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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Schaaf delivers emotional call for Raiders to stay in Oakland

Oakland Raiders fan displays his displeasure
with the team's intention of moving to Vegas.
OAKLAND
With the clock admittedly winding down, Mayor Libby Schaaf launched a passionate, sometimes defiant effort Saturday to keep the Raiders in Oakland. NFL Owners could possibly vote on allowing the team to relocate to Las Vegas as early as Monday.

Oakland’s seemingly last-ditch effort includes a pledge from the Ronnie Lott-backed investment group offering a similar loan reportedly backed by Bank of America to build a retractable-dome stadium in Las Vegas. NFL executives reportedly are balking at the existence of the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum, along with a persistent gripe against the city’s inclusion of a third-party developer.

Schaaf admitted the presence of the Oakland Athletics looms large over any deal in the minds of NFL executives. But she stood firm Saturday in vowing not to push away the A’s when ample room exists at the 55-acre Coliseum complex for two stadiums. She also dispelled rumors peddled by some national football reporters that the NFL had shown interest to the city for purchasing the land at the Coliseum, presumably to act as developer for the stadium project.

Emotions, though, were on full display at a quickly organized press conference Saturday at the
Coliseum, with both Schaaf and Raiders superfans describing the team’s historical value to Oakland and extolling the virtues of the local plan while knocking Las Vegas’ plan.

Schaaf, recounting as a teenager the memory of crying when learning the Raiders were skipping town for Los Angeles in 1981, she said. “We are not going to let that happen again.”

Much of Schaaf's comments were delivered in an--uncommon for her--rapid, staccato rhythm. At one point, remarking about the suggestion the city and county has not done enough to offer the NFL and the Raiders a suitable offer, Schaaf said, “We are calling bullshit on that.”

A load, continuous roar followed from the roughly 200 Silver-and-Black-bedecked fans at the Coliseum’s Eastside Club. “Oakland is united in this effort,” said Schaaf. “It’s not too little, too late for this deal.”

Schaaf and other elected officials attempted to highlight Oakland’s revised plan for a new 55,000-seat stadium at the current Coliseum footprint, while knocking away at the heavy debt load the team might face with Las Vegas’ offer, estimated as high as $1 billion.

Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid said the current offer from the Ronnie Lott-backed Fortress Investment Group is offering the Raiders $800 million private money as opposed to the $750 million in taxpayers’ money approved for Las Vegas. “Our deal is equal or better than what they have in Vegas,” said Reid.

Oakland also continues to bet on the region’s blazing business climate and much-larger media presence over that in Las Vegas, in addition, to playing up the Raiders “mystique.” Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a major player in the local business community, said the East Bay’s economy is too hot to ignore. “It’s in the NFL’s best interests to keep the team here,” said Wunderman.

If Oakland’s hopes of keeping its professional football team are dashed next week or at another scheduled NFL owners’ meeting in May, its options going forward are very limited.

When a reporter asked Schaaf if the city might sue the league if the Raiders’ relocation is approved, Schaaf said, “Let me be clear right now, we are not contemplating any other option other than winning. If the unthinkable should happen, check-in with me after that. I do not have room in my heart, in my mind, for any other result right now.”

Founded in 1960 and excluding the 13-year odyssey in Los Angeles, the Raiders have historically been a part of Oakland’s identity as a rough-hewn, blue-collar town populated by underdogs. Whether this is a valid point in a league that grosses more than $9 billion annually, is questionable.

But a number of fans Saturday returned to the inescapable link between the team and city, with one fan asking Raiders owner Mark Davis to simply “love us back.”

“What more can we say,” Schaaf added, “Love us back.”

3 comments:

  1. By MW:

    As to why the Raiders should stay in Oakland, Schaaf should emphasize the "quality"
    of municipal services Oakland offers.

    For instance, she could emphasize the competence of the clowns and professional pathological liars in Oakland's Fire Department and Building Inspections, the integrity of the Police Department (ask Celeste Guap for details), or take people on a tour of Oakland's streets, and during which they could observe that an extremely high percentage of the parking meters are totally out of order.

    I am not aware of any major city that can even begin to touch Oakland in the percentage of parking meters that are out of order. In fact, a good question is if Oakland city government becomes aware of someone who due to extreme alcoholism and/or drug addiction is totally incoherent, rather than sending the person to rehab, is the person instead given a job with the Fire Department or Building Inspections or offered a position as a parking meter repairman.

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  2. By MW:

    As to further reasons a business, and such as for instance a major sports franchise, should consider being in Oakland rather than another city, Schaaf should emphasize Oakland's history of consistently placing only the very best people in positions of power and top leadership, in other words such people as Jean Quan, Deborah Edgerly, and Teresa DeLoach Reed, and so forth.

    In fact if Dick Stuart, and who was nicknamed Dr. Strangeglove, was still alive, and if the big boys in Oakland City Hal got to make the decisions concerning the A's starting lineup, the geniuses in Oakland City Hall would probably decide that the best way to improve the A's and their defense would be to have Stuart playing shortstop, and including since it was really a crime to waste his "talents" on defense in such out of the way positions as first base and rightfield.

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  3. By MW:

    While it seems to be a fairly sure thing that the Raiders will be leaving Oakland - and that the Warriors also will be leaving Oakland - however supposedly the A's are considering staying.

    And I have a "solution" to "guarantee" that the A's will stay. In other words, let's pay a huge fee to Doug Boxer, and who is Barbara Boxer's son and also the founder of LET's GO OAKLAND, to "work" on "saving" the A's.

    Doug Boxer, and who is a lawyer and also a graduate of UC Berserkely, and which is one of the "top" twelve colleges and universities for producing scam artists, embezzlers, money launderers, snakes, scumbags, fifth columnists, white collar criminals, and crooked lawyers, previously accepted a fee of hundreds of thousands of dollars from SF interests. And he then did everything in his power to facilitate arranging for the Warriors to move out of Oakland to San Francisco.

    So let's pay a huge fee to Boxer so that he will "work" on "saving" the A's. Or at least he will until someone pays him a still larger fee so that he can then "study" the issue and then "prove" that it is "best" for Oakland that the A's leave.

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