Former Assemblyman & Dublin Mayor Guy Houston in running for JPA Exec Director position

Rumors bubbled up last week on the inter webs about the Coliseum JPA potentially filling its vacant Executive Director position. BANG has reported further on it, lending the story credence. The leading (only?) candidate is Guy Houston, a Republican lobbyist who spent 6 years in the Assembly. Prior to that he was the mayor of Dublin.

Guy Houston

Deena McClain has been the Authority’s Interim Executive Director for some time, also serving as legal counsel. During the lease discussions over the summer, you may remember that she was the point person for any and all questions about the current lease terms, outstanding debt, and operations of the Coliseum complex. McClain, in concert with outside counsel, negotiated the A’s lease on the JPA’s side. That would be Houston’s role should he take the job.

Should the Raiders elect to stay in Oakland for however many additional years, Houston’s first task would be to negotiate that lease extension. Beyond that, he’d have to lead talks for the future of the complex, whether it’s Coliseum City or a successor plan. The position has been vacant for so long that it’s easy to forget its importance. Take a look this excerpt from the still-relevant-albeit-outdated job description:

The ideal candidate will:

  • Be a strong and visible leader;
  • Have very strong analytical and problem solving skills;
  • Be able to evaluate, analyze and interpret complex financial statements and reports;
  • Be able to develop, present and defend financial reports/profit loss statements;
  • Have excellent communication abilities both orally and in written form;
  • Be able to draft, interpret, negotiate and apply complex contract language;
  • Have strong facilitation and mediation skills;
  • Be a consensus builder;
  • Understand the political process and public meeting dynamics and requirements;
  • Identify and present the best business decisions and practices in a political environment;
  • Understand sports franchise businesses and the dynamics of their operation;
  • Understand comparable stadium/arena/entertainment facility operations;
  • Will know or be able to learn the market and the best practices;
  • Be able to build and maintain a good organizational public image;
  • Develop and maintain positive media relations.

Before any of you start emailing your resumes, there are also some specific requirements for the job:

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

  • A degree in business administration, public administration, economics, or another closely related field. An advanced degree is desirable.
  • Experience managing a similar revenue generating enterprise owned by a public entity or managing a facility comparable to the Coliseum Complex.
  • Experience demonstrating successful application of the abilities and traits of “The Ideal Candidate”.

If you’re still in college, or you work some midlevel position in the private sector, you need not apply.

Having served in the public sphere for well over a decade, Houston’s certainly qualified. The real questions are about his station within the JPA and his designs on the job. Houston was termed out of his Assembly District 15 job in 2008. He then ran for Contra Costa County Supervisor and lost, then went for the GOP chair job and lost. Since then he’s been a lobbyist, continuing to work out of Dublin. If he wanted to get back into elected office at some point, successfully negotiating new deals as the JPA’s Executive Director would be an excellent feather in his cap, though it’s unclear what elected offices he could capably shoot for as a Republican in Alameda County.

Houston’s reputation is very pro-business, developer-friendly. In the mid-2000’s he was caught up in a scandal involving his father, Fred Houston, who was accused defrauding senior citizens to the tune of $340,000. Fred Houston was also the longtime head coach of San Ramon Valley High’s football program. Zennie Abraham noted Guy Houston’s close ties to Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who is also known as very pro-business.

The Executive Director serves at the behest of the JPA Board of Commissioners, so it’s not as if he/she can create an agenda and start dictating terms. However, the ED could certainly steer negotiations one way or another, based on ongoing evaluations of potential deals. As divided as the JPA has shown itself to be over the future of the Coliseum, it’ll be more important than anything for the ED to build consensus. Should Houston get the job, it’ll be no small feat if he gets everyone rowing in one direction.

54 thoughts on “Former Assemblyman & Dublin Mayor Guy Houston in running for JPA Exec Director position

  1. I really don’t know much about him, but If Houston can actually help in getting the A’s and (or), the Raiders new venues at the coliseum site, I’m all for it.

    • @Lakeshore/Neil: I agree with u, bro. If one, or both team stay, he would be the reason. However, at this point, it’s a lost cause. However, I hope you’re right.

  2. Considering the previous 40 years of ineptitude, hiring a career politician without any operations experience is a bad idea. Hiring someone outside a given industry into an executive capacity, they can mischaracterize issues, make decisions on faulty narratives and overall are incapable of guiding effective solutions due to their unfamiliarity routine operational functions… whatever. It’s the JPA. He’ll be perfect.

