Since 2015, Public Advocates has worked with the resident-led East 12th Coalition to ensure that a city-owned site along the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt is used for affordable housing, as required by the state Surplus Land Act. Originally proposed as a high-end luxury apartment complex, the site is now at the center of a controversy over how cities will help to address the region’s growing affordable housing crisis.
Public Advocates’ attorneys Sam Tepperman-Gelfant and David Zisser describe the campaign in an article in Street Spirit, Oakland’s homeless newspaper. The East 12th Coalition and Satellite Affordable Housing Associates submitted a proposal for 133 affordable units, competing with two other proposals, both of which also include affordable housing. After a public presentation of all three proposals on February 29th, the City Council decided in a closed session on March 3rd to enter an exclusive negotiating agreement with UrbanCore (the developer originally slated to develop a luxury tower on the site) and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, whose proposal includes 90 low-income units, 18-moderate income units, and 252 market-rate units. While the battle is not yet over, it is already clear that the East 12th Coalition, with support from Public Advocates, sent a strong message that public land must be used for the public good. No wonder that the East 12th Coalition was Public Advocates’ awardee at this year’s annual Voices of Conscience Celebration.
- Letter to the City regarding authorization of an exclusive negotiating agreement (March 18, 2016): east_12th_street_exclusive_negotiating_agreement.pdf
- Letter to the City Council regarding negotiations with affordable housing developers (December 7, 2015): negotiations_with_affordable_housing_developers_for_purchase_of_the_east_12th_street_property.pdf
- Letter to the City Attorney requesting compliance with the Surplus Land Act (June 2, 2015): east_12th_street_legal_compliance.pdf
- Letter to the City Council describing legal concerns (May 4, 2015): letter_to_oakland_city_council_regarding_east_12th_street.pdf
- “Community Power Wins Affordable Housing in Oakland,” by David Zisser and Sam Tepperman-Gelfant (January 14, 2016): http://www.thestreetspirit.org/community-power-wins-affordable-housing-in-oakland-2/
- “Vote on Controversial Oakland Tower Delayed Again Amid Fierce Opposition,” San Francisco Business Times, quoting David Zisser (June 3, 2015): http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/morning_call/2015/06/oakland-lake-merritt-tower-delay-urbancore-udr.html
- “Public Interest Attorneys Ready to File Lawsuit to Block Sale of City-Owned Land,” East Bay Express, quoting Public Advocates’ letter (June 2, 2015): http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/06/02/public-interest-attorneys-ready-to-file-lawsuit-to-block-sale-of-city-owned-land
- “Breaking News: Oakland City Attorney Said Luxury Tower Deal is Illegal,” East Bay Express, quoting Public Advocates’ letter (July 6, 2015): http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/07/06/breaking-news-oakland-city-attorney-said-luxury-tower-deal-is-illegal
- “Oakland City Council Tables Controversial Sale of Public Land for Luxury Tower,” East Bay Express, quoting David Zisser (July 8, 2015): http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/07/08/oakland-city-council-tables-controversial-sale-of-public-land-for-luxury-tower
- “Breaking News: City of Oakland Finally Obeys Law; Offers Publicly Owned East 12th St. Land to Affordable Housing Developers,” East Bay Express, quoting David Zisser (July 16, 2015): http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/07/16/breaking-news-oakland-finally-obeys-law-offers-publicly-owned-east-12th-st-land-to-affordable-housing-developers
- “Oakland Seeks New Developers for Lake Merritt Parcel After Scrapping Controversial Housing Project,” East Bay Times, quoting David Zisser (July 16, 2015): http://www.eastbaytimes.com/breaking-news/ci_28495334/oakland-seeks-new-developers-lake-merritt-parcel-after
- KQED news report, quoting David Zisser (July 21, 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzqKAN28eWQ