Is Elizabeth Betsy Lake Oakland’s New Deputy City Administrator To Be Mayor’s Lawyer vs Oakland Global? Past Docs Say Yes.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake is the new City of Oakland Deputy City Administrator. In the press release announcing her hire, one of the reasons given was that she “has worked with the City of Oakland and the City of Richmond on various redevelopment efforts, including the Amy Base Project in Oakland”.
But what the press release did not report was what an October 21st 2014 Oakland City Council closed session agenda still available for view online did: that Lake was listed as one of the “chief negotiators”: the agenda reported that the Oakland City Negotiators were: Henry Gardner, Arturo Sanchez, Doug Cole, Pat Cashman,. John Monetta, Dianne Millner, and Elizabeth Lake. With the negotiating parties being the developer, Prologis/CCIG: Phil Tagami, Mark Hansen, Daniel S. Letter, and Marc Stice. Prologis/CCIG is the developer of Oakland Global, the under construction Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal – the project at the center of the coal controversy.
And the online-posted record of involvement of Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake in the Oakland Army Base Project, as it’s called, doesn’t stop there. On October 13th 2013, the firm Ms. Lake was a partner in, Holland & Knight, issued a press release telling the World that the law organization “worked closely with Barbara Parker, the Oakland City Attorney, and Dianne Millner, the City’s legal team leader on the project, to complete necessary negotiations and agreements.” Then Ms. Lake is quoted as saying “We are very pleased that the city of Oakland, our client, and the private developer, Prologis CCIG Oakland Global have come together to make this development go forward. This work secured a $176 million state grant to assist in the build out. The project is expected to take five years to complete.”
Then the press release continues “The Oakland Army Base is a 360-acre former base adjacent to the Port of Oakland. The project to be built there is intended to make the site a world-class intermodal trade and logistics center. Prologis is one of the world’s largest developers of port-oriented logistics facilities and is partnering in this project with Oakland-based California Capital Investment Group (CCIG).”
That allows me to conjecture that Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake has a lot of documents the public may not have seen, and perhaps were not brought up in the recently concluded court battle between Oakland Global and the City of Oakland over the issue of the Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal and whether it should be allowed to continue to be able to handle the transfer of coal, among the various types of minerals it was expected to see during its operation, and (as the developer contends) was established in the 2013 development agreement between the City and Oakland Global, LLC.
Betsy Lake ads an institutional memory that, if Ms. Lake had some hand in creating letters leading up to and that include the development agreement, could cause us to answer the question “Did the City of Oakland really know that it was approving a faciltiy that was planned to handle different minerals, including coal in 2013?” Considering that I just found one document online that is a legal description of the land to be transferred to Oakland Global, LLC / Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal LLC, the answers to that question seems to be ‘it would seem so’.
But what this proves is that in Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has the lawyer and land use expert who worked on that project as her new employee. Schaaf now has the luxury of having her own in-house lawyer and not having to turn to the staff of Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker. This is a game-changer, but just how the game is changed remains to be seen.