Statement" approved by WOPAC goes into great detail in regards to the contempt that exists towards Oakland's poor African-American citizens, and gives great detail as to what needs to be done to rid Oakland of it's low-income African-American population.
According to a lengthy statement approved by WOPAC, which includes their 'Vision for the future'; various parts of the whole statement reads as follows, and states; "One of the earliest areas to be settled in Oakland, Hoover / West MacArthur was largely working-class until the end of World War II, when it was abandoned by those with financial means, cordoned off by freeways, and turned into a containment zone for the impoverished and unemployed. Businesses and jobs evaporated, while crime and blight took their place."
"The area became a containment zone for Oakland's social problems, providing housing of last resort. By 1990, the area was 81% black and overwhelmingly poor."
"Beat 6 is overconcentrated with public housing, containing over six percent of the City's OHA properties and over seven percent of available Section 8 rentals, even though Hoover / West MacArthur holds only 1.8% of the city's population. Beat 6 is also predominantly rental: 79%, according to the 2000 census. 73% of Section 8 renters are African-American, but only 35.7% of residents of the City of Oakland are African-American. The population of Beat 6 is 72% African-American."
"Absentee and Section 8 landlords can be identified via sustained perusal of public records. Buildings belonging to those landlords should be identified and monitored to ensure they meet applicable code standards. If and when they do not, the landlords should be contacted and appropriate steps taken to bring them into compliance, or to disqualify the property from participation in the Section 8 program."
"The community is broken. To fix it, we need to disperse affordable housing and increase homeownership. Our housing stock is a valuable city resource that has been left to decay. We need to attract residents with disposable income, who dont soak up social services, who can fix up the housing stock, who will in turn attract retail businesses."
"Redevelopment efforts, along with other public and private initiatives, should endeavor to transform the area back to what it was when first settled: a place where people want to live, rather than where conditions force them to live. Public housing should be gradually dispersed until the area shoulders no more than its fair share. Homeownership should be actively promoted, until the ratio of homeowners to renters is in sync with the citywide average. Housing should again be oriented toward the working class, rather than the idle class. Schools should partner with Bay Area industries to provide realistic, forward-looking job training for area residents that will result in long-term employment at living wages. Neighborhood-serving retail should be pursued. City services and amenities should mirror those enjoyed by other Oakland neighborhoods."
WOPAC approves of the above statements, and wants to bring Oakland and it's West MacArthur neighborhood area back to what it was like towards the end of World War II.
WOPAC is funded by and is an integral part of Oakland's City government.
Seeing how WOPAC has been approving millions in funding for major renovation projects at low-income housing sites that will displace low-income renters from their housing, poor people have a good reason to be very concerned about whats being done in their name.
The City may talk a good game about Oakland's wonderful eviction protections under Just Cause, but when it comes down to it, the City and local non profit housing organizations including the Oakland Housing Authority, will violate the rights of Oakland's poor in a heartbeat, if there was a profit to be made, and African-Americans can be displaced in the process.
Just ask the low-income renters at the historic California Hotel why they filed a million claim on August 6, 2008 against the City of Oakland and a few city officials, including Marge Gladman and Sean Rogan for confirmation on whats been happening in Oakland.
There is no room for the poor in Oakland according to the 'Vision for the Future' that was approved by WOPAC, and when non profit housing organizations have to go before the City and WOPAC to seek funding for their renovation projects, it does not bode well for Oakland's poor.
The 'Hoover / West MacArthur Vision Statement' approved by WOPAC complains that there are too many poor African-Americans residing in the West MacArthur neighborhood area of Oakland, that theres too much crime, and the statement promotes a clear vision in which low-income African-American renters in affordable housing sites across Oakland are to be dispersed, and pushed out of town.
Affordable housing in Oakland -- During 2004, according to one housing profile report that was compiled, concluded; "In Oakland, out of the approximately 150,000 units of housing, 21,654 are under some sort of public subsidy (Oakland Housing Authority)." The report also states; "There are three types of affordable housing in Oakland. First, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) manages a program called Section 8 which provides a variety of types of assistance to low-income residents. The main type of assistance is housing vouchers, which pay for a portion of rent in privately owned units. There are 11,142 Section 8 units in Oakland. The second group of units are the 3,308 units owned by the Oakland Housing Authority, which runs its own subsidy program that is supported by federal money. The last type of units are the publicly-assisted rental units developed under the City of Oakland’s Community Economic Development Agency (CEDA). CEDA provides subsidies to developers to build affordable housing units, which are then rented to low-income tenants."
