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Oracle Businesses The Almighty Buck

Oracle Asked To Help Low-Income Residents Evicted For Its New Cloud Campus (cio.com) 202

itwbennett writes: Roughly 100 low-income families were evicted from an apartment complex on the land in Austin, Texas where Oracle plans to build a new 560,000 sq. foot cloud-computing campus. Some of the former tenants of Lakeview Apartments had leases through the end of the year, but were reportedly forced by owner Cypress Real Estate Advisors to move out early. Some have said their security deposits were not returned, and they have had no assistance as they've struggled to find comparably priced housing. Last week, some of those residents gathered near the site of their former home to protest and to appeal to Oracle for assistance.
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Oracle Asked To Help Low-Income Residents Evicted For Its New Cloud Campus

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  • Golden opportunity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @06:52AM (#51207631) Homepage Journal

    for Oracle to polish their image which, currently, is pretty bad in the social-and-responsible-enterprise area. Whether they'll really do something - I doubt it.

    • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @08:39AM (#51207895) Homepage

      Perhaps Oracle will offer free America's Cup tickets to the low income former residents.

    • Larry Ellison owns a whole Hawaiian island, just for himself. Maybe he could house these poor folks there?

      He could give them jobs, working in the sugar cane and pineapple fields.

      A win-win solution for everyone, for sure.

    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @11:06AM (#51208673) Journal

      Let's be honest here:

      1) It's not Oracle's fault that the previous owner (e.g. landlord) was/is a dick. Yes, Oracle could do some feel-good PR with it, but it won't make a difference long-term, and the folks involved end up getting their pain prolonged in most cases.

      2) How the fuck does this even make it to closing with tenants still on the books? Unless Oracle specifically agrees (agreed?) to take on the role of landlord, the place should have been emptied by the day the title transfer papers get signed.

      3) Legally (barring some clause or two that nobody read in their leases), the property seller may be on the hook for paying up any leases that are still live when the property sold (unless, again, Oracle agreed to become a landlord at closing). But, I can only guess at that because I don't know the city/county/state laws that apply.

      4) A question - is there any sort of state of federal grant money action or program occurring here? I'm assuming not, else the residents would have gotten at least a year or more of advanced warning, relocation assistance, rental vouchers to help them pay rent elsewhere, etc etc.

  • No surprise here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @07:06AM (#51207655)

    ORACLE = One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison.

  • Honestly Oracle really does not care about them, nor the fact that the property management company is being scum.

    All oracle cares about is next quarter profits. if people have to suffer for those profits, then so be it.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Honestly Oracle really does not care about them, nor the fact that the property management company is being scum.

      Residents they are attempting to force out early before lease end should file a petition with the courts for an emergency injunction....

  • where tenants actually have proper rights and legal representation.

    • by sectokia ( 3999401 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @07:38AM (#51207735)
      It is truly bizarre to new that in USA, the capitalist centre of the world, so many people scream for special rights to *renters* as if they are owners.... Why does the government interfere with rent control? Every economist will tell you that it's just insane and less to these very situation. If the people need welfare, the government should supply public housing directly.
      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @07:56AM (#51207775) Homepage Journal

        If the people need welfare, the government should supply public housing directly.

        There are multiple empty houses for every man, woman, and child in America, thanks to the mortgage scam. And thanks to the bailout, the banks can afford to not sell those homes for whatever the market can bear, so they are sitting on them and refusing to sell them in order to keep real estate values high and maintain the value of their "investment" (really an elaborate theft from the taxpayer.) So in fact, the government has funded the deliberate ongoing maintenance of the homelessness of the population.

        • Slashdot is becoming more like AboveTopSecret every day...

          • Slashdot is becoming more like AboveTopSecret every day...

            It's not my fault that the degree to which the world is more complex than you imagined is now coming to light. If you take exception to some part of what I said, by all means, point it out.

            • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@nospAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @09:13AM (#51208075)

              Ahh more insults from you, this is becoming common.

              Just because a bank is holding onto property does not mean its empty, and nor does it mean it would be affordable to rent for these people needing to find cheap accommodation. Unoccupied properties degrade quickly, so banks will gladly rent them out. The people in this story are renters, so the fact that banks wont sell is meaningless to this discussion.

              Plus I really dont think there are 640million empty properties right now in the US ("multiple empty houses for every man, woman and child" is what you said, combined with the current estimated population of 322million). A quick googling shows a recent estimate is only 18.6million, and most of those need significant extra work as they are uninhabitable.

