Category: Oakland

Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Design

Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing – Oakland City Council Staff Report

Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Design
Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Design

Brooklyn Basin is a giant 65-acre, 3,000 unit housing project under construction along Oakland’s waterfront just south of Jack London Square. Of the 3,000 units, there are plans for 465 of them (15.5 percent) to be “affordable” according to the City of Oakland Staff Report presented below.

Tuesday’s Oakland City Council meeting will present the Oakland City Administrator’s recommendation to approve a lease disposition and development agreement (and which includes loan approval) for a partnership consisting of “The Oakland Housing Authority and MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, For Development of Affordable Housing At Brooklyn Basin,” to purchase a ground lease at “Parcel F” of the complex. That is where the affordable housing will be built.

Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Parcel Map

The complex design was approved by the Oakland Planning Commission on August 21st 2017 and is by HKIT Architects, The building is to be 86 feet tall and be located on Brooklyn Basin’s Parcel F (bordered by Embarcadero, 7th and 8th Avenues as the map shows) The building will have 211 affordable units and a 192 car garage.

Brooklyn Basin was called “Oak Street to Ninth Avenue” and approved for construction in 2006, but then received a legal challenge, which Signature Properties, the master developer, beat in 2009.

Because of the timing of the development, the City’s impact fee structure can’t be applied to it.

Here is the full, digitized, staff report for Tuesday:

 

AGENDA REPORT

Sabrina B. Landreth
City Administrator

FROM: Michele Byrd,
Director, HCDD

Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing
Agreements

DATE: September 14, 2017

City Administrator Approval

RECOMMENDATION
Staff Recommends That The City Council Adopt The Following Legislation:
Ordinance (1) Authorizing A Master Housing Agreement With The Oakland Housing
Authority and MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, For Development of
Affordable Housing At Brooklyn Basin, (2) Authorizing Lease Disposition and
Development Agreements With MidPen Housing Corporation And The Oakland Housing
Authority, Or Affiliated Entities, For The Long-Term Ground Lease Of Parcel F At
Brooklyn Basin For The First Phases Of Development, And (3) Making CEQA Findings
For This Action; And
Resolution (1) Authorizing An Unsecured Predevelopment Loan In The Amount Of
$2,067,000 To MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, To Support The
Development Of Affordable Housing On Parcels A And F At Brooklyn Basin, (2)
Authorizing A Secured Affordable Housing Development Loan In An Amount Not To
Exceed $15,243,000, To MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, To Support
The Development of Affordable Housing On Parcel F at Brooklyn Basin, And (3) Making
CEQA Findings For This Action.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The City is required to ensure that 465 units of affordable rental housing are developed on two
parcels jointly owned by the City and the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) at the Brooklyn
Basin project site. Staff is seeking Council authorization for land disposition and funding to
facilitate the development, including: (1) a Master Housing Agreement among the City, OHA
and MidPen Housing Corporation (the selected affordable housing developer) outlining the
general terms for disposition, development and funding of the affordable housing on the
Brooklyn Basin affordable housing parcels, (2) two Lease Disposition and Development
Agreements among the City, OHA and MidPen for the disposition by ground lease of one of the
affordable housing parcels, Parcel F, for development of an affordable family housing project
and an affordable senior housing project with a total of 211 affordable rental units, (3) a
$2,067,000 predevelopment loan to MidPen to fund predevelopment expenses associated with
the overall Brooklyn Basin affordable housing project, and (4) a $15,243,000 development loan
Item:
CED Committee
October 10, 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 2

to MidPen to fund development of the two affordable housing projects on Parcel F. The
predevelopment loans funds, including a $360,000 predevelopment loan approved in 2016, will
most likely be converted into permanent development loan funds, for a total consolidated loan
amount of $17,670,000 approved to date.
BACKGROUND I LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
Project Description and Affordable Housing Requirement
The Brooklyn Basin Project (formerly known as the Oak to Ninth Project) is a large-scale
development project on a formerly-industrial site along Oakland’s waterfront. When fully
developed, the project will comprise approximately 3,100 housing units, over 200,000 square
feet in retail space, 29.9 acres of parks and public open space, two renovated marinas and
restoration of an existing wetland area.
In 2006, the developer of the project (then known as Oakland Harbor Partners), the City, and
the Redevelopment Agency entered into a Development Agreement (DA) for the project. The
City negotiated a variety of community benefits provisions into the DA, including provisions for
on-site affordable housing development. The DA required the Redevelopment Agency to
purchase two parcels (then Parcels F and G) from the developer and to develop 465 units of
housing affordable to low income households on those parcels, to be developed in phases as
part of the overall project. Oakland Harbor Partners agreed to sell the affordable housing
parcels at a discount and to contribute $2 million toward development of affordable housing on
those parcels.
At the same time, the Redevelopment Agency also negotiated a “Cooperation Agreement” with
a coalition of community groups, known as the Oak to Ninth Community Benefits Coalition (the
“Coalition”), over the level of community benefits that would result from the project, including
affordable housing development. The Cooperation Agreement was executed in 2006.
Consistent with the DA, the Cooperation Agreement required the Redevelopment Agency to
purchase the affordable housing parcels and ensure that at least 465 affordable housing units
are developed as part of the overall development.
Delay and Subsequent Changes to Affordable Housing Requirements
Shortly after the DA and the Cooperation Agreement were originally signed, the Brooklyn Basin
project was put on hold by the developer due to the economic downturn, and a legal challenge
to the Project.
Upon dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency in 2012, the City retained and assumed the
housing assets and functions of the Redevelopment Agency, including obligations related to
affordable housing development at Brooklyn Basin.
Pursuant to the DA and the Cooperation Agreement, the City purchased Parcels F and G from
the Brooklyn Basin developer, now known as Zarsion-OHP I, LLC (ZOHP), on August 28, 2014,
for a purchase price of $21,508,462 plus closing costs, with ZOHP obligated to conduct
extensive environmental remediation, as well as infrastructure work on the property. The
purchase price represented the appraised fair market value of the parcels, discounted by
Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 3

$3,033,204 due to the early purchase. To fund the purchase, the City used proceeds from a
housing bond issued by the Redevelopment Agency in 2011. Project funds totaling $2,454,627
from this bond remained after the purchase of the parcels.
Current Status and Projected Affordable Housing Funding Sources
ZOHP has completed remediation and substantially completed site preparation work on the first
phase of the overall project, including the affordable housing parcels. The first market rate
phase of the development, 241 units on Parcel B, started construction this spring.
In June 2015, ZOHP selected MidPen Housing Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing
developer with extensive development experience in the Bay Area, to be the developer for the
affordable housing project, and the City Administrator approved this selection. The City has
been working closely with MidPen, OHA and the Coalition since June 2015, as MidPen
develops and refines its affordable housing development scenarios and financing plan.
On January 5, 2016, City Council approved Resolution No. 85939 C.M.S., which approved a
financing plan for the affordable housing unit development, and approved the submittal of a
petition to the California Department of Finance (DOF) for a Final and Conclusive Determination
that the City had an enforceable obligation under the DA and the Cooperation Agreement to
fund development of 465 units of affordable housing on the affordable housing parcels. The
City sought $45 million in Real Property Tax Trust Funds (RPTTF), i.e., property tax funds that
were formerly considered tax increment funds, as its contribution to develop the affordable
housing.
After extensive negotiations, DOF allowed the City to retroactively re-characterize previous
draws from the 2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside Bond Fund, for the affordable parcel
purchase at Brooklyn Basin and the Mural Apartments affordable housing development at the
MacArthur BART station, as RPTTF expenditures. This freed up a minimum of $35 million in
2011 Affordable Housing Bond Funds to support vertical construction of affordable housing
development at Brooklyn Basin.
On July 19, 2016, per City Council Resolution No. 86301 C.M.S., the City Council approved a
$360,000 predevelopment loan to support MidPen in their predevelopment activities for
development on Parcel F, and that loan closed earlier this spring (after the Borrower affiliates for
Parcel F were formed).
On January 17, 2017, per City Council Resolution No. 13413 C.M.S., the City Council
authorized a swap with ZOHP of Parcel G for Parcel A. That swap closed in June. As a result,
the affordable housing parcels are now Parcels F and A. As part of the parcel swap, ZOHP
agreed to place its DA-required $2 million affordable housing contribution ($1 million per parcel)
into an escrow account through the end of 2018.
On July 18, 2017, City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale of
a 50% joint ownership interest in the affordable housing parcels to OHA, in exchange for a $10
million purchase price and OHA’s commitment to provide 258 Project-Based Section 8 vouchers
to the project. The $10 million in sales proceeds would be earmarked to the project. The

Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 4

second reading for this ordinance is scheduled for September 19, 2017, and the close of the
sale of the joint interest to OHA is anticipated by October
MidPen is proposing to build the required 465 units in four separate project phases over a
seven-year time frame. Per the terms of the Cooperation Agreement, 110 units will target
seniors and the remaining 355 will target families. All units must be affordable to households
earning 25 percent to 60 percent of Area Median Income. At least 30 percent of the units will be
three-bedroom units and at least 20 percent of the units will be two-bedroom units.
ANALYSIS AND POLICY ALTERNATIVES
The recommended actions will delineate the rights and responsibilities between the City, OHA
and MidPen, set the stage for predevelopment activities to take both parcels further into the
predevelopment process, and provide the formal site control and development financing
commitments required to allow MidPen to apply for its other funding sources for the first two
affordable housing developments on Parcel F. If successful in applying for their other funding
sources, construction could commence by the end of 2018 or early in 2019 on the first 211
affordable housing units at Brooklyn Basin.
The Master Housing Agreement (MHA) among the City, OHA, and MidPen will outline the
general terms for affordable housing development for the entire affordable housing project at
Brooklyn Basin, including land disposition and funding, and establish a proposed schedule for
development of the affordable housing in four project phases.
The Lease Disposition and Development Agreements (LDDAs) will set the terms for
conveying site control via long-term ground leases of Parcel F for a 101-unit family housing
project (Project 1) and a .110-unit senior housing project (Project 2) on Parcel F, the first parcel
to be developed. Parcel F will be ground leased to MidPen at a nominal rent in order to make
the projects economically feasible. The long-term ground lease structure complies with the
City’s policy for retaining long-term fee ownership of land parcels it owns. In this case, OHA will
be a 50% co-owner of the land as well. MidPen will develop and own the improvements (i.e., the
affordable housing developments), which the affordable housing development loans will be
secured against. The LDDAs will set forth the terms and conditions for the ground lease and
development of Parcel F, including various preconveyance conditions.
Now that the project is moving further along towards development, MidPen is requesting an
additional $2,067,000 in unsecured predevelopment loans for predevelopment expenses on
both Parcels A and F. (MidPen’s proposed predevelopment loan budget is attached as
Attachment A), In 2016, City Council approved a $360,000 predevelopment loan for partial
predevelopment expenses on Parcel F to get the project through design review approvals; this
would bring the total predevelopment loan award to $2,427,000. The additional funding will help
assist the Parcel F phases to get through the State Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC)
application process to obtain an allocation of low-income housing tax credits, and the Parcel A
phases to proceed through the design review approval stage. The total amount of
predevelopment loan funds exceeds the City’s typical predevelopment loan amounts (which are
limited currently to $35,000-$75,000, depending on location within the City). Staff has long
considered increasing the predevelopment loan limits, but to date has not had sufficient funding
Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 5

available to do so. In this instance, in which funding is set aside for development of the
affordable housing units at Brooklyn Basin, staff believes that it is appropriate to exceed the
usual predevelopment loan limits in order to cover permitting fees, architectural and engineering
fees, and legal costs.
MidPen has requested that the predevelopment loan term be for an initial 24 month period (with
a six month extension available as an administrative action) at three percent simple interest,
with interest and principal payments deferred to the end of the term. The predevelopment loan
would initially be unsecured, which is necessary in this case because MidPen does not as yet
own a fee simple or ground lease interest in the parcels. When the parcels are conveyed to
MidPen via ground lease and the development loans are closed, then the predevelopment loans
will be consolidated with the development loans and will be secured by MidPen’s interest in the
properties and project improvements.
As previously noted, the proposed predevelopment loan is substantially larger than what would
be allowed under the City’s over-the-counter program (which allows for a loan of $35,000 per
phase, or up to $75,000 per phase if the Project is located in the downtown area). In addition,
MidPen has requested a lower interest rate (three percent to align with the City’s development
loans, rather than the usual six percent for predevelopment loans), and a longer term (24
months instead of 18 months). However, given the breadth and complexity of the project, and
the fact that the funding is clearly dedicated to the project, staff is comfortable with
recommending these terms. On occasion, for large projects, the City has provided large
unsecured predevelopment loans.
Currently, MidPen is requesting secured affordable housing development loan funding in
the total amount of $17,670,000 to fund the first two development projects on Parcel F, which
will include 211 of the 465 affordable units. The development budget and proforma for the
Parcel F family project is included as Attachment B, and the development budget and proforma
for the Parcel F senior project is included as Attachment C to this staff report.
Funding for the senior affordable housing loan on Parcel F is proposed to be funded by:
• $4,000,000 in housing bond funds (which will also take out $793,000 of the unsecured
predevelopment loan funds)
• $5,500,000 value of the below market ground lease (not included in loan amount)
Funding for the family affordable housing loan on Parcel F is proposed to be funded by:
• $7,670,000 in housing bond funds (taking out $868,000 in unsecured predevelopment
loan funds)
• $5,000,000 in land sales proceeds from OHA’s purchase of a joint interest in Parcel F
• $1,000,000 affordable housing contribution from ZOHP
Between the $17,670,000 in loans from City sources, and the $5,500,000 estimated value of the
below market ground lease on the senior phase, total funding contributions from the City on the
Parcel F projects will be $23,170,000, or just under $110,000 per unit. This funding amount is
well in line with other City loans in the past, and should place the projects competitively for other
funding sources.
Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 6

