What do SKS Investments, Ron Dellums, and the Wayans Brothers all have in common?

They all break their promises to Oakland.

  • According to the Trib, SKS Investments has decided to hold off construction on 1100 Broadway, approved by the Planning Commission in December, until they can find an anchor tenant. A while back, the plan was that the University of California Office of the President would anchor the new building on that lot, but UCOP ended up leasing 117,000 feet in 300 Lakeside instead (the East Bay’s largest office lease of 2007). SKS may have been scared off somewhat by the fact that Center 21 wasn’t able to pre-lease any space before opening in December. I was excited about downtown getting three buildings entirely on spec in as many years, so I’m a little bit sad about the news, but not worried. 555 took a while to fill up, and now it’s doing great. The biggest problem with Oakland’s office market in recent years has been the complete lack of large available floorplates. Our historic buildings are 1) not fancy enough and 2) not big enough to attract large employers. The new infusion of Class A space means that Oakland finally has a shot at landing some more Fortune 500 companies.
  • We’re up to 36 homicides so far this year. There were 23 at this time last year. Obviously its way too early to draw any causal conclusions, but I think it’s safe to say that this fabulous new area command policing model isn’t the panacea the Chief made it out to be.
  • So in response to yesterday’s rally about re-entry services, Dellums issued a statement defending his office’s work. The full statement is below:

    The political leadership in Oakland has a responsibility to find alternative ways to engage the reentry population. From the beginning of my administration, I made it a priority to address this issue in a decisive and comprehensive way. Last year, over 2,000 formerly incarcerated individuals applied for city of Oakland positions and we are currently in the process of finding these people jobs. Removing the box is only one important aspect of providing quality service to formerly incarcerated individuals and I am confident that my administration, in concert with city departments, has taken some positive steps forward. I am working with the city administrator to start the process of removing the box for jobs within the Public Works Agency. This will be done by May 31st, when we will begin looking at other departments throughout the city.

    Among reentry initiatives and policy changes my administration has instituted, include:

    • Hiring a reentry specialist to work in the Mayors Office to coordinate city efforts in this area
    • Expanding our communication and coordination with state and local correctional facilities to better prepare individuals who are scheduled to leave these facilities and renter our community and workforce
    • Preparing a resource guide that will include information about educational and employment and housing opportunities
    • Collaborating with the county of Alameda to identify jobs beyond Oakland.
    • Developing temporary work projects with the Parks and Recreation department and the Public Works Agency for their capital projects
    • Providing more jobs through local hiring and contracting policies.

    This is typical of Dellums, and is exactly why people are so fed up with him. Promises were enough to get him elected. They were enough to retain some goodwill for a while. But at some point, you have to deliver, and Dellums hasn’t done that. He promised to get rid of that box last February, and over a year later, he’s going to “start the process of removing the box”? Nothing here is thought-through, and not even all of it is true. Look at the last bullet point. Did Dellums create any new local hiring and contracting policies last year? If so, can someone please enlighten me about them, because I missed it. I whole-heartedly support better re-entry services, and efforts to provide jobs for ex-offenders, but I don’t think the appropriate solution is make-work, which Dellums appears to be promising. With Oakland facing a multi-million dollar budget deficit, I wonder how Dellums expects to fund all these new jobs. What will Oakland have to sacrifice?

  • This is old news, but I found myself thinking about it last night, and it occurs to me that most of my readers probably don’t follow Fremont city politics. Former longtime Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison is running for Mayor again. Morrison has been a vocal critic of the Cisco Field Ballpark Village proposal, which is currently undergoing the EIR process. Morrison’s candidacy guarantees the new ballpark is going to be an election issue, and a strong showing on his part would be good news for those who want the project referended.
  • Regarding the discussion earlier this week about who qualifies as “youth”: a reader e-mail reminded me that National Institute of Health research has found that the brain, particularly the part of the brain that inhibits risky behavior, doesn’t fully develop until age 25.
  • People seem to be upset all of a sudden (or maybe just again) about the fact that the Wayans Brothers are no longer interested in bringing their movie studio to the Oakland Army Base. First of all, I don’t even get why this is news now, since they canceled their ENA last year. Why on earth would anyone then expect them to respond to an RFQ? I also don’t get why people seem to think this is a bad thing. The City didn’t do anything wrong here, except maybe wasting too much time working with the Wayans, who simply could never get their act together. We gave them years to bring a real proposal to the Council, and they never did it. The City Council approved a 12 month exclusive negotiating agreement in June 2005, and it took them 8 months to sign the agreement. By that time, the ENA length had increased to 18 months. During those 18 months, they failed to meet nearly every deadline, or produce a viable proposal for the land. We gave them another 4 months in July 2007, and they pulled out a month later because they apparently hadn’t noticed in the previous 2 years that the land is next to a Port. They’ve totally failed to demonstrate that they’re capable of building anything. It’s time to move on.

9 thoughts on “What do SKS Investments, Ron Dellums, and the Wayans Brothers all have in common?

  1. Joanna

    Go Mayor Morrison – a referendum! What a concept!

    I was laughing at the Wayans Bros news myself. Uh, long over and they were never *really* interested in negotiating for anything other than a hand out, so why? Oh, because they’re the Wayans Bros? Hmm, isn’t that so last century? Where are they now? (broke perhaps?)

