Source: Oakland Post News
By: Ken Epstein
Date: May 23, 2015
Related Staff: David Zisser
A local community group has not yet received a reply from City Attorney Barbara Parker about their complaint that the City of Oakland is violating local, state and federal laws in going ahead with the sale of public property to developers to build a luxury apartment tower at the East side of Lake Merritt.
“There are serious unanswered questions about the city’s compliance with federal, state and local laws governing disposition of this property,” according to a letter to the City Council on May 4 from lawyers for Public Advocates on behalf of the neighborhood group, Eastlake United for Justice.
The lawyers urge the council to remove the agreement to sell the property at the corner of East 12th Street and Lake Merritt Boulevard from its agenda “until the city has publicly demonstrated that it has complied with all legal requirements.
David Zisser, staff attorney for Public Advocates, told the Post that the City Attorney’s office has received the letter, but, “They have not directly responded to it.”
“Everyone knows there’s a housing crisis in this city, and this crisis is causing the exodus of Oakland families. The council has talked about favoring a diverse, inclusive city and has the opportunity to do something about it,” he said.
“This is not a technical legal maneuver. It’s the moral thing to do, it’s good policy, and it’s also legally required.”
Zisser emphasized that Public Advocates and community members are not picking a fight with Urban Core Development and its owner Michael Johnson. “This is not about blaming the developer. It’s about what the city’s obligations’ are,” he said.