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A town hall this week examined the negative consequences of placing John Fisher’s multi-billion dollar privatized real estate development on public land at the Port of Oakland, the region’s thriving and growing economic engine.
More than 100 people attended the town hall on Wednesday, which was live on Zoom and Facebook. Board members Carroll Fife and Noel Gallo were among the attendees.
Stakeholders included the voices of those directly affected by the project: members of the longshoremen’s union, ILWU, who said the project posed a dangerous threat to the livelihoods of port workers, more than 70% of whom are black; representatives of the Pacific Merchants Shipping Association and several of the largest port-based companies; and Paul Cobb, editor of the Oakland Post.
Although referred to as the baseball stadium project, the massive luxury real estate development is what lenders have called a “city within a city.” Besides a stadium, the plan provides for 3,000 luxury condominiums, with no guaranteed affordable housing; 1.5 million square feet of high-rise office space; a hotel with 400 rooms; retail purchases; and a performance hall that can accommodate 3,500 people.
Linda Adams, an ILWU member who is one of the workers “responsible for the daily movement of the cargo”, said they “are compromising our jobs”.
“They say they can build these luxury high rise condos and (we) can get around them. But we move cargo around the clock, (with) thousands of (workers), trucks and cargo entering the port. She stressed that luxury tenants will go to court to stop the noise, pollution, bright lights and the thousands of daily trucks and railroads that wreck their days and nights, pushing businesses to leave Oakland for d other ports on the west coast.
Susan Ransom, representing SSA Marine, the port’s largest tenant, said the port has more than 84,000 employees in total and moves the commodities everyone depends on – food, household items and medical supplies.
“We have serious concerns about the A (stadium) project,” she said. “We operate 24/7, (our work) would not be stopped during a match” or for a fireworks display.
Mike Jacob of the Pacific Merchants Shipping Association, which represents employers, said, “We have a real problem here. Do we want to preserve our industrial base? Do we want to make Oakland a smaller version of San Francisco for the kids? Oakland should continue to be a blue collar city with good blue collar jobs. “
Jacob said he spoke with the A’s, but they stopped meeting with him in 2019 when he raised concerns that would be costly to alleviate. “You don’t have to be pro or anti-baseball to be pro-port,” he said.
ILWU Commercial Officer Aaron Wright, broadcasting live from the top of a harbor crane, showed the basin where ships must turn around, which would be impacted by the project, and the Howard Terminal property. , where thousands of trucks park daily instead of where they once parked on the residential streets of West Oakland and other neighborhoods. “A day in port can do more for the economy than all of the team’s home games,” he said. “You can’t bring in thousands of sports fans to block all of this.”
Andrea Luna Bocanegra, who works for a manufacturing company that does business with the port, said disrupting shipping in the port would have a ripple effect, damaging manufacturing companies across northern California that use the port as a reliable way to ship their products and receive the goods they need to run their operations.
Post editor Paul Cobb said the newspaper is discussing different aspects of this issue and hopes to help dispel the confusing messages the public is receiving about whether this project will help or hurt the prospects of good jobs for residents. Oakland.
Cobb posted an Alameda Labor Council flyer promoting black jobs. He said “it is encouraging to see unions joining the fight to hire and protect black workers. By working with civil rights groups, we can finally expand the narrow definitions of PLAs (project work agreements) and redefine them as CLAs (community work agreements) that will hire black and formerly incarcerated people in all areas. trades.
“We are under pressure from both sides on this issue,” he said. “Some say the Howard Terminal is no longer vital for port operations, but others are very important for the economy” and for the day-to-day operation of the port.
A number of people submitted written comments during the Zoom meeting.
Housing rights activists James Vann wrote: “There are countless negatives to placing an A stadium in Howard Terminal. Can anyone name just one advantage of placing the stadium at this location in the harbor? “
BART Director Robert Raburn wrote: “One significant and unmitigated impact is public safety at unprotected crossings.
“In addition to BART, I also sit on the board of directors of the Capitol Corridor, which operates 30 passenger trains. one day on West Embarcadero (and) 20 other one-on-one trains to the Amtrak yard every day, ”he said.
“No stadium in the United States allows crowds of up to 35,000 after the game to risk crossing main level tracks!” The costs to mitigate these risks are not included in the “condition sheet” (A).
Town hall organizers are asking community members to attend the city council meeting on Tuesday, July 20. The board will consider voting on a non-binding resolution regarding the list of conditions for development. Public comments begin at 9 a.m.
People are encouraged to email board members at https://form.123formbuilder.com/4755450/
Wednesday’s town hall video can be viewed on Facebook at https://fb.watch/6M9NiSMAxc/