The Oakland City Council is due to take up a resolution at the Oakland Redevelopment Successor Agency Meeting set for 1:30 PM PST / 4:30 PM EST today (here, virtual), that amounts to a weak-sauce, complete joke, passive aggressive, and sadly oh-so-typically Oakland attempt to determine who gets to own the City of Oakland’s portion of the Coliseum Complex land (the other half is owned by the Oakland A’s).
This is what today’s resolution reads:
“Staff Recommends That The City Council Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The City Administrator To Negotiate, Non-Exclusively, With The 1) African American Sports And Entertainment Group; 2) Tripp Development; 3) The Renaissance Companies; 4) Dave Stewart And Lonnie Murray; And 5) The Athletics Investment Group LLC, Regarding The Terms Of Disposition Of The City’s Undivided 50 Percent Fee Interest In The Oakland- Alameda County Coliseum Complex Consisting Of Various Parcels Bounded By San Leandro Street, 66th Avenue, Hegenberger Road And Interstate 880.”
The staff report written by Larry Gallegos, Development Program Manager, and submitted by Interim Assistant City Administrator Elizabeth “Betsy” Lake proves, among other things, that she has little real experience in economic development in Oakland, and is completely unaware of the bad history the City of Oakland has with two of the five groups mentioned and Larry Gallegos, who has the history, is determined to repeat Oakland’s mistakes. Rick Tripp and Floyd Kephart are, in my experienced opinion, representative of how little Oakland has learned in who not to deal with when it comes to redevelopment projects.
I will simply repeat what I wrote about Mr. Tripp before:
The livestream above details what happened back then, and asks why Rick Tripp only focuses on Oakland stadium development, and has no track record of sports stadium and facility development, even though his Linkedin page says he does.
I don’t just do this, and it’s a hard thing to write because at one point I regarded Rick as a friend, but I have to share my personal experience and concerns, here and in the livestream. Oakland needs to move forward, not backward.
Rick says he’s interested in sports facilities development in California, but he never surfaced for the Warriors Arena project, or The San Francisco 49ers Stadium Project, or San Jose Earthquakes, for that matter. Only Oakland.
Why? Plus, when he was to get a stadium spreadsheet to me in 2015, he sent a generic developer punch list, but not a spreadsheet. Something was off then, and now.
And I will add this: Rick Tripp’s a nice guy, who enjoys fine wine, and who suspiciously focuses only when Oakland is planning to pick a developer for the Coliseum. Have doubts? Just Google “rick tripp developer” and see the results – nothing but Oakland. In his presentation, or lack of, Rick Tripp looks like an FBI plant sent to see if Oakland’s up to something because black developers are involved.
And what about Jim Bailey who, Larry Gallegos writes, is “former executive vice president Jim Bailey of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens”? Well that was oh so 1999. In other words, Mr. Bailey has not held those roles since 1999 according to his Linkedin page. I’ll bet you Star Trek credits to Navy Beans Larry didn’t check that out and Betsy certainly didn’t either.
And “William Miller of William Miller Associates, an investment strategy and management firm” – search for that, or him, and come up with a lot of William Millers but which one is the one who’s partnered with Rick Tripp?
See what I mean?
When Last In Oakland Floyd Kephart Pissed Off The NFL And Ultimately Lacked The Funds He Claimed To Have
The last time Floyd Kephart surfaced In Oakland, he basically tried to get the City of Oakland to give him a Coliseum City subsidy that he planned to turn around and use it to buy a stake in the Oakland Raiders. In other words, as I told Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf then, Mr. Kephart is planning to use Oakland’s public money to make himself a near-billionaire – which is what would happen if he managed to gain the percentage of the Raiders he sought.
On top of that Kephart lacked the financial power required by the City of Oakland. And that news came from City Staff on the Coliseum Project. Specifically, Larry Gallegos. Yep. The same man who wrote the staff report I am blasting. Between that, the subsidy / Raiders purchase issue, and his public arguments with then-NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman (who once said Floyd keeps coming back “like a bad penny” who won’t go away), why the hell is Oakland planning to let him in the door, yet again? Are we really that desperate for developers? Larry? Seriously? Hey, Larry knows me – he should have asked me to throw my hat in the ring, if that’s the case.
The African American Sports And Entertainment Group Paired With Dave Stewart And The Oakland A’s Is The Best Answer
The African American Sports And Entertainment Group consists of not only local business people, but some of the most financially liquid black organizations in the World, most notably, Loop Capital in Chicago. Local businessman Ray Bobbitt has formed a star-chamber of black business people, and is poised to bring the WNBA to Oakland. For all that Ray has done in such a short time – from bankrolling the City of Oakland / Oakland Fans Lawsuit against the Raiders, to establishing the African American Sports And Entertainment Group to bring the NFL and professional sports back to Oakland, Ray should be given a clean path to negotiations victory for the Coliseum Property. Instead, as I understand it, City Staff has been insulting of his group, even wondering if they had the capital to do the project. It was one of those “Why? Because we’re black?” moments that would have been the case had I been in the room.
The City Staff over the project did not attach such scrutiny to Rick Tripp and Floyd Kephart, so here we go again giving would-be white developers a pass because they’re white. A year after George Floyd, and we get this bullcrap? Please, City of Oakland, knock it off.
The Mayor Of Oakland Needs To Be A Strong Mayor Here And Pick The Developers
The Mayor of Oakland has the right to select the developers to purchase the Coliseum site. What Libby should do is pair the African American Sports And Entertainment Group with Dave Stewart and the Oakland A’s, and call it a day. It would be a magical pairing of the African American Sports And Entertainment Group’s business brawn with the legendary Oakland A’s hero that is Dave Stewart and the sports business strategist that is his wife Lonnie Murray.
Since the A’s have the other half of the property, the result would be a powerful sports development team. Since the A’s are focused on Howard Terminal, the “Coliseum Team” would actually help the baseball organization. The “Coliseum Team” could work with the City of Oakland in spending the excess TIF revenue from Howard Terminal at the Coliseum and to fix the sea level rise problem. The A’s would become a partner in bringing sports back to Oakland at the Coliseum, and maintaining baseball via Howard Terminal Ballpark.
And Oakland would finally be on track toward completing the biggest non-Port project of its life: maintaining professional sports – and much of its identity – in Oakland.
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