WOPAC believes that the low-income affordable housing sites of Oakland need to be specially monitored, because they are full of African-Americans.
As recent as March 2009, the Oakland City Council and Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA) approved around million in funding for major renovation projects all across the City at numerous low-income housing sites, that may displace well over 500 to 600 low-income families from their housing once the renovation projects are fully underway.
In part, WOPAC was one of the committees that local non profit housing organizations such as the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) and Resources for Community Development (RCD) went to recently when seeking approval for millions in funding to renovate affordable housing sites filled with low-income African-American families.
Among the low-income tenants at risk of being displaced from their housing in future months; may include the low-income housing sites known as Marin Way Court (20 units), Eldridge Gonaway Commons (40 units), Slim Jenkins Court (32 units), Drachma Housing (14 units), Hugh Taylor House (43 units), Oakland Point (9 buildings for low-income renters), Effie’s House (20 units), Casa Velasco and Posada de Colores (100 residents) and Marcus Garvey Commons (22 family townhomes). There are a number of other low-income housing OCHI sites currently at risk of major renovations across Oakland, when the NOFA funding becomes available.
Other notable events in the City also confirm that Oakland's low-income renters are at extreme risk of being displaced from their housing currently and in the near future, and that a master plan to displace Oakland's poor is fully in effect.
As an example, during February 2007, the City of Oakland sued the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), complaining of unsafe living conditions and code violations at their low-income housing sites after the OHA spent years of being starved of desperately needed funding for capital improvements at all of their low-income housing sites.
The City of Oakland claimed; "At the time of the lawsuit, more than 1,600 OHA apartment units were located at hundreds of "scattered sites" throughout the city that did not have on-site managers. Lack of management helped to create a condition of unabated criminal activity (including drug sales and prostitution) at some sites. Also, OHA's failure to maintain and repair its buildings led to numerous housing code violations, unsafe living spaces, accumulation of garbage and other problems."
This attack on Oakland's poor was resolved during October 2008, only after an agreement between the City and the OHA was made, in which the OHA actually agreed to dispose of 1,600 occupied low-income public housing units. The OHA has applied to HUD for permission to dispose of the 1,600 occupied rental units at scattered sites across the City, and plans to sell the scattered housing sites for as little as (one dollar) per parcel to some of their favored local non profit housing organizations.
Some of the non profit housing organizations may already be in partnership with the OHA on projects that have already displaced many of Oakland's low-income African-American families, such as East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation in their partnership with the OHA at Lion Creek Crossings, formerly known as the Coliseum Gardens 178 unit public housing complex in East Oakland, or Bridge Housing's partnership with the OHA in several Hope VI projects that in recent years have resulted in the displacement of many, many low-income African-American families from their public housing units across Oakland.
In addition, a number of reports released by the City of Oakland during July 2009, reveals that the City in it's fight with it's former housing partner called Oakland Community Housing, Inc (OCHI), has been contemplating the demolition of a number of OCHI properties that the City has been trying to get it's hands on, since OCHI's financial problems materialized and a feud arose between them.
One report reveals that if the City of Oakland cannot get it's hands on OCHI's numerous low-income housing sites or cannot transfer the properties into the hands of some of their trusted allies or local non profit housing organizations / partners, the report states that the City would rather see the low-income housing sites demolished and the low-income families displaced, before it would allow the properties to fall into the hands of unwanted entities.
The battle at Oakland's historic California Hotel during 2008, which still continues to this day, brought much media attention to the feud between the City of Oakland and their partner OCHI, and the plight of the long term low-income renters at the historic hotel who bravely fought against their illegal evictions, is still uncertain to this day.
The California Hotel tenants struggle against their unlawful evictions, resulted in an injunction that stopped the City from displacing 73 tenants from their permanent housing site that offered Just Cause eviction protections. The eviction protections granted to the low-income renters by Oakland's voters in 2002 were violated by OCHI, the City, EBALDC and other entities who were involved in the process to transform the historic hotel into transitional housing. This was done despite the fact that the Just Cause / Measure EE eviction protection ordinance is written in such a way, that the City of Oakland is required to enforce the Just Cause eviction protections as is written in the ordinance.
The injunction, also stopped the City from transferring the California Hotel to the East bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), which is currently still trying to negotiate a way to take over the California Hotel, despite the injunction that is currently in place to protect the low-income African-American renters.
