"We have left undone those things which we ought to have done" - Protestant Episcopal Church 1928 U.S. Book of Common Prayer


Our Thoughts On The Libby Schaaf Administration

Ms. Schaaf's Black Accomplishment

Black Arts Movement and Business District co-creator Marvin X Jackmon and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Published on the OGS Website October 31, 2018

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

One of the main criticisms of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is that after ignoring many Oakland people, problems, issues, neighborhoods for the first three years of her administration, now that election day is drawing near she suddenly “got religion,” as the old folks used to say, and is presently full of plans and promises for action on those previously-neglected areas of concern.

Schaaf has made something of a living this year claiming that she’s the protector of Latino Oaklanders in general and the city’s Latino immigrants in particular. It’s unclear, however, what specifically the mayor has accomplished on behalf of that particular segment of the population other than her famous January tipoff about that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bay Area immigrant raid. Certainly, the mayor has done little to improve living conditions in the Deep East Oakland flatlands southeast of High Street, where many of Oakland’s Latino population lives.

Of course, I admit that there could be some stuff going on with my Latino friends and neighbors that I don’t know about.

I do know a little bit about Black Folk in Oakland, however, and evidence of Ms. Schaaf’s specific interest in the needs of that particular portion of the city’s population is, um, a little thin.

Schaaf has shown no public interest in the fact, for instance, that African-Americans are vacating Oakland in rapidly-increasing numbers, many forced out by the high-rent housing that the mayor herself is busily promoting. If the Black Oakland population continues to decline at the present rate, the only trace left of African-Americans in this city will be the aging blues singers invited year after year to city music festivals, and statues of Pullman Porters at the refurbished 16th Street Station.

But the election is coming, and coming soon, and Ms. Schaff is currently going around trying to convince forgotten Oakland that it was never actually forgotten by her at all, just put in the background for a bit while she worked on other things, and now her focus is squarely on us. There’s really no time before voting day for the mayor to put together anything substantial at this point aimed directly at Black Folk in Oakland. And so scrambling around to find some Black-oriented accomplishment to point to, it should come as no surprise that recently, in trying to highlight her support for preserving and protecting Oakland’s various ethnic and racial cultures, Schaaf cited a non-existent city program aimed at creating an African-American “cultural zone” in the downtown area. Well, the program exists on paper, but that’s the only place. And it’s been on paper for quite a while, without any indication that the Schaaf Administration has taken any steps to actually implement it, or ever intends to.

[Click on link to go to entire article]

How We Get Misled

Published by the Oakland's Getting Schaafted Website October 23, 2018

On October 15, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf headed up an Oakland City Hall press conference to announce the creation of a new "homeless prevention initiative" in the city called "Keeping Oakland Housed." In reporting on the press conference, the San Francisco Chronicle led with the headline that "Oakland To Pay Rent For Low-Income Residents At Risk Of Homeless." So naturally, most readers of the article concluded that 1) "Keeping Oakland Housed" was a City of Oakland-initiated and City of Oakland-run project, and 2) the low-income renters are going to have their rent paid out of City of Oakland funds.

But if you carefully read the article and do your research, you'll find that neither conclusion is true.

1) "Keeping Oakland Housed" is a program that was initiated and is being run by three Bay Area non-profits: the East Bay Community Law Center, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and Bay Area Community Services.

2) Money for the project, including money for the rent payments, is coming, not from the City of Oakland, but from two local foundations: Kaiser Permanente and the San Francisco Foundation. That piece of information is buried almost at the bottom of the Chronicle story.

3) According to the Keep Oakland Housed website, "the City of Oakland is supporting Keep Oakland Housed with City resources including fundraising and staff support." What that support will actually be was not spelled out in either the Keep Oakland Housed website or in reports from the press conference.

But if all you read was the headline and the first few paragraphs of the San Francisco Chronicle story—which is what most people do—you'd think this was a Libby Schaaf-organized production and part of her stated goal to save the homes of 17,000 Oakland residents from gentrification-caused displacement.

