I wanted to take care of this blog yesterday, but my second team, the Phillies, had a rather busy day yesterday and I got caught up in the excitement. Now back to the subject at hand. Dave Newhouse profiled the Oakland mayoral race's front-runners, Don Perata, Rebecca Kaplan, Jean Quan and Joe Tuman, and their opinions on sports issues here in Oakland.
The first thing that was discussed was the possibility of renaming the "Golden State" Warriors the "Oakland" Warriors. Quote from the candidates:
Perata: "Unless they carry your name, their value is limited to the community. That franchise has been a wreck, but it's the 11th most profitable franchise in the NBA. This is a good market for them."
Tuman: "I go to their games, by the way. The impact of not calling the team 'Oakland' is to reinforce this negative image about the town, that there's something bad about branding with 'Oakland.' I would push for it, but I'm not going to pay for it."
Kaplan: "Oakland has a psychological problem, where we expect too little. I would absolutely push for (the 'Oakland' Warriors), but I wouldn't do just that. If you look at why Oakland doesn't make money off sports, it doesn't have the ancillary businesses on site -- no places to make money for the city."
Quan: "I would push for it. The Warriors are my favorite team -- I like fast action. But we need stronger ties between the team and the community."
All the candidates agree on this issue, although for different reasons. But BaseballOakland agrees that the time has come for the Warriors to adopt the name of the city in which they have been playing for more than 30 years.
The next question was about keeping the A's in Oakland.
Quan: "I think this (city) is the soul of Major League Baseball -- great diversity, ethnically and income-wise. I met Lew Wolff after I got elected. He didn't say 'girlie,' but almost. There's not a transit-rich (baseball) site that's more ready to go in the entire Bay Area than 'Victory Court' (in Jack London Square). We own most of it, and could develop it as an entertainment (center)."
Kaplan: "I love the A's. Lew Wolff felt (Mayor) Jerry Brown didn't care. The A's could succeed here very well. I believe we could have a football and baseball stadium on the Coliseum site. We own the land. San Jose is not a done deal. They have a local law that requires a ballot measure, and they did not put it on the November ballot. So there's a window of opportunity here."
Tuman: "I'll be blunt. In professional sports, it's 'show me the money.' ... I won't spend a dime of public money on keeping the Oakland Athletics here when I can't pay for police officers or keep the streets safe. I'm not saying it can't work, but let's be objective."
Perata: "I probably know a little more about this stuff than most people. I was part of two Raider deals that both failed. We got held up; we really did -- by both (the A's and Raiders). We got rid of the Coliseum board and then politicized it. ... In retrospect, it was a disaster. I don't think the A's are going to stay here. We can't play in this game, putting up the money. We haven't been smart with our franchises.
Quan has always supported Victory Court and the Oak-to-9th development. Rebecca Kaplan has made transit-oriented development a major part of her platform. She has long advocated for placing Oaklands' teams near transit and development opportunities so that Oakland can retain tax revenue from fans spending in neighborhoods around its sports facilities.
The one thing causing some confusion is Perata's pessimism. This could stem from the fact that Lew Wolff has refused to acknowledge Oakland's recent efforts. Getting some input from the A's will be a difficult task for any candidate because Wolff has nothing but tunnel-vision to points south. One thing to remember is that some of Perata's biggest supporters such as John Protopappas, Phil Tagami and Michael Ghielmetti have also been major players in keeping the A's in Oakland.