Oaklanders Meet Over A’s New Ballpark Community Benefits

An illustrated image of a baseball park near the waterfront in Oakland, CA.
Illustration of proposed new Oakland A's ballpark at Howard Terminal featuring a rooftop park. Photo: Oakland Athletics / Bjarke Ingels Group

Graphical capture of CBA community meeting January 11, 2020. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.

With a waterfront ballpark moving closer to an Oakland reality, City government has launched an effort to bring community and business stakeholders together and also to inject consciousness about equity into the process.

The Howard Terminal Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) process was launched on Saturday, January 11, 2020, with about 200 community members, advocates, and other Oakland stakeholders in attendance at
an orientation at Preservation Park.

The packed first meeting at Nile Hall in Preservation Park stressed preserving the uniqueness and culture of West Oakland and a broader discussion of Equity in Oakland.

The orientation included a presentation by Darlene Flynn, Director of the Department of Race and Equity, that showed disparities between racial groups, and concluded with the attendees assembling into the CBA Topic Cohorts that they are interested in. Seven Topic Cohorts have been identified for the Howard Terminal CBA: Economic Development, Housing, Transportation, Community Health & Safety, Education, Environment, and Community History/Culture Keeping. The Topic Cohorts were identified based on engagement with community members in 2019.

Examples of CBAs were discussed, such as the requirement for affordable housing in Hunter’s Point or those at the Oakland Army Base that gave preference to veterans unemployed for 12 months or more or the “Ban the Box” movement.

David Peterson, a West Oakland resident, asked the participants at the 2nd cohort meeting on January 25th to strive for deep and transforming change, but he also was concerned that some community groups or unions might try to cut a back room deal as the sole representatives of the Oakland community and short-circuit the CBA process.

“You are all qualified… to speak for yourselves,” he added, encouraging everyone to participate.

Leslie Salmon-Zhu captured comments and Graphics at the first meeting– see photos

Lynette McElhaney, District 3 Council Member in Nile Hall.

Council-member Lynette McElhaney attended the January 11th meeting.

[see photo]

She hoped to get significant community input for the CBA process. She noted the target area for the Ballpark and related improvements is a big part of Council District 3 where 7,000 people live

District 3 holds the Port of Oakland, which is the 5th largest container port in U.S. “I affectionately call District 3 the heart and soul of the town….” McElhaney added. She noted this was once a thriving African American community. “There is a history here as well as the tensions of poverty and wealth.”

Veronica Cummings of the City Administrator’s office said that any lease signed will have a CBA with an intentional approach to involve equity principles. Littia Tam, manager of real estate for the As, said the As organization was looking to also benefit the community in special ways. And later Darlene Flynn explained that equity approaches were a break with usual City processes, which don’t have a history of racial equity.

“We have made progress… its different than 100 years ago,” Flynn said. “My life is quite different than that of my father who was sharecropper in Missouri.”

There was a long discussion of the City equity process as a refection on historical conditions…”No one is thinking it will do it all…we may have to do course corrections…we are trying to build out a democracy that we have never experienced,” Flynn noted.

All attendees received a printed report from the Department of Race and Equity which contained statistics and graphics for income and housing by race. For example, it shows who spends over 30% of income on housing. That would be Blacks and Latinos at lower income levels. Other graphics showed that asthma cases were more prominent in low income areas of East and West Oakland. The full report on is on the City’s website page for Race and Equity.

From the report’s summary: “Specifically, this report establishes and analyzes baseline conditions for Oakland residents to inform the creation of specific CBA elements and the measurements by which outcomes can be tracked over time. In addition, this report includes a brief overview and lessons learned from past CBAs, and concludes with considerations and a racial equity framework to be factored into an Oakland A’s Howard Terminal CBA process.”

For those who missed the January 11 meeting, the Equity Presentation by Darlene Flynn Director of the City of Oakland’s Department of Race and Equity, will be repeated prior to the main meeting on February 10, from 5:30-6:00 p.m. at the CSUEB Oakland Center.

There will be no forum to address disparities between East Oakland and the newly prosperous West Oakland and how community benefits will be distributed. Several attendees on January 11th were unhappy about this limitation.B

Many of the attendees so far have represented various community groups, including representatives of West Oakland groups as well as Oakland United, a coalition of community groups, unions, and Oakland residents.

The first meeting of, which created the topics that will be discussed, was Wednesday, January 22 at the CSU East Bay Oakland Center.

The next public meeting is February 10, 2020 from 6:30-8:30pm at Cal State University East Bay, 1000 Broadway, Oakland (inside the TransPacific Building – Ground floor).

The first Steering Committee Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 22, from 10:00am-2:00pm, also at CSUEB on Broadway.

Author Profile

Howard Dyckoff has lived in Oakland for over 40 years and has been involved with many community groups, including Oakland Digital and Oakland Local, Block by Block, the East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA), and CBE. A Brooklyn, New York, transplant, and an Aerospace Engineering graduate of NY Polytechnic, Howard also attended Laney College, where he wrote for the Laney Tower newspaper and was elected editor. Howard also attended the Starr King School at the Theological Union in Berkeley.

He has served as the Berkeley Free Clinic’s Outreach Coordinator, and also worked as an information technology professional at Chevron, Sybase, and Wells Fargo. He worked in both the 2010 and 2020 Census. Howard has been a regular contributor to Oakland Local and online publications such as TechTarget and Linux Gazette and currently writes for Oakland Voices. He currently does event photography and portraiture around the Bay Area.

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