Thursday, April 15, 2021

Yes Stadium

That is YES to the stadium that we already have. 
And NO to the Jack London Square deal.  

When Jean Quan was Mayor of Oakland she told me that she wanted nothing to do with a stadium deal involving a team owner who was also a developer.  

Is that still the case?  
If so something is missing in the news coverage of the proposed ballpark. 
Considering that there is this guy who is probably on Libby’s speed dial. 

There is probably a big difference between what the rich people involved say that we need and the full story of how they will benefit.  

But that is not why I am opposed to the new park.  

I just want us to invest in fixing the old one.  

The Oakland Coliseum complex is two large venues linked to BART, with a freeway off ramp and a direct link to Oakland Airport.  There is really nothing structurally wrong with the building and not so much upgrade needed that the A’s have stopped playing their games there.  Former councilman Larry Reid used to point out that the site could be modified to include an Amtrack station.  

So, is Oakland so rich that we can throw a couple stadiums away because the sports press whines about Mt. Davis?  How about some better comfort for the people who attend?  More efficient and cleaning food services?  Clean and modern bathrooms?  Better child centers from which on could see the game while the kid played on a slide?  A moving walk to BART would be nice too.  The sum total of these things will not cost anything like what the new ballpark at Jack London will run us.  

And we are so rich we can throw away some of our port?  

The port needs some help.  A land grab is not the help it needs.  

And Jack London Square?  Will that put the stadium under the authority of the Port Commission?  What kind of transit do we offer there?  The ferry to San Francisco?  Is this our N-th gimmick to profit off of Jack London Square after spending so much time driving the main draws out of business?  A new stadium is supposed to help the vacancy rate?  The public has already paid for two white elephants in the area; is three the charm?  What does the place look like on days without a game?  If we are talking about setting up some kind of full time local business and services there, then why not do it at the Coliseum complex that we have now? 

So, there are some very practical reasons to upgrade the stadium that we have and invest in our port area in ways that run 7 days a week. 

So, why is this unwise and expensive project probably going to happen?

Money.  Developer money.  

If you are looking for elected officials who are willing to stand up to the developers, do not look at Oakland or anyone who represents Oakland at the county or state.  

And now the games being played have a long history at our stadium.  Most recently a group of A’s owning developers bought out the Alameda County share in a move so bold that even Libby could not put up with it without a fight. 

And the monied interests howled, threatened and got their way. 
Also note the price, 85 million dollars for half? 
Who set that price?  

This act of welfare for the rich and professional sport blackmail has a long history in Oakland and in professional sports altogether.  About 10 years back Desley Brooks, who was then council member for District 6 was kicked off the Coliseum joint operations group to be replaced by Rebecca Kaplan in a move that was never explained.  Now Brooks was voted out by a Libby backed candidate.  I wonder how he will vote on the stadium “deal”?  Before that we had the Al Davis extortion, where Oakland bent over backwards to his list of demands and now the Raiders are in Las Vegas.  

A few years ago The Onion published a satirical piece where the US Congress threatened the city of Washington DC that they would move the government unless the district paid for a new capitol building.  新华网 The New China News Service repeated the story thinking that it was true.  It certainly was no less bizarre than professional sports stadium deals. 

The Coliseum free ride for big real-estate is attention grabbing and happens in the context of all kinds of development deals helped along by friendly public officials at city, county and state.  The often involve public property getting sold to private hands at low cost and with little to no public benefit.  This is also an aspect of the state control of our public schools as we are forced to close some of our schools and developers and/or charters pick up properties for pennies on the dollar. If you want to find the ugly side of Oakland government and politics, follow the money going to construction firms, investment companies and banks and of course in the purchase and sale of land.  

What I wish we had was some kind of independent review process that would investigate all sales of public land to private interests before it is authorized and had the power to stop the loss of public property.


  1. Nothing to add accept my agreement.

  2. "The public has already paid for two white elephants in the area; is three the charm?" Perfect.