Public Comment

Welcome to the California Hotel

By Lynda Carson
Thursday July 03, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

Today (July 1) on KPFA evening news, local attorney John Murcko announced that he plans to file a lawsuit next week in Alameda County Superior Court against the Oakland Community Housing, Inc. (OCHI), an Oakland non-profit housing developer because they are breaking a 30-year requirement to provide housing to 500 very low-income Oakland residents at the California Hotel. 

OCHI recently served eviction notices to all 500 residents of the California Hotel, demanding that they must relocate out of the hotel by July 15. 

According to attorney John Murcko, the owners of the California Hotel (OCHI) are claiming that they ran out of money and can no longer operate the hotel properly. This despite the fact that OCHI has received and been receiving massive amounts of funding from local and state governments to acquire and maintain the California Hotel with low-cost loans that stipulate that OCHI must provide housing to low-income tenants for a 30-year period, in order to even receive the loans. 

The California Hotel and OCHI was sued by 43 tenants in August of 2005 for negligence that resulted in rats, bedbugs, and roach infestations throughout the hotel. 

Since then the hotel and OCHI was sued one more time for failing to operate the hotel properly after ordered to do so by the courts, and this will be the third lawsuit filed since August of 2005. 

Murcko is sending a letter to Congresswoman Barbara Lee to seek more funding for the hotel in an attempt to help the residents remain in their housing. 

Murcko also accused the City of Oakland as being complicit with OCHI in the attempt to evict and displace the 500 current residents of the hotel, because Oakland is offering some funding to OCHI to be used as a relocation funding package to force the renters from the hotel. 

Murcko is demanding that OCHI should sell some of their properties to come up with the money needed to operate the California Hotel properly. 

On KPFA this evening, I was quoted as saying something to the effect that, “I am not surprised that KPFA cannot find any one from the city to comment on the 500 residents facing eviction from the California Hotel. That the nonprofits are protected in Oakland, with counclimembers being involved in pet projects with the nonprofits and that some non-profit housing organizations are actually involved in projects that actually displace the poor in the name of creating so-called affordable housing.” 

I went on to mention how the OHA is planning to sell off or demolish most of its public housing in the near future, and mentioned how nonprofits have been involved in mixed income housing developments at public housing sites, that have displaced poor public housing tenants in Oakland. 


Lynda Carson is a Bay Area