Alameda County, Coliseum Needs To Quit Undercutting Its Sports Assets

PHOTO/Mark Salinas-Facebook

SUNDAY COLUMN | We hear quite a bit about shopping locally from our public officials and supporting commerce in Alameda County, but when it comes to one of the biggest and most popular assets in the region, the view is fascinatingly obtuse.

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, as long-time sports broadcaster Brent Musberger has over the decades introduced as “you are looking live at…” is not just a stadium and arena, but an asset belonging to the City of Oakland and the entire county, hence the hyphenated name. Taxes derived from the large soda bought at a Justin Bieber concert and game tickets to the Oakland Athletics home opener next month go into the coffers that fix your roads and pay public employees to process and distribute social services to needy residents, among many positives.

An AC Transit bus last January celebrates
the 49ers entrance to the Super Bowl.

Yet, now we sit at a time when our local government and corporate entities fret they cannot support major league sports in the East Bay. Maybe the perception of Oakland as crime-infested and the area’s working class ethos doesn’t match the future as it is formulated in the South Bay with the likes of Google and Facebook, but the East Bay is not helping its case either.

Here’s a case in point, last month an antendee at a Save Our Sports event in Oakland raised a very important point. Why can’t all the county’s local agencies stand in solidarity with the challenge of keeping our three teams in the East Bay? Specifically, he said, why are AC Transit buses gliding through the streets of Oakland advertising for the San Francisco 49ers and Giants?

Of course, AC Transit wants to make advertising money, but at the expense of Alameda County’s ability to produce tax revenue? Large beer billboards hover next to Interstate 880 and beyond extolling their virtues of cheap lagers and sports franchises from across the bay, while ads featuring the Swingin’ A’s are never plastered in San Francisco. They seem to understand competition why can’t Alameda County?

The world of sports, however, seems to cloud matters when it comes to government and doling out tax dollars hand or fist. Unlike, the vicious push and pull of funding additional police officers or improving schools, hundreds of millions of dollars are easily and willingly offered. At least Oakland Councilmmeber Larry Reid, also a member of the Coliseum Authority is honest about his loyaties. He showed up for a meeting last January wearing a Raiders cap. Can you imagine the outrage of opponents to a current plan for a dog park in Oakland if Reid delivered the deciding vote allowing for funding of the proposal while wearing a Scooby-Doo shirt? Roh-roh!

When it comes to supporting large corporations located in the East Bay, local officials extol all their virtues. Mayor Jean Quan would never laud the internet music service Spotify when the headquarters of its competitor, Pandora, resides in downtown Oakland. That’s a given. So, why are some East Bay cities hosting the Giants World Series trophy own their home turf? In particular, Hayward’s City Hall hosted the reigning champ’s spoils last Tuesday. You may recall, the Giants are a multi-million dollar company that provides no economic benefit to Hayward or Alameda County. Even worse, they are company with the express intent of squeezing the life out of its business competitor in this county, the Oakland Athletics Baseball Company, a business that actually generates revenue and significant amounts of civic pride.

Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney, center, Councilman Mark Salinas,
right, poses with the Giants World Series trophy, Mar. 12, inside
City Hall. PHOTO/Mark Salinas-Facebook

It should be noted, too, that Hayward has some of the most viciously critical public officials in the region when it comes to state government stripping its ability to provide services with takebacks of local revenues over the years. However, none saw the hypocrisy of happily posing with the Giants World Series trophy this week, but they surely grouse when fewer tax receipts come their way when the very real possibility all three tax-generating teams scurry from here to other counties.

These cities are not anemic to this trend, the Coliseum’s own governing board and administration can’t even understand some of its actions are actually a net detriment to themselves. Has anyone driven by the Coliseum lately? Not only does the bright red glow of the Oracle sign, a corporation located in the South Bay, light up the freeway, but billboards own by the Coliseum and those adjacent nearby and owned by others are actually encouraging you to spend your money at venues other than the Coliseum. A digital billboard owned by Clear Channel periodically advertises for the World Baseball Classic at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Go across the bay, it is saying, and buy an early dinner and drinks. The Coliseum’s signage is even blunter. An advertisement for the San Jose Sharks even acts as a road map for Coliseum customers to purchase their $15 beers at HP Pavilion in San Jose, saying, “Icy Conditions Ahead.”

Instead of calling our sports teams by the short nicknames, maybe it would be wise to start using the names typed on their corporate tax returns because some of us may have loyalties when it comes to sports teams in far off places, but we also need to start being a fan of our own local government treasuries. If the so-called City of Champions, as the plaque reads on the grounds of Coliseum is to continue to mean anything to the East Bay, it needs to cease to exist solely as a marker for how many trophies the A’s, Raiders and Warriors have earned over the decades, but also signify the quality of life exhibited in fields not just played on grass and hardwood exist in all levels in Alameda County.