And that's how we get misled.

Libby Schaaf's Homeless Plan

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf hugging supporter at Kaiser Convention Center Tuff Shed camp.

Posted on the OGS Website October 17, 2018

Is Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf working from a comprehensive, professionally-created, well-thought-out, well-developed plan to address, attack, and end Oakland’s homeless crisis?

If so, she’s been hiding it from the rest of us.

Creation of such a homeless plan would have had to be started in the first weeks of the Schaaf mayoral administration at the beginning of 2015. Even then, it was clear to anyone observing that Oakland’s homeless “situation” was becoming a full-blown crisis.

Such a mayoral-commissioned homeless plan would have started with a full-range study of the nature of the growing problem—who was living in Oakland’s streets and why, what economic, social, and political forces were driving people into homelessness, what strategies were needed to get them out.

Using this analysis and drawing upon the best, experienced minds from Oakland’s advocacy and faith communities, law enforcement professionals, political and social activists, and academics and students from the city’s many nearby colleges and universities, and others, a roadmap would have been developed on short-term strategies to both get people off the street into transitional housing as well as to better the conditions of those still on the street, and long-term strategies for permanent solutions and to help prevent such homelessness from reoccurring.

Such a mayor-commissioned comprehensive homeless plan—begun in the early days of the Schaaf Administration in 2015—would have taken some time to develop, probably a year to do the job right. While the plan was in the making, some preliminary actions could have been taken to ease the conditions of Oakland’s homeless population. By the beginning of 2016, a comprehensive Oakland homeless plan would have been in place and its implementation begun, and by now we would have been seeing positive results.

That’s how governments, businesses, and organizations address a problem that they are actually serious about solving.

But we have no evidence that there ever was a comprehensive Schaaf plan to end Oakland’s homeless crisis, nor any attempt to create one. Without a plan, there can only be chaos, and that’s what we have been witnessing from the City of Oakland during the time Libby Schaaf has been in office.

[Click on link to go to entire article]


Did Mayor Schaaf's Political Ambition Cost Oakland A Seat On The Bay Area Air Quality Board?

Posted by the OGS website October 5, 2018

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

One of the most serious criticisms of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is that she often puts her personal ambitions over the requirements of the job to which she’s been elected, and her responsibility to the people she was elected to serve.

The mayor’s ambition-over-duty may have been on display earlier this year when Ms. Schaaf was accused of playing a major role in the loss of Oakland representation on the governing board of the important Bay Area Air Quality Management District  (BAAQMD) in order to strike a blow at a chief political rival.

Both personally and through her staff, the mayor has denied the accusation.

Even though Oakland is the city with the largest population in Alameda by far, with the most serious air pollution problems, the city has no guaranteed representation on the BAAQMD board. But for the past four years Oakland held one of those positions, the seat occupied by Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. Until Kaplan was elected to the board in 2014, Oakland had not had a representative on that board for 25 years.

But instead of joining the Sunflower Alliance, other environmental groups, and other Alameda County officeholders in supporting Kaplan for a second term on the BAAQMD board, last March, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf nominated Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin for the position. The BAAQMD board rejected Arreguin on an 8-5 vote, however, and with Kaplan’s name not on the ballot elected Emeryville Mayor John J. Bauters to replace her, costing Oakland a seat on BAAQMD’s governing body. (“Oakland Council Member Replaced By Emeryville Mayor On Air Quality BoardEast Bay Times March 14, 2018) How that happened, and what role Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf played in Kaplan’s removal, is a complicated story of inside politics that says a lot about how Schaaf views her responsibilities to the interests of Oakland residents.

[Click on link to go to entire article]

No Major Construction In Oakland In 2014? Really, Libby?

Posted by the OGS website October 1, 2018

Was major building construction halted in Oakland in the last year of the Jean Quan mayoral administration, only picking up after Libby Schaaf took over the Oakland mayor's post?

Mayor Schaaf would like us to think so.

During her closing statement at the September 26th Oakland Mayoral Debate at First Presbyterian Church, Ms. Schaaff declared that "when I was elected four years ago, there was not a single construction crane in this city."

