Dear City of Oakland and the County of Alameda,
Thank you for your hard work on many issues in Oakland and Alameda County, including the recently announced 10-year Coliseum lease extension with the Oakland A’s.
For reasons listed below, I respectfully urge the Coliseum JPA to revise the A’s lease extension’s terms to better protect city and county taxpayers when they vote on June 20. If the terms can’t be revised, then please reject the lease extension.
Here’s why: The extension’s current terms are a lose-lose proposition for Oakland and Alameda County taxpayers, and they provide more of a threat to Oakland’s chances of keeping both the A’s and Raiders than assistance toward that goal.
Firstly, calling it a “10-year lease extension” is not accurate, because it really is a year-to-year lease that the A’s can sever ANYTIME, as long as they give a year’s notice and pay off the remaining money left on the deal.
Secondly, the lease extension fails to protect taxpayers by promising to let the A’s keep $5 million in parking revenue that the A’s owe to taxpayers, but have never paid.
Also, the lease extension has a curious provision allowing the A’s to break the lease if the Raiders and Oakland strike a deal for a football stadium at the Coliseum site. This term is unnecessary and somewhat adversarial, as it holds the potential to pit both Oakland franchises and their fan bases against each other. It also sets the stage potentially to force the city to choose one team over the other. In reality, there’s no reason two stadium solutions can’t be worked out for both the A’s and the Raiders at the Coliseum Complex, or at other Oakland sites. Sports are supposed to bring a city together, not divide it. This divisive lease term would poison that spirit.
Lastly, the rush to approve this deal is unnecessary because the A’s Coliseum lease runs through the end of next year, 18 months from now. The good news is there’s still time for Oakland and Alameda County to put this deal on the shelf and renegotiate more favorable terms that better protect the taxpayers and the East Bay’s chances of retaining its storied sports franchises.
Thank you again for all your hard work on these issues. I know you have the city’s and county’s best interests at heart. That is why I urge you to not approve this deal until its terms are revised. If that can’t be done, then please reject it.