More Election Aftermath 2014: Oakland Transition Begins

Update 1:25 PM – Mayor-elect Schaaf did an interview with KQED radio today. She was tossed a few sports-related questions from Forum host Scott Shafer. After reaffirming her no-public-funding stance, Shafer got her to clarify a few things about the Raiders-vs.-A’s conflict.

Shafer: There’s a lot of pressure on public officials – mayors – that you don’t want to “lose” the Raiders or “lose” the A’s. The 49ers are now essentially in San Jose, they’re down in Santa Clara. The Giants have a wonderful ballpark on the (SF) waterfront. If you had to lose one of those teams, which one would you rather lose? In terms of the economic health of the city, which one matters me?

Schaaf: I’ve already gone on the record on this question. My first and strongest priority is keeping both teams. I believe that we can afford to not pit against one another. But as far as economic impact, our baseball team has a greater economic impact to the city.

Shafer: And in terms of what is the most likely location for a new ballpark for the A’s, what would it be?

Schaaf: Honestly, I love the idea of a waterfront ballpark in Jack London Square, at Howard Terminal, but I’m very transparent about this. Wherever somebody else’s money is gonna build a stadium – I will support that location.

The refreshing thing about Schaaf’s statement is that it sounds like she’s going to let the money (the A’s) lead the way, instead of combatively trying to force A’s ownership to comply with a concept they don’t believe in (ahem, Howard Terminal). That’s a good first step towards building a healthy public-private partnership.

Believe it or not, there are many Raider fans who believe that a football stadium can drive greater economic impact than a ballpark, despite the numbers that suggest it’s impossible (82 baseball games vs. 10 football games, 2.5 million attendance vs. 650,000). It’s good to hear Schaaf put that debate – if there ever was one – to bed.

Only two days after Election Day, current Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf held a joint press conference to announce the office transition. Despite some rather forced-looking hand-holding, it’s a great first step towards improved decorum and organizational unity at City Hall, which would be a huge change from Quan’s uneven tenure. Schaaf talked about five goals for the transition and her first days in office.

It’s good to hear that Schaaf is willing to “fight like hell” to keep both teams in Oakland. A more collegial environment can only help, compared to the last four years of backbiting among Quan, Wolff, and former City Administrator Deanna Santana (remember the “lost letter” mini-scandal?). Schaaf indicated that she would call Wolff about ballpark possibilities, though I wouldn’t expect the conversation to be much more than a courtesy call.

Schaaf inserted herself into the A’s extension talks when she took some time while on the campaign trail to criticize the negotiations. Rebecca Kaplan, who got both credit and heat for leading the talks, fired back that Schaaf hadn’t asked for information on the talks before stepping onto a soapbox. Was that just the usual campaign trail opportunism, or Schaaf’s desire to be more involved? From KRON:

At the time Schaaf also said that there would be legislation forthcoming that would force more open negotiations (past talks have been notoriously secretive).  Her resolution was titled The Accountability and Transparency in High-Stakes Negotiations Act.

Recommendation: Adopt The Accountability And Transparency In High Stakes Negotiations Policy Resolution Amending Rule 25 Of The Council’s Rules Of Procedure, Resolution No. 82580 C.M.S. And Resolution No. 84758 C.M.S., To Require City Councilmembers Appointed To Serve On Boards, Commissions, Agencies, Joint Powers Authorities, (“Representatives”) To: (1) Notify The City Council As Soon As High-Stakes Negotiations Commence; (2) Provide Real-Time Reports On High-Stakes Negotiations And Annual Reports On General Business; And (3) Participate In Training Regarding Their Duties And Obligations Of Representation Within 30 Days Of Appointment

Basically, it requires the negotiating parties (the two CMs appointed to the JPA board) to keep the rest of the Council and the Mayor in the loop and inform on a regular basis. You’d think this would be standard operating procedure, and I’d ask you what cute small town you live in where this happens. In any event, the resolution passed – coincidentally on Wednesday. Now Schaaf will have the opportunity to play by the very rule she drew up. Whether or not it was politics, it should work to the public’s benefit when the time comes for real negotiations. It’s a lot better than the Mayor’s office whispering information to useful idiot types who then spew it out to a select audience.