Were construction cranes actually operating in Oakland in 2014? Construction happens in many phases, some of them involving the use of cranes. But that's not the point Ms. Schaaf was trying to make. What the mayor was trying to do was to leave voters with that impression that construction had stalled to a halt in Oakland during the last year of the Quan administration, and only picked up due to the election of Ms. Schaaf to replace her.

But anyone with a decent enough memory knows that major construction was going on in Oakland in the year before Ms. Schaaf took office. That memory is backed up by a December, 2014 report issued by the San Francisco Business Times reprinted below, and noting that the top 25 Oakland construction projects alone totaled more than $3 billion in construction costs during 2014.

Politicians and political office-holders often exxagerate their resumé's and accomplishments. It seems to be a requirement of the job. But in trying to give the impression that her office is responsible for the current building boom in Oakland, Mayor Schaaf gave a "fact" that crossed over the line from exxageration to falsehood, and we're calling her on that.

Cranes used in the construction of the AvéVista Apartments, 460 Grand Avenue (date unknown)
Construction went over a two year period between 2014 and 2015

Brooklyn Basin construction ongoing January, 2018

The Hive ribbon-cutting ceremonies, May, 2014
Mayor Jean Quan second from right

Cathedral Gardens, 638 21st Street
Completed November, 2014

Lion Creek Crossing Apartments, 800 69th Avenue
Completed August, 2014

Lampwork Lofts 1614 Campbell Street
Completed July, 2014

Kaiser, BART Lead Biggest Construction Projects In Oakland

December 1, 2014

Oakland has a number of projects in the works that are reshaping the city. This week we rank the 25 largest construction projects underway in 2014 based on construction cost.

Project Description Construction Cost Start Date End Date
Kaiser Hospital Replacement Project 12 story tower, 879,000 square foot hospital with 349 beds $1 billion 2009 3/14
BART Oakland Airport Connector 3.2 mile automated system linking BART Coliseum Station to the Oakland International Airport $484 million 3/11 12/14
Highland Hospital 9 story, 592,000 square foot hospital with 169 beds $439 million 12/09 9/17
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center 11 story, 250,000 square foot hospital with 238 patient rooms $385 million 2011 8/14
Oakland Army Base Redevelopment First phase of redevelopment of 150 acre Army Base $247.2 million 10/13 2/18
Oakland International Airport Terminal 1 300,000 square foot renovation $110 million 12/07 2/16
I-880 North Safety and Operational Improvements Replaceent of freeway overcrossing structures, safety improvements $99 million 7/14 2018
I-880 High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Widen southbound from Hegenberger Road to Marina Boulevard for an HOV lane $83 million 1/13 2016
The Hive 100,000 square foot commercial rehabilitation, 104 new housing units $70 million 3/13 12/15
MacArthur Transit Village Phase I 6 story, 170,333 square foot retail facility, 478 space BART parking garage $51 million 7/12 9/14
Mural 90 affordable units at MacArthur Station $43.8 million 9/13 2015
Goodman Logistics Center 374,325 square foot distribution center, 164 space parking lot $42 million 10/12 5/14
Cathedral Gardens 100 affordable units $41 million 5/12 11/14
Brooklyn Basin Mixed-use project; first phase is site preparation and infrastructure work $40 million 6/14 2017
La Escuelita Educational Center, Phase 2 Two new buildings, 55,655 square feet $36 million 8/12 8/14
Lion Creek Crossing, Phase V 128 units of affordable senior housing $26 million 8/13 8/14
Oakland International Airport Terminal 1 Central Utility Plant New mechanical building and renovation of existing building $25 million 5/12 5/14
Lakeside Senior Apartments 5 story building with 92 units for seniors $23.9 million 4/13 10/14
Lampwork Lofts 115,000 square foot historic renovation with 92 live/work units $23 million 11/12 7/14
AveVista 68 affordable units $20.6 million 2/14 10/15
Kapor Center 45,000 square foot renovation and a new 1 story penthouse $15 million 9/14 10/15
Shops On Broadway 36,000 square feet of retail with parking $11.5 million 9/14 7/15
Vincent Academy New building expanding the school to serve 350 students $4.7 million 11/14 7/15
Caltrans District 4 Headquarters Building 22,000 square foot tenant improvement project $2 million 8/14 1/15
Swan's Market Cohousing 25,000 square foot renovation of historic marketplace $1 million 9/13 12/14

And Right On Cue, As Predicted...

