Recent meetings of the Peralta Colleges’ Board of Trustees were packed with supporters and opponents of the proposed A’s stadium near Laney College. Photo courtesy of the Laney Tower.
The Peralta Colleges’ Board of Trustees this week directed Chancellor Jowel Laguerre to stop plans with the team to build a new ballpark, near Laney College campus and Oakland Chinatown.
The trustees, acting at a closed-session meeting Tuesday, told the chancellor to halt “community engagement” talks with the team and to focus instead on the needs of the colleges and students and faculty.
“This is a victory for all of us who have been working to make Laney and Oakland places where working class people color can thrive,” said Alvina Wong of the Stay the Right Way coalition, which opposed building the downtown stadium.
“The Peralta Board of Trustees did the right thing by putting the interests of Laney students and the surrounding communities first,” she said. “We need to know that the chancellor is committed to doing the same, and that he won’t try to revive this stadium plan again next year.”
The team had sent a letter to Peralta in September and announced publically it wanted build on the site of the community college district’s headquarters, but no discussions with the board had begun, according to the board.
“We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” said the A’s in a statement Wednesday. “All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.”
Trustee Nicky Gonzalez Yuen said the trustees “unambiguously” told the chancellor to end the conversation with the A’s, according to the SF Chronicle.
“I came to the conclusion that … as a district it was really out of our scope,” he said, speaking as an individual. “We didn’t have the capacity to study this carefully… There were so many outstanding questions about the impacts on the local community.”
In a statement, Laguerre said, “The district will work with its students, faculty, staff, administrators and community to reimagine the District’s needs and assess the resources to meet them…The Board of Trustees will continue due diligence in determining the costs and benefits of potential development.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “Oakland remains fiercely determined to keep the A’s in Oakland.
“It is unfortunate the discussion with Peralta ended so abruptly, yet we are committed, more than ever, to working with the A’s and our community to find the right spot in Oakland for a privately-financed ballpar,” she said.