    Dellums has never ceased to amaze me in terms of promises made. If I hear one more time, “We’re going to create a policy…” when said policy should already have been created, not to mention implemented! What a waste of his first year.

    I was on two task forces and it was a farce. Just like his office is now.

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    invisiblewoman –

    No need to apologize, although I’m happy to set you straight. It’s the Chronicle that’s really at fault here. The story they ran about the RFQ responses was misleading at best. The headline (“Wayans brothers drop Oakland Army Base plans”) was deceptive and the beginning of the story was just bizarre:

    Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has released a list of developers interested in building on the former Oakland Army base – but noticeably absent are Hollywood’s Wayans brothers, who had wanted to build a movie studio and shopping center there.

    Why are they noticeably absent? Why would anyone on earth expect them to respond to an RFQ after they had abandoned their exclusive negotiating agreement? The only reason to bring them up is because someone at the Chronicle thinks readers are interested in the Wayans Brothers. So irresponsible.

  3. avis

    You ask what will Oakland have to give up so Ron Dellums can give lots of money to paroled felons in these bleak economic times ?

    Oakland will give up courts, jails, judges, a functional police force. Oakland will give up streetlights, parks, clean streets. Oakland will give up stores, cafes, restaurants and retail establishments of every kind. Basically Oakland will continue to give up every nice thing there is about living in a city and we will do it for folks who have broken our laws, robbed our neighbors, shot our friends and in some cases molested our children. Now, aren’t you glad you voted for Ron? Don’t get fooled again. Vote for Charlie Pine on June 3rd.

  4. Navigator

    The Oakland City Council once again becomes enamored with celebrity and grandiose promises. How many times have these guys been hoodwinked? Just business as usual for Oakland. Meanwhile, time wastes away as nothing gets developed on that property.

    Meanwhile, Ron Dellums is a sleep at the switch, as Lew Wolff, the Los Angeles carpetbagger owner of the Oakland A’s, is determined to tear apart a piece of the fabric of Oakland as he takes our team to Fremont and renames them the “Silicon Valley A’s @ Fremont.” or “The San Jose A’s. To this villain from Los Angeles, Oakland’s reach stops at the San Leandro border. The Oakland moniker is not even suited for Oakland’s own metro area. What a slap in the face, even as the A’s attempt to cash in on their Oakland roots as they market their “40th anniversary in Oakland.” This is ludicrous. Wolff wined and dined Dellums in order to grease his way out of Oakland. Dellums was seen sitting behind the A’s dugout with Wolff AFTER Wolff announced his intentions to abandon Oakland. Wolff told Dellums, “You have other priorities, don’t break your pick on this one.” The pacification of Dellums was done at the same time as Wolff was negotiating a new sweetheart lease at the Coliseum which would conceivably take him into the opening of CISCO Field. This is an outright betrayal of Oakland and the legacy and history which is intertwined between the city and the A’s.

    Oakland sits here passively as the carpetbagger from Los Angeles co-opts our Mayor along with Councilmember Larry Reid. We haven’t heard a a peep from them as a 41 year old Oakland tradition is about to expire. The Oakland A’s have been a part of Oakland since 1968. The Oakland A’s have brought Oakland an incredible amount of positive attention over the years. The A’s are have won four World Series titles and have appeared in six World Series. Only the New York Yankees have won more. Yet no one seems to care that they’re leaving the city. What is going on Oakland?

  5. Max Allstadt

    Wow avis, that’s the most simplistic, alarmist comment I’ve seen on here in weeks.

  6. Deckin

    It seems to me the deepest problem with Dellums and the ex-con rehabilitation is this. For most of us, rehabilitating ex-cons is of primarily instrumental value. That is, it’s not so much something we think ought to be done out of concern for the welfare of the ex-cons, per se, but, rather, out of concern for the rest of us who will be uncomfortably close to some of them in the future. We don’t maintain an intrinsic allegiance to those who violate society’s trust by preying on others. We reserve our deepest allegiances to those who have to walk the streets with the ex-cons, the law abiding, the tax paying, the glues of the community, those people who make social life both possible and rewarding. These people we value non-instrumentally. We don’t see them as people to be respected so that they may help the worse off; rather, we see them as people deserving of respect for who they are and what they alone make possible.

    Dellums, in my view, has this sentiment completely reversed. Inasmuch as I’ve seen no evidence to the contrary, it’s the law abiding and upstanding citizens that he views instrumentally: as tools to further the lives of those whom he values non-instrumentally–those who because of various ‘oppressions’ have ‘found themselves’ committing crimes against the law abiding. When has Dellums ever expressed such profound concern for those victimized by crime as he has for those incarcerated for committing it? Look at what he himself has done. Has he ever visited a crime victim? Does he walk the streets at night to show solidarity with those who don’t have armed guards and drivers? No. He’s put all of his efforts and moral authority (such as it is) into providing for criminals benefits (paying jobs) that others procure only at the cost of much sweat and effort. What other intepretation can one make of that? Is it any wonder that many (myself included) take themselves, by dint of upholding our end of the social compact and actually paying for all these services he so readily commits, to be just grist for his social engineering mill? Are we all paying the price of salving his guilt feelings for having left his beleagured inner city community behind for the hills–a place where he lives but can never be seen out on the streets?