“Rooted in Oakland” since 1968 and into the future

Scarlet Schwenk , Managing Editor

OAKLAND, Calif. — The ‘Town’s’ beloved team, the Oakland Athletics, has been a keepsake of Oakland since 1968, and they’re here to stay, for now. After more than three hours of deliberation, the motion passed 6-1, with one abstention, to continue negotiations with the Oakland Athletics on the team’s future in Oakland.
Failed plumbing, industrial location, and funky remodel led the A’s to announce plans to leave as the Coliseum is “not a viable option for the future of the franchise,” the team’s president, Dave Kaval said.
The plan proposed by the team included a waterfront ballpark in the Port of Oakland, near Jack London Square, along with an offer to build 6,000 homes at the previous location. The new coliseum at the Port would replace land used for shipping containers and truck parking for the community center.
In addition, the Athletic’s proposal included a park, youth sports facilities, shops, restaurants, and more, all to bolster the community. In all, Kaval detailed the new homes built in the previously abandoned homes of the Warriors and Raiders could house up to 20,000 people, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Yet, the announcement was met with backlash from housing rights groups and city council officials adamantly opposed the proposal. Some Asian American activists cited concerns of increased traffic near the port’s Chinatown as a reason to oppose the plan.
The coliseum is “going to result in traffic congestion… and choke off our community,” Evelyn Lee, Oakland Asian Cultural Center Board Member said.
The City of Oakland said at least 15% of the homes the A’s want to build need to be affordable and the team needs to produce enough profit so Oakland can build 450 affordable homes elsewhere in the Bay Area.
California state law requires housing developers to include affordable housing or pay fees to construct them elsewhere. The A’s requested the city waive the mandate.
However, Oakland natives and fans of the team do not want their hometown to lose the A’s.
“They need to stay in Oakland… We need to stay in Oakland and keep our jobs. Everyone needs affordable housing. Oakland will be horrible. This will provide jobs and opportunities for everyone,” said Barbara Edwards, native Oakland resident and Coliseum employee for 17 years.
Alameda Labor Council Member Liz Ortega expressed the importance of allowing the A’s to negotiate with the city to keep the coliseum and its surplus of jobs in Oakland.
Many of those during the public comment advocated for the team staying in Oakland, and testified to the jobs the baseball team has provided them, allowing their family to live in the common theme of “dignity.”
City Councilman Noel Gallo said the Team should rebuild its stadium in the same location, rather than bringing it to the Port.
“I heard the Raiders say the same thing and I heard the Warriors say the same thing. It’s a business, I recognize they’re in it to make money,” Gallo told ABC 7 News.
Both the Raiders and Warriors left Oakland after the city refused to renovate or replace the stadium.
“We understand that this is a bold undertaking but one that could bring so many positive [attributes] to the community,” Kaval said during the council meeting.
The Oakland Athletics are here to stay in the ‘Town’ for further negotiations. A win for the Team and the city is now on the frontlines for community members. The current lease at the Coliseum ends in 2024 and new construction at the Howard Terminal would not finish until 2027.
It is still unclear whether or not the A’s will continue on with the plan or uproot the team to a prospective city, Las Vegas. The Oakland Athletics have not yet released a statement regarding the decision.