Ray Bobbitt And AASEG Securing Oakland Coliseum ENA Great But There’s A Problem – Vlog
Ray Bobbitt And AASEG Securing Oakland Coliseum ENA Great But There’s A Problem
. A vlog by the YouTube channel named in the video’s upper left corner and serves as the original blog post for this content.
I congratulate Ray Bobbitt and the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, or AASEG. The AASEG represents the first black development organization to ever secure an exclusive negotiating agreement to build at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex. That the reason the press conference event was held at the Oakland Coliseum on the second day of Black History Month 2023.
The gathering was a collection of Oakland Politicians including Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, Oakland District 3 City Councilmember Carroll Fife, Oakland District 4 City Councilmember Janani Rachmanandran, Oakland District 5 City Councilmember Noel Gallo, Oakland District 6 City Councilmember Carroll Kevin Jenkins, and Oakland District 7 City Councilmember Treva Reid. Joining them were community legends like Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb, Community Organizer John Jones, former Oakland City Administrator Robert Bobb, and others.
But the main problem is the table should have been even bigger. It consisted of East Oakland black leaders, but only those folks who liked each other, and not black people needed to get the job done. And that’s what Ray Bobbitt has to avoid if he expects to achieve any success: the constant Oakland Crabbarrel Problem.
When I headed Oakland’s only bid to host a Super Bowl Game, in 1999-2000 for the 2005 Super Bowl, I single-handedly created the non-profit Oakland Alameda County Sports Commission, and got Federal approval for it in just four months, when then-Oakland City Attorney Jayne Williams and then-Coliseum Executive Director Denna McClaine told me it would take two years.
I built a team of over 60, consisting of hotel general managers, sports marketers like my friend Beth Schnitzer, sports agents likem my friend Leigh Steiberg, and most important in Oakland, people who may have in some cases had issues with me, but for whom I found a need for. People like the late news entrepreneur Sanjiv Handa, to name a name formost amoung them. I gave Sanjiv, a City of Oakland watchdog, a watchdog role over the doings of our Oakland Alameda County Sports Commission. He performed very well at keeping me out of trouble. And that leads to my point: Ray Bobbitt already has a lot of people standing outside his tent and looking in it with anger.
Who’s the group? Folks like the older Oakland friend who worked for the City and knows everyone, who shockingly described the group as “a joke” because they didn’t “have any money”, when I asked for his opnion. I took that to mean he wasn’t consulted to help them. Big error.
And folks like me, who has helped Ray, but was frozen out of asking questions at the event. The idea was that press was supposed to be able to ask questions on ZOOM, but the only ZOOM question that was read was one that focused on community involvement, yet never actually was written by anyone who was in the ZOOM chat. I know, I was there.
But there’s an effort among some Oakland politicians to recognize The Oakland Post as the only “black media” and ignore Zennie62Media, thereby forming another wedge, or trying to. I had my hand up to ask a question on ZOOM, yet a representative of Sandra Varner, the African American PR person who put together the press conference, did not call on me or anyone else. That included a reporter from KQED who asked openly on chat “Can anyone explain what the purpose of this press conference is?” as Ray Bobbitt was the director of something more out of church than a true press event. I texted that it was the announcement of the “first ENA every given to a black developer for the Oakland Coliseum.” He said “thanks.”
And then there was the constant question “where’s the Oakland A’s?” There was no one. Not even a representative of any Oakland A’s fan group. No one. Even if Dave Kaval wasn’t there, Ray and Company certainly should have had fan groups there. They’re part of the community Ray will have to work with, too.
Bringing people in, and circiling the wagons, and then doing it more. That’s what the AASEG has to do, and at the same time, creating a certain and doable project. From what Ray Robbitt presented today, it’s already an uphill battle.
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