Parcel A development loans and LDDAs for the remaining 254 units will be brought to City
Council at a later date for consideration and approval.
The terms of the DA and Cooperation Agreement, set out extensive requirements for the
affordable housing units in terms of depth of affordability, limits on senior units, and minimum
number family-sized units (two and three bedroom units). Although last year’s favorable DOF
decision provides substantial capital towards the development of the affordable units, this
estimated $35 million and land contribution costs of $21.5 million represents about 23 percent of
the projected total development costs for the project, which are estimated at $240 million for the
465 units. This gap is not unusual for affordable housing developments – the City’s policy is to
provide a maximum of 40 percent of total development costs, with developers expected to
leverage the rest of funding with a variety of sources, including tax credits, other state and
federal funding sources, and private loans to the extent that these are supported by cash flow.
OHA has an extensive history with this type of partnership with affordable housing developers
and/or the City, both in its HOPE VI revitalization efforts for its own public housing stock, and in
numerous stand alone projects throughout the City. OHA owns the land on such affordable
housing developments as the Savoy Hotel (formerly the Jefferson and Oaks Hotels), Prosperity
Place (11th and Jackson), and Ave Vista (Grand Avenue). In addition, the City and OHA have
worked together to secure Project-Based Section 8 rental vouchers in developments throughout
the City through the City’s competitive NOFA. OHA’s involvement as co-owner in the property
provides substantial benefits to the projects and to residents, including: development capital of
$10 million, on-going development subsidies via the vouchers, and on-going contributions to
project capital reserves and operating expenses for the affordable units over the long-term while
allowing the property to serve some households at even lower incomes than were originally
contemplated.
MidPen Qualifications
Although this is MidPen’s first development in Oakland, the organization has a 45 year history of
affordable housing development and property management, having developed or rehabilitated
over 100 properties with over 8,000 units in cities throughout the Bay Area. Their staff have
proceeded diligently with predevelopment activities on the affordable housing parcels, and is
working closely with Planning staff to complete their Final Development Plan (FDP) for Parcel F
this fall. As of the writing of this staff report, Planning staff expects to bring the FDP for Parcel F
to Design Review on September 28, 2017, and MidPen expects to apply for outside funding
sources (including state tax credits) in 2018. Should the tax credit applications be successful,
MidPen plans to start construction in late 2018 or early 2019.
The City is compelled to produce 465 affordable rental housing units at Brooklyn Basin per the
DA and the Cooperation Agreement at deep affordability levels. The partnerships with OHA and
MidPen, using the development funding allocated to the construction of the affordable housing,
are absolutely integral to bring these units to fruition. Therefore, especially given the Bay Area’s
deepening affordable housing crisis, no other options were considered.

Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 7

FISCAL IMPACT
Since the City and OHA were already planning to retain ownership of the affordable housing
parcels, with long-term ground leases for each project to MidPen and their affiliates, the
approval of the Master Housing Agreement and Lease Disposition and Development
Agreements will have minimal fiscal impacts.
The additional $2,067,000 predevelopment loan, as well as the $360,000 predevelopment loan
made last year, will be paid from RPTTF funds (2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside Bond, Fund
1885/9785, Projects 10000020, 1000390, and 1001237), and will be taken out by the
development loans for their respective projects ($793,000 for the senior housing development
on Parcel F, $868,000 for the family development on Parcel F, and $766,000 between the two
Parcel A phases).
The proposed $15,243,000 secured development loans for construction of the affordable
housing on Parcel F (total between the senior and family projects) will be funded as follows:


$1 million ZOHP affordable housing contribution – this represents half of the funds held
in escrow by First American Title Company through an escrow agreement with ZOHP
through the end of 2018
$5 million – half of OHA purchase price – sale scheduled to take place in late September
2017
$9,243,000 in swapped and remaining bond funds (coming in by FY18-19; as of the date
of this report, $10,559,627 of this funding is currently available)

After funding development on Parcel F, approximately $29,330,000 in local funding will remain
for development of the 254 units of affordable rental housing on Parcel A:
• $1 million contribution from ZOHP for the second parcel
• $5,000,000 from the other half of OHA’s purchase of a joint interest in Parcel A.
• Approximately $23,330,000 bond funding projected to come through FY 2021-22
The DOF drawdown schedule is attached as Attachment D. DOF’s May 19, 2016 decision
allows the City to use the remaining 2011 Bond funds, and allows the City to go back and re­
characterize previous commitments totaling $37.5 million made from the 2011 Bond fund for the
City’s purchase of the affordable housing parcels in 2014 ($21.5 million) and Mural Apartments
(MacArthur BART Transit Oriented Development affordable phase, $16 million) as RPTTF
expenditures, which frees up the 2011 Bond Funds for use for the vertical construction of
affordable units at Brooklyn Basin. Funding would be reimbursed over six to seven tax years as
it becomes available. However, under this arrangement, DOF does not consider the vertical
unit construction to be an enforceable obligation of ORSA, and will not cover City staff project
delivery costs (estimated to total $4-$5 million over the life of the five phases of the project
through 2023). Therefore, City staffing costs will need to be recovered from the 2011 Housing
Bond as well, leaving approximately $35 million for vertical construction.
Between the City’s purchase price for the affordable housing parcels of approximately
$21,500,000 and estimated development loans of $35,000,000, the City’s total funding
investment in all 465 units will be roughly $56,500,000 ($121,505 per unit). OHA will provide
Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 8

$10 million in development subsidies via its purchase of a 50% interest in the property, and
ZOHP is providing another $2 million towards the affordable housing. These sources are
expected to help leverage roughly $200 million in outside funding sources.
PUBLIC OUTREACH I INTEREST
The Coalition continues to be involved with this project since it is party to the 2006 Cooperation
Agreement with the City. The members of the Coalition are the Asian Pacific Environmental
Network, East Bay Asian Youth Center, Oakland Community Organizations, and the Urban
Strategies Council. City staff, the Coalition, OHA, and MidPen have been meeting frequently
since June 2015 to discuss the affordable housing program and financing plan and the Coalition
is an active participant in those discussions. The Coalition supports the involvement of OHA at
the current level of Section 8 units.
COORDINATION
Housing and Community Development staff coordinated with the City Attorney’s Office,
Controller’s Bureau, the City Administrator’s Office and MidPen Housing in preparation of this
report. Staff also remains in frequent contact with the Real Estate division, Bureau of Planning
and Building Department, and Public Works department’s Environmental Services Division.
SUSTAINABLE OPPORTUNITIES
Economic: The development of affordable housing at Brooklyn Basin will create economic
opportunities through the provision of construction and property management employment
opportunities. In addition, providing affordable housing, with a substantial portion of PBS8 units,
will allow residents have greater financial security. Residents of affordable housing tend to
spend their increased discretionary funds within their communities, which will also help local
businesses.
Environmental: Environmental remediation of the affordable housing parcels has been
completed and monitoring is occurring. Housing Staff will work with Public Works Environmental Services Division staff on remediation issues and monitoring, and with Planning
staff on NEPA review.
Social Equity: The development of affordable housing at Brooklyn Basin will create 465
affordable housing units for low and very low income residents, which is a means of achieving
greater social equity. Units will serve lower incomes (regulated at 25-60 percent of AMI, but
with vouchers that could allow residents in the 0-25 percent of AMI level as well). Affordable
units will serve seniors and families, with large (3 bedroom) units that would otherwise be
difficult to find in Oakland. Oakland’s neighborhood-level environment will be improved by
replacing vacant and underused lots with new homes and residents.

Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 9

CEQA
The City of Oakland Planning Commission certified the Oak to Ninth Avenue Project
Environmental Impact Report on March 15, 2006. Under the California Environmental Quality
Act (CEQA) Section 15162, no subsequent environmental review is required unless the project
has changed substantially, the circumstances under which the project would occur have
changed substantially, or new information demonstrates that any potential environmental
impacts would be substantially more severe than previously demonstrated. In reviewing the
preliminary affordable housing development and financing plan, staff has determined that none
of the circumstances necessitating further environmental review are present. The reasons for
this determination include, among others, the following: (1) the preliminary affordable housing
development and financing plan does not affect development envelope previously reviewed in
the EIR and is not a change in the project that involves any new significant effects or a
substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant effects; (2) circumstances
under which the project is undertaken have not occurred that will involve new significant
environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant
effects; and (3) no new information has come to light that would involve new or substantially
more severe effects or feasible alternatives or mitigation measures. Accordingly, no further
environmental review is required for this project at this time. The EIR identifies impacts and
requires mitigation measures, and the proposed project will continue to be required to
incorporate the mitigation measures. The EIR is available for review at 250 Frank Ogawa
Plaza, Suite 3315, Oakland, CA 94612 during normal business hours.

ACTION REQUESTED OF THE CITY COUNCIL
Staff Recommends That The City Council Adopt
An Ordinance (1) Authorizing A Master Housing Agreement With The Oakland Housing
Authority and MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, For Development of
Affordable Housing At Brooklyn Basin, (2) Authorizing Lease Disposition and
Development Agreements With MidPen Housing Corporation And The Oakland Housing
Authority, Or Affiliated Entities, For The Long-Term Ground Lease Of Parcel F At
Brooklyn Basin For The First Phases Of Development, And (3) Making CEQA Findings
For This Action; And
A Resolution (1) Authorizing An Unsecured Predevelopment Loan In The Amount Of
$2,067,000 To MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, To Support The
Development Of Affordable Housing On Parcels A And F At Brooklyn Basin, (2)
Authorizing A Secured Affordable Housing Development Loan In An Amount Not To
Exceed $15,243,000, To MidPen Housing Corporation, Or Affiliated Entities, To Support
The Development of Affordable Housing On Parcel F at Brooklyn Basin, And (3) Making
CEQA Findings For This Action,,

Item:
CED Committee
October 10 2017

Sabrina B. Landreth, City Administrator
Subject: Brooklyn Basin Affordable Housing Agreements
Date: September 14, 2017

Page 10

For questions regarding this report, please contact Christia Katz Mulvey, Housing Development
Coordinator, at (510) 238-3623.

Respectfully submitted,

March 2021
May 2021
July 2021
July 2021
January 2022
December 2022

5,7S0,000

APPROVED AS TO FO$M AND LEGALITY

ill? SEP 28 PH |:3I ‘ .
C_~-H3EPUTY CITY ATTORNEY

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
ORDINANCE NO.

C.M.S.

