OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | Before a long and contentious night that featured passionate debate over public safety, the Oakland City Council resumed its fractious infighting ways on an unexpected issue: the appointment of two members to the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority.
The council unanimously appointed Councilmember Larry Reid to the Coliseum commission Tuesday night, replacing the outgoing Ignacio De La Fuente, but a virtual cat fight ensued between Councilmember Desley Brooks who prodded her colleagues, Rebecca Kaplan and Council President Pat Kernighan, while attempting to educate new council member Dan Kalb on the authority’s function.
Kaplan was later appointed to replace Brooks on the commission, but not without Brooks questioning Kernighan’s motives for the move.
“If anybody has done their homework on what I’ve done, it doesn’t make sense to replace me,” said Brooks, who along with two dozen public speakers, attempted to make a case for her reappointing to the joint powers authority overseeing the Coliseum.
The often combative Brooks ticked off a trio of possible reasons for the decision to remove her from the authority, ranging from a reported clash of personalities between her and fellow commission member Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and questions over the terms of the original appointment being only for two years.
“When the president gives an alternative reason why an action is being taken, I must respond,” Brooks said while claiming she heard of the decision from a resident, not Kernighan. “That is hardly the civility and goodwill that has been expressed,” Brooks responded with allusions of having second thoughts about voting for Kernighan last week for council president.
“There must be something more than looking at the record,” Brooks continued. “Call it what it is. It is when you use multiple excuses and don’t look at the record.” A third seat on the authority is open, Brooks also said to further her case. However, the resignation of current Commissioner Yui Hay Lee was rescinded, Kernighan said Tuesday night.
“Oh, lord guard my tongue from evil and let us focus on this city,” Kaplan said with somewhat comical exasperation. The addition of Kaplan and Reid to the authority will add a more pro-stadium, pro-sports franchise to the mix, as opposed to the timid support in the past from De La Fuente, who during the past campaign against Kaplan for City Council last year, registered second thoughts over his role in bringing the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995, and Brooks, whose perchance for vitriol among colleagues is well-known.
“It’s not about adding more games, but adding those other businesses,” said Kaplan, referring to her support of the Coliseum City plan at the site of the current stadium and arena. Customers and fans heading to the Coliseum need a place to have dinner or a drink before and after events, said Kaplan.
“I’m not saying Ms. Brooks did a bad job,” said Kernighan. However, her words were drowned out by hecklers in the audience and Kernighan, perhaps conveniently, never finished her thought.
The OACCA meets this Friday, 8:30 a.m., Oracle Arena Plaza Club, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland. Among the items on the agenda: election of the authority’s new chair and approval to conduct two studies involving revenue potential and market demand for a new stadium at the Coliseum and a site plan for the project.