Homeless moms who took over vacant house head back to court

A spokesman for the company that owns an Oakland house illegally occupied by a group of women on Sunday flatly rejected calls by two Oakland City Council members for the owners negotiate to sell or give the property to the women.

"Wedgewood's position is clear and has been consistent from the beginning," said a letter from Sam Singer made public Sunday. He represents Wedgewood Properties, headquartered in Campbell. "We will not meet or negotiate with the squatter's organization that broke into our house and is illegally occupying it."

Singer's letter said Wedgewood "will not consider discussions until after we are in peaceful possession of our house."

Wedgewood had previously said it is partnering with the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Shelter 37 to provide training and job opportunities to at-risk Oakland residents and potentially sell the property at 2928 Magnolia St. to a first-time homebuyer. Some of the proceeds from the sale of the house at 2928 Magnolia St. in Oakland would help pay for that training, Sunday's letter said.

Oakland City Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Nikki Fortunato Bas on Thursday demanded that Wedgewood Properties negotiate to sell or give the property to the women who have been living in the Magnolia Street house since Nov. 18. The women, who call themselves call themselves Moms 4 Housing, moved into the house -- without permission -- to call attention to Oakland's homelessness crisis.

Wedgewood has served an eviction notice on the women, and a court hearing on the matter is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday at the Hayward Hall of Justice. The judge has tentatively ruled in favor of Wedgewood Properties.

As for Sunday's letter, it called for Kaplan and Bas to "encourage lawful and thoughtful behavior from the squatters you are supporting and encourage them to voluntarily leave our house at 2928 Magnolia St."

The letter said, "We take no pleasure in seeking law enforcement to evict them, the legal path we are on. We would much prefer if you demonstrated the leadership which one expects of elected officials and ask the squatters to obey the laws and depart voluntarily."