ORDINANCE (1) AUTHORIZING A MASTER HOUSING AGREEMENT WITH THE OAKLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY AND MIDPEN HOUSING CORPORATION, OR AFFILIATED ENTITIES, FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT BROOKLYN BASIN, (2) AUTHORIZING LEASE DISPOSITION AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS WITH
MIDPEN HOUSING CORPORATION AND THE OAKLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY, OR AFFILIATED ENTITIES, FOR THE LONG-TERM GROUND LEASE OF PARCEL F AT BROOKLYN BASIN FOR THE
FIRST PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT, AND (3) MAKING CEQA FINDINGS FOR THIS ACTION
WHEREAS, in 2014 and 2017, the City acquired Project Parcels A and F
(the “affordable housing parcels”) at the Brooklyn Basin development project (formerly
the Oak to 9th project) for the development of 465 units of affordable housing; and
WHEREAS, the obligation to purchase the affordable housing parcels for
development of affordable housing arises pursuant to a Development Agreement
between the City and Zarsion-OHP I, LLC (“ZOHP”), originally entered into in 2006 and
subsequently amended (the “Development Agreement”) and a Cooperation Agreement
between the City and the Oak to Ninth Community Benefits Coalition originally entered
into in 2006 and subsequently amended (the “Cooperation Agreement”); and
WHEREAS, the Development Agreement provides that the City and
ZOHP will work together to identify, recruit and select an affordable housing developer
to acquire the affordable housing parcels and develop affordable housing, and sets forth
a process for ZOHP to propose an affordable housing developer and for the City to
accept or reject the proposed developer; and
WHEREAS, the Housing Authority of the City of Oakland, California (“OHA”)
has purchased or will be purchasing an undivided 50 percent tenant-in-common interest in
the affordable housing parcels; and
WHEREAS, the City and OHA have selected MidPen Housing
Corporation (“MidPen”), a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, pursuant to the
developer selection process in the Development Agreement, to be the developer of
affordable housing at the affordable housing parcels; and

WHEREAS, MidPen is an experienced and capable affordable housing
developer; and
WHEREAS, on January 5, 2016, Council passed Resolution No. 85939
C.M.S. approving a financing plan for developing affordable housing at Brooklyn Basin;
and
WHEREAS, a Master Housing Agreement among the City, OHA and
MidPen, or affiliates, will set forth the general terms and conditions under which the
affordable housing parcels will be conveyed and the affordable housing will be financed
and developed on the parcels; and
WHEREAS, MidPen has proposed developing the affordable housing on the
affordable housing parcels in phases, with the first two project phases being developed on
Parcel F; and
WHEREAS, MidPen has proposed to develop 101 units of family housing
as part of Project 1 and 110 units of senior housing as part of Project 2 on Parcel F; and
WHEREAS, all units (other than manager units) will be affordable to
households earning no more than 60% of area median income; and
WHEREAS, Section 2.42.140, et seq., of the Oakland Municipal Code
authorizes the City to sell or lease real property for development by ordinance; and
WHEREAS, lease disposition and development agreements among the City,
OHA and MidPen will set forth the terms and conditions under which the City and OHA will
dispose of Parcel F to MidPen and/or affiliated entities by means of long-term ground
leases, and by which MidPen will construct Project 1 and Project 2 on Parcel F; and
WHEREAS, the conveyance of Parcel F to MidPen for development and
operation of affordable housing will further the health, safety, and general welfare of the
residents of the City of Oakland by increasing the stock of housing affordable to low
income households; and
WHEREAS, Section 2.42.180 of the Oakland Municipal Code authorizes
the City to dispose of property at its fair reuse value as assessed based on the
property’s proposed development and use, prevailing market conditions, development
climate at the time of disposition, and other economic and noneconomic factors, and
requires findings to justify any below-market disposition; and
WHEREAS, the assessment set forth in the staff report accompanying this
Ordinance concludes that, based on a financial feasibility analysis of the proposed project,
the fair reuse value of Parcel F is nominal; and

2

WHEREAS, given the economics of the proposed projects and the need to
make the projects work, the ground lease of Parcel F to MidPen at a nominal cost is
necessary; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Impact Report for the Oak to Ninth Mixed
Use Development Project prepared under the California Environmental Quality Act
(“CEQA”) and certified by the City Council in 2006 and recertified in 2009 (the “EIR”)
provides a project-level analysis of the environmental impacts of the Brooklyn Basin
development project and supports all levels of approval necessary to implement the
Brooklyn Basin project, including affordable housing development on the affordable
housing parcels; and
WHEREAS, the proposed transactions, including development of Project 1
and Project 2 on Parcel F, would not result in any significant effect that has not already
been analyzed in the EIR, and there will be no significant environmental effects caused by
the transactions that have not already been analyzed in the EIR; now, therefore
The Council of the City of Oakland does ordain as follows:
SECTION 1. The City Council hereby authorizes the City Administrator or
her designee to negotiate and execute a Master Housing Agreement with OHA and
MidPen, or affiliated entity or entities approved by the City Administrator, setting forth the
general terms and conditions under which the affordable housing parcels will be conveyed
and the affordable housing units will be financed and developed on the parcels.
SECTION 2. The City Council hereby authorizes the City Administrator or
her designee to negotiate and execute lease disposition and development agreements
with OHA and MidPen, or affiliated entity or entities approved by the City Administrator, for
the disposition of Parcel F to Mid-Pen or affiliate by long-term ground leases and the
development of Project 1 and Project 2 on Parcel F by MidPen or affiliate consistent with
the terms of this Ordinance and other agreements with respect to the affordable housing
parcels.
SECTION 3. The City Council hereby authorizes long-term ground leases of
the City’s interest in Parcel F at Brooklyn Basin to MidPen, or affiliated entity or entities
approved by the City Administrator, for nominal lease payments, in return for an
agreement by the developer to develop and operate Project 1 and Project 2 on Parcel F as
affordable housing. The City Council further authorizes the City Administrator or her
designate to negotiate and execute ground leases and any other agreements or
documents as necessary to convey leasehold interests in Parcel F to MidPen or affiliates,
as well as agreements or documents as necessary to transfer or assign funds or other
interests the City has with respect to Parcel F including remediation and monitoring funds,
escrowed funds, and environmental protections, upon the satisfaction of any
preconveyance conditions imposed by the City Administrator or her designee.

3

SECTION 4. As a condition of the conveyances, the City will require that
appropriate restrictions on occupancy, rents and operations for affordable units developed
as part of Project 1 and Project 2 be recorded against improvements developed on Parcel
F.
SECTION 5. The City Council, pursuant to Oakland Municipal Code
Section 2.42.170.B., hereby waives the competitive Notice of Development Opportunity
(“NODO”) process for disposition of Parcel F, and finds and determines that disposition
of Parcel F without a competitive NODO process is in the best interests of the City in
order to comply with the provisions of the Development Agreement concerning selection
of an affordable housing developer for the affordable housing parcels, and to facilitate
timely development of affordable housing on the affordable housing parcels by an
experienced and capable affordable housing developer.
SECTBQN 8. Based on the reuse value assessment set forth in the staff
report accompanying this Ordinance concluding that the fair reuse value of Parcel F is
nominal given its required use as affordable housing and the need to make Project 1 and
Project 2 financially feasible, Council hereby finds that the ground lease of Parcel F to
MidPen at nominal cost is necessary and in the best interests of the City. Because Parcel
F is being conveyed at less than fair rental value, all City employment and contracting
programs shall apply to Project 1 and Project 2.
SECTION 7. All agreements associated with the Parcel F and Project 1 and
Project 2 shall be reviewed and approved as to form and legality by the Office of the City
Attorney prior to execution by the City, and shall be placed on file with the City Clerk.
SECTION 8. The City Council finds and determines that the proposed
transactions would not result in any significant effect that has not already been analyzed in
the EIR, and there will be no significant environmental effects caused by the transactions
that have not already been analyzed in the EIR. The City Administrator or her designee is
hereby authorized to file a notice of determination with the Office of the Alameda County
Recorder and the State Office of Planning and Research, and to take any other action
necessary in furtherance of the project consistent with this Ordinance and its basic
purposes.
SECTION 9. The record before this Council relating to this Ordinance
includes, without limitation, the following:
A. All staff reports, decision letters and other documentation and information
produced by or on behalf of the City, and all notices relating to this
Ordinance and the LDDAs;
B. All oral and written evidence received by City staff and the City Council
before and during the consideration of this Ordinance;

4

C. All matters of common knowledge and all official enactments and acts of the
City, such as (1) the General Plan; (2) the Oakland Municipal Code,
including, without limitation, the Oakland real estate regulations; (3) the
Oakland Planning Code; (4) other applicable City policies and regulations;
and (5) all applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations.
SECTION 10. The custodians and locations of the documents or other
materials which constitute the record of proceedings upon which the City Council’s
decision is based are respectively: (a) the Office of Housing And Community
Development, 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 5th floor, Oakland CA; (b) Planning and
Neighborhood Preservation Department, Planning Division, 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza,
3rd floor, Oakland CA; and (c) the Office of the City Clerk, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 1st
floor, Oakland, CA.
SECTION 11. The recitals contained in this Ordinance are true and
correct and are an integral part of the Council’s decision.
SECTION 12. This Ordinance shall be in full force and effect immediately
upon its passage as provided by Section 216 of the City Charter if adopted by at least six
members of Council, or upon the seventh day after final adoption if adopted by fewer
votes.

IN COUNCIL, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

2017

PASSED BY THE FOLLOWING VOTE:
AYES-

BROOKS, CAMPBELL WASHINGTON, GALLO, GIBSON MCELHANEY,
GUILLEN, KALB, KAPLAN, AND PRESIDENT REID,

NOESABSENTABSTENTION-

ATTEST:

LATONDA SIMMONS
City Clerk and Clerk of the Council
of the City of Oakland, California

5

ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING A MASTER HOUSING AGREEMENT WITH THE OAKLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY AND MIDPEN HOUSING CORPORATION, OR AFFILIATED ENTITIES, FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT BROOKLYN BASIN, AND (2) AUTHORIZING LEASE DISPOSITION AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS WITH MIDPEN HOUSING CORPORATION AND THE OAKLAND HOUSING AUTHORITY, OR AFFILIATED ENTITIES, FOR THE LONG-TERM GROUND LEASE OF PARCEL F AT BROOKLYN BASIN FOR THE FIRST PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT, AND (3) MAKING CEQA FINDINGS FOR THIS ACTION NOTICE AND DIGEST

This Ordinance authorizes a Master Housing Agreement between the City, the Oakland Housing
Authority, and MidPen Housing Corporation for the disposition of the affordable housing parcels at
Brooklyn Basin and the financing and development of affordable housing on those parcels. This
Ordinance also authorizes the long-term ground leases of one of the affordable housing parcels,
Parcel F, to MidPen Housing Corporation at a nominal cost for development of affordable housing, on the site, and authorizes the City Administrator to negotiate and enter into lease disposition and development agreements and ground leases with MidPen Housing Corporation and the Oakland Housing Authority for this transaction, and makes associated findings with respect to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other matters.

6

III SEP 28 PH |: 32

Approved as to Fdrm/and Legality

TO

Deputy City Attorney

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
RESOLUTION NO.

C.M.S.

RESOLUTION (1) AUTHORIZING AN UNSECURED PREDEVELOPMENT
LOAN IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,067,000 TO MIDPEN HOUSING
CORPORATION, OR AFFILIATED ENTITIES, TO SUPPORT THE
DEVELOPMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON PARCELS A AND F AT
BROOKLYN BASIN, (2) AUTHORIZING A SECURED AFFORDABLE
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT LOAN IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED
$15,243,000, TO MIDPEN HOUSING CORPORATION, OR AFFILIATED
ENTITIES, TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFFORDABLE
HOUSING ON PARCEL F AT BROOKLYN BASIN, AND (3) MAKING CEQA
FINDINGS FOR THIS ACTION
WHEREAS, in 2014 and 2017, the City acquired Project Parcels A and F (the
“affordable housing parcels”) at the Brooklyn Basin development project (formerly the Oak
to 9th project) for the development of 465 units of affordable housing; and
WHEREAS, the obligation to purchase the affordable housing parcels for
development of affordable housing and to ensure development of at least 465 units of
affordable housing on the site arises pursuant to a Development Agreement between the
City and Zarsion-OHP I, LLC (“ZOHP”), originally entered into in 2006 and subsequently
amended (the “Development Agreement”) and a Cooperation Agreement between the City
and the Oak to Ninth Community Benefits Coalition originally entered into in 2006 and
subsequently amended (the “Cooperation Agreement”); and
WHEREAS, the Development Agreement provides that the City and ZOHP
will work together to identify, recruit and select an affordable housing developer to acquire
the affordable housing parcels and develop affordable housing, and sets forth a process
for ZOHP to propose an affordable housing developer and for the City to accept or reject
the proposed developer; and
WHEREAS, the Housing Authority of the City of Oakland, California (“OHA”)
has purchased or will be purchasing an undivided 50 percent tenant-in-common interest in

the affordable housing parcels from the City for $10 million, with these sale proceeds to the
City earmarked to the development of affordable housing on the affordable housing
parcels; and
WHEREAS, the City and OHA have selected MidPen Housing Corporation
(“MidPen”), a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, pursuant to the developer
selection process in the Development Agreement, to be the developer of affordable
housing at the affordable housing parcels; and
WHEREAS, MidPen is an experienced and capable affordable housing
developer; and
WHEREAS, MidPen has proposed to develop the required 465 affordable
housing units in four separate phases in order to maximize project viability and ability to
leverage outside funding sources; and
WHEREAS, the City and OHA have been working closely with MidPen and
the Community Benefits Coalition to develop and refine the affordable housing
development scenarios and financing plan; and
WHEREAS, on January 5, 2016, Council passed Resolution No. 85939
C.M.S. approving a financing plan for developing affordable housing at the affordable
housing parcels; and
WHEREAS, on July 19, 2016, the City Council approved City Council
Resolution No. 86301 C.M.S. authorizing a $360,000 unsecured predevelopment loan for
the project; and
WHEREAS, it will be beneficial to the affordable housing development at
Brooklyn Basin for the projects to receive additional predevelopment loan funds in the
amount of $2,067,000, for a total predevelopment loan amount not to exceed $2,427,000,
so that MidPen will have working capital to undertake predevelopment activities for the first
two planned phases of the project through design review; and
WHEREAS, sufficient funding is available to the City from the Oakland
Redevelopment Successor Agency from the 2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside Bond
Fund to provide the additional requested predevelopment loan; and
WHEREAS, MidPen does not currently hold an interest in the affordable
housing parcels, and it is therefore not possible to secure the predevelopment loans at this
time; and
WHEREAS, it is anticipated that the predevelopment loans will be
consolidated with the loans for development of the projects on the affordable housing
parcels when the development loans are closed; and

