Environmental Advocate Margaret Gordon Turns Against Oakland A’s Development |

by Ken Epstein

Until recently, West Auckland community leader and environmental advocate Margaret Gordon was aboard with billionaire John Fisher a massive stadium and real estate development project on Howard Terminal, a public land in the Port of Auckland.

It has now withdrawn its support and is actively opposed to development. In an interview with the Oakland Post this week, she said she was involved from the start several years ago, working with others to produce a community benefits agreement with A’s, for which A’s was expected to pay.

She said, but the early ones reneged on their promises.

“We, as a society, must make everyone concerned about the issue of equity,” Gordon said. “A” started talking about stocks and ended up [all the costs] Back to town. This is not fair. Unmitigated environmental issues – that’s not fair. I can’t believe they’re going [build affordable] Housing – it’s not fair.”

Gordon, co-founder of the West Auckland Environment Indicators Project (WOEIP), has worked on the Ports Commission and has fought for decades to reduce the impact of industrial pollutants that cause respiratory illnesses and improve overall air quality in her community.

She said her goal in working with Development A is to design social justice and environmental sanitation projects to support West Oakland, Chinatown, Jack London Square and Old Oakland, four areas that will be most affected by the mega project.

“We agreed with the city to sit down and do a community benefits agreement, which includes education, environmental improvements, housing, jobs, and business development,” she said. “We’ve been together for about two years trying to develop our own agreement with City and A’s. We finished our draft, and we told them that’s what we want.”

But then A’s changed its stance. “Suddenly, A stopped the process. We wanted more talks as part of the negotiations. But there were never negotiations to finalize the community benefits agreement,” she said.

“There were no meetings with A staff or city staff. Never.”

Gordon said she was not encouraged by the role of the mayor and city employees in the process. “I don’t see who would carry my foot A to the fire to enforce the benefits of the community,” she said, not the mayor, city manager, or city employees.

She said city leaders are “very thirsty for money and development, as long as it’s not there [their] alive, [they] “Don’t bother,” she said, adding that A’s and the city should build benefits for Oakland “that are just and equitable, or stop lying and say you’re doing societal benefits.”

She said the poor, African Americans, Latinos and others would not benefit from this project. I don’t see them building affordable housing next to the million dollar homes. I just don’t see it.”

People took tours of the Howard Terminal area in December, and it dawned on them that the plans were to create a “whole new city within Auckland,” a new city exclusively for the wealthy.

“They decided to release the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) during the holidays, minimizing public input,” she said. “The staff, Auckland City, they obviously don’t care [about community benefits]Gordon said:

They keep talking about fairness, but they don’t practice fairness. this is [Environmental Impact Report] Proof of that. All of this is problematic.”

Gordon added that many of the dilutions requested have not been addressed. The stadium will be built where thousands of huge trucks are now parked at Howard Terminal, but City and A have not yet said where the truck stop will be moved, meaning they may return to city streets, polluting residential neighborhoods.

Nor did the officials provide solutions to the significant traffic jams that the project would produce.

Not only will Oaklanders receive community benefits, Gordon said, they will also end up paying the bill for a large portion of the project.

“We the public will end up paying for the infrastructure,” she said. “This will use public money.” More than $800 million of public funds will be used in the project.

“The privileged have to pay for it. The rich who are going to move there have to pay for it,” Gordon said.

“I’m not surprised to hear that the A’s have reneged on their promises to the community,” said Paul Cope, publisher of the Auckland Post. “A’s want hundreds of millions of taxpayer money, but they don’t want to pay for community benefits like any other developer.

“They are backing away from affordable housing and then turning around and bullying our elected leaders by saying that if they don’t get what they want, they will leave. Our elected leaders must end this drama now. They need to focus on jobs, homelessness, public safety and the real issues affecting Oaklanders. , and not the constant pseudo-return game that A is playing.”

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