On October 2nd, SunCal sent a statement to City of Oakland officials in response to concerns raised by residents over the potential fire hazard posed by the stalled SunCal Oak Knoll redevelopment project. Nearby residents respond.
In the release, which was forwarded to Action Alameda News separately by Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks, and by Oakland resident Donald Mitchell – but doesn’t seem to be available on SunCal’s website – SunCal stated that “Contingent upon the [bankruptcy] court’s approval, the trustee has agreed to release funds for property-wide weed abatement, cleaning up wood piles and repairing of perimeter fences. In addition, there would be a team of armed security guards on duty 24 hours per day to help secure the property from trespassers.”
However, this was not enough for Donald Mitchell, who, last month, on behalf of Oakland residents living near the site, filed a claim for $115 million with the bankruptcy court to get money for fire hazard abatement at the site, and potential damages in the event of a fire. Mitchell wrote to me that “SunCal’s offer is completely disingenuous, blatantly transparent, and an insult to the community. A year after abandoning their neighbors at Oak Knoll, and refusing to even return phone calls, SunCal’s P.R. hacks are working overtime along with Lehman Brothers after we recently proved that Lehman Brothers is, literally, criminally guilty for their abandonment of Oak Knoll. In an attempt to conveniently rekindle an old flame in Oakland, and curry favor with their new neighbors at Alameda Point, SunCal is obviously grasping in order to further their own agenda at the expense of both Oakland and Alameda.” (Italics and bold added.)
Mr. Mitchell also sent Action Alameda News the following photograph, which appears to show an electrical transformer at Oak Knoll opened and its contents spilled and burned, presumably to get at valuable copper and other metals inside. Transformers often contain PCBs, so the spill and burn would represent a hazard from toxic material flowing into the soil and released to the air from the burn.