“It’s not unusual for public officials to change sides when something fails.”
Dev Mahadevan, CEO for the Eden Township Healthcare District, Mar. 13, mocking some Alameda County supervisors (we’re guessing Wilma Chan is one of them) for encouraging the District to sue Sutter Health for title to San Leandro Hospital only to later admonish the District for “wasting money” on legal fees when the strategy failed.

The Week That Was

That old feeling: Bill and Nadia in 2010.

>>>It was surely an embarrassing sight last month when city officials in Oakland announced they would need to return $600,000 in federal stimulus fund due to an error by the past Dellums administration. This week, members of the Workforce Investment Board told a city committee it has streamlined its operations over the past two years. Notably, the city employees who initially misapplied for the federal grants no longer work in Oakland.

Oakland Councilman Larry Reid continued his constant drumbeat of criticizing the master contractor chosen by the city (and him) to develop the Oakland Army Base. Reid said with much bravado the city auditor should investigate the handling of the entire army base deal saying, “If she asks the right questions, she’ll prove me right.”

>>>Not only does Rep. Eric Swalwell have a bill calling for the need to protect rare earth natural resources used for electronic devices (sounds like a declaration of war with China over iPhone parts), he took the lead on an international matter—protecting rights for LGBT communities in Ukraine. Wasn’t using staff time on seemingly innocuous issues a major talking point for Swalwell last year against his opponent, Pete Stark?

>>>The East Bay progressive Rep. Barbara Lee took umbrage with the federal budget plan put forth yet again by Rep. Paul Ryan, saying it would hurt the poor and disadvantaged.

>>>In Hayward, the $100 million 238 Corridor Improvement Plan comes to even greater fruition with the opening the Hayward Loop, which will redirect traffic through the city’s quickly improving downtown business and entertainment center.

>>>Finally, when it comes to love, there is nothing more sweeter than when its once again blossoms where it once was seemingly extinguished. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, 71, and his wife, former Alameda County supervisor Nadia Lockyer, 40, are getting back together, according to numerous reports this week.

She attended a hearing last Thursday in Orange County for her arrest for possession of methamphetamines and child endangerment. Bill says the couple will try to work it out. That, or he just wants to give Alameda County Democrats at next Thursday’s big Eden Area United Democratic Campaign dinner that special feeling of awkwardness when he shows up for his keynote address with his formerly estranged wife in tow.

>>>Ding! Ding! State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbettt and Rep. Eric Swalwell will also speak at Thursday’s belated St. Patrick’s Day dinner for what may be round one, or, at least, the preliminaires, for their 2014 race for the 15th Congressionl District.

Tweet of the Week
“Shameful #GOPBudget. Republicans vote down my amendment calling for a National Strategy to Eradicate Poverty. #talkpoverty”
Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee), Mar. 13.

Best Reads
>>>The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been used in the East Bay as a powerful weapon for issues like the possible closing of San Leandro Hospital and a wind turbine on the San Leandro Shoreline, among others. But, a case in Berkeley is showing it can also be used against its own intentions. (East Bay Express, Mar. 13).

>>>The A’s are in a catch-22 when it comes to attracting corporate support in Oakland, says the Web site, Small Ballpark, with team owners looking hopeful to the South Bay, while minimally functioning in Oakland. (Small Market Ball, Mar. 13).

Categories: 49ers, AC Transit, Allameda County, Athletics, CEQA, coliseum, Dev Mahadevan, Eric Swalwell, Giants, Hayward, Larry Reid, Michael Sweeney, Nadia Lockyer, Oakland City Council, Oakland Coliseum Authority

8 replies

  1. They're smiling because Sweeney cut a big fart and Salinas thought it was La Imperial induced.


  2. By MW:

    In regard to that Bill Lockyer and Nadia Lockyer are supposedly now thinking of reconciling and trying to save their marriage, I seriously doubt it is due to love, that is unless we count love of money.

    More specifically, since Bill is about seventy or seventy one and Nadia is only about forty, in other words they have an age of difference of about thirty years, and still furthermore women usually live longer than men, therefore if they were both normal people, and Nadia in her hallucinations and fantasies probably thinks they are, the probability would then be well over ninety five percent that Bill would predecease Nadia, and therefore if they stayed married Nadia would then automatically inherit most or all of their mutual assets.

    But since Nadia is an extreme drug addict, therefore there is a high chance Nadia will die first. And even if she does not die first, still very likely within a few years or less, and maybe even within a few months, she will basically blow herself up and end up in an institution, and then Bill can have her declared incompetent or whatever.

    Frankly, I suspect each one expects the other one to collapse or die first.

