Oakland: A’s not a priority, Wolff: Oakland isn’t either

UPDATE: Trib columnist Art Spander fired off an angry column this morning in response to the news.

Out of today’s Tribune comes the following quote from Lew Wolff:

“We’ve spent most of our time focused on Oakland; now the next goal is to stay in Alameda County,” he said. “We haven’t ruled out any place, but Oakland is difficult because it has lots of priorities that are very important to the community beyond sports.”

Oakland officials were apparently taken by surprise (italics are my emphasis):

“He has not told us anything like that,” said Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. “Until we are told something different, we are going to continue working. But Mr. Wolff is right, we have many other things on the front plate.”

Among those are a rising crime rate, beleaguered public schools and a hot mayoral race in which De La Fuente, the city’s lead negotiator in the baseball talks, is a candidate.

It is very difficult. With all these campaigns going on, our plates are so full,” said Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele, a member of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority.

There had been whispers that the A’s haven’t been a priority for Oakland pols, but this confirms it. It’s hard to see a set of conditions under which the A’s can stay in Oakland unless all other local alternatives fall apart, leaving the two parties to start from scratch. Perhaps it comes from a collective distrust of Wolff, but if it is, no one has said anything publicly about it.

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