              Add to that the fact that acting as a landlord for an extra 3.5million zero or low income people (the estimated number of homeless in the US) puts a huge strain on somebody - were you thinking of forcing the banks to bear this cost? Another thing to consider is that the banks *are* donating empty houses to cities for social housing, but most cities dont want them because it eliminates property taxes on those properties and adds them as a burden to the city.

              You also realise that the banks are paying for the bailout, right? To date, the US Federal Reserve has actually made a profit of $63.2Billion on loans totalling $618Billion disbursed under the TARPS and Fannie and Freddie.

              Of that $618Billion, the Federal Reserve has seen $681Billion flow back, and thats with about $230Billion in loans yet to be repaid. Puts your "elaborate theft from the taxpayer" comment in a new light, now doesnt it...

              https://projects.propublica.or... [propublica.org]

              http://themindunleashed.org/20... [themindunleashed.org]

              http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

              • Why not force the banks to bear this cost. They got billions of my tax dollars (I'm a single high income earner with minimal capital investment, I pay the maximum tax of anyone in the US) for free. When I borrow money they make money off me. When they borrow money they get money from me. And it was largely their irresponsible lending practices coupled with large scale outsourcing supported by them that put all these Americans in the poor house. So I'll ask again, why the hell not make them pay to clean up t
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by mysidia ( 191772 )

          thanks to the bailout, the banks can afford to not sell those homes for whatever the market can bear, so they are sitting on them and refusing to sell them in order to keep real estate values high

          If that's true, then the government should file charges against them for housing market manipulation, and forcibly liquidate the properties on their behalf.

          • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @08:58AM (#51207999) Homepage Journal

            If that's true, then the government should file charges against them for housing market manipulation, and forcibly liquidate the properties on their behalf.

            You missed the part where the government gave them the money that they're using to operate on since acquiring that real estate. The government is literally doing the exact opposite of what it should do, enabling this behavior instead of stopping it.

          • Uh, not selling property is not market manipulation - its the very right of ownership. Refusing to sell all your stock at once to keep prices high is not market manipulation and there is nothing illegal in it.

            No matter what dear Drinkypoo says.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          Right the rights of owners should usually prevail over renters, although some compromises do need to be made. If you have a year long lease I don't think your land lord should be able to tell you "be out by 6am tomorrow" without you having violated your agreement some way. So there probably has to be some regulator compromise. Which generally everywhere I have ever had reason to know anything about it here in the USA there has been. Usually you have at least 30 days.

          On thing the government SHOULD NEVER DO i

          • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:15AM (#51208369) Journal

            The wage gap problem exists because of the expanded social safety net not in spite of it.

            Do you have any evidence for this other than your neat just-so stories?

            As evidence against, I give you history where lack of a social safety net led not to a capitalistic utopia but grinding poverty, and appalling conditions for workers as poverty meant they could not afford to risk a payment by seeking work elsewhere.

            • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

              Evidence, no not really unfortunately like most economics questions we don't have a good control. So its a hypothesis we can test if we implement my policy suggestion but that is all.

              I am not sure I agree with your evidence against. I can argue by some measures the wealth gap is larger than it has ever been. Its also true that poor (speaking about USA here) are largely better off than they have been in the past.

              Social safety net programs evidently do not cure the wealth gap problem. They have existed fo

              • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @12:48PM (#51209377)

                I am not sure I agree with your evidence against. I can argue by some measures the wealth gap is larger than it has ever been.

                Over the past 30 years when the wealth gap has exploded, social safety net programs and union power was reduced, not strengthened. If you want to see what wealth inequality looks like under strong social programs, look at the 1960s. In 1963, the top 1% had 35x more wealth than the median family. [pbs.org] This is what the social programs after the Great Depression gave us. This disparity grew to 40x by 1983, when our social safety nets started deteriorating. Fast forward to 2013, and the top 1% has 97x more wealth than the median family.

                Its really even worse than this, because almost all of the wealth gap has been caused by the top 0.01%. If you look at wealth growth of the top .01%-1%, the growth is pretty flat [blogspot.com]. It is only the top 0.01%, or about 10,000 families, that are seeing all of this growth.

                The great society programs enacted in '64-'65 allowed the US economy to keeping growing after the post-WW2 prosperity faded, and kept inequality from growing significantly for 20 years. Once Reagan started to lower taxes and defeat the unions (without enacting other worker protections) the rise in inequality was inevitable.

                We have plenty of evidence that strong social programs help the poor. Just look at Scandinavian countries. All we have evidence of in the US is that social programs can be run poorly. That is a reason to improve and strengthen them, not scuttle them.

              • I am not sure I agree with your evidence against. I can argue by some measures the wealth gap is larger than it has ever been.

                Can you? By what measure would that be?

