Education in Oakland

Collision at Kaiser

Posted by novometro on July 18, 2006

It will be busy over at Oakland City Hall Tuesday night. In an effort to take care of business before their rather long summer recess, the Oakland City Council will debate the fates of one of the city’s oldest brothels and one of its oldest public spaces.

The resolution to deny an appeal from a massage parlor owner will not likely be controversial, despite her counsel’s assertion that an undercover officer used one crude term to describe fellatio in his written report and another when presenting to the council. New Beginnings massage parlor on Broadway might  be reaching its end after almost three decades of business.

What will spark some controversy, however, are the competing plans for the Henry J. Kaiser convention center. One political camp backs a library proposal that would ask voters to pay for a new main library at the convention center. But another faction, led by Jane Brunner, who represents North Oakland, supports a plan from the Bay Area World Trade Center that seeks to house a permanent international trade show in the building.

The Bay Area World Trade Center, which boasts former mayor, Elihu Harris, and former councilman Dick Spees, as its chair and vice chair, respectively, is advancing the proposal on behalf of the Trade Center Development Corporation. Based in Florida and not yet two years old, the TCDC aims to build six world trade “showcase project destinations” in China and the United States. In addition to Oakland, Charleston, South Carolina, Honolulu, Orlando, and the Chinese cities of Kunshan and Tianjan, have been selected by TCDC as locations. Local developer, Steve Beinke, the president of Blackhawk Development is also on the TCDC board.

It’s not clear how much influence, if any, Mr. Beinke has on the City Council, but the world trade center proposal gained traction fast. The idea was only publicly revealed at the end of June. While the library has been eyeing the convention center for a couple of years, the traded center has an advantage. The library will have to ask the voters to foot the cost of the new library, which could run anywhere from $120 million to $240 million, but the Florida guys are offering to pay $50 to $60 million in renovations plus the cash from a 50-year lease.


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