Noel Gallo pledges council district funds to support citizen-led lawsuit against Raiders

Godfather Griz, representing Forever Oakland,
addresses the Coliseum JPA Friday morning
at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

While some Coliseum Joint Powers Authority commissioners appeared less than enthused about a fan base seemingly grasping again at a long-gone straw to keep the Raiders in the East Bay via a lawsuit, Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo says he will offer discretionary funding from his office to help the cause.

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board ultimately decided Friday morning to punt the issue of whether it would join as a plaintiff a fan-led proposal to sue the Raiders and the National Football League in order to block the team’s announced move to Las Vegas. “I’m frustrated that we haven’t been able to get to a place where we could vote on this,” said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, also a member of the JPA board.

The group calling itself “Forever Oakland,” have retained two anti-trust attorneys, James Quinn and Eric Hochstadt. The pair have faced the NFL on five previous occasions in court, but several outstanding questions forced the Coliseum JPA postpone discussion to its Oct. 20 meeting.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty,
left, attending to his smartphone, along with
Supervisor Nate Miley, who voiced support
for the Forever Oakland proposal.

Among the questions yet to be answered is whether the Coliseum JPA has legal standing he fan group to bring the potential lawsuit forth. It is unlikely the fan group has such standing. In addition, attorneys for the group have yet to deliver a promised analysis to the Coliseum JPA’s attorneys, said JPA counsel Andrea Weddle, although it is expected in the next week.

Gallo, who represents the Fruitvale District 5, highlighted rumored intransigence by city and county leaders toward what he called a “citizens-led initiative.” Gallo lashed out at the Oakland city administration, NFL and Raiders ownership in a passionate diatribe before the JPA board and pledged to join the proposed lawsuit by using his district’s allotted discretionary funds.

“The city is making the excuse that they don’t have the $100,000, we have it, and I’m willing to commit it out of my budget and with your approval and the council’s approve to become a client,” said Gallo, to cheers from over a dozen people clad in silver and black gear. Gallo, who is not a member of the JPA board, added the Oakland Athletics would have moved to San Jose without legal action to block the relocation. “If we didn’t take action against [Lew] Wolff and the A’s, they wouldn’t be here.”

“I am willing to designate support for the legal action. I got elected to represent the public and that’s what I want to honor because I believe what they are doing is the right thing, it is the best thing for Oakland. At the end of the day I truly believe what the NFL did is to side-step their process, take advantage of Oakland and lie after lie after lie.”

Gallo continued by slamming Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I think the way Oakland gets treated day-after-day when it comes to business, when it comes to business development, I think we get short-changed and I think the leadership of this city in a lot of ways has allowed that to happen,” said Gallo.

Forever Oakland representatives have also been coy about the specific aim of the lawsuit and who is funding the legal team. Ray Bobbitt, a representative for Forever Oakland, referenced during Friday’s meeting that an unnamed group is interested in retiring the Coliseum’s roughly $83 million bond debt and build a privately-financed stadium at the current complex. “The [city and] county is not in a position to not fight for the $83 million,” said James Jones III, a Forever Oakland member, referring to the public debt associated with the rebuild of the Coliseum in 1996

The result of the lawsuit, says Forever Oakland members, absent keeping the Raiders in Oakland, is to strike a deal to retain the team’s logo and colors in hopes of attracting an expansion team.

The Raiders, meanwhile, continue to move forward with plan to build a publicly-financed stadium in Las Vegas and the NFL has not mentioned expansion plans or has an existing team been rumored to move to the East Bay.

If the Coliseum JPA has reservations about the proposal, they surely showed in the facial expression of some commissioners. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and two other elected officials on the board appeared more interested in concluding the early morning meeting in order to get to other meetings on their schedules. Haggerty attended to his smartphone for much of the public comment section and Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid skipped the entire agenda after emerging from closed session.

Some members of Forever Oakland, including one during public comment, charged Reid with having a hand in attempts to scuttle the group’s proposal to sue the Raiders. In the days after the Raiders announced their move to Las Vegas in 2-3 years, it was Reid who blasted the team and urged city and county officials to block the team from renewing its lease to bridge the gap between now and when the Las Vegas stadium is constructed.

One thought on “Noel Gallo pledges council district funds to support citizen-led lawsuit against Raiders

  1. By MW:

    Some years ago the Raiders left Oakland to move to Los Angeles. And then the Raiders agreed to return to Oakland, AND DUE TO a HUGE AND MONEY LOSING DEAL, put together by such “intelligent” and “wise” politicians as Nate Miley.

    It was obvious that the deal the politicians put together to cajole the Raiders to return to Oakland would be a huge financial disaster for the general public, however the politicians “knew” it “would work” and was “financially feasible.”

    So I am just waiting to see the latest lies, garbage, and mentally retarded nonsensical ideas the politicians will come up with this tine, and which will most likely sell the general public financially downriver AGAIN. in their proposals to keep the Raiders from leaving town.

    In fact, is anybody aware of even one major item that Nate Miley was in favor of that did not turn out to be a huge disaster!!!

    Now and then I am at public meetings at which Nate Miley is one of the primary speakers. And his attitude generally is that he is a wise and intelligent man, and therefore we should trust his judgment. However I have found his “judgment” and “wisdom” to be of such “quality,” that therefore I would not even allow him to be the third junior assistant manager at a small children's sidewalk lemonade stand.

    But if the Raiders do leave again, and then we again manage to cajole them to return AGAIN, and then they eventually threaten to leave again, we can then change their from the Oakland Raiders to the West Coast Ping Pong Balls.

    Or perhaps they could become a traveling team, and with no real home, and similar to the Harlem Globetrotters, and they could make it a point to visit Oakland once a year, Los Angeles once a year, and Las Vegas once a year.


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