Save Our Working Waterfront
Any decision that reduces the waterfront’s dedication to maritime jobs undermines the Port of Oakland’s success and sets a precedent for shrinking the city’s blue-collar population in favor of private developers who do not share our commitment to the West Oakland community. The port is home to over 80,000 thousand jobs, thousands of them unionized, and many of which could be lost forever to a private ballpark, high-rise office buildings and luxury condos.
We must all join forces to ensure that the waterfront remains a thriving maritime industry – one of the strongest bastions of good-paying union jobs for working-class African Americans in the state.
Read below to learn more and take action to defend our working waterfront.
Port of Oakland's Role
What is the Board of Port Commissioners?
The City of Oakland Charter gives the Board of Port Commissioners exclusive control and management of the Port of Oakland. Our Board consists of seven members nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the City Council for four-year terms.
What is their role in the A's Howard Terminal Proposal?
The Board of Port Commissioners must approve the Option Agreement, master lease, Trust Settlement and Exchange Agreement, and any Port Development Permits.
Last year, the California State Legislature allocated approximately $280 million to the Port of Oakland.
For over a year, port stakeholders sent requests to CalSTA to be involved in a robust process to evaluate the possible uses of this funding and ensure these moneys are used for critically-needed projects to improve freight movement, increase capacity, and support long-term growth at the Port of Oakland.
Without the involvement or input of these stakeholders, CalSTA and the Port of Oakland approved a draft agreement around the use of these funds, which includes unnecessary pedestrian and vehicle-related projects that will likely divert funds away from actual Port needs in order to support offsite infrastructure for the A's proposed ballpark and luxury development.
In their September 20 memo, the City claimed that they would be using $259,500,000 of this funding to support offsite infrastructure for the A's Howard Terminal development. This is an outrageous claim and an abuse of taxpayer dollars.
Who are BCDC and SPAC?
The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) is a California state commission dedicated to the protection, enhancement, and responsible use of the San Francisco Bay and is comprised of 27 members representing port, regional and state stakeholders appointed by agencies throughout the Bay Area.
The Seaport Planning Advisory Committee (SPAC) considers amendments to the Seaport Plan and provides recommendations to BCDC based on technical expertise. Members include representatives from Bay Area ports and environmental and economic development interest groups.
What was the SPAC recommendation regarding Howard Terminal?
On March 16, 2022, the SPAC voted to retain the Port Priority Use designation for Howard Terminal - reinforcing that Howard Terminal is critical to the port’s maritime operations and the region’s projected demand for cargo growth. We join the SPAC in urging the full BCDC commissioner to protect this critical piece of land and to reject the A’s efforts to privative the Port of Oakland and displace thousands of maritime jobs.
Final BCDC Vote on Howard Terminal Port Priority Use designation:
We are disappointed but not surprised by the BCDC’s misguided decision to remove Howard Terminal from Port Priority Use designation despite the overwhelming evidence provided by seaport stakeholders, logistics companies, maritime labor unions, farmers, and community members speaking to its importance. Howard Terminal plays a critical role at the Port of Oakland, the most vital import-export gateway in Northern California, and those who will gain from its private development are pawning its future. Once port land is lost it can never be reclaimed, and it’s unfortunate that the commission was asked to make this determination solely based on a vague set of numbers rather than considering realistic growth projections, important environmental justice, community impact, and economic impact issues. Nonetheless, this is far from the end of the road, with many important votes and hurdles still ahead.