2

WHEREAS, the City anticipates receiving roughly $40 million in additional
housing bond proceeds over the next several years for affordable housing at Brooklyn
Basin, of which $35,000,000 will be available for development loans to the projects after
paying City staff and administrative costs; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the terms of the Development Agreement, ZOHP
must provide a $2 million affordable housing contribution to affordable housing
development costs ($1 million per affordable housing parcel), to be paid to the City once
building permits for the affordable housing are drawn on each parcel; and
WHEREAS, MidPen has proposed developing the first two project phases on
Parcel F, with 101 units of family housing as part of Project 1 and 110 units of senior
housing as part of Project 2, for a total of 211 affordable units developed on Parcel F; and
WHEREAS, lease disposition and development agreements among the City,
OHA and MidPen will set forth the terms and conditions under which the City and OHA will
dispose of Parcel F to MidPen and/or affiliated entities by means of long-term ground leases,
and by which MidPen will construct Project 1 and Project 2 on Parcel F; and
WHEREAS, all units (other than manager units) will be rented at rents
affordable to households earning no more than 60% of area median income; and
WHEREAS, the project is consistent with the City’s Project Development
Guidelines, and MidPen meets the City’s Threshold Developer Criteria; and
WHEREAS, the project will increase and improve the supply of low and very
low income housing available in the City of Oakland; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Impact Report for the Oak to Ninth Mixed Use
Development Project prepared under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and
certified by the City Council in 2006 and recertified in 2009 (the “EIR”) provides a project-level
analysis of the environmental impacts of the Brooklyn Basin development project and
supports all levels of approval necessary to implement the Brooklyn Basin project, including
affordable housing development on the affordable housing parcels; and
WHEREAS, the proposed transactions, including development of Project 1
and Project 2 on Parcel F, would not result in any significant effect that has not already
been analyzed in the EIR, and there will be no significant environmental effects caused by
the transactions that have not already been analyzed in the EIR; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED: That the City Council hereby authorizes the City Administrator
or her designee to provide an additional unsecured predevelopment loan in the amount of
$2,067,000 to MidPen Housing Corporation, or to an affiliated entity or entities approved by
the City Administrator or her designee, to support predevelopment work associated with
the development of 465 units of affordable housing on the Brooklyn Basin affordable
housing parcels, for a total unsecured predevelopment loan in an amount not to exceed

3

$2,427,000; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the funding for this additional predevelopment
loan shall be allocated from the 2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside Bond Fund (City Fund
1885, Org 89929, Project 10001237; ORSA Fund 9785, Org 89929, Projects 10000020,
1000390 and 1001237); 2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside Bond Fund and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the additional predevelopment loan shall be
contingent on the availability of sufficient funds in the 2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside
Bond Fund; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the predevelopment loan shall be for an initial
term of 24 months (with a six month extension available at the City Administrator’s
discretion), with an interest rate to be determined by the City Administrator in her
discretion, with the balance due at the end of the term, or on such other repayment terms
and schedule as the City Administrator or her designee determines are in the best interests
of the City and the project; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Administrator is authorized to
consolidate the predevelopment loans or any portion thereof with any development loans
for the project; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Council hereby further authorizes the
City Administrator or her designee to provide a development loan in an amount not to
exceed $15,243,000, for a total consolidated loan amount (predevelopment and
development loans) of up to $17,670,000, to MidPen Housing Corporation, or to an
affiliated entity or entities approved by the City Administrator or her designee, to be used
for development of 211 units of affordable housing as part of Project 1 and Project 2 on
Parcel F; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the funding for the development loan shall be
allocated from the following sources: $9,603,000 from 2011 Affordable Housing Set-Aside
Bond Fund (City Fund 1885, Org 89929, Project L439410; ORSA Fund 9785, Org 89929,
Projects 10000020, 1000390 and 1001237), and $6,000,000 in funding from OHA sales
proceeds and ZOHP developer contributions that will be deposited in the Low and
Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund (2830), Housing Development Organization
(88929), Housing Development Program Project (To Be Determined); and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the development loan shall be contingent on
the availability of sufficient funds in the Low and Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund
and other funds; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the development loan and/or the consolidated
loan shall be for a maximum term of 55 years, with an interest rate to be determined by the
City Administrator in her discretion, with repayment to the City from surplus cash flow from
the project and other available funds during the term of the loan, with the balance due at

4

the end of the term, or on such other repayment terms and schedule as the City
Administrator or her designee determines are in the best interests of the City and the
project; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That as a condition of the development loan and/or
consolidated loan, the City will require that appropriate restrictions on project occupancy,
rents and operations be recorded against project improvements on Parcel F; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the development loan and/or consolidated
loan shall be secured by a deed of trust on project improvements on Parcel F; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the development loan funds shall be reserved
for a period of no more than 24 months from the date of this Resolution and shall be
subject to reprogramming at the end of this period unless MidPen has secured
commitments for full project funding or provided other assurances of adequate project
funding that the City Administrator or her designee deems sufficient within her discretion,
within the reservation period; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the making of the predevelopment loan and
the development loan shall be contingent on and subject to such other appropriate terms
and conditions as the City Administrator or her designee may establish; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City hereby authorizes the City
Administrator or her designee in her discretion to subordinate the priority of any of the
City’s recorded interests in Parcel F to a lien or encumbrance of another private or
governmental entity providing financial assistance to the project, if the City Administrator or
her designee determines that (1) an economically feasible alternative method of financing
the project on substantially comparable terms and conditions but without subordination is
not reasonably available, (2) the City’s investment in the project in the event of default is
reasonably protected, and (3) subordination is in the best interests of the City; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Administrator is hereby authorized to
negotiate and execute loan documents for the predevelopment loan and the development
loan, administer the loans, extend or modify the repayment terms, and take whatever other
action is necessary with respect to the loans and the project consistent with this Resolution
and its basic purposes; and be it

5-

FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Council finds and determines that the
proposed funding transactions would not result in any significant effect that has not already
been analyzed in the EIR, and there will be no significant environmental effects caused by
the funding transactions that have not already been analyzed in the EIR.

IN COUNCIL, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA
PASSED BY THE FOLLOWING VOTE:
AYES – BROOKS, CAMPBELL WASHINGTON, GALLO, GIBSON MCELHANEY, GUILLEN, KALB, KAPLAN,
AND PRESIDENT REID
NOESABSENTABSTENTION ATTEST:

6

LaTonda Simmons
City Clerk and Clerk of the Council
of the City of Oakland, California

Oakland Sharing The Vision: Timeline of Recent Oakland City Administrators Since 1998

Oakland Sharing The Vision: Timeline of Recent Oakland City Administrators Since 1998

6/1998 – 6/2003 Robert Bobb 5 Years

2/2004 – 7/2008 Deborah Edgerly 4 Years, five months

7/2008 – 4/2011 Dan Lindheim 3 Years, 8 months

4/2011 – 7/2011 Lamont Ewell 0 Years, 3 months

7/2011 – 3/2014 Deanna Santana 3 Years, 8 months

3/2014 – 4/2014 Fred Blackwell 0 Years, 1 month

4/2014 – 1/2015 Henry Gardner 0 Years, 9 months

1/2015 – 6/2015 John Flores 0 Years, 5 months

6/2015 – 10/2017 Sabrina Landreth 3 Years, 4 months (current)

The avetrage tenture of an Oakland City Administrator is now up to 2.44 years – that’s an increase of 1.78 years, and due strickly to the fact that Ms. Sabrina Landreth has held her position for the last 3 years and four months.

The longest time an Oakland City Manager or City Administrator has been on the job is marked by Henry Gardner: Mr. Gardner was Oakland City Manager from 1981 to 1993, a total of 13 years. But that was before the change in the City Charger forced by the passage of Measure X in 1998. With the conversion to a “strong mayor” form of government, the City Manager title was dropped for “City Administrator” and that person served (and serves) at the pleasure of the Mayor.

By contrast, the City Manager had to be hired or fire with five Oakland City Council votes.

Still, we’re in election season, and while it’s still early, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is running for re-election, Ms. Landreth has to keep an eye out for the possiblity that Mayor Schaaf may not win in November of 2018. Will she stick around to see the November 2018 election outcome, or depart early?

Stay tuned.

Oakland Sharing The Vision Original Members List From 1992

Oakland Sharing The Vision (OSV) was an effort to bring 1,000 Oaklanders together to form goals and objectives that were to be a path to civic growth. What Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf calls the ‘secret sauce” of Oakland, what our city is, is in large degree reflected in the work of OSV.

The list of members was never put into a webpage form, only a pdf form – until now with my effort to revive OSV for the 21st Century. Here’s the full list of those people who made up the first meeting that created OSV. Some of them, like Richard Winnie, the Alameda County Counsel and friend and mentor to me, have passed on. Many others, like Annalee Allen, Mayor Harris, Ray Leon and Alton Jelks, Paul Cobb, Gay Pair Cobb, LaTonda Simmons, and Becky Taylor, and myself, are with us today.

Here is it, the Oakland Sharing The Vision Original Members List from 1992, complete with the groups they belonged to:

Oakland Sharing the Vision Members


Board of Directors

Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris
Dick Spees
Robert Toney
Annalee Allen
Lynette Lee

Expanded Economic Base
Task Force

Co-Chairs
Ces Butner
Claude Hutchison
Members
Zenophon Abraham
Jack Atkin
Seth Bailey
Arnold Bellow
Allison Bergamo
Jennie Bettles
Elissa Brown
Linda Bytof
Jacquee Castain
Bob Chew
Jeff Chew
John Christensen
Marlene Daniels
Michael Dean
Margot Dishner
Alan Dones
Bob Eagle
James Edgerly
Gary Fields
Robinson Foster
Dana Fox
Mark Friedman
Tracey Glenn
John Glover
Judith Goldsmith
David Grubbs
Kerry Hamill
Mac Hay
Connie Hosemann

Sharon Jackson
Dave Johnson
Michael Kinane
John Klein
Richard Knutson
Kathryn Kutz
Peter Lawrence
Mi Yeong Lee
Myrtise Lim-Wong
Mark Lindquist
Paul Loh
Dana Long
Helen Lore
Arnold Luft
David McDonald
George McLaughlin
Robery Middleton
Fred Morse
Lovell Mosely
Maureen Murray
John Nasstrom
Alfred Parham, Sr.
Donna Pate
Shelly Peterson
Mark Ross
Victor Rubin
John Russo
Anita Sevilla
Shyaam Shabaka
Gary Sirbu
Lee Snider
Adeline Sweeney
Melvin Tennant
Robert Toney
Paul Valva
Ernest Walker
Winifred Walsh
Vanessa Washington
Selwyn Whitehead
Barbara Winn
Richard Winnie
Alex Wong
Ellen Wyrick Parkinson
Ruth Yanover

Neighborhood
Revitalization Task Force

Co-Chairs
Don Kinkead
James Sweeney III
Members
Jerry Adams
Ginney Allen
Deneen Allmond
Dan Altemus
Carl Anderson
Jack Atkin
Dianne Bartleson
Arnetta Belgar
Jean Blackshear
Susan Boyle
Clyde Brewster
Sue Brewster
Cynthia Griffin Brown
Chris Buckley
Sharon Burleigh
Karen Calloway
Carlotta Campbell
Nona Campbell
Marina Carlson
Jacquee Castain
Robert Chastain
Sharon Chezan
Pamela Clark
Willie Collins
Eric Cone
Ron Cornman
Leilani Cotton
Mary Crawford
Shaerry Crawford
Kit Curtiss
Don Davenport
Edith Davis
Celilia Duncan
Bennie Easley
Kennecia Easley
Kathie English

Dorothy Erb
Na’ama Firestone
Creighton Fong
Larry Forte
George Gianopoulos
Judith Goldsmith
Susan Haight
Joanne Hausler
Vanessa Hawkins
Heather Hensley
Al Hernandez
Richard Higginbotham
Sheila Hill-Fajors
Bishop Holmes
Charles Hudson, Jr.
Greg Hyson
Alice Jackson-Taylor
Alvin James
Ned Jaros
Michael Johnson
Vivian Kahn
Michael Kinane
Cayren King
John Klein
Bea Knowles
Tina Konvalinka
Roy Krausen
Lynette Lee
Chan U Lee
Brooke Levin
Charles Lewis
Bill Lowe
Ron Morra
Fred Morse
John Mortensen
Elizabeth Morton
Phillip Moss
Lois Nembhard
Barbara Neustadler
Monsa Nitoto
Maureen O’Neill
James Owens
Sally Phillips
Gary Pound
Christine Ralls
Hans Reuvekamp
Gwin Richards
Eunice Robinson

Justin Rosenthal
Gail Rusin
Dan Rust
Roy Schweyer
James Servais
Natasha Shebeko
Liz Silverman
Fannie Smith
Joanna Smith
Marguerite Smith
Jane Spangler
Lisa Spearman
Mary Strauss
Doreen Strongs
Earl Stucky, Jr.
Adeline Sweeney
Carlon Tanner
Larry Taylor
Queen Thurston
John Wagers
Kathy Walsh
Louise Ware
Maureen Webb
Lenore Weiss
Dorothy Williams
Hallie Williams
James Williams
Ellen Wyrick Parkinson
Ann G. Yee
Willie Yee
Kristina Younger
Gerry Zager


