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California High Speed Rail Authority Bypasses Oakland After My Work to Avoid This

California High Speed Rail Authority Bypasses Oakland After My Work to Avoid This

California High Speed Rail, an issue I birddogged for Elihu Harris when he was Mayor of Oakland, is still alive and kicking. One of my major objectives was making sure Oakland was not bypassed in the formation of the route; something I also warned Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown about when he took office in late 1998.

At the time I encouraged Mayor Harris to hand off the issue to Jerry Brown, which led to the pair arriving at a "Mayor's meeting" to advocate for Oakland's inclusion in the route system. In 1997, I successfully pushed for this article to be developed and ran in the SF Chronicle, to get the "Oakland View" in the public eye.

At the time, Mayor Harris didn't believe the system would ever be funded, and so viewed it as a lost cause. But I argued that we could not afford to take a chance on that outcome and that at least Oakland should be considered. Mayor Harris agreed.

I also worked behind the scenes, and sometimes in front, to cause the new train to be a part of the new Bay Bridge. Again, that was an initiative I was confident would see reality when I left the Mayor's Office. It did not.

So, I went to apply a focus on the matter of the Super Bowl in Oakland, and forgot about High Speed Rail. Then I went to start Sports Business Simulations, and really just forgot about the matter entirely, but confident that the foundation I created would be built on by then-Mayor Jerry Brown.

It wasn't.

If you look at the final route proposed, it's clear Oakland's no where on it. That makes me cry. All the work and advocacy I did just to have Jerry Brown drop the ball on that initiative too. That's three "Jerry" failures: The Super Bowl, Uptown, and High Speed Rail, and a confirmation that precious few people really --- if you excuse my french -- really give a fuck about Oakland.

Jerry Brown came here to remake his image in 1994; now the voters, which seem to be adverse to reading, rubber stamped him in as California AG. Look, that post is the right place for him, even better than the role of Governor, which he seeks, but Oakland has suffered under the weight of his personal ambitions.

That even points to the current scandal in Oakland as a sign of how really few people place the City's interests ahead of their own. It stinks. And I have no desire to go back -- don't read into this -- I got burned out on the selfishness long ago. I'm in a better place now, ironically, thinking about me rather than the City. . And besides, the Ciry doesn't care enough about itself to have people involved who care about it.

Elihu warned me to "use that brain on yourself rather than others" because in the end, few would care.

Sadly, he's right.

The Oakland I envisioned was a far better place than the City I live in. My Oakland would have hosted a Super Bowl, been on the final route for High Speed Rail, and had a real Uptown that consisted of 2 million square feet of shops and restaurants and 1,000 units of housing. That's why I set up and present a meeting at The Internation Council of Shopping Center's Spring Convention in Las Vegas in 1997 and eventually got Forest City here to come here the next year.

I still have letters from downtown Oakland real estate brokers thanking me for that.

Now what we have in Uptown is just a mear fraction of what we could build.

The City of Oakland and Jerry Brown foolishly permitted Forest City to talk it into residential and not commericial development. Why? Because it was making a retail development in Union Square in San Francisco and didn't want competition.

Yep. Oakland let itself get screwed out of downtown retail. And nothng's gotten better.

Let's take Mayor Ron Dellums. I'll take him. I hold out a smigen of hope -- but not much. Not much at all.

More later. I'm pissed. Oakland insists on carrying the stench of loser city. So be it.
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