"All that would be needed to make [Mayor Libby Schaaf's "bulky block parties"] full-fledged campaign events would be for the mayor herself to be there to shake residents’ hands and pose with them for plenty of selfies..." Oakland's Getting Shaafted, August 24, 2018

Mayor Schaaf posing with resident at August 25 East Oakland "bulky block party," posted on the Mayor Libby Schaaf Facebook page.

In The War Against Oakland's Illegal Dumping, Salvation Is Not Yet At Hand

Illegally dumped furniture, appliance, and mattress on Peralta Street in West Oakland

Published on the OGS website August 24, 2018

In recent weeks, Mayor Libby Schaaf has begun to publicly admit that her City of Oakland administration has not been successful in attacking and solving the enormous and growing problem of illegally dumped trash on Oakland’s streets, sidewalks, and vacant lots.

Answering a question from the audience about the dumping crisis at the city’s Safety Town Hall at Laney College last month, Mayor Schaaf said that “there are people in city government with good intentions about solving this problem, but good intentions are not enough. What we have been doing on the illegal dumping problem is not working.  So we will continue to experiment and try new things.”

One of those “new things” the mayor is experimenting with is setting up three dates—each one in a different portion of the city—where residents can drop off and dispose of oversized trash items such as appliances, furniture, and mattresses without charge. Providing these three bulky trash drop-off dates, Mayor Schaaf says, should be a cause for celebration and rejoicing in Oakland.

“Oaklanders should celebrate that they get to drop off their old mattresses, couches, and bulky goods for free,” the mayor said in a prepared written announcement, “but they should also rejoice that they’re helping to keep Oakland free from abandoned debris.”

The drop-off events will be held August 25, September 25, and September 29th.

In keeping with Mayor Schaaf’s celebration theme, the city is officially calling these drop-off events “parties.”

[Click on link to go to complete commentary]

How Long Does It Take For City Government Indifference And Neglect To Turn Into A Human Health Hazard And Then Into A Violation Of Human Rights?

It's Already Happened At Oakland's Willie Wilkins Park...

Published August 7, 2018 on the OGS website

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

If you find yourself down around 98th Avenue and B Street in the East Oakland flatlands one afternoon and need to use the restroom, there are few places in that area where it's possible to go. Still, I'd recommend against trying the facilities at Oakland's Willie Wilkins Memorial Park.

The City of Oakland Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Development stopped servicing the Wilkins Park restrooms some time ago, for some reason. They shut off the water and chain-locked the outer doors. People using the park were out of luck if they had bathroom needs.

City neglect led to the inevitable deterioration of the bathroom building. A fire broke out at one point in one of the rooms, causing damage to both the room and the roof directly above it. Garbage and used clothes and other items began piling up on the outside. Even if they weren't going to re-open the bathrooms for their intended use, Oakland officials had an obligation to clean up these unsightly messes. So far, it hasn't been on the top of their priority list.

Photo taken August 6, 2018

If that's all that happened to the Wilkins Park bathrooms, it's deteriorating outside appearance should have been a shame and embarassment to Oakland city officials charged with its maintenance. But it got worse than that. Much worse.

[Click on link to go to complete article]

The Flood Of 89

Posted by the OGS Website July 25, 2018

Your memory is coming up blank on this because the Flood of 89 wasn't something that happened back in 1989. Instead, it took place this summer, the summer of 2018, and it happened on 89th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland, the heart of what could be called Oakland's "Outlands." It's as good an indicator as any as how the administration of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf generally treats—or mistreats—those sections of the city that big developers have not yet penciled in for immediate projects.