  3. Honestly, I don’t know that “leadership” is the problem with the JPA. I believe Nate Miley’s suggestion that the City buy the County out is an actual attempt to solve the real problem that causes inertia: too much “leadership” with competing interests. Nobody is going to fix that.

  4. If anything, Guy Houston will likely not allow himself to be dictated to by the inept political whims of Oakland city pols. That very fact has to be a good thing. It also gives us at least some faint hope for at least one team to remain in Oakland.

  5. Guy Houston played a big role in the massive expansion of Dublin. He definitely sides with developers and has served as a lobbyist for developers fighting against local anti-growth initiatives.

    I’m not a huge fan of Houston overall in that I think he’s pushed for changes that are good for developers and possibly good for the short term interests of residents, but ultimately are bad for residents in the long term. Besides the scandal ML referenced, there were also local rumors about him being on the take from some developers.

    In this case though, it may not be a bad thing to have someone so pro-development in this position. My guess is that Wolff and Houston will get along.

    • @Slacker
      In a general sense, I would say the Pro-developer friendly politicians give away too much, but in this case if Wolff and Houston can make it work, I don’t much care.
      I know that’s not a healthy attitude to have, but whatever problems Oakland and Alameda County have, they are going to have them weather the A’s and (or), the Raiders leave town or not.

  6. Sports clearly run in Guy Houston’s blood. He played baseball and football while attending St. Mary’s.

    His son Bart was a three year starter at QB at De La Salle and is now the backup QB at Wisconsin.

  7. Dublin could be the spot if Oakland or SJ don’t go through – this might mean other options.

  8. Can he find 2B+ ? It is late and time is running out

    • Time already ran out. We cant add anyone who was not already in the organization to the postseason rosters. We are stuck with Punto, Sogard, and Collaspo.

      Oh, sorry-misread that.

      • Best comment of 2014.

      • Let’s put Lew Wolff at 2nd base. I’m sure he could turn the “double play” with no problem.

      • @ Elmano
        That was pretty clever, but seriously do you have any thoughts on the possible Houston hiring, good, bad, or indifferent?
        I think it could potentially help, if the Raider, and (or), the A’s are actually willing to try to get something done.

  9. I lived in Livermore when Guy Houston was mayor of Dublin. He set Dublin on a strong economic path bringing jobs and housing centered around the new BART station. You can live, shop and hop on BART all within 5 minutes of each other because of his efforts The man knows how to “get’r done”. The Hacienda Shopping Center is a hub for the whole Tri-Valley for shopping and movie entertainment. I just wish Houston had put in regional theatre before Livermore made their venue for live acts and music. i think he would have done a dang better job. You have to deal with a lot of people and a lot of different opinions successfully to make things like that happen. He’s a good fit.

    • Houston knows how to get stuff done, but a lot of the growth in Dublin was done poorly.

      The schools in the new part of Dublin are over crowded because they didn’t plan for the growth. This is likely the result of developers lobbying to not have to pay more to build additional schools.

      Hacienda Crossings is an out dates shopping center that focuses on big box retail, anchored by two at risk retailers, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy.

      There is space near the BART station for retail, but nothing has gone in. Everything is still residential. The large complex that is going in, is the result of re-zoning from the original plan.

      One of the primary developers that was picked for large retail developments doesn’t have the ability to actually develop the land so they are currently fighting the city to have it re-zoned as residential and sell it off.

      While in general I’m not a fan of Houston, I do agree with Lakeshore on this in that while overall a pro-developer person may not be great, in this case, it’s not the worst thing in the world.

    • I HATE Hacienda Crossing. That is one of the worst shopping experiences in the world. It’s ripped right out of 1992.

      I spend a lot more time in Downtown Livermore and Pleasanton than Hacienda Crossing.

      As for the BART plus Hacienda Crossing thing… That’s pure garbage. That BART station is screaming for an actual mixed use development, not a bunch of apartments, a sea of parking and a long walk to any sort of anything to do (which is surrounding a different sea of parking). If Guy Huston is “responsible” for that disjointed mess, it should give anyone pause as to his ability to actually drive a mixed use development.