Safe, Healthy, Drug-Free
City Task Force:

Co-Chairs
Ophelia Long
Sherry Hirota
Members
Anita Addison
Lisa Allen
Judy Armstrong
Jack Atkin
Jim Barber
Jean Blacksher
Gretchen Blais

Kathleen Boehm
Odessa Bolton
Lisa Brill
Charles Brown
Elissa Brown
Maurice Brown
Warner Brown
Mark Cabrera
Abelbert Campbell
Cass Caufield
Regina Chavarin
Paul Cobb
Patrick Connell
Sgt. Bob Crawford
Tony Crear
Georgia Davenport
Rafael Delgadillo
Len Duhl
Robert Eisenman
Barbara Evan
Walter Filkowski
Dorothy Graham
Louis Hal
Sara Hamlen
Jim Haye
Horace Hobbs
Dorothy Hurlburt
Henry Hurlburt
Wendy Jameson
Ned Jaros
Warner Jenkins
Gary Johnson
Gracie Johnson
David Kears
Charles King
Ken Kingsbury
Norman Knight
Chuck Lacy
Denise Lai
Bruce Marcus
Daphne Markham
Michael McCree
Ronnie McFarland
Lilia Moreno
John Nasstrom
Robert Nichelini
Mike Nisperos, Jr.
John Norton

Ana O’Connor
King O’Neal
Tony Papp
Ken Parker
Fred Peoples
Denis Pina
Walter Preston
Phebia Richardson
Rick Ricketts
Jerry Rose
John Russo
Isaac Slaughter
Freddie Smith
Harvey Smith
Martha Smyser
Calvester Stanley
Muriel Sterling
Don Sutton
Carol Tolbert
John Viera
Marty Wagner
Sheryl Walker
Jennae Wallach
Harriet Walsh
David Wells
Molly Wetzel
Robert Whitaker
Edward Willis

Education and Lifelong
Learning Task Force

Co-Chairs
Richard Winnie
Gay Plair Cobb
Members
Joseph Adwere-Boamal
Lynn Baraco
Jennie Bettles
Charles Boije
Manuel Cabello
Barbara Cannon
Wilma Chan
Terry Coffino
Toni Cook
Lynn Dodd
Bill Doge

Suzanne DuBois
Susan Duncan
Robert Galizen
Barbara Gee
Carolyn Getridge
Deborah Gilmore
Martin Gomez
Jacqueline Goodman
Willie Hamilton
Fannie Mae Haughton
Henry Izumizaki
Bruce Jacob
Alton Jelks
Angela Johnson
Percy Julian
Kathy Katano-Lee
William Kramer
Barbara Lee
Susan Lo
Robert Long
Lois MacGillivray
Avon Manning
Sadie Marrow
Frank Martino
Bella Medera
Karen Meroble
Mae Monroe
Tomye Neal-Madison
Beverly Neeley
Robert Nicolai
Henry Nunn
Genita Paceley
Lise Perlman
Jeanette Phillips
Diane Raulston
Don Smith
Robert Scannell
Robert Toney
Marie De Porres Taylor
Pearlean Taylor
Queen Thurston
John Turpin
Evelyn Westly
Herbye White
Lee White
Allie Whitehurst-Gordon
Bob Williams
Cleve Williams

Calvin Womble
Gerri Wollfork
Ellen Wyrick Parkinson
Alan Young

Building Coalitions Task
Force

Co-Chairs
Jose Arredondo
Richard Cowan
Members
Jack Atkin
Dianne Bartleson
Darlene Bednerik
Jennie Bettles
Arthur Boone
Carolynne Boone
Yolanda Butler
Terry Coffino
Barbara Davis
Faith Dubois
Bob Eagle
Faith Fauntleroy
Sally Gallegos
Patricia Glover
Arthur Goldman
Susan Haight
Al Hernandez
Linda Huber
Alton Jelks
Kathy Katano-Lee
Laura King
Suzie Lee
Robert Long
Bill Lowe
Daphne Markham
Jackie McCort
Diane Moffett
John Nasstrom
Theresa Navarro
Tina Neil
Mike Nisperos, Jr.
Marlene Oehler
Odessa Pegus
Perviz Randeria
John Randle

Carole Reed
Eunice Robinson
Justin Rosenthal
Cynthia Ross
Victor Rubin
Mary Strauss
Sala Udin

Cultural Affairs Task Force
Members

Cathy Adams
Marcia Carter
Judith Duenas
Davud Glover
Shyrl Hayman
Patty Hirota
Janette MacKinlay
Ignacia Peri
Charles Schmuck
John Sutter
K.M. Tan
Jeffrey Tauber
Jill Vialet
Mary Lou Weggenmann
Sonja Williams


Grants Committee

Karen Bilbrey
Marcia Carter
Shryl Hayman
Arlene Kimata
Carolyn Lau
Mlinzi Majigiza
Charles Schmuck

Public Art Committee
Lorna Dare
Violet Fields
Beatrice Hablig
Susanna Hirshen
Leonard Hunter
Chris Johnson
Nancy Selvin
Judge John Sutter
Jose Vilar
Calvin Womble

Marketing Committee
Carol Beadle
Judith Blair
Robert Brown
Pat Donohue
Judith Duenas
Diana Freeland
Stan Hebert
Kathy Irving
Janette Mackinlay
Dave Mendelsohn
Millie Mitchell
Harold Power
Suzanne Talmy
Carole Ward Allen
Mary Lou Weggenman
Rhonda White-Warner
Sonja Williams

Traditional Arts
Committee

Cathy Adams
Theresa Bonner-Payne
Claude Clark
Stephen Gong
Patty Hirota
Donna Reid
Lynn Rogers
Judge Jeffrey Tauber

Work/Live Committee
Jim Blyer
Candice Carson
Thomas Dolan
Candi Farlice
Michael Floss
Frederick Hertz
Dolores Jaquez
Alton Jelks
Gary Knecht
Jim Kushera
Arthur Monroe
Miguel Nelson

Leon Paulos
Ignacio Peri
Michael Reynolds
Jim Riehart
Charles Schmuck
Jeffrey Smith
Scott Staupe
Reynaldo Terrazas

Technical Advisors
Walter Abernathy
Antonio Acosta
Sue Aiken
Annalee Allen
Mark Allen
Carl Anthony
Jose Arredondo
Frank Arthur
Jack Atkin
Tony Atkisson
Rahim Aurang
Ralph Baker
Rick Baker
Belen Balaba
Steve Banker
Jerry Barnes
Tom Bates
John Baumann
Ben Bear
Cleveland Bellow
Ward Belding
Charles Benson
Fran Bitterman
Jean Blacksher
Angela Blackwell
Gretchen Blais
Ed Blakely
Dolores Blanchard
Charles Boggan Jr.
Anne Bonie-Wilson
Carolyn Bovat
John Bowers
James Branch
Gary Breaux
Paul Brekke-Meisner
Mike Bridges
Lisa Brill

Janet Broughton
Elissa Brown
Julia Brown
Maurice Brown
Charles Brown
Charles Bryant
Chris Buckley
Ces Butner
Mark Cabrera
Deane Calhoun
Jim Carter
Pat Cashman
Susan Chamberlin
Wilma Chan
Jeff Chew
Floretta Chisom
John Christensen
Ed Church
Gay Plair Cobb
Ada Cole
Deane Calhoun
Willie Collins
Lee Collins-Rink
Denise Conley
Toni Cook
Fran Cooper
Michael Corbett
Link Corkery
Betita Coty
Bud Covert
Lawrence Crouchett
Mary Curran
Ted Dang
Marie De Porres Taylor
Rafael Delgadillo
Margot Dishner
Carolyn Douthat
Richard Dowling
Alan Dreyfuss
Suzanne DuBois
Leo Dubose
Susan Duncan Bob Eagle
Peter Ekstein
Zenobia Embry-Nimmer
Kathy Ferber
Steve Ferguson
Gary Fields
Ceda Floyd

Lynn Fonfa
Charles Foster
Robinson Foster
Burchelle Fox
Aileen Frankel
Frank Fuller
Bernardo Garcia
Joel Garcia
Jane Garcia
Henry Gardner
Bill Garvine
Carolyn Getridge
David Glover
Patricia Glover
John Glover
Judith Goldsmith
Martin Gomez
Dorothy Graham
Barbara Gregory
Louis Hal
Kerry Hamill
Sara Hamlen
Alice Hammers
George Hart
Margaret Hauben
Fannie Mae Haughton
Les Hausrath
Linda Hausrath
Jim Haye
Chappelle Hayes
Stana Hearne
Richard Heasley
Mary Ann Hedderson
Bill Hein
Khati Hendry
Lisbeth Henning
Barbara Henry
Heather Hensley
Al Hernandez
Antoinette Hewlett
Sheila Hill-Fajors
David Hoard
Horace Hobbs
Sandra Holliday
Rick Holliday
Pearl Howell
Henry Hurlburt
Dorothy Hurlburt

Kathleen Hurley
Greg Hyson
Bradley Inman
Adrian Isabelle
Jim Ishimaru
Henry Izumizaki
Martin Jack
James Jackson, Jr.
Alvin James
Wendy Jameson
Ned Jaros
Alton Jelks
Warner Jenkins
Gary Johnson
Gracie Johnson
Ken Jones
Vincent Jones
Vivian Kahn
David Kears
Jim Keddy
Bruce Kern
Harland Kessel
Ron Kilcoyne
Joan Kiley
Laura King
Charles King
Ken Kingsbury
Travis Kinsley
Gary Knecht
Norman Knight
Craig Kocian
Katrina Koh
Brooks Kolb
Tina Konvalinka
Roy Krausen
Cynthia Knoll
Dana Kueffner
Jim La Mentia
Chuck Lacy
Lambert Lee
Edwin Lee
Lynette Lee
Mary Lee Widener
Barbara Lee
Mi Yeong Lee
Richard Legates
Lori Lenrow
Jeff Levine

Ariu Levy
Charles Lewis
Diane Lewis
John Licht
Mark Lindquist
Robert Long
Helen Lore
Mark Lovette
Mary Lu Ellis
Donlyn Lyndon
Carl Lynn
Estelle Mannis
Bruce Marcus
Daphne Markham
Judith Briggs Marsh
Thomas Martinsen
Jan Masaoka
Frank Matarrese
Martin Matarrese
Gwen McCormick
Michael McCree
Ronnie McFarland
Paul Merrick
John Merrit
Pete Mesa
Cathleen Michaels
Barry Miller
Carol Mintz
Robert Mires
Monsa Nitoto
Cheryl Mitchell-Wade
Lisa Moreno
Bea Morris
John Mortensen
Larry Mortimer
Rosemary Muller
Margo Murray
Jay Musante
John Nasstrom
Booker Neal
Robert Nichelini
Mike Nisperos, Jr.
Wade Nobles
Henry Nunn
Shanna O’Hare
Maureen O’Neill
Linda Okahara
LaRRY Orman

Bob Orser
Richard Pantages
Chris Patillo
Fred Peoples
Mike Pickering
Denis Pina
Gary Pound
Helaine Prentice
Fred Presily
Mike Pyatock
Marsha Ramsey
Barbara Ramsey
Ezra Rapport
Renee Resendez
Vince Reyes
John Reynolds
Jim Rinehart
Barney Rivera
Charles Roberts
Terry Roberts
Janet Rolando
Peggy Roth
John Russo
Ken Ryan
Bob Sakai
Frances Sam-Soqsa
Mtangulizi Sanyika
Janet Sapenter
Robert Scannell
Susan Schacher
Naomi Schiff
Roy Schweyer
Anita Sevilla
Jean Shields
Allen Shinn
Dan Siegel
Patricia Simmons
Isaac Slaughter
Harold Smith
Michael Smith
Cecilia Smock
Randy Snowden
Connie Soper
Nika St. Claire
Barbara Staggers
Ken Stanley
Muriel Sterling
David Stern

Julie Strauss
Lynn Suter
John Sutter
Don Sutton
Steve Szalay
Sandra Taylor
Donald Terner
Minnie Thomas
Mildred Thompson
Revan Tranter
James Vann
John Viera
Phyllis Waller
Bill Walsh
Zack Wasser
David Wendel
Frances Werner
Evelyn Wesley
Larry Westland
Molly Wetzel
Bonnie Wheatley
Robery Whitaker
Herbye White
Selwyn Whitehead
Allie Whitehurst-Gordon
Cleveland Williams
Jayne Williams
Curt Wingler
Richard Winnie

Oakland City Attorney Resolution Asks Federal Government To Reclassify Medical Cannabis

Oakland City Attorney Resolution Asks Federal Government To Reclassify Medical Cannabis

On November 17th, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker’s staff will introduce a resolution to the Oakland City Council that, if passed, will ask the Federal Government to reclassify Medical Cannabis from its current status as a “Schedule 1 controlled substance.”