                As best I can tell, Victorian England had a gini coefficient of around 0.6, compared to now (with a comparatively strong welfare state) of 0.34. It seems that the time at which the gini coefficient was lowest was a bit in the past when the welfare state was stronger than it is now.

          • Public housing is strait up corporate welfare. Its asking you and I to cover the cost of housing a labor force for the 1%ers

            So public housing is like Obamneycare which is corporate welfare since people are forced to hand over their money to a private company whether they want to or not. Got it.

            Though I do agree with your assessment of forced liquidation. I said the same thing about J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, et al. Instead of them being given $700 billion of taxpayer money to pay out their bon
        • There are multiple empty houses for every man, woman, and child in America

          No, there aren't. The house vacancy rate in the US is currently under 2 percent (and falling), which translates to about 1.4 million vacant homes. http://www.census.gov/housing/... [census.gov]

        • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

          There's an easy fix for the problem of land banking: increase real estate taxes, especially on unimproved land. Then use that revenue to lower other taxes, perhaps taxes that are more regressive such as the sales tax. (Austin's is 8.25%--they truly despise the poor, and their sales tax shows it.)

        • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

          dunno where you live, but out here you can buy a house for less than a mid level car

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          There are multiple empty houses for every man, woman, and child in America, thanks to the mortgage scam.

          I'd love to see a citation for that. The United States population on July 4, 2015 was 321,442,019. According to this source [globalresearch.ca], 5 million homes had been repossessed as of April, 2015, with an additional 3 million forecast for the next three years or so.

          That's a lot of repossessed homes, but 8 million is not a multiple of 321 million, unless by "multiple" you mean "0.025".

      • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @08:47AM (#51207931)

        so many people scream for special rights to *renters* as if they are owners

        There is no fundamental right to exclusive control of land, not even in a capitalist society. If the property owner decides to build housing, and rent out housing, then their customer's lives depend on this relationship, which is in danger of becoming tyrannical or unfairly exploitative, so the property owner automatically cedes certain rights, Even rights that might not be in their best financial interest to lose, and even rights they do not willingly give up.

        Actually.... the deedholder or claimholder is just a renter too. The ultimate owner of land is the state government, and in most places, they even charge the current deedholder a rent called property tax to maintain any privileges, and their usage of the land has to be compliant with the law and in the interest of the public (E.g. You cannot just dump hazardous wastes on your land, however you like).

        It makes perfect sense, that a government respecting the interest of the public would have reasonable regulation of the government deedholders' subleasing arrangements with members of the public, where people secure their housing / apartment living spaces, or even, where people secure housing for other vital purchases: such as the usage to host the main office of a small business.

        • The ultimate owner of land is the state government, and in most places, they even charge the current deedholder a rent called property tax to maintain any privileges

          Is this a 'rent'? It's definitely a fee/tax, but my understanding is that if you don't pay your property tax, all the state can do is attach a lien to your property. And while someone can evict you for not paying rent, I thought they couldn't evict you for unpaid property taxes. Maybe that's a state-to-state thing.

      • The usual objective behind various rights and protections afforded to renters is addressing the fact that settling a contractual dispute while unexpectedly homeless is a...rather lopsided...process.

        It's not news that contract law just doesn't work as smoothly when the parties involved are of vastly different power; and resolving matters through a civil proceeding can be problematic when there is particularly urgent time pressure. In situations involving people who rent their sole residence; both of these
      • There's plenty of pro-rent control economists. Rent-Seeking is a dirty word to most economists who aren't that asshat Laffer. Supply and demand breaks down faster than you think. A small group of people are buying up all the houses in America and they're in no hurry to build cheap housing that drives down the rents they're charging.

        You're making a fundamental mistake about public housing in America. "Section 8" as it's callled is a subsidy for land lords to rent out property that nobody else will rent (
    • Austin may seem like a liberal bastion compared to the rest of Texas, but it's actually still enormously conservative compared to say California.

      • Texas state law is that cities can set the terms up to certain limits. Austin has decided not to set many limits.
        • Austin may seem like a liberal bastion compared to the rest of Texas, but it's actually still enormously conservative compared to say California.

          Texas state law is that cities can set the terms up to certain limits. Austin has decided not to set many limits.

          Yes, that is my point. It's up to Austin, and they choose to be dicks.

    • by yacc143 ( 975862 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @07:38AM (#51207741) Homepage

      Well, Oracle is not to blame.

      The landlord is to blame if they used illegal means to evict the renters.

      If the eviction was legal, well, you do have a problem with the local laws then, wouldn't you say?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @08:20AM (#51207841)

        Bollocks. Knowingly benefitting from an immoral act is immoral.