      • There is a mixed use area with complex and housing at the corner of Tassajara Rd. and Dublin Blvd. with a Safeway, Pete’s Coffee and a bunch of restaurants. Hacineda has several places to eat and shop along with entertainment and it’s filled with lively businesses. In fact within 5 minutes you can shop for a car, buy a new TV, fill your closets with cloths, have some dinner, see a movie, spend the night in a motel, wake up, fill your car with gas, get your morning java, hop on BART to go to work, come back, stop at Bank of America, shop at Safeway, get yourself some BBQ next door walk to your home or apartment and catch the game all less than 5 minutes from each other. If you don’t want to walk it, ride a bike. If you don’t like the heat, take your car.
        You can’t do that in Livermore or Pleasanton. Living in Livermore I use to do all my shopping in Dublin on the way home from working in Oakland. Livermore lost my tax dollars.

        I find it interesting you are involved with “Save Oakland Sports” inviting people “If you are interested in community involvement, the pride and spirit of the city, and building Oakland, then why not become a friend or supporter of Save Oakland Sports?” Maybe because you meet at Ricky’s Sports Theatre in San Leandro and don’t give Oakland the city you claim to support, your pride, spirit and patronage by supporting Oakland with your meetings and business.

      • Who are you talking to? I live in Pleasanton, I am not involved with Save Oakland Sports and I ride BART into San Francisco every day from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. I am very familiar with what the area you are describing and you are doing a terrible job of it.

        The “mixed use” development you are talking about is 1.5 miles away from the BART station. As you point out, it requires car travel. That’s the entire problem… driving all over the place, parking, etc.

        Hacienda Crossing is a dinosaur of days gone by, not the future and certainly not an example of what comes next or what should be done at the coliseum complex. If I am going to go to a movie, eat out, buy clothes, etc. And it requires driving… I go park in the parking garage in downtown Livermore, walk right across the street to the movie theatre eat at Sauced, stop in at the comic book shop, etc. It’s all walkable and not part of a giant horseshoe with big box retailers surrounding a massive parking lot.

      • @Jeffreyaugust nailed it. I live in Dublin right near the area being talked about. Even though it’s farther, I much prefer to go to downtown Livermore to watch a movie than Hacienda Crossings for all of the reasons Jeffreyaugust called out.

        Hacienda Crossing is completely out dated. It’s 100% car dependent and even for cars is designed horribly.

      • Talk about being car dependent… a great movie theatre with Imax and lots of choices in Dublin and you drive all the way to Livermore to see a movie? Thanks for spending your dollars in Livermore and adding to the polution in the Valley.

      • Preaches the merits of the most car dependent development in the Tri Valley, talks about others adding to pollution, FTW! But hey, there’s an apartment building adjacent to the Safeway parking lot and it has an Amici’s on the bottom floor a mile and a half away from BART… Guy Houston, planning and development guru.

    • So what is the answer here in your view? The A’s just ended the season last night with a hard loss to take. They need a new ball park. The parties have to come to some agreement or we will lose these teams. What do we want? A ball park in the Tri-Valley which most likely isn’t going to happen? A ballpark at Jack London Square? A ball park on the existing Coliseum site? A Fremont site? What do you guys think it going to take to keep the teams in the East Bay and satisfy the Oakland/Alameda County parties? How do you bring them together?

      • The answer is Oakland telling the Raiders to pound salt, building a scaled down version of Coliseum City anchored by a ball park. For this to happen, Lew Wolff should run the show. Take his original vision for Coliseum North and move it into the existing parking lot.

  10. Thanks for linking to the ESPNFC story about Chivas ML. Looks like the last team to go on hiatus (the Earthquakes) will be the one to send Chivas off to their own indefinite hiatus after the Quakes season finale next month.

  11. I think the plan is not to build the ball parks in Dublin but on the existing site of the Coliseum with Houston as Executive Director. That is the focus of the Committee and the City of Oakland.

    • Yeah, it would be a little silly to think just because they may bring in someone, who was the former mayor of Dublin, then they secretly will discuss the Dublin (tri-valley), area as compelling as the idea is, the NIMBY groups would totally kill it, wouldn’t they?

  12. I live in dublin, and there is no more land. The land once thought of for a ballpark that is still the camp parks training facility is set to be turned over to the city. It’s all spoken for already with development underway for housing and parks.

  13. I’m cautiously optimistic about tonight but I think this is just a bad team right now. Billy Beane turned the best team in baseball into one of the worst teams in baseball.

