By DAVID DEBOLT | firstname.lastname@example.org |
PUBLISHED: January 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm | UPDATED: January 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm
OAKLAND — Anti-coal activists stood in support of the city of Oakland on Monday, holding an afternoon protest outside the offices of developer Phil Tagami, who filed a lawsuit last month seeking to overturn the City Council’s vote to ban coal transports in the city.
Members of No Coal in Oakland and labor and faith leaders began the rally at 1 p.m. outside the Rotunda Building, Tagami’s headquarters. The protest was a show of support for the city and City Attorney Barbara Parker. Attorneys for the city are expected to file a response to Tagami’s federal lawsuit on Monday.
The council’s ban essentially derailed Tagami’s plans to import and export coal through a new terminal he is building adjacent to the Port of Oakland. But Oakland is up against Tagami’s high profile lawyers, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and the Trump administration, which has signaled support for reviving the coal industry.
“It’s going to be years of litigation which is a lot of money and time that the city could spend on better things,” Margaret Rossoff of No Coal in Oakland said Monday morning. “If we lose we’ll get a coal terminal. If we win we’ll spend a lot of time and money.”
Tagami, developer of the Oakland Fox Theater and the Rotunda, in 2013 won the contract to develop the former Oakland Army base into the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, a $250 million global logistics center on the Outer Harbor.
In 2014 the council passed a resolution opposing the transportation of coal and crude oil through Oakland, but the 2013 development agreement with Tagami did not restrict him from shipping coal through the terminal. Once his plan to ship the ore by rail from Utah to Oakland surfaced, activists and city leaders fought to stop him.
The council in June unanimously approved the coal ban. Attorneys for Tagami filed a federal suit in December, arguing the council’s vote was an “unconstitutional abuse of its power” and conflicted with the 2013 agreement. The lawsuit also claimed the city violated federal laws that regulate interstate trade, rail transportation and maritime shipping.
Neither Tagami, nor his attorney, Robert P. Feldman, would comment.
Between singing folk songs and giving speeches, activists said Tagami is ignoring the wishes of residents and city officials who are concerned that shipping coal through the East Bay comes at the expense of residents’ health.
Michael Kaufman, co-coordinator of No Coal in Oakland, said the developer’s suit could set a bad precedent. The December lawsuit in part argues that federal law regulating interstate trade, rail transportation and maritime shipping supersedes local laws, such as the council’s coal ban. Kaufman said if the city loses it could deal a blow to other local governments fighting to stop potential environmental catastrophes.
“We can’t count on the federal government to protect us,” Kaufman said.
Rev. Ken Chambers of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, longtime West Oakland environmental activist Margaret Gordon and labor leaders joined in the call for Tagami to drop the suit.
Tagami, developer of the historic Oakland Fox Theater and Rotunda, in 2013 won the contract to develop the former Oakland Army base into the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, a $250 million global logistics center on the Outer Harbor.
The development agreement with Tagami did not mention coal — either as a possible commodity to be shipped through the new terminal or a commodity that would not be allowed. In response to rumors about the possibility, the council in 2014 passed a resolution opposing transportation of coal and crude oil through Oakland. Once Tagami’s plan to ship the ore by rail from Utah to Oakland surfaced, activists and city leaders fought to stop him, and in June, the council unanimously approved the coal ban.
Attorneys for Tagami filed a federal suit six months later, arguing the council’s vote was an “unconstitutional abuse of its power” and conflicted with the 2013 agreement.
In court papers filed Monday, Parker and attorney Kevin Siegel challenged Tagami’s claim that the coal ban violated the development agreement. The city’s attorneys argued Tagami had no vested right to store or handle coal at the terminal and is currently only in negotiations with Terminal Logistics Solutions to do so.
Parker is asking U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria to hold a hearing on April 20 to consider the city’s motion to dismiss that claim. Parker is expected to file a separate response to address Tagami’s other allegations against the city.
Mayor exceeds jurisdiction authority under 305 of the Oakland City Charter in the recent hiring of Anne Kirkpatrick has Oaklands new Police Chief
Atten: Milad Dalju, enforcement
Please add the following documentation to my written complaint filed in your office on January 12, 2017 regarding Mayor Libby Schaaf,s violation of 218 noninterference of the Oakland City Charter when she exceeded her jurisdictional authority pursuant to 305 of the Oakland City Charter in her direct hands on in the recent selection and hiring of the Police Chief. This is a clear violation of 218 of the Oakland City Charter.
503 of the Oakland City Charter gives exclusive the authority to "hire,fire,and discipline "All city employees including the Police Chief, thus a clear violation of 218 of the city charter.
Evidence and substation of her interference is noted in the media accounts below where she has articulated not only the firing of three police chiefs in nine days(which again exceeding her jurisdictional ) , but her hiring of the new police chief.
Media accounts include the following:
Los Angeles Times June 17, 2016. OAKLAND LOSES THIRD CHIEF IN NINE DAYS WILL OPERATE UNDER CIVILIAN CONTROL by James Queally
"I'm hoping to not have to FIRE anyone else anytime soon", said the mayor laughing in response to a question from a reporter.
"As the mayor of Oakland I have to run a police department not a frat house"
USA TODAY. June 15, 2016 Trevor Hughes
"Oakland's Mayor fired the City's interim police chief less than a week after appointing him to run the department..."
"Speaking to reporters Wednesday Mayor Libby Schaaf declines to Specify why she FIRED the interim chief"
FOX NEWS June 16, 2016
INTERIM OAKLAND POLICE CHIEF FIRED AFTER SIX DAYS ON THE JOB AMID SEX SCANDAL
"The Mayor of Oakland, RELIEVED the city' s interim police chief of his duties Wednesday less than a week after he was APPOINTED to the post...Schaaf went on to call Fairies HIRING a MISTAKE and said SHE should have taken more time to vet the officer.
Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said Wednesday that the City Council had NOT been briefed on the Mayor's reason for FIRING the interim chief
CNN June 20, 2016. by Catherine Shoicet, Mayra Cuevas, Steve Alvasy
THE LATEST TWIST: AN INVESTIGATION INTO RACIST TEXT MESSAGE
"That, Schaaf said, MADE HER DECIDE TO HOLD OFF ON APPOINTING ANOTHER INTERIM COP"EAST BAY NEWS BLOG Friday June 17, 2016 by Darwin Bondgraham and Ali Winston
"City Administrator Sabrina Landreth is running the oakland Police. I FEEL THIS IS AN APPROPRIATE TIME TO PLACE CIVILIAN LEADERSHIP OVER THE DEPARTMENT, SAID SCHAAF"