The underappreciated part of Schaaf’s pledge is the need for a professional, permanent City Administrator. Keeping one in place has been less successful than having a drummer in Spinal Tap. There was Santana’s tumultuous reign, then Fred Blackwell stayed on the job for a month before taking a private sector position. Prior to Santana were two interim administrators, P. Lamont Ewell and Dan Lindheim. The current administrator is also an temporary hire, Henry Gardner. And we can’t forget that Robert Bobb was run out of town by Jerry Brown when Bobb pushed for an Uptown ballpark. The job is not for the meek. Bobb’s consulting firm is taking a gig with the JPA, negotiating Coliseum City or an alternative on their behalf. Bobb negotiated the publicly-financed Nationals Ballpark deal and recently helped deliver a report on a nearby stadium concept for the DC United soccer franchise. At $286 million, nearly half paid by the District, it would be the most expensive stadium in MLS by leaps and bounds. A City Manager/Administrator does far more than stadium deals, and finding qualified, experienced candidates is not easy, as Oakland has seen the last several years. Having one in place who supports the project, negotiates fairly for the City, and communicates regularly is just as important as having a Mayor on board. It doesn’t hurt to have a good working relationship between the City Administrator and Mayor. What’s particularly troubling is that the rapid turnover has exposed a brain drain problem at City Hall. Many cities promote from within to fill an open city manager position, with the advantage that an internal candidate already knows the local turf and pitfalls, no learning curve required. Gardner’s expected to leave with Quan, so to call the need urgent would not be an understatement.

47 thoughts on “More Election Aftermath 2014: Oakland Transition Begins

  1. ML,

    I would love to hear your take on San Antonio officials in town to lasso Mark Davis today. Perhaps you are already working on a post already, if so, forgive me.

    Thanks!

  2. wonder where’s the backlash from those antil a’s/wolff east bay citizens who’ve hammered both for looking at sj for many years yet the raiders can meet with officials from both down south in southern california and even another state in a different time zone and haven’t heard a peep yet.

  3. @letsgoas

    I will never understand the obsesion with the raiders. Sure, football is king but still , the raiders have been nothing but troubles. Now they have a lazy ass owner with cute hair cut and all, and still Oakland is trying like heck to retain them. Wasting time and resources. I say don’t let the door hit your ass , Mark.

  4. re: Schaaf says no public money for stadiums – meet the new boss, same as the old boss. And how do 99% of stadiums get built? With public money, of course. It’s obvious the money isn’t there for a Raiders stadium and Schaaf seems to recognize the stronger economic benefit of having 80+ A’s games vs. 10 Raiders games. Time to give the A’s the coliseum property and send the Raiders to Levi’s. There’s already a stadium nearby that the Raiders can use…

    • Raiders won’t be going to Levis. If they can’t get Oakland to open its collective wallet they’ll go to San Antonio’s open piggy bank or to LA and partner up with the rich guys and their stadium plans down there, either AEG or Roski.

      Raiders will be gone by Easter.

    • Perhaps after all these years someone could finally explain how this whole “80 games per year instead of 10!” stuff benefits the A’s/Wolff. You know, paying off the massive debt on a privately financed East Oakland ballpark with the weak corporate support/disposable income of Oakland.

      Sure, selling 80 beers a year instead of 10 is great for Oakland coffers (?), but how does that help Wolff/MLB?…

      • @ Tony D.
        It sure would not help the A’s/MLB as much at the coliseum site, as it would in San Jose at the Dirdon site, but we work with what we have to work with.
        Unfortunately San Jose is not in play, and we don’t know if it ever will be. Its sucks, but that’s the situation, if the A’s could be in San Jose, it may make it easier in Oakland for the Raiders, and perhaps we would not have to lose either team, but then what do I know.

      • @ Tony D.
        “We”, being the Bay Area, not just Oakland.

      • MLB could be changing its position about the giants – they are publicly questioning the Giants owners’ belief that the Giants will lose some of their fanbase (800K fans per per, according to Baer – LOL) if the A’s move to SJ. Also, the new commish, (Manfred) recently met with SJ Mayor Reed (something Selig wouldn’t do) Then, a few days after the meeting, the A’s and SJ agreed to a new 7 years land purchase option. Now, after Liccardo winning the SJ mayoral race (who appears to want the A’s to SJ even more than Reed does) – do the math.

        Furthermore, the Giants recent world series success may possibly help the A’s cause The giants post season ratings have been dismal (they set new all time record low viewer ratings each time they make world series appearances) Game 7 saved the 2014 WS as the lowest ever ratings ever. Even so, the 2014 WS was rated the lowest ratings ever for a 7 game series. In fact, the 2014 NBA finals achieved overall higher viewer ratings than the 2014 WS. MLB may be aware of the giants unpopularity (that the Giants are not good ambassadors for MLB) and could be inclined not to do them many favors in the future.

      • As per usual, your conspiracy theory false equivalencies are grade-A bullshit, duffer.

      • @SMG – the fact the the NBA finals did a higher viewer rating than the Giants WS must be troubling for MLB. No conspiracies – just facts.

      • @duffer – Irrelevant. MLB secured 2X national TV contracts despite the Giants being in the World Series 2 of the last 4 years. At this point all MLB cares about are more competitive series and extra games.