    This team has been horrid on defense, with no timely hitting, no creativity to scratch out a run, inconsistent bullpen, inconsistent starting pitching, and an inability to get a runner from third base with less than two outs.

    Also, both Lester and Samardja had opportunities to put the A’s in the wild card game and both failed. It took Sunny Gray to put the A’s in the wild card game.

    Billy Beane made the trades to ” hold off the Angels” and we all know how that worked out. Ann Killion was absolutely right in her column in today’s Chronicle.

    I’m still hoping for the best regardless of the bad decisions by Billy Beane. Let’s Go Oakland!

    • There’s not much reason to expect a team that’s been losing nearly 70% of its games since August is suddenly going to turn it around now.

      • If the A’s get ahead early they have a chance. If not, the Royals bullpen will suffocate this light hitting team. The A’s may win 1-0 or 2-1. The Royals could win 1-0, or 3-2.

        Also, no errors, if the A’s are to have a chance. And please, Mr. Beane, allow Bob to send the runners, bunt, and steal a base here or there. he station to station baseball waiting to hit it the double play will kill our chances.

      • I love reading predictions like this the day after. It reminds me why I don’t make them.

  14. Lakeshore,

    I think Houston is the kind of guy Lew Wolff could “work with.” kind of the way Wolff “worked” with Haggerty and Miley. And, no, I don’t think Houston would necessarily be good for a ballpark in Oakland.

  15. I like him for the job because when there are major problems the headline writes itself.

  16. Which team to keep- the perennial horrible raiders or the A’s that figured out a way to lose- still pisses me off that Kaplan claimed them as WS champions after they signed their lease- sports gods hate that shit- for that reason alone elect Truman as next mayor of Oakland

    • The Oakland A’s need a new owner, a new general manager, a new shortstop, a new catcher and a new left fielder, before they need a new ballpark.

      • yeah, maybe we can get someone who will take us to the playoffs once every 29 years!

      • You mean a new owner willing to spend $500 million of his own money on a ballpark in Oakland without regard to making back his investment? Everyone say it with me: Good luck with that.

      • Can we give the crazy talk a rest, at least just for today? The 2014 Season just died. It was suffereing from cancer, the cancer went into remission but then it was killed in a freak rodeo accident when a air plane flew into it (I know, what are the chances, amirite?) Show some damn respect.

      • it was really poetic, the 7-3 lead crumbling only to lead into extra innings, where the A’s stormed back and then lost it in the end. It was 2014 in a nutshell… I can’t think of a single game ever resembling an entire season so well.

      • @ jeffreyaugust
        Unfortunately, you could not be more correct.

  17. Well if our megalomaniac GM had left things alone we would have at least secured the home field advantage for the wild-card game. The A’s were on pace for 98 wins before Billy Beane destroyed the team with his irresponsible trades.

    Cespedes was the heart and sould of this team. The man made those around him better, had a tremendous arm in the outfield, had great speed, and was the most feared hitter in the lineup. Beane decided that he was going for the “big game” pitcher. He was trying to make the A’s into the Tigers and it backfired. Lester was given 7 runs and he coudn’t get it done. Would Tommy Milone need seven runs? Would Drew Palmeranz have needed 7 runs? Lester also chocked when he had a chance to clinch the Wild Card game.

    Beane has made so many boneheaded moves. Jim Johnson for 10 million which could have gone towards signing Cespedes. Trading Chris Carter for Jed Lowrie. This guy has to be the worst shortstop in MLB and he hits 240 with 6HR.

    Beane also mortgaged the future by trading a promising minor league shortstop which we could have used in this game and next year.

    To me, the worst thing Beane did was what he did to Tommy Milone. The mistreatment and disrespect shown Milone tells us just how arrogant Billy Beane really is. He traded Milone to Minnesota because Milone dared to try to force his hand and get back on the team by asking for a trade. Billy quickly showed Tommy the door.

    We need a new General Manager who isn’t concerned with his egos and getting attention during the trade deadlines. Beane needed the lime light so he went out and needlessly destroyed a very good TEAM.

    • Beane gambled big (trading Carter, Cespedes, signing Johnson, trading star prospects) and lost big on all those bets.

