WOSP Gentrification Scheme Was Passed By Oakland City Council
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Wednesday Jul 16th, 2014 6:28 AM
Oakland - On Tuesday evening July 15, Oakland's City Council voted for the first reading on the West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP) and it's companion legislation, that is spearheaded by some wealthy investors planning to gentrify the old Oakland Army Base, and parts of West Oakland that are being called Opportunity Sites.
According to KCBS news this morning, the Oakland City Council gave the green light to move forward with WOSP and iit's companion legislation to gentrify West Oakland, and according to Oakland's city records the City Council has to vote again on WOSP for a second reading of the legislation, for a final passage on July 29th.
Millionaire Phillip Tagami, and wealthy Wall Street investors Hamid Moghadam, Douglas D. Abbey, and T. Robert Burke have teamed up together for the massive gentrification projects. These are the wealthy investors who are the movers and shakers in the combined redevelopment schemes to gentrify the old Oakland Army Base, and West Oakland.
The AMB Company founded by Hamid Moghadam, Douglas D. Abbey, and T. Robert Burke, which is presently called Prologis Inc., and the California Capital Investment Group founded by millionaire Phillip Tagami is the master development team that is working with the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (Agency) and the Port of Oakland, to develop the the entire former Oakland Army Base under one vision. As part of the same gentrification vision the Agency has also been taking steps to gentrify major parts of West Oakland, and what are being called the Opportunity Sites.
The massive #1 Opportunity Site in West Oakland stretches all the way from around East 14th Street to Emeryville, and from Adeline Street to Interstate 880, as part of the major plan WOSP gentrification scheme being planned. There are four other Opportunity Sites in West Oakland being effected by WOSP.
Once WOSP becomes the law of the land, the plan is to target the Opportunity Sites for redevelopment and maximum exploitation by wealthy developers. WOSP will be used as a marketing tool to attract developers to the Opportunity Sites. Low-income people need not apply, and have been abandoned to fend for themselves once this gentrification scheme gains traction.
The WOSP is also being designed as a sneaky way for developers and the City to get around complicated Environmental Impact Reports and zoning regulations, in the effort to develop the Opportunity Sites as quickly as possible. Additional Specific Plans similar to WOSP exist to redevelop the Coliseum area, and the Lake Merritt area.
In the pocket of wealthy investors from Oakland and Wall Street, Oakland's Mayor Jean Quan and the City Council is rapidly moving forward on the massive gentrification scheme that is destined to displace thousands of West Oakland's low-income households.
Known by locals as the WOSP gentrification scheme, it will result in major rent increases for the low-income and working poor residents throughout West Oakland, and will displace many of them from their housing in the process. According to public records 78% of households in West Oakland are renter occupied, with the median income being $28,055 for the average three person West Oakland household in 2011.
The high stakes controversial plan has met with resistance and protests against the massive gentrification scheme by local groups including Justa Causa/Just Cause, Against The Struggle, and such luminaries as Elaine Brown a former member of the Black Panther Party, according to reports.
In a July 15 email, Robbie Clarke of Just Cause writes: "A large public turnout is expected as opponents fight to maintain relevance to proposals in the plan. The recently released draft plan of WOSP outlines a number of areas ripe for development in West Oakland and calls for incentives for investment in these areas. Organizers against say the plan will displace working families who have lived in West Oakland for years and that it was not created to keep current working-class residents/families of color in the neighborhood."
Indeed, in all of Oakland's specific plans for WOSP city officials and staff have refused to adopt any affordable housing requirements, claiming that it would disincentivize developers from investing in each respective neighborhood, and creating lopsided development throughout the City.
With high concentrations of poverty in West Oakland that surpasses most other parts of the City, 33% of it's residents are living below the poverty level. The WOSP gentrification scheme will pave the way for the construction of thousands of condominiums, and market rate housing apartments that poor people will not be able to reside in. Tenants moving in the new developments will not have Just Cause renters protections. Additionally, the new market rate housing developments will compel the rents to skyrocket throughout West Oakland as a direct result, eventually forcing the existing poor out of their rental units when their landlords decide to demand higher rent increases.
The coordinated policies and leveraged investment activities about to take place will eventually leverage $243 million in State Trades Corridor Improvement Funds, $32 million in local agency funds, and as much as an additional $200 million in funding from various federal agencies to gentrify West Oakland. All of this funding will end up being used as a force and marketing tool to displace the poor from their housing in West Oakland, in the name of gentrification.
In a coordinated campaign to gentrify West Oakland, among the supporters of the WOSP scheme that have submitted letters during August of 2010 include the following: The Alameda Labor Council/AFL-CIL, Laney College, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation a so-called affordable housing developer, West Oakland Commerce Association, Port of Oakland, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, Metropolitan Transportation Commission/ABAG, and the Oakland Redevelopment Agency.
Wall Street Interests Involved In WOSP And The Oakland Army Base Gentrification Scheme
The AMB Company which is presently called Prologis Inc., and the California Capital Investment Group founded by millionaire Phillip Tagami, is spearheading the corporate attack to gentrify the Oakland Army Base and West Oakland. They plan to enhance their already massive fortunes by redeveloping the old Oakland Army Base, and redeveloping what are being called Opportunity Sites in West Oakland, once WOSP becomes the law of the land.