And so they are left to fester.

For many, many months, maybe as long as a year or more, residents and customers at various nearby businesses have been complaining to the city about an almost continuous stream of water running down the gutter of 89th Avenue. The water comes out of a driveway in the middle of the block on 89th and eventually empties into the storm drain on the corner of International. Sometimes the water is only a trickle, sometimes it's a steadier flow, but it rarely stops completely, at least during daylight and evening hours. Where it originally comes from before it comes out of the driveway is unknown. Also unknown is what elements besides water the flow might be composed of, and whether those elements might be a danger to the health of the community.

89th and International is an area where a lot of trash regularly accumulates, and from time to time the trash carried by the water flow builds up enough to block the storm drain. This drain blockage has been the source of some of the complaints about the water flow on the city's See Click Fix app, one of the major ways Oakland residents are encouraged by city officials to report such problems.

The complaints to city officials were ignored, however, as so many other complaints from this part of the city get ignored by members of the Schaaf Administration.

The water continued to flow down 89th Avenue, hour after hour, day after day, until July 16th of this year. On that day, the storm drain backed up completely, and the flow turned into a nasty little flood.

Photo taken July 16, 2018

[Click on link to go to complete article]

The Promises Of First Days

Posted July 16, 2018

What a newly-elected mayor does in their first days in office is often a good indicator on what they will concentrate on and do in the next four years.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed used her second full day in office earlier this month to take a walk through one of her city’s most neglected and down-beaten sections: the Tenderloin.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Breed led a gaggle of department heads through the city’s grittiest neighborhood. Her point? To send a message that she’s going to clean the streets and care for those living on them.

“‘What I see here in the Tenderloin, I see on a regular basis, and that, unfortunately, is feces on the ground, the needles on the ground, some people sleeping on the ground and the challenges that exist here,’ Breed said, speaking outside the Tenderloin Police Station on Eddy Street, where the officials ended their walk from City Hall, just over a half-mile away.

“‘We’re working every day to get to a better place, but part of the walk-through had everything to do with making sure that everyone knows that this will be my priority — this is something I want to change,’ she said. ‘I want to make sure we’re power-washing the streets. I want to make sure that individuals who we know need help are getting the help and support they need.’” (“SF Mayor Breed takes a stroll — and it’s not in the prettiest part of townSan Francisco Chronicle January 13, 2018)

We’ll have to wait and see if and how Mayor Breed carries out those promises.

Meanwhile, we’ve had three-and-a-half years to evaluate the results from what Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf do on her first day in office back in January of 2015.

According to the East Bay Times: “Mayor Libby Schaaf devoted her entire first day on the job to getting better acquainted with the city’s very busy police force and its civilian support staff."

[Click on link to go to complete article]







Front Page

Why An "Oakland's Getting Schaafted" Website

In The News

Our Thoughts On The Libby Schaaf Administration

What Others Are Thinking And Saying—Opinion Pieces About The Schaaf Administration

The Trashing Of Oakland

Schaaf And Oakland's Homeless Crisis

Ms. Schaaf's Black Accomplishment
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
October 31, 2018

How We Get Misled
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
October 23, 2018

Libby Schaaf's Homeless Plan
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
October 17, 2018

Did Mayor Schaaf's Political Ambition Cost Oakland A Seat On The Bay Area Air Quality Board?
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
October 5, 2018

No Major Construction In Oakland In 2014? Really, Libby?
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
October 1, 2018

In The War Against Oakland's Illegal Dumping, Salvation Is Not Yet At Hand
Oakland's Getting Schaafted
August 24, 2018

How Long Does It Take For City Government Indifference And Neglect To Turn Into A Human Health Hazard And Then Into A Violation Of Human Rights?
OGS Website
August 7, 2018

The Flood Of 89
Oakland's Getting Schaafted Website
July 25, 2018

The Promises Of First Days
Oakland's Getting Schaafted Website
July 16, 2018