The following write up is by A’s Fan Radio producer Keith “Cpl RFA” Salminen, who has followed efforts to get new stadiums built in Oakland since the 20th and Telegraph Stadium project in the early 2000’s. This is his take on what has transpired this weekend in regards to the Coliseum City Project.
As many of us saw yesterday, writer Matthew Artz did a write up titled “Exclusive: Oakland stadium deal “worst by far” for Raiders, experts say“, in which 19 pages of the Coliseum City finance plans were leaked to the Bay Area News Group by , of course, an unnamed source. The plans, put together by Floyd Kephart and New City LLC, were submitted to the City of Oakland and Alameda County last weekend.
Let me first start off by saying that I am personally highly angered by this write up. Artz once again has shown that, just like people before him in the past, the Bay Area Media for the most part does not care about the true nature of the project, let alone the sensitivity of this project, choosing to only share what they deem is the truth or not all the information because of it being what they would consider breaking news or an attention gainer to boost their station’s rating. We as broadcasters are taught to have respect for stories, being truthful and seeking all the facts before reporting, not to mention to respect our sources and NOT SHARING sensitive information that should be told to the public by the people in charge of or tied to it, NOT us the broadcaster or journalist. But sadly, its seems the professional establishment does not care for morals anymore, which is why I for one am glad I still do and will not change from still caring for what we are supposed to when it comes to reporting.
Who leaked the information to Artz and Bay Area New Group?
Now, I could sit here all day and point blame at whoever Matthew’s source was that leaked the information, which by the way is not even the full proposal. Both myself and Bauce Man, as well as many others we know who have been entrenched in efforts to keep these teams in Oakland, wouldn’t be shocked one bit if it was Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley. Miley for months now has show his displeasure in the project, bashed the project on various radio interviews and, for some reason, a distrust of Floyd and New City, all while pushing for a remodeling of the Coliseum for the Raiders, something both Mark Davis and the NFL have already said is a no go and will not work . Regardless if it was him or someone else, whoever was the source of leaking the information really must not give a damn if they end up derailing this project.
“The really important thing is that the City or County or both violated a confidentiality agreement they have with New City and each other. The violation of the confidentiality by releasing this portion of the deliverables before there was any discussion between the parties have damaged New City and placed the entire project in jeopardy,” said Floyd Kephart during an email conversation I had with him earlier this evening. From all the discussions I have had back and forth with him since January, I have absolute zero reason to believe that Floyd is playing Oakland or Alameda County with this project and 100% wants to actually make Coliseum City happen. He even stated during the interview our show did with him last month that if he wasn’t going to actually work on making this project happen, why would he and New City be spending money on it. That is why for myself and others, it really baffles us that someone that is either working with this project or who has access to the project is trying to gain from leaking portions of the finance plans, other than to keep Oakland and the East Bay Region from having something that would make it the envy of cities nation wide.
Artz’ so called “expert”
Another part of this whole nonsense is who Matthew Artz uses as his expert. Who is it you may ask? None other than Marc Ganis, the same man who was dismissed as Coliseum Marketing Director after news of him falsifying his credentials and degrees from Syracuse University broke during the 1990’s. It is in part thanks to Ganis that we, the tax payers of Alameda County, are still stuck with paying off the renovations to the Coliseum as he was the one paid to produce the studies for fan support on premium seats for the renovation project.
So let me get this straight and see how this makes any bloody sense at all to anyone: a guy who is some what the reason it has cost Oakland and Alameda County $400 million since 1996 for the remodeling can be looked to as an “expert” and say Coliseum City is a bad deal when he partly caused one of the worst sports deals in Bay Area history? How can you take a guy like Ganis seriously at all knowing what he did and why he was removed from his position with the Coliseum? Pure and simple, you can not take Marc Ganis seriously at all. In fact, Marc shouldn’t even be opening his mouth at all on this matter. He has no right to say anything after what he did in 1990’s while working here.
Final Thoughts on the matter
So knowing that what was leaked was not the full finance plans, how can it even be judged yet if this really is a bad deal or not? Its not bad for tax payers as they would not be incurring any debt from it. Its not bad for the fans as they would get what they have wanted, which is the teams staying in Oakland. Hell, its not even bad for the teams if all 3 actually got on board with the project as they would have control over their futures and wouldn’t have to deal back and forth drama with Oakland, Alameda County or the JPA anymore.
I know that since the news broke, many Raider fans are up in arms over a share of the team being on the table. If that is the case and it turns out that is part of the proposal, then I must reminded those fans that not only did Mark Davis say back in March he was open to selling a minority stake in franchise, Mark also said in that same write up that he is planning on keeping majority control of the team. I know many are fed up with Mark and I really can’t blame you for that, but at least in all of this mess, he has been the only owner of any of the Oakland teams that has willing shown any interest at all in staying. Many still do not trust Lew Wolff on actually getting something done in Oakland as long as he and John Fisher still own the team, while Joe Lacob and company are gearing up for what could be a drawn out battle with the Mission Bay Alliance over the Warriors’ proposed Mission Bay Arena in San Francisco.
I’ll end things by saying this: the media, regardless how they choose to cover this going forward, are not the ones who have the final say on if it actually happens or all come crashing down. Kephart and New City LLC have done their end of things and I’m sure will continue to do so as they have always hit their deadlines since joining the project back in November of last year. The ones it falls on to get this done are the politicos at both the city and county level to look over and vote on the actual proposal, as well as trying to reach out to the East Bay’s fortune 500 companies to get some funds to help this project as myself and others have said for years and the owners of the teams to finally put their issues aside, come to the table with the city and county and hammer out something to get this project off the ground. All I ask is to be mindful of what is reported on Coliseum City going forward and, regardless how much you feel it has been tested thanks to Artz’ write up, keep faith in that Coliseum City can be done and continue pushing getting new stadiums for these as many have done as members with all the various fan groups over the years or even on their own. That really as fans is all we can do.