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Mount Davis on the top of the Oakland Coliseum

I was very disappointed to see that Alameda County is moving forward with the sale of their half of the 155 acre Coliseum complex to the A’s. The City of Oakland has indicated that it will do the same with its half meaning that the entire parcel will soon be owned by a private developer, the Oakland A’s. In my opinion, the City and County should have put the property up for a public bidding process to see what the property is really worth.

This means that the City and County will be giving up the opportunity to take the lead in doing something truly innovative with the land. Instead, a private developer will insist that they have to make a large profit off the deal, and develop it with that in mind.

We are told that this deal will help keep the A’s in Oakland. Yet there is nothing in this deal that ensures this. They could easily take the profits from developing the land, and then move the A’s to a different city. It was only nine years ago that they were trying hard to move the team to Fremont or San Jose.

The “Mt. Davis” fiasco forced county residents to pay millions in interest payments for decades. The county believed that ticket sales would cover the costs of the additional tier of seats known as Mount Davis. But they were dead wrong and we, the taxpayers, had to foot the bill. Now they want to sell the land at a below market price to a different sports team? Haven’t our elected officials learned the lesson i.e. sports teams don’t always have the best interests of our community at heart?

The decision to sell the land at a below market price without any assurance of community benefits is incredibly irresponsible.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff says ““My greatest hope is that [the sale] includes generous community benefits.”

We need more than hope when dealing with a profit motivated real estate developer like the A’s. We need legally enforceable contractual agreements.