On July 20, 2009, attorney Steve Perelson, an attorney representing the tenants at the California Hotel said, "It's a matter of economics. Theres not enough money coming in to run the California Hotel, and the City of Oakland and OCHI got out from under it. Since Anne Omura of the Eviction Defense Center was appointed last fall as a Trustee for the courts to operate and manage the California Hotel, she and attorney John Murcko have spent as much as ,000 or more of their own money to keep the hotel open for the tenants. Anne Omura does not get paid as a Trustee of the court to manage the California Hotel. OCHI has gone belly up, with no one left in the organization to manage OCHI's properties, including the California Hotel. It is our hope that the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) will be able to take over the hotel, and still keep the current low-income tenants in place with low rents."
Oakland's 'Vision for the Future' that was approved by WOPAC in the December 12, 2007 statement known as the 'Hoover / West MacArthur Vision Statement' is fraught with serious danger to Oakland's poor who are currently under attack.
There are serious forces at play against the poor, involving the City of Oakland, the Oakland Housing Authority, HUD, the so-called non profit housing organizations in the Bay Area, the California Governor, the federal government, banks, real estate investment firms, lending institutions, the Democrat and Republican parties, and various other entities large and small who are all involved in diverting funds from the poorest of the poor, in an effort to displace the poor from their affordable housing communities across the nation.
In addition, the 'Hoover / West MacArthur Vision Statement' that was approved by West Oakland Project Area Committee (WOPAC), states that; "Urban miners are a routine sight, their stolen shopping carts piled high with cans and bottles filched from recycling bins that residents pay Waste Management to empty. Empty homes are at risk for break-ins by thieves who will strip out copper pipe and wire to sell to local recycling businesses. The police rarely investigate property losses, which are treated as insurance claims."
There is little mention in the above mentioned statement approved by WOPAC as to how the major banks including Wells Fargo and other big lending institutions have raped, pillaged and ruined this country's economy, due to the massive amount of home foreclosures taking place all across the nation and City of Oakland.
Instead, WOPAC would rather wage their WAR against poor African-Americans, because theres big money to be made in displacing the poor, and Oakland is knee deep in various schemes to displace the poor from their affordable housing sites.
The WAR against the poor is going ahead full steam, and is moving has moved it's way up the economic ladder against the nation's middle class, as can be evidenced by the budget battles taking place in the California legislature and the back rooms of the Governor's office.
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com
For more about Oakland's 'Vision for the Future' that was approved by WOPAC, feel free to click onto the link below... http://www.jammi.info/Hoover_West_Mac_vision_statement.pdf
Link to information and funding sources for WOPAC http://clerkwebsvr1.oaklandnet.com/attachments/17406.pdf
Link to OCHI rental properties & low-income housing developments http://web.archive.org/web/20080207064709/http://www.ochi.org/communities/apts.htm
Link to 'Work Out Plan for OCHI Properties'.
(The 'Work Out Plan for OCHI Properties' reveals the plan in effect to displace all the renters from OCHI's properties, including the low-income renters at the California Hotel, because of the on-going feud between the City of and Oakland Community Housing, Inc (OCHI).)
"April 22, Oakland, CEDA Report"
Click below for full report called the 'Work Out Plan For OCHI Properties'.
See pages 5 & 6 item #3 called; 'Properties With Identified Sponsors'. The section on the California Hotel reveals how the City requested that OCHI and the John Stewart Company stop renting out vacant units at the affordable housing site. The result was to starve the historic hotel out of much needed funds to maintain the housing site safely for it's low-income African-American tenants. This section also reveals that the California Hotel was to be transferred to the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) once the tenants from the historic location were unlawfully evicted from their housing.
Also see pages 5 & 6 of Attachment B near the bottom of the Work Out Plan Report...
Click below for full report... http://clerkwebsvr1.oaklandnet.com/attachments/19005.pdf
CEDA Report -- OCHI tenants
Click on link directly below. Go to page 7, and see the section called 'Impacts', where it states that the City of Oakland is actually considering the demolition of some of OCHI's properties, if things go bad for the City with it's battle to grab OCHI properties.. http://clerkwebsvr1.oaklandnet.com/attachments/19790.pdf
Oakland Community Housing Inc. -- OCHI Investigation Update:
July 16, 2009 by Lynda Carson
Click below for the latest details on the so-called investigation into OCHI, as was announced by Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente on March 31, 2009, but no one from the Attorney General's office seems to be aware of any investigation into OCHI...
Click below... http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/07/16/18608400.php