City of Oakland

City Of Oakland’s Betsy Lake To Speak At Chamber Of Commerce June 13th – Maybe She’ll Talk About Coal?

The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is hosting Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake as the speaker guest for its “Economic Development Forum”, tomorrow, June 13th. She is the newly hired “Deputy City Administrator, Major Projects”, but she has a history with the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal development project in West Oakland.

It was Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake who, as a lawyer with Holland and Knight, served as consultant to the City of Oakland on the Army Base Redevelopment Project overall, and the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, in particular.

On September 12th 2013 Ms. Lake wrote a letter regarding what was called the “Lease Disposition Development Agreement” or “LDDA” for the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal project.

An LDDA is a contract between a city and a developer regarding the transfer of city-owned-land to the developer.

In the case of the City of Oakland, the letter (which this blogger included a copy of in this post here at Oakland New Now called “The City Of Oakland Knew The Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal Might Handle Coal From The Start”) was written to communicate that the Feds transferred the Army Base land to the City of Oakland – something that had to happen before the transfer to the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal developers could be done.

In that letter, is included another letter by the City of Oakland Office Of Neighborhood Investment, and called “EXHIBIT A” of the LDDA letter Ms. Lake wrote – and has this paragraph which appeared on page 8 of that Office Of Neighborhood Investment document:

“The proposed use of Parcel E is as part of a new working waterfront and break bulk commodities terminal. See site plan attached as Attachment D. The transition by the major U.S. ports to container terminal and mechanized operations has forced break bulk products, mainly commodities (e.g. lumber, coal, sulfur), to be transported via truck to vessel, or to operate from secondary, smaller ports (e.g. Stockton) both of which limit the capacity, decrease the efficiency and increase the cost of these types of bulk product shipping operations. The proposed Oakland Bulk Oversized Terminal, using Parcel E and other adjacent land, would link rail to vessel break bulk shipping operations. “

In other words, it’s clear that in 2013 the City of Oakland knew the facility was being developed to handle coal, in addition to other commodities. Even then Oakland Economic Development Director Fred Blackwell talked about the facility handling “iron ore, grain,” and then said “things like that.” From the document, one of the other things was coal.

Go to the Chamber meeting June 13 from 3:00-4:30 pm in the Oakland Chamber Board Room and ask Ms. Lake about that document. You have to register for the event, you can’t just walk in. Sign up here:


Because the current officials in the City have taken a collective, public, “we didnt know” stance regarding coal and the possible handling of it in the development and operation of the The Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal. Why are those same officials pointing at OBOT Developer Phil Tagami and saying “He didn’t tell us about coal,” when there’s ample evidence to show the City of Oakland did know that coal was to be a part of OBOT, and indeed, had to be?

Maybe they didn’t read Ms. Lake’s work? Or maybe some of the people who say that really were not around, then?

That’s what we have contracts like the LDDA. They serve as insitutional memory, in addition to being, well, contracts.

Someone needs to explain that document.

Stay tuned.

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