OP-ED: Oakland Pro Sports Stand at a Crossroads

Oakland professional sports are at a crossroada. There must be decided leadership to save the Coliseum area from becoming a ghost town.

The mayor, in a classic “misstatement,” first bragged about a Middle Eastern developer pouring billions into the Coliseum for new stadiums for the football and baseball teams along with hotels and other housing and other amenities. The sound you hear is the mayor’s office backpedalling because the developer refused to place any money into the deal. Back to square one.

The Coliseum board needs impressive leadership immediately to save the teams. The roaming A’s still dream of San Jose but can kiss that move goodbye. Major league baseball says “No Va” to the move.

They now want to extend their lease, but of course, are demanding huge concessions. The authority is negotiating, but standing firm on a long-term commitment and decent revenue returned.

At this point, the city should identify a baseball stadium site with public transportation and road access, open space to build housing and commercial facilities – the same model used in every city for the last 20 years.

The Raiders are a different problem. Oakland is still paying for the 1994 bonehead bonds that brought the Raiders back. The current site is ideal for football stadium, but the mismanaged improvements of 20 years ago are creaking at the seams. Coliseum needs a huge remodel or simply to build a new stadium next door.

Either way, the authority and Raiders have to put aside the bad feelings, past mistakes, and work together with the NFL to build a state-of-the-art palace for the Raiders. Now let us hope they can start winning. The best antidote for empty seats is a winning team, and the Raiders have not had that in 10 years.

The Warriors are the most dysfunctional of the three teams. The new ownership was initially lauded because they replaced such a previously inept owner. However, they have shown themselves to be as arrogant and clueless as any professional sports owner.

The latest example of their buffoonery is firing the only successful coach in 20 years for reasons that range from his religious beliefs to disrespecting the owner’s entitled son.

There repeatedly insulted their loyal fan base, announcing twice during this season that they are moving the San Francisco after being rejected. They have now planted their flag near the SF train station with an exit date 2017.

Pompous blowhards are attempting to stiff the authority of the additional 10 years of bond payments from the arena renovation. The authority needs to hold fast and collect every penny.

Decisive leadership can save Oakland sports teams. The model is the Los Angeles Staples Center area.That can be done in Oakland, too.

Clinton Killian

Clinton Killian

Clinton Killian is an attorney at downtown Oakland law firm Fried & Williams LLP and is former public official. His email is ckillian@postnewsgroup.com

 

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