Oakland’s East 12th Street remainder parcel
is back on the market. 

City Council now agrees the sale was illegal

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | Chalk another one for Oakland’s populist movement. The controversial East 12th Street remainder sale approved by the Oakland City Council last month “quietly” passed into the darkness this week.

In closed session Tuesday, the City Council decided to rescind the proposed sale, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and also put the nearly one-acre Lake Merritt property back on the market.

Earlier this month, just a day before the second and final reading of the ordinance was due, a memo obtained by the East Bay Express, noted Oakland’s city attorney had warned about the illegality of the $5 million sale under the state’s Surplus Lands Act.

The East 12th Street remainder parcel was proposed to feature a 24-story luxury apartment building, but without an affordable housing component. The lack of the latter features potentially made the sale illegal under state law, said City Attorney Barbara Parker.

Councilmember Dan Kalb repeatedly voiced uneasiness about the legality of the sale throughout the deliberation process and ultimately abstained. Councilmember Noel Gallo, registered similar doubts, but later voted in favor.

But Thursday’s developments represent yet another populist victory by local activists. As a group, vocal Oakland residents have turned back a citywide surveillance program, held the banner for raising Oakland’s minimum wage and now have blocked what many described as a very bad deal business deal for public land potentially much more valuable than the $5 million asking price.