The Oakland City Attorney argues that because of this designation, “the federal government considers marijuana as dangerous a heroin with no medical use and high potency for abuse” and that threats of criminal arrest and prosecution leave those in need of the medicine unable to obtain it lawfully.

According to the Oakland City Council Agenda for November 17th, the item is called “Subject: Declaration Of Medical Cannabis Health Emergency From: Office Of The City Attorney Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Renewing The City Council’s Declaration Of A Local Public Health Emergency With Respect To Safe, Affordable Access To Medical Cannabis In The City Of Oakland” and is Agenda File #17-0197.

The meeting starts at 5:30 PM at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. via IFTTT

Fred Blackwell

In Oakland City Government Management 2017, Black Men, Once Common, Are Rare

Fred Blackwell
Fred Blackwell

John B. Williams, Lionel Wilson, Carter Gillmore, Marcus Foster, George Williams, Henry Gardner, Avon Manning, Elihu Harris, Robert Bobb, Gregory Hunter, Cedric Williams, Clint Bolden, Austin Penny, Ray Leon, Fred Blackwell, Kofi Bonner, and Ron Dellums, Larry Reid, and Lamont Ewell are some of the top names in a long list of distinguished black men who have served executive management positions in the City of Oakland since 1968.

Elihu Harris
Elihu Harris

If you know Oakland at all you know many of the names: John B. Williams was the City of Oakland’s legendary boss of its redevelopment agency, and going back to 1968. Lionel Wilson was Oakland’s first black mayor in 1979. Carter Gillmore was the first African American elected to the Oakland City Council in 1977. Marcus Foster was the first black Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, who was killed by the Symbonese Liberation Army in 1973. Henry Gardner was Oakland’s first black City Manager. Avon Manning was Assistant City Manager under Gardner. The legendary Ron Dellums became Oakland’s 48th Mayor in 2007. Robert Bobb was Oakland City Manager and then Oakland’s first City Administrator in 2000. Larry Reid is the current Oakland City Coucilman for District

Larry Reid
Larry Reid

Seven and was Mayor Harris’ Chief of Staff. And Gregory Hunter, Cedric Williams, Clint Bolden, Austin Penny, (now San Francisco Foundation CEO) Fred Blackwell, (now Lennar Urban Director) Kofi Bonner, and Lamont Ewell all held positions as City Manager, Assitant City Adminstrator, or head of Oakland’s economic development and redevelopment departments.

What these gentleman represented was what became something of a tradition in Oakland: an expectation of seeing a black man run something. That’s not to say there wasn’t a great list of black women then, but there are many African American women in high positions in Oakland today – however the ranks of black men in City of Oakland management positions have lessened to such a degree that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf did not have one black male in any position in her office for most of her time as Mayor, and that includes the City Administrator’s Office.

As one who served as Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris’ Economic Advisor from 1995 to 1999, and then as the founder and Executive Director of The Oakland-Alameda County Sports Commission from 1999 to 2001, I’m proud to say I’ve known the majority of the men I’ve listed, and many others. For example, Mr. Bonner and I have a relationship that goes back to September 15th 1985, when I met him in the computer room of The University of California at Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning, where we were both students. Part of the Berkeley Mafia.

But something has happened, and that it has became obvious to me when I was at Mayor Schaaf’s thank you event earlier this year. I made a livestream of the gathering, which is up at Zennie62 on YouTube as I write this. It was a fantastic time, but one moment just completely shocked me: when Mayor Schaaf asked her staff of what was by my count 29 people to come up for a photo, there was not a single black man. Black women, yes; black men, no.

That was jarring to me.

It was particularly bothersome because prior to what I will call “The NFL issue”, Mayor Schaaf and I had been close – after she was elected Mayor, she referred to me as her “brother” and so I returned the act, and called her my godsiter, and it went on from there.

This all started because we’ve known each other for about 30 years, and both shared a love for the Oakland community. In May of 2009, I was the one who told Libby she should run for Mayor, and I said it in front of her parents, my godparents, and my Mom, at their place. Libby ran for District Four Oakland City Council, and won in 2010, even as I wrote that she was going to run for Mayor of Oakland as an April Fools story that many took seriously.

But, in 2013, things changed: Bryan Parker, a black Oakland busness man new to politics, asked me to support his run for Mayor. I held off to ask Libby if she was going to run; she said no. But I was completely blindsided by the news she changed her mind – and it did not come from her. Libby never asked me to join her team – just expected that I would automatically dump Bryan and back her. But that’s not something one does in politics. Rank Choice Voting saved me – I could pick Parker 1, Schaaf 2, and Joe Tuman 3. But I was, and still am, hurt about that. The one who pushed her to run for Mayor and laid the publicity groundwork – the one who has a deep history in Oakland government – was left on the outside of her campaign, even as a black man in Bryan Parker asked for my help. That really dd hurt.

Then came the NFL: Schaaf rotinely learned on me for advice – some she took early on (like working to develop a relationship with Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis) but most she did not take (the stadium plan Mark Davis asked for from me, landing Pier Jaffrey Investment Bankers for the stadium project, letting the NFL purchase the Coliseum land, forming an incentive package and a plan to have the A’s go to Howard Terminal, and so on). But what was occasional at first became for all practical purposes a job for me. So, when I changed my mind and sought to be brought on as a consultant, and after Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis asked me to form a plan for Coliseum City – and after I cold-called Piper Jaffrey Investment Bankers and introduced a spreadsheet financial plan the firm blessed that called for no tax subsidy. Even with all of that, Libby never hired me – just maintained what I called the brother code.

We lost our preliminary bid to keep the Raiders, and for reasons that, had I been placed in an official position to fix, would not have existed. That because I have a relationship with the National Football League which goes back to 1995, and the return of the Raiders to Oakland from LA. After my work from 1999 to 2001 to have Oakland bid for the 2005 Super Bowl (we lost to Jacksonville), I wound up covering the NFL Draft from 2005 to present year.

Anyway, on March 26th 2017, by a vote of 31 to 1, we lost. A lot happened that weekend leading up to that day that involved the Mayor and I will not go into. But after that, I started to put things together, and look around at my City of Oakland – and that’s when the problem I wanted to ignore became impossible not to pay attention to: black men in non-elected executive positions were all but impossible to find in Oakland’s City Hall.

Now, you can say my reasons for being so interested in this issue now are self-serving, and you would be correct. But look: the whole point of being gainfully employed, being able to be well-compensated for being good at what you do, is self-serving. It would have been great to see other black men in many different high-level positons in Oakland, thus meaning it really was just my lack of whatever, but that is not the case. Oakland has gotten rid of black male managers under Mayor Schaaf.

That this is happening under Libby, and that I am compelled to point it out, makes me sick to my stomach. But someone has to shed a light on this problem. One media publication I will not named pointed to the “sisterhood” but I contend deliberately failed to note the lack of black men. Moreover, that publication has had a history of attacking black male government executives in Oakland. So, when I read that article, it seemed to me that the publication was engaging in a kind of dog-whistle racism, celebrating that black men were nowhere to be seen, without saying so.

This has to be considered a crisis of perception based on race and sex. A combination of some kind of weird hatred for competent black men, combined with what seems to be a white guilt over the race issue. Even though Oakland’s had and has a great history of powerful black women in many executive positions in Oakland, to see the ranks today and the media coverage, you’d think Oakland had never seen sisters before. Perish the thought.

Clearly, we collectively took a wrong turn over the last few years. If Mayor Schaaf was committed to ending the problem of perception, she would have hired me to represent her on the NFL issue, rather than just repeatedly calling me her brother and saying I have her ear. When you believe someone is truly competent at something, you pay for their services, and not seek free advice and work from them.

Something is wrong in Oakland. It’s not the way we used to be. That said, the new City of Oakland Planning Director William Gilchrist, an African American man, is a step in the right direction. It’s not that the ranks have to be as they were when Oakland was a majority black city, but the drop in black men has been so dramatic that people have talked about it – I decided to write about it.

Stay tuned, because I’m not done trying to figure out what happened to Oakland.

Oakland Cannabis Flag by Mickey Martin Consulting

City Of Oakland Allowing Unlicensed Commercial Cannabis Cultivation – Undrae Brooks

Oakland Cannabis Flag by Mickey Martin Consulting
Oakland Cannabis Flag by Mickey Martin Consulting

On a recent trip to the City of Oakland’s Business Licensing Office I was told that there are no licensed or permitted commercial cannabis cultivation operations in the City of Oakland. I was told that the City was perfecting their regulations and would be issuing applications for permits shortly.

This was interesting because I am personally aware of several locations where large scale commercial cannabis cultivation operations are currently in business in the City of Oakland. Out of curiosity I inquired about one such address. I was told that there is no current business license at that address and that the last licensed operation was in 2013 when the property was a bakery. I then inquired about the operators of the business and was informed that they have no business license in the City of Oakland.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that one faction of the City government is aware and complacent with these operators of the unlicensed and unpermitted businesses. Documents produced in response to Public Record Requests show that, at least since 2015, Gregory Minor, Assistant to the City Administrator, has been in contact and supported these unlicensed businesses.

In March 2016, Minor was asked by Councilmember Brooks to provide a list of cannabis businesses that had taken out business licenses and were voluntarily paying business taxes, a list he did provide. In June of 2016, Minor exchanged several e-mails with the operators and toured the previously referred to unlicensed, unpermitted cultivation facility. Minor cannot claim that he did not know the facility was unlicensed because he had prepared the list for Brooks shortly before the tour. There are also documents that suggest that Minor was discouraging inspectors from checking these illegal operations.

On February 19, 2016, Minor wrote an e-mail which states “all non-retail cannabis businesses are completely below ground, yet we are proposing to going a step further than SF by bring all cannabis business into compliance with not just building and fire codes, but permitting requirements…”. Now well over a year has passed and nothing has changed. These illegal businesses continue to operate with Mr. Minor’s compliance and aid. How can a City official allow these “below ground” businesses to exist?

Oakland’s City government has stated that they intend to allow new cannabis businesses in a manner to encourage diversity and allow Oakland residents a place in this industry. Allowing the existence of these large illegal business owned and operated by predominantly wealthy people who live outside of Oakland calls the City government’s stated goals into question.
In a City that has recently suffered more than its share of tragedies from fires and scandals, can we continue to allow these uninspected, untaxed, illegal businesses to continue with inadequate fire protection, no environmental compliance, no permits virtually no regulation?

James Vann

Oakland Architect James Vann Wonders If A’s Out To Destroy Oakland With Ballpark Proposal At Laney College?

James Vann
James Vann

Happened to find this letter written by long-time Oakland architect James Vann and on the Oakland A’s proposal to build a ballpark at Laney College.

I diagree with his take, but it’s an important addition to the overall conversation and debate on the Oakland A’s proposal to build a ballpark at Laney College:

Are the “A’s” Out to Destroy Oakland?

While the Oakland community strongly supports the Oakland A’s and urges the team to remain in Oakland, the team’s response has been to “kick dirt” in the City’s face. The team’s leadership has repeatedly lied to the community.

The secretive decision recently revealed threatens the existence of Chinatown and the low-income Eastlake residential neighborhoods; will cause abandonment of highly popular Laney Community College and its working-class body of students; will overtax the only two local streets that serve the area; will destroy the wildlife and ecology of Lake Merritt and the Channel to the Bay, and will turn the communities surrounding Peralta and Laney over to speculators, land-grabbers, and gentrifying boutique and luxury developments.

On September 12, with great fanfare and a splashy video, the Oakland A’s announced their decision to abandon the Oakland Coliseum and to construct a new baseball stadium at the 13-acre Peralta Administration parcel. The timing of the announcement was both a surprise and a denouncement of pledges repeatedly made to residents, stakeholders, and interest groups.

The selected location also adjourns the Lake Merritt Channel and will threaten the life-line of Laney Community College.

The A’s announcement culminated a series of lies to City leaders and residents. A’s president Dave Kaval repeatedly assured the city that the organization would engage in extended “listening tours” to hear opinions from all areas of the city before a decision on sites would be made.

At an A’s-hosted “listening tour” on August 30 at La Estrellita Restaurant in the Eastlake district, Kaval stated that the A’s were still in the information-gathering stage and a decision on location was months away.

To the contrary, just the day before on August 29, Kaval delivered a 4-page letter to Peralta trustees and Chancellor Jowel Laguerre announcing that the A’s had selected the Peralta site and requested the opening of negotiations. This misrepresentation was followed on Sept 12 with release of Kaval’s public announcement and video.

Councilmember Abel Guillén – whose district includes the selected location — published that District 2 constituents were about 75% opposed to an A’s stadium at the small Peralta Administration Offices parcel, with a similar majority favoring the A’s remaining or rebuilding in the present Coliseum area, and with a slight majority leaning toward the Howard Terminal site on the Bay near Jack London Square. Similar results are routinely expressed throughout the city.

