Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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    Is Laney College up for sale?

    Are we being prepped for the sale of Laney? I will blatantly speculate about this on unproven possibilities, but I will do so based on known facts about policies and proposals regarding Laney College.

    Funding Failures

    First of all, Laney College sits on some of the most valuable land in Oakland.

    Laney is also surrounded 360 degrees by high-powered, high-financed development for the profit of powerful corporate developers and banking interests.

    For example, Kaiser Auditorium (public property for 100 years since its construction) has been sold to a private developer who will drastically change its purpose.

    Additionally, all of the properties on the west, Fallon Street side of Laney are part of the BART redevelopment corridor, with plans for marketrate housing and businesses.

    Graffiti in a Laney College restroom succinctly sums up what may be in store for the school.Thirdly, the Brooklyn Basin development extends the full length of Laney’s campus on the South side, across Fwy 880. All luxury and market rate housing and businesses.

    The East 12th Street parcel on the north corner of Laney is in constant danger of being sold to corporate developers, with plans for almost entirely market rate and/or luxury condos.

    The only reason this development has not raced ahead is that members of the Eastlake community organized to take over and stop the Oakland City Council meeting from illegally selling the parcel, and have fought it ever since. This attempt to vote to sell was after Oakland’s attorney had stated the sale would be illegal.

    To go on, Oakland Unified School District intends to sell its old administrative building at 2nd Avenue & E. 10th Street for private development into market rate condos.

    Add to this the fact that Mayor Libby Schaaf’s proposal for a new A’s stadium includes Laney’s athletic fields and Peralta’s District Administration center. Peralta leadership claims to know nothing of this. And, finally, at an Oakland Planning Commission meeting earlier in 2016, I witnessed a PCCD administrator proposing to move 7th Street to the south side of Laney’s parking lot, supposedly to improve safety for Laney students and faculty/staff.

    While this would improve safety, it would also be perfect for joining the two named properties for use as a single property for sale to a stadium developer — at taxpayer expense.

    Neglect, Dysfunction

    Laney suffers from years of underfunding, neglect and dysfunction, in structures, infrastructure, and frustration of efforts by students, faculty and staff to access and organize those resources to carry out our mission of providing effective, accessible education for our community.

    – Desperately underfunded custodial and maintenance staff; not enough, not paid enough, not permanent, not full-time.
    – Installation and repair of key equipment takes months, or years. Or never.
    – Classrooms and bathrooms in a state of disrepair that insults the dignity of students, faculty, staff and visitors alike.

    We could go on for pages, listing the problems. Doesn’t all of the above seem a little like what you would do to a car you want to get rid of? Usually, the scuttlebutt is about which of the other campuses PCCD might close or sell off. But the neglect appears to be aimed closer to home: our “flagship campus.”

    Peter Brown is chair of the Machine Technology Department. Email him at pbrown(at)peralta.edu.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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