        • Shouldn't that hold only if the beneficiary is causing or allowing by inaction the immoral act?

          If I learn that my employer is buying a few thousand pieces of expensive but useless junk off a a company that happens to also be owned by the CEO as part of a 'tax efficient' optimisation, does it add anything new to the wrongness for me to then appropriate some of the junk that is heading off for disposal and put it on eBay for myself? As a low-level employee, I wouldn't have any way to stop the immoral act: It'

        • Oracle management is too busy picking which employees to lay off this quarter to keep the others living in fear to give a shit about a few poor people.

      • you must live a very, very sheltered existence. Laws don't exist when they're not enforced. These laws are not enforced. It's like all the IT Contractor scams going on right now where you're hired as a Contractor for a full time job critical to the companies day to day ops. They just don't want to pay your health and unemployment benefits. That's illegal, right? I'm here in Arizona and good luck complaining to the labor board: They don't exists. Our right wing legislature just didn't fund them. They're not
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        "Blame" is not the same thing as legal culpability.

        At least until someone figures out how to make being a dick illegal, acting like a dick won't be a crime.

    • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @08:36AM (#51207887) Homepage
      The tenants were notified in June that this was going to happen. They were later notified that no leases would be extended and if the leases expired in September they had to be out by then. People with monthly leases also had to be out by then.
      This left some people who had leases until December and a few that just stuck around. The ones with the leases until December are in a court lawsuit currently over the level of inaction the management company provided in not fixes issues and with removal of services.
      So what additional protection should they have? I live in Germany and three months is what I can expect for notification.
      • you have a _lot_ more social welfare programs than Americans do. Moving is expensive, and rent is going up in America. These are people living paycheck to paycheck. The ones left behind were most likely trying to scrap together the money for a deposit on a new Apartment. There's no gov't programs to help them. They've been largely defunded. They're still there on paper so that folks like yourself can look and see and then blame the people for not being bootstrappy enough though.

        I had a rough patch in li
        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          In Belgium, there are people living paycheck to paycheck as well and not all by choice. Even here it happens that rents go up. This is even indicated by law how much, so it will stay the same relatively.

          The issue here is that some people did not get back their deposit. That is the ONLY issue. If they got back their deposit, than they could use that to pay the new deposit.

          So the news is that people did not get back their deposit; All the rest is wallpaper.

          • because we have a housing shortage, a weak economy for the working class (especially blue collar) and a mortgage system designed to drain the maximum amount of money from said working class.

            When you're poor you don't move very often (unless it's because you're homeless now). That's because moving is _expensive_ to the poor. For one thing base rent at a new apartment tends to be a lot higher than what your paying how. Rent goes up every year, but the rate is a little lower than a new apartment to encoura
        • you have a _lot_ more social welfare programs than Americans do.

          I agree with your sentiment but ultimately this has little to do with the case or the GP's comments about rights of renters. Renters shouldn't have any more rights than they have. If the problem is homelessness then that's a problem for social welfare, not for rights of renters. It's not the duty of landlords to solve this problem.

    • where tenants actually have proper rights and legal representation.

      Why not have a J1 visa exchange program w/ Cuba? We'll send all our poor and jobless there, while the Cubans who prefer freedom to their current lot can move here instead.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @07:49AM (#51207755)

    Oracle Corp. and Cypress Real Estate Advisors officials did not respond to requests for comment.

    because they don't care about "other people's problems," even if they caused them. what they do care about is their money.

  • He'll build a new yacht [wikipedia.org], and instead of being automated, it will be manned by the crop of newly created galley slaves that are the inevitable result of his business practice.

    A bunch of poor people won't add anything to his bottom line, so they might as die serving to maintain his luxury lifestyle. It's not like they're citizens with "inalienable rights" to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" or any such commie nonsense.

  • .... if you are lucky they might offer you a discount on volume database licensing. You might as well appeal to the devil. Second thoughts Microsoft sometimes likes charity PR so maybe the devil will give you a better offer
  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @09:12AM (#51208069)
    Was there no other location in all of Austin to build, other than destroying this housing? No empty Texas Instruments factories, no half-constructed unfinished see-through buildings? Nothing that could really use destroying and replacing? No open land?
    • There would have been plenty of other places, but the question is not so much about empty land but rather one of available services.

  • I thought the cloud was everywhere. Why does a Cloud Campus needs physical space in one location?

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @12:32PM (#51209255)

    Oracle? Helping someone who hasn't been forced into a multi-million dollar support contract?

    Go on, pull the other leg too!

You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape. - Ellyn Mustard

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