James Vann, a representative of the Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt, cheers the recent court decision overturning the city council’s approval of the Oak-to-Ninth project, which he sees as giving Oakland, and its city council, a second chance to do the right thing at that site.
Congratulations to the citizens of Oakland, the real victors of the important Oak-to-Ninth case decision just issued by Alameda County Superior Court. [See “ Court overturns City’s approval of Oak-to-Ninth Project.”] The decision justifiably pinpoints the deficiencies of not only the lackluster conception of the developer’s project plan, but more importantly, the hasty, irresponsible approvals of the City Council and Planning Commission and the precipitous invalidation action of the City Attorney. All three levels of government shamefully shirked the responsibility of their civic trust by rushing to approve defective documents—or invalidating worthy petitions at the behest of the self-interested developer—without even reading them, and rubber-stamping development plans that were not worthy of the rare and idyllic site which deserves much much better.
It was this abandonment of civic responsibility and the total ignoring of mass attempts to wave warning flags that forced concerned citizens to seek redress, first through the almost impossible avenue of referendum petitions and ultimately the hugely expensive final alternative of filing lawsuits.
Hopefully, our City Council will see the court decision as a wake-up call and will use the opportunity to give this project the intensive analysis it requires and then to demand the type of development for Oak to Ninth that will better serve the community and the region—one that will make our city proud.