Look. From the perspective of this Oakland vlogger / blogger who created the report that led to the 1988 Coliseum Redevelopment Survey Area, the current players in the matter of building a ballpark at Howard Terminal at Jack London Square are making mistake after mistake. That includes Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval, and The East Oakland Stadium Alliance. Let’s go down the line one-by-one, starting with my Godsister the current Mayor of Oakland.
This is not personal, it’s only business, but I tearfully write that Libby is just mucking this up at this stage. She started off right with a great partnership with A’s President Dave Kaval, and that continues, but where she’s off the rails is in doing something that massively pissed off the National Football League: negotiating development issues in what media is left, and that includes me.
She sent out a media advisory in response to Dave Kaval’s emailed “development terms” (which really were not that, but the media today is so stupid, telling them what it should be called makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland, with Mad Hatters all over the place. I would be happiest owning all of the outlets just to stop the sheer stupidity that I reed about this project.)
Folks, the Howard Terminal Ballpark Project is not $12 billion, and there’s nothing in the email the A’s sent that directly says that. Moreover, the Oakland A’s do not want to be stuck with a figure that would indicate it did not even know it’s own project. Why? Because the real conversation about the project should be about tax increment financing and the money throw off that someone once wrote in 2013 would never happen. Wrong, my no-named pal – as usual.
Anyway, Gavin signed it into law and both the City of Oakland and the A’s have acted like talking about it to the public is the third rail of politics. If they think that way, they need to apologize to Reps Nancy Skinner and Rob Bonta (now California AG), who made the damn thing happen, along with Governor Newsom.
That damn legislation set up a scenario where as long as the A’s own the ballpark, and thus pay property tax revenue, and there is a redevelopment agency (of-sorts) set up for the City of Oakland (as per the law), the ability to float a giant bond issue of $700 million, and not for the ballpark, exists. That $700 million would be a city wide bond issue for affordable housing and services of various types. Why that? Because the $2 billion ball park would cause that.
$12 billion is nothing more than a numerical wish list of development that the A’s have no way to guarantee will happen. So, for my friend Dave Kaval to have that number out there is like asking to be kicked in the ass by a donkey, or rammed by the horns of a bull. That $12 billion talk is a ticket to the word “gentrification” and why do that? Moreover, the talk of $12 billion should lead a smart person to ask “Well, how does that effect the redevelopment revenue?” Well, kids, the answer is this: $9,597,446,293.34.
Yeah, $9 billion in redevelopment revenue to the City of Oakland, and all because the A’s own the stadium and not the government, assuming $12 billion in project buildout value.
That came from my comprehensive spreadsheet of the Howard Terminal Ballpark that I originally made for Dave Kaval way back in 2017, and allows me to test a number of development scenarios. You’d think the Mayor would strong-arm me to be involved, but she’s too busy listening to the chorus of complete idiots who have fucked this up, that such an action did not happen in the Raiders case, and it’s not happening now. That’s not going to change the fact that I know this project better than they do, so I’ll keep noting the screw-ups for your enjoyment.
Think about that: $9,597,446,293.34. That’s the number in redevelopment revenue you wear when you talk “project buildout”. Never a good idea. Better to deal with numbers you can control, like $2 billion and not $12 billion.
You can solve all of Oakland’s problems plucking $12 billion into a redevelopment zone. Shit. All of the late Oakland Redevelopment bosses are rolling in their graves or in bed about that number. Since I worked for one – George Williams – I should know. He was responsible for Oakland City Center, along with John B. Williams, the first head – and both black. These brothers knew what they were doing – which is more than I can say for the City of Oakland today. Libby has no one in charge of this other than she and it shows. This is not Libby’s area. It’s not City Administrator Ed Reiskin’s area, either. The Oakland economic development head has a damn housing background! Are you kidding me? Really? You gotta have a jobs-and-development-monger, yo? Geez.
Libby needs to right this ship, and the best way is to have the Oakland City Council form a wish list of projects to direct staff to form a cost report. At the same time Libby needs have a representative to meet with the County of Alameda, BART, AC Transit, and EBMUD – the taxing agencies that normally use property tax money and would want their cut from the redevelopment money in the form of what’s called a “pass through”. That will form the redevelopment plan for the use of the TIF revenue. And that brings me to the East Oakland Stadium Alliance.
Libby needs to rope them in to help form the plan. We can have both ballpark and transportation, and we’re sitting on a fucking goal mine of cash to make that happen. Start planning. Dave Kaval should be begging the East Oakland Stadium Alliance for daily meetings with lunch provided over ZOOM – the A’s can buy the meals and have them delivered. The City of Oakland should be helping set that up, too. The East Oakland Stadium Alliance consists of too many job-creating people to be ignored, and to do so is criminal.
So, in closing, just please stop the $12 billion talk. The A’s would be writing a check the club could not cash. They got the basics in the damn email, stick to em. And Libby needs to bring in the East Oakland Stadium Alliance right now. If they refuse, get the damn Alameda County Sheriff to arrest them and bring them to the damn meeting. I am fucking serious. It’s time to, as Alec Balwin said in Glen Gary Glen Ross, “Get mad you SOB’s!” And lead everyone to agreement.
If you need a reminder:
A.B.C. Always. Be. Closing.
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