In 2011, ProLogis and AMB Company merged to become what is now called Prologis Inc., the largest industrial real estate company in the world with $51 billion in assets under it's management during the first quarter of 2014. Prologis Inc., has 1,400 employees, is headquartered in San Francisco, and was co-founded by wealthy industrialists Hamid Moghadam, Douglas D. Abbey and T. Robert Burke.
According to Forbes, Hamid Moghadam, age 58, the chief executive officer for Prologis Inc., was payed a total of $15,190,029 in compensation during 2013, and SEC filings revealed that he owned 2,359,762 shares of AMB Company common stock in 2000. The stock for Prologis Inc., was going for $41.46 per share on July 15, 2014. He is also a Trustee of Stanford University, and is on the executive committee of the Board of Urban Land Institute.
During 2013, Douglas D. Abbey of Bridge Housing, age 64, received $160,000 in total compensation from the Macerich Co., and he owned 6,461 shares of their stock as of July 15, 2014. The stock is worth $67.73 per share, a total worth of $437,603 in stock ownership currently. Additionally, he was payed $203,442 from Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc., and he owns 19,988 shares of stock from Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc., valued at $16.61 per share for a total worth of $320,000 in stock ownership. As of March 2000, according to SEC filing statements Abbey owned 1,460,561 shares of common stock (AMB Company/Prologis Inc.). The stock for Prologis Inc., was going for $41.46 per share on July 15, 2014.
In March of 2000, T. Robert Burke, age 71, owned 1,099,789 shares of common stock of AMB Company/Prologis Inc., according to SEC filings. According to Prologis Inc, during 2011, Burke received $147,495 in total compensation and owned 218,463 shares of stock. Prologis Inc., stock traded at $46.41 per share on July 15, 2014. Burke is also a co-founder of Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC., which operates as a subsidiary of the notorious Carlyle Group LP., after it's acquisition during 2013.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Carlyle Group has become notorious for making billions on the so-called war on terror, which included some notorious investors in the corporation including ex-president George W. Bush, and members of the family of Osama Bin Laden which were involved in the fascist pro-war corporation.
The other major player wanting to gentrify the Oakland Army Base and West Oakland with the WOSP gentrification scheme is the California Capital Investment Group founded by millionaire Phillip Tagami, who became notorious when he pulled out a shotgun and threatened to use it against members of the Occupy movement during a November of 2011 protest in Oakland. The California Capital Investment Group has made over a billion dollars in business deals in Oakland including the East Bay since it's inception over 20 years ago, and has merged with Tribune Commercial, according to their website.
Mayor Jean Quan's 10 K Plan
In addition to WOSP, on Wednesday March 5, 2014, Mayor Jean Quan announced that she wants to bring in 10,000 new renters into the City of Oakland and wants to build 7,500 new housing units at 15 projects all across the city, as a way to capitalize on Oakland's hot rental market. She wants to turn Oakland into a playground for the rich and powerful.
In comparison, Jerry Browns 10 K plan resulted in displacing thousands of low-income renters from their housing, and resulted in rent increases for tens of thousands of renters all across the city.
Jerry Brown was the Mayor of Oakland from 1999 through 2007. Rent increases in Oakland rose 8% from 1996 through 1997, and more than 30 percent from 1998 through 1999 after Jerry Brown became Mayor of Oakland. The landlords followed Jerry Browns lead to gentrify Oakland with their total war on the renters by instituting the "eviction for profit system," which displaced thousands of low-income renters in the process during their search for higher income renters.
From September 1998 through December 1999, "30 Day" no-cause evictions rose by 300 percent, with 56 percent of evictions being families with children, and 75 percent of the evictees were people of color. At that point most renters being evicted earned less than $25,000 per year and payed between $600.00 to $700.00 in rent per month, for one bedroom apartments in Oakland.
By 2004, the average minimum cost to rent a studio apartment in Oakland was around $625.00 per month compared to around $850.00 per month to rent a studio condominium. At the same time, minimum costs for a one bedroom apartment were around $650.00 per month, compared to around $850.00 per month minimum to rent a one bedroom condominium.
Rents kept increasing through the years in Oakland and by the summer of 2012, according to the East Bay Express one bedroom apartments around Lake Merritt went for around $900 to $1,000 per month but, by the end of 2012 the rents rapidly increased to around $1,000 and $1,200 per month. And in some neighborhoods one bedroom aprtments near Adams Point would go for around $3,000 per month, and one bedroom units in the Jack London area were going for $1,800, and more per month.
Rents continued to rise since 2012 and according to Axiometrics, Oakland's rents increased by a whopping 10% during 2013. The average rental price cost around $1,868 per month in Oakland, compared to $2,295 in San Jose, and $2,631 in San Francisco, during 2014.
Once Mayor Jean Quan's plan to bring in 10,000 new renters kicks in, in addition to WOSP, the rents are expected to skyrocket even further in Oakland.
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com