ONN – Henry Gardner To Replace Scott McKibben Who Resigned As Oakland Coliseum JPA ED
Henry Gardner, the popular former Oakland City Manager and current Interim Richmond City Manager, has been named as the person who will replace Scott McKibben at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (Coliseum JPA).
here at the Institute for Local Government web page. But, all of Henry’s experience isn’t focused on the business of sports, save for the deal to bring the Oakland Raiders back to Oakland in 1995.
I am told that with Henry’s placement into the Coliseum JPA, the stadium authority organization will cease to exist when the Oakland A’s deal is done. That means that Gardner’s objective will not be to find new sports activities for the Coliseum Complex, unlike what Scott was doing.
It may also mean the death of the deal that was being assembled to bring the Indoor Football League to Oakland, but there’s no confirmation on that yet. That work to get Roy Choi, the IFL investor and team owner, into Oakland was all Scott’s doing – even to the point of taking Choi to a Warriors NBA Finals Game.
But, in total, it’s a sad series of days, the last four: they saw a process that signals the death of pro sports in Oakland. At least for now.
Oakland’s collective over-politicization of the business of sports, combined with an extremely parochial approach that focused more on personalities like team owners rather than economic development industrial strategy has lead to this moment. That is something I have lived as Oakland Super Bowl Bid architect, and I remember now former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris telling me to “use that brain on yourself, because no one (in Oakland) cares.”
What happened to Scott McKibben is more proof of that.
What About The City of Oakland Lawsuit Against The Raiders and The NFL?
Some may wonder what impact, if any, this has on The City of Oakland lawsuit against The Oakland Raiders and The NFL with respect to the Las Vegas Relocation? Technically, none, and because the Coliseum JPA is not an official party to the lawsuit as of this writing (though it should be). But Gardner’s appointment to replace McKibben sends a signal that the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda plans to wind-down the Coliseum JPA – and in doing so, may change that status (though that’s speculation by this vlogger).
If the City were to prevail in the lawsuit, the award would be monetary damages. The City of Oakland has not shown a true interest in winning ownership of the Raiders brand, and this action sends yet another sign that Oakland is killing its own involvement in professional sports. What the A’s are working on in the form of the new stadium at Howard Terminal is a private affair with public backing, and thus, has a better chance of success given Oakland government’s track record.
Oakland Has Never Seen Sports As Economic Development
Unlike Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, San Jose, Sacramento, New York, and now Las Vegas, Oakland has never officially seen sports as economic development. In 2000, I told Alan Byrd of the Orlando Business Journal that “We’re spending a long time educating people that sports is economic development,” in the formation of the Oakland Super Bowl Bid. That was 19 years ago, and Oakland’s still not received that message, whereas other cities around it have.
With the U.S. Supreme Court approving sports betting, Oakland is pushing itself away from forming jobs at the Oakland Coliseum for people who don’t have a tech background. Thus provides more evidence that Oakland has no real comprehensive program to end its large homeless problem; accessible jobs that pay a good wage should be seen as high a priority as affordable housing. The average stadium job pays $68,000 a year when stadium management positions (normally ignored in stadium wage estimates) are considered – just below the 2017 California Median Income of 71,805. So, one can’t argue that stadium jobs don’t pay a middle class wage – they do.
And for those who work jobs at the Coliseum which pay less than that, some were able to tie together work at a Raiders game and a Warriors game, and come away with a comfortable income. At least that was what a Coliseum stadium concession worker told me during a Raiders game.
Oakland, once again, is shooting itself in the foot. No one in the City of Oakland should make fun of Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Antonio Brown.
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