      • To bad you’re fucking cherry-picking from a nearly 30 year trend. You ignore the fact that each Red Sox world series attracted fewer viewers per game than the previous one (i.e. 2004 had higher ratings than 2007 which had higher ratings than 2013). The 1997 Marlins series had higher ratings than the 2003 Marlins series. The 1986 Mets series was far higher than the 2000 Mets series. The list goes on. No matter what teams appear in the WS, the ratings have had a distinct downward trend since 1986.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Series_television_ratings

        Or, you could continue to toss around your unabashed ignorance. Either way, you’re statistically wrong.

      • SMG – many giants fans, such as yourself, are experts at cherry picking. How do you explain that the WS ratings rise (in the 2013 WS by 29%, even though it was only a 5 game series) each year after the giants go there. Small ball (or possibly the giants organization) doesn’t sell with MLB fans.

      • Oh look, more cherry picking. A 30 year trend doesn’t lie. It proves you statistically wrong. You are LITERALLY blaming the Giants for single-handedly being responsible for that 30-year trend. Might as well blame the Braves, too then. They were in 5/9 WS in the 90s and the trend line was negative.

        We get it. You don’t like the Giants. That doesn’t mean you get you ignore mathematical fact viewed over a decades long timeline.

      • Seriously though, duffer: YOU explain a 30 year negative trend line and why you think that is the sole fault of the Giants. Go ahead, I could use a good laugh.

    • Bringing it up again: There’s no evidence the NFL is willing to help fund any stadium in Oakland.

      • @SMG
        It certainly seems like it could go that way (NFL not wanting to help build in Oak), but the NFL has not said they definitely will not help with a stadium built in Oakland either.

      • If they wouldn’t build 2 in New York (well, NJ really), they aren’t going to do it in the Bay Area (or LA for that mater), especially when Levi’s is brand new and was required to be built to house 2 home teams.

        Maybe it’s not literally impossible, but it is extremely unlikely to the point where the plausibility of the plan can safely be dismissed in my opinion.

      • @ SMG
        There are other factors here, the NFL may not want to help build two stadiums in the Bay Area, and I’m sure there a people in high places that are not happy, that Davis did not sign on with the 49ers in the first place, but the Raiders need a stadium, and the NFL would probably, rather help Davis in Oakland (regrettably in their eye), then to have one of its teams be playing on a baseball infield, there are high schools that don’t do that anymore.
        The NFL may not like it, I’m sure they don’t, but they can’t make Davis share with the 49ers, more than likely he would be in LA already, if the NFL did not already stipulate that a second team may come to that market, and if they help build, they would expect that stadium to eventually be for two.
        Davis feverishly wants his own stadium, that may be the only reason Oakland still has a chance in this (if they do), and while you are probably correct, I think the NFL just might do it, if for no other reason, then to keep the problem (Davis family), quite for another 25-30 years, in hopes that Mark would have to sale by then.

      • I disagree. I really don’t see any way the NFL does Davis any favors in Oakland.

      • @ SMG
        You could very well be correct, I just hope we find out sooner, then latter.

  5. Bleacher report said the Raiders won’t move to San Antonio despite showing intrest.

  6. No San Antonio guys

    Oakland Raiders Won’t Relocate to San Antonio…according to Just Blog Baby….

    That was too quick

    • @ Aw
      I really think the only reason they would go to San Antonio, is the fact they Davis is more likely to get the city of San Antonio to come up with a heave laden taxpayer financed plan to make it happen, and we know Oakland doesn’t have any money, and LA doesn’t fill as though they should have to spend any.
      The bottom line may be that Davis being poor, by owner’s standards has to go with the plan that gives him the most help to get it built.

  7. Raiders don’t need a new stadium. They need a new team.

  8. Welcome back Tony D!

    • Thanks Larry.
      @ all,
      Remember my guarantee from a few days back. Might sound insane to some, but I’m now actually more confident about SJ happening for the A’s then I was 5 months ago…but I’ve come to the realization that it’s going to be awhile. Stay tuned..

  9. Update 1:25 PM – Mayor-elect Schaaf did an interview with KQED radio today. She was tossed a few sports-related questions from Forum host Scott Shafer. After reaffirming her no-public-funding stance, Shafer got her to clarify a few things about the Raiders-vs.-A’s conflict.

    Shafer: There’s a lot of pressure on public officials – mayors – that you don’t want to “lose” the Raiders or “lose” the A’s. The 49ers are now essentially in San Jose, they’re down in Santa Clara. The Giants have a wonderful ballpark on the (SF) waterfront. If you had to lose one of those teams, which one would you rather lose? In terms of the economic health of the city, which one matters me?

    Schaaf: I’ve already gone on the record on this question. My first and strongest priority is keeping both teams. I believe that we can afford to not pit against one another. But as far as economic impact, our baseball team has a greater economic impact to the city.

    Shafer: And in terms of what is the most likely location for a new ballpark for the A’s, what would it be?

    Schaaf: Honestly, I love the idea of a waterfront ballpark in Jack London Square, at Howard Terminal, but I’m very transparent about this. Wherever somebody else’s money is gonna build a stadium – I will support that location.

    The refreshing thing about Schaaf’s statement is that it sounds like she’s going to let the money (the A’s) lead the way, instead of combatively trying to force A’s ownership to comply with a concept they don’t believe in (ahem, Howard Terminal). That’s a good first step towards building a healthy public-private partnership.

    Believe it or not, there are many Raider fans who believe that a football stadium can drive greater economic impact than a ballpark, despite the numbers that suggest it’s impossible (82 baseball games vs. 10 football games, 2.5 million attendance vs. 650,000). It’s good to hear Schaaf put that debate – if there ever was one – to bed.

    • Man, reading between the lines, it really seems like Schaff would prefer going with a Wolff proposal, over a Davis one. (Not that Davis has given one)
      Wolff has money and a history of being a lead developer, Davis has neither one, and would have to depend on privet developers, and public funds, of which we have no idea where they would come from, to make it happen.
      Oakland has the land (in and around the coliseum site), which is worth a good deal of money. The transportation measure that passed in Alameda County would kick in 40 million for a transportation hub. There is the special funds in Sacramento, that K commented on some time back (here), that could help with a new coliseum (city),BART station, don’t know if that would include a new walking bridge.
      That’s all I know of, and while that’s a nice start what is Oakland/Alameda County going to do for infrastructure cost, which is the absolute minimum I would think they have to come up with. I have not even heard anyone come up with ideas.

  10. Scenario

    Let’s say the city of Oakland goes with Wolff proposal..but the Raiders want to stay in Oakland. Can Wolff still do his development without kicking the Raiders out???

  11. Regardless of the development related incentives that Oakland may possibly offer Wolff for him to build his new A’s privately funded ballpark on the Coliseum site, MLB will have to decide on whether to continue treating the current two team Bay Area market as comprising two separate unequal territories, or to revert back to a one territory market. That question, and only that question will decide the future ballpark location for the A’s within the Bay Area. Ultimately, the deciding factor will come from MLB and new MLB Commissioner Manfred, and not from the newly elected Mayor Schaaf. I strongly believe that Wolff will not agree to fund and build his new ballpark in the less lucrative East Bay territory without guaranteed revenue sharing to offset the territorial disadvantage that was put forth by MLB for his A’s within their shared Bay Area market with the Giants.

    • It’ll be up to the other 29 owners to make that decision. I could see Wolff arguing it since it could rhetorically back Beer into a corner.

    • Wolff shouldn’t agree to build at the coliseum site, unless the guarantee of future revenue sharing is guaranteed (regardless if it’s needed, or not), for that matter it should be guaranteed anywhere in Alameda/CC counties, since MLB is confining the A’s to those two counties.

    • @llpec, excellent argument (and overlooked too) Also the A’s agreeing to build at the Coliseum site is still obviously years away. The new Oakland Administration will complicate and delay Wolff’s decision even more. The A’s find the CC project 100% unacceptable. Even If the A’s get their wish and the CC project is nixed – Wolff very likely won’t commit to build there unless he knows exactly how the remaining CC landsite will be developed.

    • Outstanding llpec! Oakland could give Wolff development rights to the entire city; still wouldn’t change the lack of corporate support or disposable income in The O. Debts would still need to be paid off for ballpark, infrastructure, demolition, retiring current debts…are we looking at nearly $1 billion out of Wolffs pocket? Continued revenue sharing past 2016 (new CBA) would almost be a given if the A’s are forced to stay in Oakland/current territory.

      Continue the A’s on revenue sharing or turn them into a revenue generating franchise? Up to Manfred/MLB..

  12. Yes, I know I have previously asked this question and maybe it was already answered. If so, please forgive me for being so dense. But if some believe that Howard Terminal is such a GREAT site for a sports stadium, why do these same people insist that it is the A’s who must move there and not the Raiders? What is it about that site that makes it a “perfect” location for pro baseball, but not for pro football? Wouldn’t football fans also like to brag about “their” view of the waterfront? If it is about cost, then why are so many so sympathetic to Mr. Davis’ “poverty” but not the pocketbook of the A’s owners? It almost sounds like a variation on the “Bait and Switch” swindle.

  13. The Port of Oakland had a conference call with the OWB group to discuss how things were going a few weeks ago. By keeping the site empty, the POO is losing money on the site. The POO is now considering putting the now dormant Shore Power System located on the site to use to generate revenue. It’s my understand that this power system must be dismantled in order to develop. And again, the POO is now looking to have it operating for financial reasons. The ballpark dream is costing them money. It’s not a small deal. But I’m sure the dreamers who want a stadium to be built there will happily down play this issue.

    p.s. I hate this subject.

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