I’ll get this out of the way, right up front. The City of Oakland has no business holding a meeting on the “Coliseum Complex ENA” given what City of Oakland staff has failed to present in the form of a written analysis of the proposals by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group and Dave Stewart. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf should remove City of Oakland staffers Larry Gallegos, Kelley Kahn and Alexa Jeffress from any continued work on this matter. In other words, the City of Oakland’s Redevelopment Manager, Director of Special Projects, and Director, Economic and Workforce Development should not have organizational jurisdiction over the Coliseum ENA. Why?
Because Gallegos, Kahn, and Jeffress have had well over a year to form a process to not just take in development proposals, but to present publicly-known criteria for evaluation, much as we used to do when issuing requests for proposals. Even though the Agenda Supplemental Report reads…
In July 2021, after receiving unsolicited proposals from several interested parties, the City Council directed the City Administrator to negotiate non-exclusively with AASEG and the Stewart Property Group regarding an ENA for the City of Oakland’s fifty percent undivided interest in the Coliseum Complex. City Council also directed staff to return in six months, or January 2022, for further direction and/or action
The fact is, that’s not true. Oakland A’s legend Dave Stewart and his wife Lonnie Murray submitted their original proposal in December of 2020, and I know because I wrote a detailed evaluation of their $115 million story.. I say story because the first cut of their idea was awful and, as I wrote then, and personally told Ms. Murray, was based on a development project the man they partnered with tried to present as real, when in fact, it was not. This is not personal against the couple, but an expression of extreme disappointment in a City of Oakland that is basically using them to score racial political points.
When I worked as an intern, then consultant, then economic development advisor to the Mayor of Oakland, then Super Bowl Bid Producer, and between 1987 and 2001, the City of Oakland had a clear request for proposals process that laid out for applicants what was expected and in clear-as-a-bell detail, and because the expected result were intense documents and spreadsheets that, together, provided a kind of “risk assurance” that the applicant could, indeed, do the job of being a building developer.
Each would be developer would turn in giant binders of neatly presented information because that’s what the request for proposals called for: pro-formas, examples of prior development work, economic impact analysis, proof of financing capacity, and business insurance, and evidence of an active organization with staff. The City of Oakland’s request for proposals documents, and those of every California, and, heck, every American city of note I’ve been in, had a road map of expectations that was easy to understand.
By contrast, Larry Gallegos told me in the Summer of 2020 that anyone could submit a proposal of any length, even one page. I was then, and now, remain completely flabbergasted that the City of Oakland would allow itself to be the designer of such a legally wreckless, loosey-goosey, hyper-political way of dealing with would-be developers. If I did not know better, I’d swear the City of Oakland was begging to be sued and for a ton of money.
But it did and Gallegos, Kahn, and Jeffress, and by extension with respect to responsibility Oakland City Administrator Ed Reiskin did do just that. It’s no wonder that City of Oakland retired employees collectively say Oakland has lost its way. Because it has. All of this is on Libby’s watch. The Mayor of Oakland has handled this so badly that I am crying as I write this.
You know why I’m crying? Because’s its clear to me that no one who works for Oakland in economic development really cares about Oakland enough to get this right. In the past, if I wrote something like what you’re reading, someone from the City would call me and try and explain what was up. They respected that I was an intern and consultant, and that’s how I wound up getting hired by the Mayor of Oakland, Elihu Harris, and doing a lot of great things, including coming to eight NFL votes of landing the Super Bowl for Oakland.
I gave a fuck. I cared. I wanted Oakland to win. The Oakland Government of today does not call, whines, and is content to have the look of a loser. I don’t write this with glee, but with extreme sadness. My City of Oakland in shambles.
I’m going to sleep now, but I will wake up knowing that nightmare will continue because the folks in charge of it just don’t bother to make it better.
Pick AASEG to get on with this Coliseum ENA, and then, someone, save us from the City of Oakland economic development staff. Please. ASAP.
When I think about Oakland’s Economic Development effort, I feel like James Bond, returning to MI-6 only to discover its a mere shadow of its former self.
Agenda Supplemental Report: