So CED yesterday about the Army Base wasn’t terribly exciting it terms of anything unexpected happening, although the lengthy public comment period was super entertaining.
A number of speakers showed up to protest that staff’s recommendation did not involve asking the RFP respondents to incorporate space for PCC Logistics in their final plans. PCC submitted a response (PDF!) to the City’s RFQ, asking for 14 acres on the Eastern Gateway, where they’re currently located, to basically keep doing what they’re doing – container freight, customs inspection, and so on. I particularly enjoyed this part of the meeting, not just because I think they’re totally right that we need to make sure these services are incorporated into the development plan, but also because I got to hear people say “efficient ancillary maritime support services” over and over and over again, which has now replaced “environmental remediation” as my absolute favorite phrase. Efficient ancillary maritime support services. Don’t you just love the way it rolls off your tongue?
PCC Logistics weren’t the only losers to protest staff’s recommendations, just the only ones with a good argument. A representative from the Triamid Galaxies team, irate that their “Solar City” proposal (PDF!) wasn’t moving forward, complained that the City had unfairly chosen no local developers to advance in the process (um, not true), and also that it was their idea to use the space for logistics, and that all the other developers who proposed that had stolen the idea from them. Seriously! He said that. I will give them this – their rending grabs your attention.
Moving on. Seven rather angry people showed up to complain that the response from Oakland Bay Partners for a big box retail center (PDF!) wasn’t moving forward. I’m not entirely sure where they got their talking points, but they all emphasized that it had an advantage over every other proposal because it would be completed and open within two years, which, well, anyone who actually thinks that’s a possibility on this site really shouldn’t even be participating in the conversation. We also witnessed calls for a bowling alley, movie theater, skating rink, space for all the trucks, and lots of jobs that require no skills and pay high salaries that will be available only to West Oakland residents. But the highlight of the meeting, for me, anyway, was the woman who insisted that whatever gets built there needs to be something that people will travel from “all over the world” to come see.
The Committee didn’t have all that much to say. They all complimented staff on the excellent process so far. Larry Reid and Henry Chang said that they’d like to see space for PCC Logistics be part of the RFP. Jane Brunner wasn’t so sure, saying she couldn’t really make a decision either way because she didn’t know anything about them. She then announced that she didn’t believe the Port of Oakland is an economic engine for the city or that we get much out of it, and wanted to see some sort of report (PDF!) explaining how the Port benefits Oakland. She then capped off her bizarro-world comments by saying that she’d like to see the RFP include an alternative of regional retail either on the base or…wait for it…somewhere nearby. Seriously!