The off-repeated “month’s-away-to-decision” declarations were belied by the splashy A’s video immediately released Sept 12 together with the premature announcement. Persons featured in the video are developers; out-of-area business owners; commercial associations promoting new stores and restaurants (as though no displacement is necessary to make room for the envisioned new establishments); construction unions promoting “jobs, jobs, jobs” (as though the number of jobs is the same irrespective of location); and certain city policymakers (who immediately renounced their statements probably recorded weeks before). No area residents are featured and the councilmember’s retractions testify that the video announcing the selection of Peralta was made weeks if not months before the actual announcement. At the same time as the A’s selection was announced, the public was still being mislead that the decision was “months away,” and that the community hearing process will continue.

Lies, lies, lies !

Selection by the A’s of the Peralta site lacks logical justification. Superimposing the A’s own “bare-bones” stadium option on the site reveals that the parcel can barely contain a 35,000 seat stadium and bleachers, with little to no remaining area for offices, accessory buildings, service vehicles and storage, off-street parking, or gathering space. A more desired A’s rendering depicting a circular stadium surrounded by bleachers has absolutely no chance of fitting on the small parcel. It is unbelievable that the A’s would not be aware of the unexpandable limitations of the Peralta site.

In addition to the Peralta site being too small, it is inconceivable that the ecological and environmental impacts highlighted by The Audubon Society and The Measure DD Community Coalition on birds, fish, wildlife, and humans can ever be mitigated.

Also unstoppable once approvals for the stadium are obtained will be real estate vultures that will swoop into Chinatown and the Eastlake buying up low-rise buildings, single-family homes, and ethnic businesses to be replaced by high-rise luxury hotels and condominiums. Displacement of the areas’ 22,000 present residents will be total. In Oakland’s current out-of-control housing market, once an existing resident is displaced from their housing, only 2 choices are available: get-out-of-Oakland, or, join the growing thousands of homeless who populate the streets and sidewalks of neighborhoods throughout the city.

It is difficult to blightly ignore the natural fit and ‘rightness’ of the Coliseum area for the A’s new mega-stadium. Even if the A’s want no part of the present joint-use Coliseum, practically unlimited and unencumbered land exists there to choose from. BART already serves the area with a generous station, pedestrian overpass, and bus-transit cener; the rail connector to Oakland Airport is convenient and accessible; generous unoccupied city land is present to accommodate any desired parking configurations; all needed utilities exist in the vicinity; no housing or commercial establishments exist to be impacted; little if any environmental challenges to mitigate; no residents to be displaced; and land galore throughout the area that literally “begs” for compatible housing, commercial, technological, industrial, and office developments for various futures and visions.

The vast Coliseum area is ripe for immediate development. Thoughtful planning could assure an equitable “win”-“win” solution for the Oakland A’s team and organization as well as for the greater East Oakland community and for the whole of the City of Oakland.

StAy the Right Way !

James E Vann AIA is an Oakland Architect and a Cofounder of Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt (CALM)

Stay tuned.

Will California’s New Housing Laws Really Help Oakland’s Affordablity Problem?

On September 29th, California Governor Jerry Brown put pen to the paper of what he called “15 good bills” designed to respond to the state’s affordable housing crisis. But will they really help Oakland’s affordability problem? They are as follows according to the press release from the Governor’s Office:

SB 2 (Atkins), the Building Homes and Jobs Act, establishes a permanent funding source for affordable housing through a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents. The fee is capped at $225 per transaction and exempts real estate sales. The fees would generate roughly $250 million a year, which would be split among state and local housing programs.

“We know what solves homelessness: homes,” said Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). “SB 2 will provide an ongoing infusion of funding that communities all over California need to build affordable housing, so they can help bring people off the streets and into safe homes with supportive services. It will also help provide housing for seniors on low, fixed incomes and struggling families. California’s housing crisis is causing pervasive instability for individuals, families and communities. It will take continued hard work to solve the crisis, but our comprehensive, multifaceted package of housing bills is a good start toward restoring stability. I thank my colleagues who have contributed their great ideas, and I thank Governor Brown and our legislative leadership for making housing a top priority in 2017.”

SB 3 (Beall) authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for affordable housing programs and a veteran’s home ownership program. SB 3 must be approved by voters next November.

“Senate Bill 3 gives California the opportunity to build $15 billion in much-needed affordable housing for working families, seniors, vets, and the homeless,” said Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose). “Together, SB 3 and the housing bills signed today represent a historic step to expand a limited housing supply and counterbalance the skyrocketing market that threatens our future and economy. More Californians will be able to live in the community where they work and spend less time on congested roads.”

SB 35 (Wiener) streamlines the approval process for infill developments in local communities that have failed to meet their regional housing needs.

“California just took a huge step forward to address our housing crisis – a crisis that is tearing our communities apart, undermining our environment and economy, and making it harder for families to succeed,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). “No one should be living on our streets, be forced into three or four hour commutes, or have to leave their community as their family grows because they just can’t afford housing. These bills to streamline housing creation and fund new affordable housing construction won’t solve California’s entire housing problem – that will take years of hard work given how deep this crisis is – but today we are establishing a strong foundation for future housing efforts.”

SB 166 (Skinner) ensures that cities maintain an ongoing supply of housing construction sites for residents of various income levels.

SB 167 (Skinner) increases the standard of proof required for a local government to justify a denial of low- and moderate-income housing development projects. (SB 167 is identical to AB 678.)

“Our housing permit process should not be a shell game,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “My bills, SB 166 and 167, tackle the ‘Not in My Backyard’ obstacles that too often keep needed housing from being built.”

SB 540 (Roth) streamlines the environmental review process for certain local affordable housing projects.

“Access to housing is a basic human need,” said Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside). “That’s why I am proud to have authored SB 540, which will incentivize and streamline housing construction to meet our state’s dire housing shortage. California is home to one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, with many folks unable to afford to rent or own a home. SB 540 is a commonsense measure that will remove the barriers to housing construction in the areas most in need, helping ensure this crisis does not continue to grow and families do not continue to struggle”

AB 72 (Santiago/Chiu) strengthens the state’s ability to enforce laws that require local governments to achieve housing goals.

“Housing should not be for the privileged few who can afford a place to live,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “Housing should be a right ensuring that any person who tries hard, works hard, and plays by the rules has the ability to sleep with a roof over their head. I’m thrilled that the Governor agrees with my legislative colleagues and I on this issue and I thank him for his leadership during California’s current housing emergency.”

AB 73 (Chiu) gives local governments incentives to create housing on infill sites near public transportation.

“California is a large and diverse state, but one thing we all share is that we’re living through the worst housing crisis in our state’s history,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “With this historic package of bills, we begin to take on the affordable housing crisis that threatens our state’s economic prosperity, deepens inequality, and increases homelessness. My deep thanks goes to Speaker Anthony Rendon for making housing a top priority, and to my Assembly and Senate colleagues for their tireless partnership. I also appreciate the engaged leadership of Governor Brown and his incredible team. Our work is not done, but we’re making a down payment for our children’s future, for people struggling to pay the rent or the mortgage or even to have a roof at all, and for our teachers, firefighters and other workers who can’t afford a home in the cities they serve.”

AB 571 (E. Garcia) makes it easier to develop farmworker housing by easing qualifications for the Farmworker Housing Tax Credit.

“I truly want to commend Governor Brown, Speaker Rendon and Chairman Chiu for leading the charge to address our state’s severe housing crisis,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella). “I was proud to support this comprehensive package of bills, anchored around SB 2 and SB 3, which established a funding mechanism for these critical measures, and play my part advocating on behalf of rural Californian communities, like those in my district that have been historically underserved. AB 571 eases eligibility requirements for a state tax credit for developers to build migrant housing. Farmworker labor fuels our economies, yet these areas lack the necessary investments to spur growth and prosperity. These modifications to the Farmworker Housing Assistance Tax Credit Program, along with other programs established within this historic bill package, will help ensure the essential right to safe, affordable housing for more of our hard working families and veterans across California.”

AB 678 (Bocanegra) increases the standard of proof required for a local government to justify its denial of low- to moderate-income housing development projects. (AB 678 is identical to SB 167.)

“California is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis caused by a severe lack of inventory and new housing construction,” said Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima). “I’m proud to have worked with many of my colleagues in the Legislature as well as with Governor Brown to help create more housing and make owning or renting in California more affordable by providing greater certainty during the project approval process at the local level.”

AB 879 (Grayson) authorizes a study of local fees charged to new residential developments that will also include a proposal to substantially reduce such fees.

“This has been a long time coming, and after a decade of falling behind 100,000 housing units a year we finally exercised the fortitude to move California forward,” said Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord). “Though this package is not a fix all – it contains the first steps in the right direction. I want to thank leadership and the Governor for their work and vision on this issue.”

AB 1397 (Low) makes changes to the definition of land suitable for residential development to increase the number of sites where new multifamily housing can be built.

“No one should be denied a place to call home,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell). “This housing package will help make our Golden State shine bright again.”

AB 1505 (Bloom/Bradford/Chiu/Gloria) authorizes cities and counties to adopt an inclusionary ordinance for residential rental units in order to create affordable housing.

“The skyrocketing cost of housing is forcing millions of Californians to make stressful financial decisions every month just to keep the eviction notice off their front door,” said Assemblymember Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica). “Our housing problem is real and devastating to families, seniors, and young adults in communities throughout this state. Today’s signing of AB 1505 ensures that real affordable housing is built so our teachers, grocery clerks, car mechanics, and retired seniors – those who we interact with every day and who make up the fabric of our communities – can also afford to live in our communities.”

“People shouldn’t have to the leave the state in order to find affordable housing or achieve the American dream of home ownership,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena.)

“Skyrocketing housing costs have squeezed California’s working and middle class for too long,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego). “I am proud to join the Governor and my fellow legislators to pass a historic package of bills that makes specific and tangible progress to give some relief to those struggling to pay their rents and mortgages. We have more work to do on housing affordability and I look forward to building on this year’s achievements in the months ahead. Our goal must remain a roof over the head of every Californian at a price they can afford.”

AB 1515 (Daly) allows housing projects to be afforded the protections of the Housing Accountability Act if the project is consistent with local planning rules despite local opposition.

“The Housing Accountability Act fosters and respects responsible local control by providing certainty to all stakeholders in the local approval process, and preventing NIMBYism from pressuring local officials into rejecting or downsizing compliant housing projects,” said Assemblymember Tom F. Daly (D-Anaheim). “AB 1515 strengthens the provisions of the HAA and provides courts with clear standards for interpreting the HAA in favor of building housing.”

AB 1521 (Bloom/Chiu) gives experienced housing organizations a first right of refusal to purchase affordable housing developments in order to keep the units affordable.

For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

“These new laws will help cut red tape and encourage more and affordable housing, including shelter for the growing number of homeless in California,” said Governor Brown.

No one should have to work three full-time jobs just to provide a home for their family,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leïn. “This bipartisan package by the legislature marks an historic step towards our goal of ensuring that every Californian has a place to call home.”

But in Oakland’s case, will the bills work? Prior to 2012, Oakland benefited from the use of California Redevelopment Law, and what became a robust affordable housing funding effort that saw $111 million Oakland had for use in 2011.

But then, the same Governor Brown who now is trying to alter the climate to cause more affordable housing to be made, took away the industry’s best tool in 2011. That was the year Brown had completed a full-attack on the California Redevelopment Law System, and with the idea that doing away with the CRL would save the state $1 billion. What it did was take away a giant engine of funding for affordable housing, especially for Oakland.

Prior to Brown’s action, and the California Supreme Court’s ratification of it, CRL was such that 20 percent of redevelopment tax increment revenue was set aside for use in the development of affordable housing. By 2011, Oakland had an affordable housing fund that was at $111 million; now, the Oakland City Council has bragged about having just over $50 million for the same purposed – under half what was there, when more is needed.

The question is will this new set of laws really solve Oakland’s and California’s affordable housing problem? Stay tuned for more on this.

Christina Villarreal

How Oakland-Based Tech Overachievers Can Find Happiness

I work closely with young influencers in the tech community of San Francisco, their struggles are as unique as their accomplishments. Many identify them as “overachievers”.

From completing their own annual ‘Year in Review’ life progress report (yes that really is a thing) to calculating their financial growth trajectory against the top 1% of earners, they are quick to succeed at what they set out to do. Most are well under 35, have founded and successfully run and/or profitably sold a company, and are already making more money than their parents. Nothing to frown at, right? Yet if this describes you, you’re probably thinking ‘meh, so has almost everyone else I know.’ It’s no easy feat to be impressive in the Bay Area.

Overachievers are known for their willingness to tackle new challenges, push themselves beyond their comfort zone in order to get ahead of their peers, and are highly effective at solving problems. Yet high achieving people also tend to privately wonder “Am I the only one who has a hard time relaxing and enjoying myself? Why can’t I stop worrying about falling behind in life?” Overachievers invest much of their time investigating what ‘the right’ choices are, and can struggle with making definitive decisions out of fear of making ‘the wrong’ choice.

