Keywords: Oakland, sports, Mayor Quan, Zennie Abraham
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has the wrong idea how to “save oakland sports.” (This is the right idea – just click.) What prompted this was a series of press releases announcing a rally that was eventually held on the steps of Oakland City Hall yesterday, Monday. This is how the final press release started:
Oakland, CA — Mayor Jean Quan – joined by local and regional elected officials, business leaders and sports fans – shared details on “Oakland Loves Its Sports Teams” Spirit Week at a press conference and rally this morning in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Running September 10 – 14, the civic pride campaign will salute the Oakland A’s and Oakland Raiders, both of which have home games that week, for being irreplaceable civic treasures that add significantly to the economy, identity, pride and culture of Oakland, Alameda County and the entire East Bay region..“We want to show the world the love we have for our sports teams,” said Mayor Jean Quan. “Oakland has the best fans, a supportive corporate and business community, and the most desirable, central location in the entire Bay Area. The teams are woven into the very fabric of our community and this campaign underscores how much they mean to us!”
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The document went on to show the comments of such political lights as U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and it read “Mayor Quan was joined by City Administrator Deanna J. Santana, City Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf, San Ramon Vice Mayor Jim Livingstone, BART District 4 Director Robert Raburn, other civic and business leaders, former Raiders players, and others.”
And yet it was missing just about everyone who’s been involved in Oakland’s sports industry, and to make matters worse, the first version of the press docs sent this way mentioned just two teams – the Oakland Raiders and The Oakland A’s – and not The Golden State Warriors. That changed because this blogger told one of the Mayor’s staffers via email the effort was bad if the Warriors weren’t a part of it.
The Mayor called this 100-person press conference a rally – that’s an insult to rallies. In an age of digital media and crowdsourcing, this effort was really just a waste of time. It points to Oakland’s central problem: there’s always someone who takes some office who thinks they don’t need to call on any other Oaklander who’s done this before for help. Moreover, the practice winds up being politicized.
Consider that while Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan was all in for the rally, Oakland District Five Councilmember, and her challenger, Ignacio De La Fuente, was not. He’s done a lot in the matter of sports and Oakand. A real serious effort would have included him.
Where’s Dave Newhouse from the Oakland Tribune – or Monte Poole? Where’s the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Board? Where am I, who came to within eight NFL votes of bringing the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland? Say, were it not for the backbiting of some of the same people who were standing at that rally, Oakland would have hosted the Super Bowl, not Jacksonville.
And even if all of the people were standing there, it would not have made a bit of difference. If Quan wants to help Oakland sports, it’s going to have to take the involvement and input of a ton of Oaklanders, and not the ones she likes or is waiting to come to her. She’s got to have an all-hands team, and a giant, white sheet of paper, to form a comprehensive public plan.
Nothing less is failure. Mayor Quan, no silly rallies, please