    But than there is also the possibility that Nadia knows about at least some of Bill's dirty laundry, and he has plenty, so therefore he might be scared stiff of having a court battle, and thereby risking having even a little bit of his dirty laundry aired.

    (NOTE: If Bill's dirty laundry was aired it would not only be a disaster for him, but it would also be a disaster for Willie Brown, John Burton, Dianne Feinstein, the California State Bar, the legal profession in general, and Bay area politicians in general. In other words, and although Nadia might not know it, if she blew the whistle on Bill the damage to Bay area politicians and the Bay area's more politically connected lawyers would be almost like what Watergate did to the Nixon Administration. So a lot of the Bay area's saints who have not been caught yet had better hope she does not get both well informed and angry.)


  3. La Imperial no longer exists.


  4. Good synopsis on Bill and Nadia. She's got the dirt on that slimebag and she could blow the entire Red Bay Area out to the Farallons.


  5. As with many larger than life politicians, most of the stuff on Lockyer is apocryphal, but not real. Like everyone else I've heard the rumors for years. I don't think any of them are true.

    1. There has never been proof of the “white wedding dress” photo.

    2. Any corroboration of the “Bill, Johan and the teenage daughter of a county supervisor in a hot tub together” story only exists within a senior care facility.

    3. San Leandro School Board Member Lockyer's frequent trips to Hawaii to coordinate that state for the McGovern presidential campaign were not funded by bringing Maui Wowie back to the Bay Area.

    4. Yes Willie Brown was huge in Lockyer's 73 special election against Maltester, but the only pricetag was a vote for speaker against the Leo McCarthy challenge. Lockyer had it won anyway. Democrats for Nixon killed Maltester in Oakland, and Alameda backed the loyal member of the dead Assemblyman's staff.

    5. The “cute couple” photo at Phil Daly's wedding was Johan and Ellen, not Bill and Ellen.

    Bill Lockyer's legislation over the years has been progressive, innovative and good for people. From his environmental and labor support to his insistence on local sales for all California issues, he's helped people progress, with dignity and opportunity. He still has the intellect and the dedication; I'll vote for him every chance I get.


  6. By MW:

    There are a lot of things we could discuss in regard to Bill Lockyer, and including the fact that the so called “napkin agreement” he and Willie Brown came up with in regard to the tobacco companies has certainly already led to the slow mass murder of at least tens of thousands, and more likely hundreds of thousands of people.

    And when I have time I will also discuss in depth how Bill Lockyer: one, defended, protected, covered for, and put the fix in for organized crime kingpin M.L. “Larry The Liar- Arlington” Lawrence, a guy who provided so much money to the politicians, and both through election campaign fundraisers and huge under the table bribes, that therefore various politicians, and including Lockyer, Willie Brown, John Burton, and Dianne Feinstein, pretended Lawrence, and who was their close friend, was a legitimate businessman; two, some of the groups of people who will most likely be the victims of slow mass murder due to the virtually non-stop asbestos violations that went on for years in a major Bay area office building that Lawrence was the primary owner of, criminal activities that were politically protected due to the influence of Brown, Burton, and Lockyer; and three, the trafficker in undocumented aliens who was a close associate of Lawrence, and who even got a janitorial contract in a hospital, and whose extreme miserliness, and even including refusing to spend the money to use soap and disinfectants, most likely have led to many hospital deaths due to infections.

    NOTE: That trafficker in undocumented aliens who was a close associate of Lawrence reduced costs by such methods as: one, putting on a big show by having the janitorial carts his employees used very openly and prominently displaying loads of soaps and disinfectants, but which he ordered his janitors to not actually use; and two, having a lot of his labor provided by undocumented aliens, and who who he would generally fire without pay, and under threat of turning them into Immigration for deportation.

    Lockyer was informed of this, and while he was originally interested in the situation and in trying to correct it, however once he found out that Lawrence, in other words his good friend and close political associate, was involved, he suddenly lost all interest in trying to correct the situation, and in fact instead even went all out to protect Lawrence.

    In other words if Bill Lockyer was the DA, it is unlikely he would prosecute any sophisticated white collar criminal who was a major source of election campaign contributions and/or under the table bribes to members of the Democratic Party.

    And finally Bill Lockyer and Dianne Feinstein are two of the Bay area's very most vehement and fanatical windbags in pretending to be extremely strongly opposed to human trafficking, and which basically means that both Lockyer and Demagogue Phoneystein think anybody who engages in human trafficking should receive a long prison sentence unless the trafficker, and like Lawrence, is a major soure of election campaign contributions and/or under the table bribes.


  7. Oakland A's have been dead for decades. Let them move to San Jose. The fight is to keep the Warriors.


  8. Anyone who votes for Lockyer “any chance” they get is an idiot. But, they we're talking about progressives anyway.


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