OAKLAND COLISEUM AUTHORITY | Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley checked his email last Sunday and found a message alerting him of a sewage leak in the player’s locker room at O.co Coliseum. Miley, also the chair of the joint powers authority that runs the facility, understood it was a minor problem being handled accordingly.
“Then when all the press started hitting us like, whoa, what is all this?” said Miley on Friday following the Coliseum Authority’s monthly meeting. “I’m not necessarily blaming the press," he added, "but there are people feeding this type of information. I’m blaming folks who are maybe taking it and using it to their advantage in inappropriate ways.”
Although, Miley did not mention Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff by name, he and other team officials made assertion in some reports characterizing the sewage leak as symptomatic of an aging ballpark and a prime reason for construction of a new stadium in San Jose.
“The way it was characterized just got me annoyed and upset,” Miley said. “Once again recognizing the explanation, I think it was blown out of proportion and people were mischaracterizing it. For what purposes? I’m not going to say.”
However, a few days after the initial uproar following the damage to the locker room, the city of San Jose curiously filed suit in U.S. District Court in hopes of forcing Major League Baseball to make a determination whether to allow the A’s to move to San Jose. Four years after the commissioner of baseball assembled a so-called “blue ribbon committee” to study the proposed move to the South Bay, no recommendation has been made.
Chris Wright, the general manager for both the Coliseum and Oracle Arena, says news reports confused recurring plumbing problems at the 46-year-old edifice and sewage leaks like the event last weekend. “I was stunned when I heard the comment, ‘this happens all the time,’” said Wright.
Wright says he then asked for clarification on the claim being made by some that sewage problems were a somewhat regular event at the Coliseum. “I was told the statement was in a response to a question, ‘Do you have plumbing issues’ and the response was, ‘Yes, we have plumbing issues all the time,’ but not necessarily sewer issues,” Wright said. “We have plumbing issues as any other facility would have.”
He also dismissed comments made by Wolff last week regarding the closure of a kitchen in the Westside Club and described the problem as a clogged sink. “We’re a major facility that has lots of things going on,” he said. “Do sinks back up? Absolutely.”
When asked if the suggestion was an opportunity to kick the Coliseum while it was down,Wright grinned, and said, “I’m going to take a sip of my coffee on that one.”
In the meantime, the A’s and visitor’s locker rooms is scheduled to be re-opened Saturday, said Wright. Both were cleaned and tested for bacteria on Thursday, he added, along with installation of new sheetrock. Carpeting and a new paint job are being applied today, he said.
Miley, however, does not believe the Coliseum, a publicly-owned facility, has a marketing problem as a substandard entertainment venue, but new stadiums are needed in the future. “I heard feedback both ways. Some people love this place like a distinguished old jewel that they are comfortable with and others have the perception this is a dump.
“That’s why we’re working with the Raiders to build a new stadium and a new stadium for the A’s," said Miley, "if we can get Lew Wolff to cooperate.”
NOTES Construction crews are working on seismically retrofitting the bridge on the 66th Avenue entrance to the Coliseum. On Friday morning, the entrance was closed, but Wright says the Coliseum is working with the Oakland Public Works Department to schedule partial openings of the entrance during event days. The A’s, however, have their own separate arrangement with Public Works for opening the gate on game days...It was announced the Oakland Raiders will hold a corporate event July 19 at team headquarters in Alameda. The event hopes to entice corporate support for the team and is co-sponsored by Oakland-based Clorox. In recent months, the NFL has stated the key to football thriving in the East Bay includes a more regional-based strategy along with attracting big-name corporate sponsorship dollars. For this reason, officials from all cities in Alameda County are invited to the soiree, in addition, to those from Contra Costa County…And, for the record: Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid again wore a Raiders cap to this morning’s meeting and was joined by fellow Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who donned a black A’s cap. As noted before, it’s sort of like Walmart applying for a permit and seeing the city’s planning commissioners wearing blue Walmart smocks to the hearing.