Ron Dellums’s Town Hall – 10,000 jobs on the army base? Huh?

Okay, so I was going to attend Saturday’s town hall, but then I decided that making myself huevos rancheros and sampling my brand new Hangar One limited edition Chipotle vodka in a bloody mary before all the tomatoes are gone sounded like a more fun way to spend a Saturday morning than listening to people yell at Dellums about crime.

But now I’m kicking myself, because the newspaper reports of something Dellums said are totally befuddling to me.

The Chronicle article said:

He said he wants a citywide zoning plan, high density concentrated in the downtown area, and a mixed-used development of the former Oakland Army base that would produce a minimum of 10,000 jobs.

And then the Trib story had:

That industrial development on the former Army base in West Oakland will bring 10,000 new jobs to Oakland.

Okay, so this makes no sense to me whatsoever. Is he talking about the actual Army Base, or the entire Army Base Redevelopment Area? Of the Army Base itself, the Port has 200 of acres, and the redevelopment agency has only 170 acres, and a lot of them are already spoken for. Did he specifiy “industrial jobs” as the Trib story claims, or not, as the Chronicle implies? Did he say what type of industry? Because industrial land is doing really well if it produces 10 jobs per acre. The Port gets about half that many per acre…um, you see where I’m going with this. The numbers don’t add up. The garment industry can do better, but I’m unaware of any plans to turn Oakland into a fashion capitol.

More than anything, I’m just totally confused. Did he imply that there is a project in the works that is actually going to achieve this? Was this a reference to the seemingly dead Wayans Brothers project? Or did he just say that he wanted something to happen? What about the auto mall? And the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal (PDF!)? Are those part of this vision? Is he including Port-generated employment? Or was 10,000 just some random number off the top of his head?

Also, what is this “citywide zoning plan”? Something other than the General Plan? Does he want to throw everything out and start over? (Because if he does, I’m all for it. dto510 has written well recently about how backwards our zoning is.)

If any readers attended the meeting and could share more details about what he said on these matters, I’d really appreciate it.


Okay, so Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor’s column today sort of answers my questions.

2. Rethinking development of the old Oakland Army Base to be “strategy driven” and “vision driven” rather than “project driven” as it has been in the past.

Mayor to report to the City Council in the near future with a new vision for the Oakland Army Base to produce a minimum of 10,000 jobs with a mix-used strategy that recognizes the “vital maritime uses” of the area close to the Port of Oakland, as well as a regional shopping center, office space, and “creative industry.” Dellums proposes to bring this vision to developers and ask them to shape their development projects based on its parameters. No timetable given on when the vision package would be completed and presented to council.

So basically, the answer is that Dellums has no idea what he’s talking about and has no plan. Great. Dude sure does like that number though, doesn’t he?

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5 thoughts on “Ron Dellums’s Town Hall – 10,000 jobs on the army base? Huh?

  1. WestBay

    V Smoothe,
    Lots of questions there. My understanding is that Mayor Dellums has asked the Community and Economic Development Agency to update the city’s zoning code by implementing the zoning changes required to implement the 1998 General Plan (former Mayor Brown put this effort on hold) as well as updating this zoning to reflect changes from the 10k plan and other land use changes in the city. So, it’s not exactly throw everything out, but it is close to it. This is sorely needed to help the city go beyond 10k and to provide opportunities for denser infill development in other parts of the city, especially near transit stations (e.g. only two BART station areas are actually zoned as transit villages).

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    WestBay –

    Upon reflection, you’re probably right that the current work of the Zoning Update Committee is what Dellums was referring to, but I sincerely hope that isn’t the case. That would be a grave disappointment. Under Jerry Brown, their work, while not particularly prolific, was at least productive – the creation of the HBX designation was certainly a painfully drawn out process, but ultimately created something wonderfully useful.

    Sadly, over the past several months, the staff recommendations to the Zoning Update Committee have practically mocked the goals of the General Plan. There is no more clear illustration of this problem than their proposals to “update” Temescal, which basically call for downzoning Telegraph Avenue and discouraging infill development.

    Even if the ZUC was actually moving toward consistency with the General Plan (which their work this year really has not reflected at all, to my mind), this would simply be adding yet another layer of bureaucracy on top of an outdated and unnecessarily complex zoning code. We need to throw it all out and start over.

  3. dto510

    The General Plan basically calls for throwing out the zoning code and starting over. From the implementation plan (LUTE, pp 169 – 170):

    “New zoning designations will be established to reflect changes in land use classifications.”

    “Since the existing Zoning Regulations are regarded as cumbersome and difficult to use, a simpler, more user-friendly code will be developed.”

    Changing zoning categories, within the existing framework, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, is not what the plan calls for. Establishing new categories based on the General Plan’s six primary neighborhood and corridor designations makes more sense than shoehorning mixed-use projects into R-70/C-48/overlay zones.

  4. gus aguayo

    I have been trying to “Google” on the internet for any updates of what is going to happen at the former Oakland Army Base. Guess what, I found no real answers. The best thing for that development area is viable shopping center and big box stores. Oakland could have had Costco, but Oakland City leaders screwed that up. Potential developers will notice that it is quite a distance from the blighted neighborhoods of West Oakland. However, I am noticing that West Oakland is going through some positive changes, but will that be enough for the out of town developers to notice that. The area has great scenery, especially with the view of the bay, San Francisco skyline, and the Bay Bridge. I believe that area would be a great shopping and entertainment venue area. Let’s forget about having a movie studio crap. As much as I respect the Wayans family, they need to go back to Los Angeles and see if they have better luck with the L.A. City Council. Retail in my opinion is better way of getting tax revenue that can bring in more money for the Oakland Police Department. It gets to me that Oakland does not have a real shopping center or anchor stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom. Does Mayor Ron Dellums care? Maybe not with all do respect. I would love to purchase my next car, suit, designer shoes, cologne, and Costco chicken in Oakland. Many Oakland residents have to shop in neighboring cities like San Leandro and Emeryville. All that tax revenue is benefitting those cities, but I still give hats off to San Leandro and Emeryville. The Old Oakland Army Base is the key to putting Oakland on the map in a positive way. We shall see.