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.