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Anti-Growth Zealots Lie in Petition Drive

In a news conference last Friday, a group of anti-growth activists (along with the League of Women Voters, who apparently think that voters should decide every single thing) launched a petition drive to referend the Oak-to-Ninth development, stalling it until the next election. Unfortunately for the free flow of information and discussion, they resort to lies to gather the necessary signatures (which they will doubtfully do, anyhow). For example:

The flyer claims that the development is destroying parkland. The project area is not parkland, it is a decommissioned break-bulk shipping container yard. The development will provide the funds necessary to create two dozen acres of parkland. Without the development, the land will continue to be an inaccessible toxic dump.

The opponents say that there will be 2000 students and no school. With the entire development expecting to comprise about 5000 souls, the idea that almost half of them will be school-aged is laughable (and would they all be the same age?). It is unlikely that there will be more than 200 students, far from enough to justify the construction of a school. Also, any school facilities built would take away from the public parkland.

Opponents of the development claim that it was rushed through without public participation. They know that is a lie, since they’ve been publicly fighting it for at least three years. There was a public hearing process when the Port Commission chose between the two developers (Shorenstein lost out), there was a lengthy public input process as Signature extensively modified the development (among other major changes, it has more high-rises now, because the locals asked for more parkland than originally planned), and then the project had a public hearing before the Planning Commission, and then an appeal before the City Council (which was a packed meeting lasting many hours). The idea that the development was rushed or done “behind closed doors” is a flat-out lie.

The opponents of the project claim that they want a better project, but if you look at their (truthful) criticisms of the project, it’s clear that they don’t want anything. They say that nothing should be built near a freeway (there are many residential projects downtown near freeways, by the way, and nobody’s complained yet), that there will be too much traffic, and that there’s not enough public access. Without the project, there is of course no public access. Basically, the opponents are concerned about traffic in the area, and no good use of the land will avoid increasing car trips to and from the land.

So, if you’re happy with a toxic dump that doesn’t generate tax revenue and cuts the city off from the water, then sign the petition. If you look forward to waterfront access, new parkland, new homes and shopping, and increased city tax revenue, then ignore their lies and their petition.

Posted in california, housing, o29, oakland.


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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Oak to Ninth: The whole story | A Better Oakland linked to this post on September 27, 2007

    [...] and they blatantly ignored them. (And this doesn’t even address the fact that the petitioners lied like O’Reilly to get people to [...]

  2. Recent news roundup « FutureOakland linked to this post on November 9, 2007

    [...] countersuit. Two CEQA lawsuits are pending. To find out why they blew their referendum attempt, see my post from last year. In Berkeley, residents frightened of “elektro-smog” from cell phone antennas wrote overblown [...]

  3. Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee lawyer says that lying is a "basic political right" | A Better Oakland linked to this post on November 13, 2007

    [...] had no map. dto510 documented at the time that the petition drive’s flyer contained several false and misleading statements, and personally relayed to me lies that signature gatherers told him. Perhaps he would be kind [...]

  4. It’s time for O-2-9 « FutureOakland linked to this post on January 16, 2009

    [...] Signature are committed to establishing new transit service once the area is developed. This blog documented these falsehoods during the referendum campaign, and using the same arguments City Attorney John Russo successfully [...]