      • Beane traded Carter for Lowrie, which worked out great last year (though I wasn’t a fan of the move then, or now because a 40 HR hitting 1B is kind of rare in the less roids era)… Cespedes is highly overrated by A’s fans, the guy is not an elite big league hitter or fielder. Consider that despite the huge slump by Brandon Moss, Brandon Moss still hit 3 more HR’s on the season and out OPS’d Cespedes by 20 points. A LF with a 751 OPS isn’t even an average big league LFer, offensively. Without Jon Lester, (or Hammel and the Shark) down the stretch, the team doesn’t even make the wild card game. PS- Jim Johnson was traded to the A’s for Jemile Weeks. Nothing really wagered there, nothing really lost.

        If I was Beane, Kazmir and the Shark would be on the block and a big league ready SS and Corner OFer would be the minimum in return.

        Either way, the A’s need a new stadium and it needs to be figured out how that can happen this off season. My hope is that it will be right in the parking lot of the current one, surrounded by an awesome mixed use development where I can buy both of you a beer and laugh about how horrible all this shit was to live through on our way to the first ever game at said new stadium.

      • @Jeffreyaugust – Spot on. Since Beane has been GM – the A’s made made the playoffs 8 out 17 seasons (with a bottom rung team payroll) Judging by all the criticism – you’d think that the A’s post season track record is similiar to the KC Royals ( no playoffs for 29 consecutive seasons, 16 under .500 teams in 18 years, etc) Some of these Debbie Downer commentators must actually be pseudo A’s fans (and actually are from the dark side (the SF giants)

    • Tommy Milone? He doesn’t belong in a big league rotation. Sam Fuld was a good piece to have in return for a 6th or 7th starter on a good team. You do know how things went for Tommy in Minnesota? If not, 17 ER in 21.2 Innings. But sure, that would have helped the A’s waaaayyy more than Jon Lester’s 20 ER allowed in over 70 Innings.

      • Jeffrey,

        I’m not sure we can just compare stats when the situations for those players in their current teams are very different than they were with the A’s. They both served as an important part of the A’s team machine. When you take out a couple of bolts out or your engine there’s a good chance that it’ll start to sputter.

        Also, the A’s could not be any worse than they were with these “great pitchers” Billy acquired. Weren’t the A’s 14-30 since the trades. That’s a horrible winning percentage no matter how we slice it.

        Billy Beane’s decisions were a complete bust and we are all here suffering becuase of those decisions. The proof is in the pudding and right now the pudding has mold growing all over it. It’s green and gold mold courtesy of Billy Beane.

        And yes, it would be great to see a beautiful new ballpark sprout in Oakland.

      • We can absolutely compare stats, that’s actually how teams win. Player performance, not player aura. Tommy Milone sucks. His FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is over 5 runs a game. If you think a rotation with Milone and Chavez is better than one with Lester and Shark than I am really glad you aren’t included in making decisions for the A’s.

        The A’s had everything that could possibly go wrong, go wrong. Coco Crisp/Gentry injured at the same time means Josh Reddick playing against lefties. Brandon Moss hitting 2 HR’s in the entire August/September time frame. Stephen Vogt not able to catch meant Derek Norris trying to throw out runners. John Jaso, one of the only guys on the team taking good at bats in August, goes down with another concussion. Doolittle goes down.

        None of that is the result of Yoenis taking his subpar performance to Boston. None of that has anything to with what Addison Russell may, or may not, do in three years.

        I am sorry for being a bit of a jerk, but I am really tired of illogical whining by a lot of my fellow fans. Look at any other team in baseball with a similar set of resources (meaning $$$ that the team generates) and compare their playoff appearances. Billy Beane has kicked major ass. His style of management is the reaosn the Red Sox broke the curse of the Great Bambino and it’s the reason the Cubs will win it all in 2017 over the Astros (also using the approach Billy Beane made famous). You know who else uses the A’s approach? The Royals… It’s how they broke a 30 year drought. They opened up their analytics office three years ago.

        Forgive me if I don’t think trading Yoenis Cespedes ruined anything. This is after all, the franchise that traded Rickey Henderson. Twice. This is the A’s. This is how they have done things for the entirety of their franchise from Philadelphia to Oakland. It’s how they have the 3rd most WS Trophies of any team in the leagues history.

        And, I am sorry for rambling on about something that has nothing to do with the post, ML. I’ll stop now.

  18. 2 pints of Blind Pig waiting for me in the fridge to numb the pain after work 😞😞😞😪😪

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