Robert Gammon of the East Bay Express reported Monday that Lew Wolff and John Fisher have given a combined $25,000 to a political committee that's supporting Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata.
Why is this important? We'll let Gammon explain:
The move is unusual because Oakland sports team owners don't typically attempt to sway city elections and because Wolff is known for being frugal with his money. The large donations also came after recent statements made by Perata that stopping the A's move to the South Bay will not be a priority if he becomes mayor.
So, as Gammon notes, Wolff and Fisher, who are trying to move the A's out of Oakland and into the South Bay, now are trying to affect who will be Oakland's next mayor. And the one Oakland candidate they are giving money to — Perata — is the one who has been the most ambivalent or outright negative about keeping the A's in town. Hmmm. It's also interesting to note that Fisher and his family have been staunch Republicans and Perata is a longtime Democrat and once one of the most powerful Democrats in California. So, why would Fisher and Wolff donate to the political committee that's backing Perata?
Gammon asked Wolff that question:
In an interview, Wolff denied that Perata's stance on the A's had anything to do with his $10,000 donation, saying he's supporting the ex-senator because he thinks he's the best mayoral candidate. Fisher donated $15,000. "I've known him for years," Wolff said of Perata, "and I respect him." Wolff also said he hasn't been paying attention to what Perata has been saying on the campaign trail.
Oakland Tribune columnist Dave Newhouse said it's unprecedented for an Oakland sports team owner donating these sums of money for the Oakland mayor’s race. Gammon wrote:
"I've been in Oakland since 1964, and I’ve never heard of anything like this," Newhouse said in an interview after being told of what Wolff had done. Newhouse also said that Perata's disinterest in keeping the A's in Oakland "makes more sense" in light of Wolff's attempt to get the ex-senator elected.
City councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Jean Quan are the two candidates who have the best chance to beat Perata. Kaplan and Quan also strongly favor keeping the A's in Oakland. Perata, meanwhile, seemed resigned to losing the A's in a recent interview, according to Newhouse. So, Wolff and Fisher are backing Perata.
Or as Gammon wrote in the East Bay Express article:
... it seems unlikely that Wolff and Fisher would support a candidate who would try to stop their San Jose plans.
The hypocrisy of Wolff and Fisher has become obvious. While they have ignored Oakland residents, A's fans, and the ballpark efforts of Oakland officials, Wolff and Fisher have thrown their money into the Oakland mayor's race, and not to help Oakland, but specifically to meddle with Oakland just to serve their own interests in another city. Wolff and Fisher do not have Oakland's best interests at heart; in fact, they want to take jobs and redevelopment opportunities away from Oakland. The truth is Wolff and Fisher have other priorities than to meddle with Oakland's mayoral race, such as the cash-strapped agency they've partnered with or valuable members of the A's coaching staff leaving the organization.