Committing to a specific career direction, choosing a spouse, or deciding which city to settle down in can all be paralyzing decisions for overachievers. The painstaking (not to mention endless) deliberation of an overachiever can lead to chronic feelings of dissatisfaction, loss of authentic purpose, and ultimately, a barrier to enjoying the outcomes they’ve worked so hard to attain.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is especially effective at exposing and disrupting ineffective thinking styles that can paralyze people’s decision making and lead to feelings of chronic anxiety, emptiness and discontent

CBT-based strategies overachievers can use to find happiness and authentic purpose:

Redefine Happiness. Consider how often you think “I’ll be so happy when…or “I can’t wait until…” Stop placing a conditional clause on happiness, it prevents you from valuing your current circumstances as worthy of genuine satisfaction. Ironically, this thinking style begins as way to sustain motivation and increase tolerance for challenging periods in life. “I’ll be so happy when I finish this damn Ph.D.” (guilty as charged) There’s nothing wrong with expecting to feel great once something difficult is over or a life milestone has been met.

The Stumbling Block: When this ‘imagined future’ gets placed so far up on a pedestal that it diminishes your current circumstances, and prevents you from investing in present-day opportunities for satisfaction and joy.

The Faulty Logic: “If I let myself be happy with where I am right now, I’ll lose motivation to work hard, and I’ll stop striving for that next level of achievement.” FALSE. Work ethic is not driven by avoiding happiness. You aren’t doing yourself a favor by adopting an attitude of ‘my current life isn’t good enough, and I shouldn’t indulge in pleasure, lest I become complacent’. Nor does any particular achievement guarantee happiness.

The Solution: Keep your happiness barometer focused on the here and now. Allow yourself to experience real pleasure and contentment today, it will be the positive fuel that will restore and strengthen you for all your future endeavors. What if you aren’t sure what makes you genuinely happy? Instead of measuring every person, activity or experience as an opportunity to advance your station in life, start by asking yourself “Was that fun?”
“If you’re happy, that’s probably the most important thing. Everyone probably has their own definition of success, for me it’s happiness. Do I enjoy what I’m doing? Do I enjoy the people I’m with? Do I enjoy my life?” Michael Dell, Entrepreneur and Founder of Dell

Redefine Failure. Consider how often you label a situation or outcome in your life a ‘failure’. Many overachievers are quick to discount and devalue something that didn’t go exactly according to plan. Part of how people successfully achieve goals is by creating highly specific plans with measurable outcomes. However, overachievers are prone to self-punitive rumination when things don’t turn out precisely as planned, which leads to pervasive feelings self-doubt and inadequacy.

The Stumbling Block: Choosing to view something as a ‘failure’ blinds you to the value it can contribute to your life. Tying your sense of worth to quantifiable ‘wins’ and ‘failures’ robs you of the chance to be a whole person, whose contributions and very existence is valuable beyond achievement.

The Faulty Logic: “If something didn’t turn out how I wanted, it should be considered a fail. I wasted valuable time and now I’m behind with my life plan. This failure tarnishes me, and now I’m not as valuable as other people because of it.”

The Solution: Practice finding (and believing) in silver linings. In every outcome and life experience there is opportunity to learn and grow in profitable ways. Finding out what problem solving strategies and solutions don’t work and why, developing newfound courage, building emotional strength, practicing patience, gaining insights about how people and groups think and behave, increasing your ability to offer encouragement and compassion, uncovering resilience, experiencing autonomy and teamwork in new circumstances, the list is endless! The point is, the most successful, well-rounded people derive their critical personal development from all sorts of experiences and are better for it. Do not short-change yourself by writing off even your worst outcomes as worthless. Moreover, the value of your life cannot be quantified by successful achievement alone.

Success does not Guarantee Love. This is a big one. Huge actually. Many overachievers learned early in their life they are more likely to receive praise for their successes, which feels good- especially when it comes from influential people like parents or primary caregivers. Alice Miller wrote about this over 30 years ago in the classic The Drama of the Gifted Child.

Being singled out for winning can make us feel special and desirable, increasing our awareness of social status. Criticism for not achieving can feel rejecting and painful and can lower our sense of self-worth. Over time, overachievers learn to associate social approval, love, admiration, inclusion, and even intimacy as being dependent on one’s success.

It’s not that seeking social connections through common interests, values or achievements is misguided. But relying on social status to serve as the most critical criteria for building friendships or finding a romantic partner can result in relationships that never feel good enough or genuinely fulfilling.

The Stumbling Block: When we use our own version of ‘social status’ (prestigious academic or career achievements, artistic talent, wealth, power, socially recognized intellectual or physical superiority) as the primary focus for building our social circle or selecting a romantic partner, we can lose sight of the most important factors that make relationships feel good and lead to lasting love, happiness and intimacy. We run the risk of developing relationships that feel inauthentic and insecure.

The Faulty Logic: “My own relative success has led me win approval and special treatment from others. I’ve also learned to avoid painful criticism and negative judgment by demonstrating superior abilities compared to others. If I don’t choose someone whom matches or bolsters my success, I won’t feel genuinely good about myself or them. I can’t really love someone who doesn’t measure up to my expectations for success.”

The Solution: Building opportunities for growth through relationships is a healthy, if not critical part of one’s personal development. However, overachievers can place a high degree of pressure on themselves to select their social circle strategically, or risk failure in life. Many will point out quotes from high achieving leaders that suggest all social opportunities should be leveraged to boost one’s personal success. Business philosopher Jim Rohn “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with” or Michael Dell, Founder of Dell “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room.”

While this advice has merit, it can be misleading if taken out of context. It’s understandable to admire and be drawn towards people who show potential to uplift and improve us, but friendship and romance can’t survive without tenets like mutual enjoyment of each other’s company, respect, genuine affection and good will for one another, reciprocal generosity, and willingness to compromise in order to overcome challenges or disagreements.

Further, overachievers can sometimes fail to recognize or appreciate opportunities to learn from people whose personality strengths and achievements contrast with their own.

Overachievers tend to want to find a spouse who ‘has it all’ which often ends up sounding like an ‘idealized and improved’ version of themselves. Instead, consider what personality styles are complimentary to your own. Keep in mind people can be ‘Type A’ at work, but ‘Type B’ in social and romantic relationships, or vice versa. Who you work well with at the office or studio may or may not be who you are best suited for romantically. People are often happier in relationships that provide an opportunity to balance each other in a way that is mutually beneficial. So allow some flexibility in how you define ‘smart and successful’, you are increasing your chances for developing healthy, happy and lasting friendships and romantic partnership.

Finding Direction and Purpose Through Self-Acceptance. One of the biggest challenges for young overachievers is narrowing down what direction to take their career ambitions. One theme I have heard repeatedly among high achieving millennials in my practice is “I don’t want to just be really successful at something, I want whatever I do to have meaningful social impact. It’s important for me to be a part of something that leads to positive change in the world.” What brings them into my office is that in spite of graduating with prestigious accolades or achieved early success in the tech/business sector, they struggle with feeling they are ‘doing the right thing with their life’. It’s not uncommon for overachievers to experience a surge of perfectionistic career-related FOMO that can be paralyzing and lead to anxiety and depression.

The Stumbling Block: The challenge for overachievers is that they excel in so many arenas that they have less cause for ruling out career choices. They can often feel pulled in many different directions at once, and experience heightened pressure to always “know what they’re doing, and have a plan”.

Further, many high achievers are so conditioned to rank jobs based on external markers of success that they have a difficult time identifying and valuing their own personal enjoyment as a reason for making choices. The added pressure to “make a positive difference in the world” creates a feeling of constant unease and intimidation.

“These are kids who will perform to the specifications you define, and they will do that without particularly thinking about why they’re doing it. They just know that they will jump the next hoop. The fact that we’ve created a system where kids are constantly busy, and have no time for solitude or reflection, is going to take its toll.” William Deresiewicz, who penned the controversial essay “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” which reads like a self-help manual for ambitious yet internally adrift overachievers struggling to figure out how to navigate life.

The Faulty Logic: “I constantly feel like I don’t have enough concrete evidence to feel like I’m making the right major decisions, but I can’t afford to waste time doing things that aren’t part of a successful future. If I don’t know exactly what I’m doing with my life all the time, I’m failing.”

The Solution: First accept that NO ONE can know with certainty they’re making ‘the right or best choices’ for their own future. Even people we believe turned out to be highly successful, happy and impressively socially responsible can’t look back and know they couldn’t have done things differently for ‘even better’ results.

The point is, let yourself live your life and appreciate a wide range of experiences, including the lulls and pitfalls. Personal intuition and wisdom grow from a life full of twists and turns. Learn to trust your own gut feelings, they are the ultimate decision-making tools for making choices, and you can’t hone these tools without testing them out of different experiences. Feeling purposeful is entirely personal.

You can gather all sorts of facts, create decision-making diagrams and consider data taken from public opinion. Sooner or later there will come a time when you cannot and will not know with any degree of certainty that something is going to pan out well.

What you CAN do is trust your future self to have the strength, courage and wisdom to handle the outcome if the day comes when you need to change course. You’ll use the resources you have available, which will be invaluable wisdom gained from the experience, self-care strategies (you’ve hopefully been practicing along the way) and trusted social support. That’s all any of us can really do!

Dr. Christina Villarreal is a mental health expert, coach, consultant, educator and entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay Area at www.drchristinavillarreal.com

In 2017 Oakland Engaging In Analysis Paralysis After 2016 Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire

Oakland Warehouse Fire Photo Courtesy of CBS News

In the wake of the tragic Oakland Ghost Ship Fire that took 36 lives on December 2, 2016, The City of Oakland has still not taken any meaningful action to make sure that such an event does not occur again, save for one policy change: allowing Oakland Police Officers to tell the City about unpermitted events.

This effort is also part of a survey that’s under way and established by an inner-City-of-Oakland group called the Special Event Permit Redesign Task Force. Don’t worry if you’ve not been informed about it as an Oakland resident; only City of Oakland staffers sit on it, and that’s a bad idea.

The Special Event Permit Redesign Task Force includes “Greg Minor and Nancy Marcus in the City’s Administrator’s Office, Kelley Kahn in the Mayor’s Office, Jim MacIlvaine in the Cultural Affairs Office, Sgt. Andy McNeil in the Oakland Police Department, Assistant Fire Marshall Cesar Avila in the Oakland Fire Department, Tim Low in Building Services and Aubrey Rose in the Planning Department, (and) has identified several barriers that discourage compliance, as well as strategies to combat these obstacles.”

But on the survey page the task force does not explain what those “several barriers that discourage compliance, as well as strategies to combat these obstacles” are.

The problem is what we in planning used to call “Analysis Paralysis” – or “the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.”

For example, the survey has been in existence for several months now, and no release of information from it has happened. Moreover, the survey itself lacks a way to determine the location of any venue that may be the focus of the response. There’s a reason for this, if wrongheaded.

Greg Minor, in The City’s Administrator’s Office, said in an email to me that..

“The special event permit redesign survey did not include a question regarding the specific venue(s) associated with the survey respondents in order to protect the anonymity of the survey respondents, many of whom have expressed concern about either being displaced from their place of residence/assembly or having the venue shut down. In turn, this anonymity should maximize the amount of information the City receives from those currently holding unpermitted events.

In terms of the task force composition, it only includes staff members but has and will benefit from the expertise of those involved in the entertainment community. For example, the task force conducted a listening session with a focus group of event holders earlier this year, met with the sf entertainment commission director, is currently reaching out to the public via the survey, and will circle back with the entertainment community as it moves forward with implementing the suggestions put forth by the public.”

Given that today is now September 23rd, 2017, and that email was just sent to me on September 14th, and the Warehouse Fire happened on December 2nd, there has been plenty of time to do that, and to take more meaningful action.

Like what?

If I were to put on my economic development hat, I would call a real estate broker who specializes in warehouse development and go around the City with that person, making an inventory of warehouses – used and not used. I got this idea from a project I worked on as an intern in the Oakland Office of Economic Development.

In 1987, it was my job to find a way to relocate pipes owned by East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD). My boss, Oakland Assistant City Manager Ezra Rapport, did not give me a road-map to use – he expected me, the Berkeley City Planning grad, to come up with the method myself. So I did.

I found a site, and went about the task of relocating the pipes, stopped only by EBMUB, who’s property manager had no idea Ezra put me up to the task.

But if I can do that, then, 30 years later, what the hell is going on with the City of Oakland that it does not have staff members who take effective action?

Rather than just posting a survey online, the task force should be expanded to include Oakland event producers like my friend Lionel Bea, and actually make a list of places that events have been held or could be held, and determine what’s right and wrong with them via a combination of site visits, phone calls, emails, and information provided by organizations that have held (for example) art gallery tours.

Then, when problems are found, create solutions, and where that has to be done, draft a resolution for the Oakland City Council, and then get to work selling the plan to the City Council – then once all of the kinks in the plan are worked out (and limit that work to a month’s time), put it up for vote.

That could have been done by now. It can be done by now. It should be done by now.

Oakland has policy wonked itself to a point of inaction. The Special Event Permit Redesign Task Force has to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and get to work.

Stay tuned.