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Rank hypocrisy on the Left

The always reasonable Chip Johnson gave us a long-overdue update on the Oak-to-Ninth lawsuit. He pointed out that the anti-029 crowd (which includes the Oakland Heritage Alliance, The League of Women Voters, and the Green Party) fought disclosing information about the drive, the identities of the petition gatherers (who are required to live in Oakland), or the signatures themselves (which may mean that they do not have enough valid signatures). Johnson rightly points out that the whiners who didn’t think there was enough “transparency” in the O29 process are fighting efforts to reveal whether they followed even basic petition-drive law. What he does not challenge, though, is Stuart Flashman’s assertion that the developers negotiate with “the community.” Of course, the developers already did: the concessions for affordable housing and green space led to the density that the anti-29 groups, none of which are based in Eastlake, oppose.

Amie Fishman, the young director of East Bay Housing Organizations, stunned me when she welcomed inflated home prices in order to pay for her price-regulated condo lottery (IZ). Yesterday, she said the opposite when discussing condo conversions, talking about the need for inexpensive but market-rate rentals. Even worse, she and her cohorts repeatedly raised the spectre of rich San Franciscans moving here to take advantage of cheap condo conversions. Condo converters say that the vast majority of buyers are local, thought not necessarily Oakland, renters, preserving liquidity in the marketplace. Fishman said “we need to ensure that we are providing housing for Oaklanders.” Beyond the xenophobia of that statement (what’s wrong with Alamedans?), Ms. Fishman herself is a recent transplant to Oakland. Where’d she come from? You guessed it – San Francisco.

Unfortunately, hypocritical “housing” activists are giving the Blue Ribbon Commission an earful, confusing everyone with their misplaced statistics (poor people can’t afford the median home!) and wild accusations (gentrification is ruining the OUSD!). The BRC is gearing up to make final decisions in early June, at two weekend retreats. They don’t want the public to come, so let’s all go! They need to hear from more regular people. The commission is completely split on IZ, and are not going to come up with a compromise to pass with a supermajority. Given the stark analysis prepared for the city, it’s possible they’ll even reject the regressive and dangerous program. If they do not, landowners should ask for property tax reassessments based on regulatory hits to their values, which are delineated in the city report on IZ. Let’s see what the Council thinks of that.

Posted in breakingnews, citycouncil, housing, iz, oakland, ousd.