Oakland News: Earth Day, Real Estate, AEG Coliseum, City Council Dist 3 Race Intensifies

Nice to be back in Oakland, if only until Tuesday Night, when this blogger leaves for the NFL Draft. But this Earth Day has to be noted – lovely day. So much so that, rather than see this blog post, I hope you’re out at Church, or lunch, or doing something to celebrate this glorious Earth Day Sunday.

Oakland Real Estate Recovering.

Happened on this video of a KTVU report on Oakland leading the nation in real estate recovery. Oakland has a 52 percent reduction in the availability of homes for sale. Worth looking at for those who think things are really bad, still:

AEG Coliseum Mess

As I reported on Friday, The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum JPA has agreed to negotiate with AEG to replace SMG as the manager of the Oakland Coliseum – or I should say “Co-Developer”. But the entire deal hinged on a number of really icky turns. First, and this is no slam to Mary Warren, who has ably served on the Coliseum Board for about 25 years, but she let Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty (who I am not a fan of) talk her into voting “yes” for AEG to run the Coliseum, when she originally said “NO.” Scott leaned over and said “You mean “yes.” Then, to the outcry of many in the audience, she said “Yes.” A number of people I talked to didn’t like the looks of that, and that includes those who were in favor of AEG taking over the Coliseum.

But that’s not the worst of it, and I continue to wonder why Oakland Tribune Reporter Angela Woodall ran away from her own accusations that the Coliseum JPA was a lot like the old Tammany Hall group in the New York of the 1940s, because the fact is, it does look like the JPA operates that way.

The RFP for a new Coliseum Manager did not include any mention of the JPA seeking a co-developer and investor for the Coliseum City project. Thus, SMG did not approach the competition with the idea that they needed to offer any money for the Coliseum City project. On top of that, the subject of being a developer for Coliseum City never came up in the SMG interview with the Coliseum JPA sub-committee. In other words, SMG didn’t mention it, and the Coliseum people didn’t talk about it.

But that’s not true for AEG. AEG offered to be a kind of co-developer for the Coliseum City project, and the same committee people did bring up the issue of AEG being involved in the Coliseum City development process. The Coliseum JPA openly mentioned that as one reason for recommending AEG. But the fact is, the entire deal was, from all of the information I’ve gathered over the past eight months, a total set up. The Coliseum JPA has some who’s real intention was to push out SMG and create a kind of AEG Live in Oakland. There were some who pursued AEG until they responded and said “OK. We’ll compete.”

In other words, AEG was wooed to buy its way into the management of the Oakland Coliseum, and the co-development of the planned Coliseum City. The fact is the $3.5 million AEG offered only pays for pre-development costs – like architectural drawings, etc. But you can bet the JPA will now look to AEG to pay for more than just that part of the development process. It’s hard for some Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum JPA officials to not look to the deal Sacramento got and think “Maybe AEG can throw $59 million our way, too.” At some point, AEG will start looking like an ATM to the JPA. Remember that.

Oakland Council Races Intensify

I went to an Old Oakland Neighborhood Fundraiser…

Where I met Foursquare Friend Paula Wirth….

…and three Oakland District Three City Council candidates were in attendance at the time I was there: Alex Miller-Cole, Sean Sullivan, and Lynette Gibson McElhaney. As of this writing, I’ve not personally decided who I’m going to vote for.

My concern is that the candidates tend to pay a lot of attention to West Oakland, and Adams Point goes forgotten. I don’t discount West Oakland’s environmental challenge, but my feeling is that it’s always an issue of West Oakland, as if Downtown Oakland and the other parts of District Three don’t exist.

And by the way, try Cafe 817 on 817 Washington Street. Great coffee and excellent and reasonably priced dinner offerings.

I backed Nancy Nadel on the last election because she called and presented her case to me. Moreover, Nancy and I have a lot of history, going back to her late husband Chapel Hayes and the surprise phone call from Councilmember Nadel meant a lot to me at that stage – I felt if she could do that, she was ready for another term because she could pretty much deal with anything head on. I didn’t like Nancy’s style in handling problems, but she did take them on.

But that’s over and done; I’m going to just listen and learn this time. Candidate interviews are coming. And on that note, while Alex, Sean, and Lynette are the most visible candidates, Sean’s got the lead because he’s tried for the seat before – and before that, I believe. And there are two other people who’ve said they’re candidates, even though I’ve not seen them around the town: Damon Eaves, who’s website was actively updated until December, Nyeisha DeWitt, and Derrick Muhammad.

After some fits and starts over the years, Sean’s finally at the point where many are comfortable with him.

Right now, it looks like his race to lose.

Stay tuned.