The Adult Conversation, Aborted

I never intended to create a series of posts titled “Adult Conversation,” yet here they are:

…plus there are other related posts that had to do with Coliseum City in 2015:

What happened since then? Besides the the Warriors leaving for SF and the Raiders’ announcement of their exodus to Vegas, not that much.

Now that the City and County are embroiled in a lawsuit over the sale of the County’s share of the Coliseum to the A’s, we’re stuck in a state of utter confusion. Quick recap: City sued County two weeks ago. Rob Manfred stepped in and threatened to move the A’s to Vegas if City doesn’t back down. This week, County threatens to stop negotiations on the Coliseum if City doesn’t back down.

Hold on a sec. Does anyone really know what the two sides are arguing about?

Remaining debt payments on the Coliseum after 2012 refinancing

According to the City of Oakland, Alameda County went and took the offer from the A’s without seeking a counteroffer from the City. The previous working plan was that the County would pay off the debt, and the City would pay back the County over time to regain control of the entire complex, allowing the County to exit the sports venue business. That was the essence of the adult conversation. The City didn’t (and reportedly still doesn’t) have the money to pay for their share and pay back the County, so that went nowhere.

However, the City is now revealing a different wrinkle to the A’s deal. According to City Council member Larry Reid, the County is allowing the A’s to pay off the County’s remaining debt installments, a pitch that the County didn’t in turn make to the City. That sounds a lot like what the City wanted, right? This is what doesn’t make sense to me. The City wasn’t able to take over the debt, yet they say the County didn’t give City the option to try? (As far as I know, neither City nor County have the option to accelerate the payments to pay off their share early.)

Either the City or County is interpreting the terms of the arrangement wrong. And that is what I find most disappointing about all of this. The two sides, after back and forth periods of acrimony and harmony, literally had years to iron out the details of the Coliseum’s dissolution. That is what was supposed to be the eventual product of the adult conversation. Perhaps they got distracted by the pipe dream that was Coliseum City. There were certainly other more pressing civic priorities over the years. But the important takeaway from all of this is that the Coliseum JPA is about to get out of all of this without going broke in the process, though they certainly got close. Whether the land is sold back to the City or is sold to the A’s, both City and County will be made whole, instead of incurring even more enormous debt via a new complex of stadia as they were ready to incur.

That all said, part of me is hoping for the November hearing to go as currently scheduled, as it could finally put the matter to rest. The two sides are having closed-door talks right now to settle out of court. Maybe that’ll finally result in something. They had a chance to settle for years. What should cause them to strike a deal now, after all this time? Sometimes, the only thing you know is litigation.

15 thoughts on “The Adult Conversation, Aborted

  1. If the city and the team manage to blow this whole thing, and the team moves to Las Anywhere-land, you can title your upcoming book “The Adult Conversation”

  2. Hey it was fun while it lasted. Coliseum City didnt work because of bad decisions from both Raiders, A’s, Alameda county and City of Oakland. It happens. Almost 50 years of great and not so great memories. Pro sports in the east bay might be done for good. Check back next decade to see if city leadership and pro sports landscape changes. As a Oaklander I’ll root for the IFL Panthers…I’ll root for the 49ers, Warriors and ugg Giants. Still love the bay area and will continue to work and support anything bay area. Just too much dysfunctional things between the sports teams and city politics 🤦🏿‍♂️🏀🏈⚾️

  3. Is there a scenario where the Athletics buy the Coliseum property; and build there?? It see like that is back-up to any issues that would occur with Howard Terminal. I know with some “Coliseum City” drawings had a ballpark in the 66th Ave. side on the property. That still gives a ton of land on the other side for development.

    • The A’s aren’t considering that as a Plan B despite its lower cost and easier political road. That may change if Howard Terminal continues to encounter difficulty.

      • Getting 36,000 people in and out of the Coliseum has been done on 1000’s of occasions. 2 exits off the Nimitz, Bart Station, CalTrain/Amtrak, plus buses already in place. Do I see it as a “fallback” plan, maybe.

        If I remember, the power lines would need moved and a water main needs moved. But they would have to be moved for any development there.

  4. It’s becoming painfully obvious that the political establishment in Oakland is against gentrification, and with that fact the impact that it creates by making the housing situation in its working class and poorer neighborhoods no longer affordable for its long-time residents. It is for this main reason that we are seeing political opposition to proposed new ballpark sites for the A’s at HT, Laney-Peralta-Lake Merritt, and other near downtown Oakland proposed sites. As for the the current coliseum setting, the gentrification issue doesn’t impact the same way in its east Oakland neighborhood since that vast property has been a continuous professional sports facility for well over fifty years. In that case, a new ballpark or stadium would likely not change much the character of its surrounding area. It appears that the A’s do not want to build their new ballpark on the coliseum property, and unfortunately we are still at square one.

  5. @ IIpec

    Your observation concerning generation is spot on at the Paralta site, but with the HT site it’s a bit of a reach, not that it couldn’t be used as an agreement against the project to purswade that it was the case regardless of how true it is.

  6. What angered me about the Peralta/Laney debate wasn’t so much that the opponents discussed their fears of gentrification, I get that line of argumentation. What was so annoying, dishonest and frustrating was the argument that MLB Ballparks and Educational Institutions can’t coexist, which is complete BS. There are 200+ schools from Kindergartens to Harvard, especially as ballparks have made their return to downtowns all across the country.

  7. A’s should move to Sacramento, Vegas or Portland … not enough fans in Bay Area support them.

  8. I think what this is really gonna boil down to is whether or not Oakland wants to remain a big league city.

  9. Shame on Schaaf and the Schaaf Administration – somehow, in the space of a few years, Oakland (once the host of three major sports franchises (Raiders, Dubs, A’s) – will likely soon hosting zero major sports teams (thanks to Mayor Schaaf) Schaaf continues with her song and dance routine, meanwhile the A’s will soon likely joining the Raiders and Dubs and bolt out of Oakland.

    Compare what Schaaf has done (not lifted a finger) to keep the teams in Oakland. And what Mayor Butts of Inglewood (which is dwarfed by Oakland and Oakland’s resources) Butts has managed to land two of the most valuable franchises in pro sports (the LA Rams, and Clippers) and will soon host these two significant franchises – also without Inglewood taxpayers required to pay one dime towards building the state-of-the-art 75,000 cap. Rams stadium and 18,000 cap. Clippers stadium – this is indeed the classic story of the tale between two cities. Again shame on Mayor Schaaf – what a horrible job done by Schaaf and her administration indeed.

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