From: Steve Lowe
To Zennie Abraham
Date: August 20,2019
Oakland (Near Jack London Square) – I guess we’d all be happier, at least those of us living here in the Jack London District, Old Oakland and West Oakland (WOJLOO!), if the A’s were just a little more concerned, sincere and forthcoming about wanting to be “good neighbors,” doing ballpark community planning, and taking this opportunity by commenting on the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP) process.
The Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP) is undergoing final public review before going before Council, and the prospect of a Jack London BART station – the best possible solution for the A’s proposed ballpark at Howard Terminal! – seems all but palpable. But of course such a new station won’t happen without an outpouring of support from the public in partnership with the team, as neither can overcome on its own the resistance from BART’s planners, always more than happy to lavish funding for any project other than one at the epicenter of the entire system! Think of how much has been spent on ultra-expensive extensions so that folks can get to the Emerald City and not have to dismount in the city most impacted by homelessness.
All on their own, A’s even got the Bay Area Council (BAC) to comment on their Disney-ish gondola proposal, touting it as the best thing since muffin tops! This from a respected thinktank group that has rarely, if ever, taken an interest in Downtown Oakland – if indeed such an august group as BAC even knows where the hell DO is anyway or who any of its resident stakeholders might be.
Zennie, you were working with Mayor Harris as an economic development advisor back when he and Jose Duenas were trying to get the Bay Area World Trade Center (BAWTC) built here in Oakland, close to the Port of Oakland where the bulk of Bay Area trade comes through (1995-1999). Taking advantage of such an opportunity and erecting such a District-changing – even downtown-changing! – building on top of a BART station would
bring needed capital and serious investment into Oakland, as both Elihu and you envisioned in setting the stage for BAWTC all those years ago, following on the immense success that the New York / New Jersey Port Authority created for Manhattan, and indeed most of the entire eastern seaboard!
But we’re only the West Coast, and – though quickest to China from here than anywhere else! – Oakland is, in terms of its population, one of the comparatively poorest cities in America with, not uncoincidentally, perhaps the least dynamic Economic Development department outside of Louisville, Moscow Mitch’s hometown.
If the A’s don’t want to go to bat for the neighbors they say they want to dwell amongst and help bring fame and glory, why should any of us implore our Councilmembers to wave them around third base?
Oakland Developer Steve Lowe is best known as the co-creator of Old Oakland, a collection of restored Victorian buildings at and near 9th and Washington in Downtown Oakland.