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Robert Bobb is out

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Robert Bobb is out
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 08:38 pm:

I just saw on the news that tonight (Tuesday) Jerry Brown and Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb jointly announced that Bobb is leaving the City of Oakland. His replacement will be announced later this week.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 10:52 pm:

I doubt this is good news for any stadium plan...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaktownfan on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 11:18 pm:

I just heard on the news that it's rumored that develeper(forrest city?) were having trouble with Bobb.


Not only is the council upset, the community will be all over Brown for firing a very good city manager. If he fired Bobb because he's the main supporter of an A's downtown park in the uptown area, it's more government bull shit! I heard Reid said he'll be Brown's worst enemy, good. Hope the Forrest City deal falls dead! Brown is a complete joke!

He also fired Harry Edwards, for a city that has a great number of african american citizens, the race card will be thrown out against Brown.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 11:50 pm:

This is indeed sad and very bad news. With Dick Spees retired and now with Robert Bobb gone, the ballpark plan really gets a terrible blow.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bubba69 on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 09:16 am:

This more of a blow to the good people of Oakland. Now Mayor Moon Beam and his side Poncho Villa De la Fuante can run ruff shot over city business. By the way...How many people are going to move in to Mayor Moon Beams gated emrald city in the middle of downtown...None that I know of..There is no there, there! No resturants,stores
or basic services that I know of....Nice job Jerry! First the state and now Oakland! Hey maybe you can run for W's job next time around!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet1 on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:05 am:

One bright note, Bobb says he intends to stay in Oakland and start a consulting firm, hmmmmm.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:32 am:

That is good news about Robert Bobb staying in Oakland. Maybe he can now REALLY get things going with the corporate community and make things happen with City Hall. In fact maybe HE should run for Mayor competing with Perata and Delafuego.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:06 pm:

Delafuego -- ha, ha!

Maybe he and Dick Spees can hook up on the ballpark drive, now that they're free of political entanglements.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:20 pm:

Here's the Oakland Trib article re Bobb's firing by Brown:,1413,82~1865~1490148,00.html


Article Last Updated: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 6:08:53 AM PST

City Hall shake-up: Mayor forces out Bobb, Edwards
By Cecily Burt, Robert Gammon, Laura Counts and Alex Katz - STAFF WRITERS
OAKLAND -- Mayor Jerry Brown on Tuesday ousted his top lieutenant, City Manager Robert Bobb, and brought an end to months of speculation that their relationship was irrevocably broken.
It was the culmination of a bizarre day that brought accusations of racism and ended with the city's quixotic mayor attempting to run away from news reporters. Adding to the surreal atmosphere was news that embattled parks chief Harry Edwards -- a noted sports sociologist and 1960s civil rights leader -- had resigned.

After being tracked down by a horde of journalists who had camped out in City Hall for more than six hours as rumors swirled about Bobb's firing, Brown would not say why he ousted Bobb, other than to state that it was time for a change, for "new ideas and new blood."

"I know it's painful, but in the long run it will be very positive, and add to the dynamic energy of the city," Brown said.

At a press conference later, Bobb tried to put a positive spin on the day's events, saying he was leaving his post voluntarily after months of discussions with the mayor. But later, in an exclusive interview with The Oakland Tribune, Bobb hinted that while he didn't intend to stay in the city manager's job forever, he was not quite ready to leave.

He was particularly proud of the efforts of his staff and the City Council to balance a budget that had been $38 million in the red with few layoffs.

"That budget process, for me, was one of my finest hours as a city manager," said Bobb, 58, who has run the day-to-day operations of the city, including overseeing both the police and fire departments, for five-and-one-half years.

Bobb, whose salary is$224,000 a year, added that he intends to remain on the job for the next few days "to put in place a process to make sure (the budget cuts) the City Council approved are imple- mented."

Bobb acknowledged that his public rift with Brown last year in the debate over a new Oakland A's ballpark never completely healed. Bobb lost that battle to Brown, who pushed for the large Forest City housing development on the same site in "uptown" Oakland. However, Bobb would not speculate further on why Brown wants new city leadership, other than to say it's "not unusual." Bobb, who has been lured by other cities over the years, said he plans to remain in Oakland and open a management consulting business.

Blacks denounce ouster

Bobb's ouster was quickly denounced by black business and political leaders who had met with Brown for two hours Monday to express their concerns about the lack of business opportunities for African Americans in the city of Oakland and to seek assurances that Bobb would be kept in Brown's administration.

Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland) was livid, arguing that Bobb's firing was one of a string of incidents "disrespecting African Americans."

"Jerry has problems dealing with strong African American men. ... Bobb doesn't sell his soul, and Jerry can't deal with that," Reid said, vowing to be the mayor's "worst nightmare."

"Forest City, forget it," Reid said. "(Brown and city officials) aren't going to spend every dime of redevelopment money on a project just because the mayor's friends are involved."

City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Fruitvale-San Antonio) refused to comment throughout the day. De La Fuente spent much of the afternoon shuttling between Brown's and Bobb's offices. De La Fuente was attempting to hammer out the details of Bobb's departure, sources said.

City Hall surprise

Many City Hall insiders were surprised the partnership lasted as long as it did. After a 10-month search to replace outgoing City Manager Craig Kocian, Bobb was hired away from the top post in Richmond, Va. and joined Oakland on Nov. 17, 1997.

Bobb carried a reputation of someone who was tough on crime and bullish on economic development. He worked hard to revitalize Richmond's waterfront, experience weighted heavily in his favor.

But shortly thereafter, Brown was swept into office and voters granted the popular mayor executive powers, leaving Bobb's role in doubt. People wondered whether two such strong egos could coexist.

After some early uneasiness, the pair seemed to present a unified front, at least in public. While they clashed privately over the selection of a new police chief to replace Joseph Samuels -- Brown's choice, Richard Word, won.

Bobb stays visible

Yet Bobb was as visible as ever, in fact much more visible than Brown, taking control of the day-to-day management of the city and working aggressively for Brown's master plan to bring 10,000 new residents downtown.

The economy was up, crime was down, development was happening for the first time in years. Brown was re-elected and then the bottom started to fall out. The dot-com boom had turned to bust, crime was creeping back up.

And when times are tough, as they are now in Oakland, somebody had to be the sacrificial lamb, political insiders say. And when members of one of Oakland's prominent labor unions last Thursday tallied a "no confidence" vote in Brown and Bobb's ability to balance the budget rather than voting to cut their own pay 3 percent, Brown wasn't going to take the fall.

"When there tends to be dissatisfaction, like the tight budget and general unhappiness and unions, it's not surprising under those circumstances that the chief administrative officer would be under fire," said former Mayor Elihu Harris."

Bobb was no shrinking violet. He may have served at the pleasure of the mayor, but he was the one who exercised authority to hire and fire department heads.

Reid said he heard that Brown was upset over the meeting with black leaders, a meeting that included Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Sandre Swanson, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.

Group blasts mayor

During the meeting, the group blasted Brown for a string of events that seemed designed to exclude the black business community, including the foreclosure sale of the WEAP building at 15th Street and Broadway. Some were also upset about the deal to sell the Keystone building at 11th Street and Broadway, and vacant lot next door to Brown's friend and ally, developer John Protopappas, rather than working out a deal with a group backed by a black financier.

"We will all make sure that blacks up and down this state know what Jerry Brown has done," Reid said.

Protopappas said he was interested in the Keystone property, which he would turn into live/work lofts, but said there is no deal yet. He said he had confidence in Brown as the mayor of Oakland and the decisions he makes.

"The issue is Jerry Brown is the mayor of Oakland and under Measure X, he is the strong mayor, and the city manager serves at the pleasure of the mayor," he said. "I believe in him."

Councilmember Desley Brooks (Eastmont-Seminary) has often butted heads with Reid, but they were united in their support of Bobb.

"From my personal perspective, Jerry is grappling to try and find some relevance," she said. "People are talking about him being absent and he hasn't demonstrated much leadership thus far in his second term. It would behoove him to have someone like Robert Bobb around, because at least he can push forward an agenda."

Councilmember Jane Brunner met with Brown for about 10 minutes Tuesday afternoon, and was visibly upset when she left his office.

"I told the mayor I think he is making a mistake; I think Robert Bobb is an excellent city manager," Brunner said. "I think it's a very sad way to end a career in Oakland. After about six months or a year or so, the mayor will fully understand what a good city manager Robert Bobb is. It's not an easy job."

Some happy with decision

Not everybody is enamored of Bobb -- some community leaders in West Oakland were rejoicing over the news. Councilmember Danny Wan (Grand Lake-Chinatown) has been dissatisfied with Bobb.

"Robert Bobb's a pretty decent guy and he demonstrated he could do budgets ... but in the scope of management of accountability and quality of work done in the city and labor relations, we need somebody stronger in those areas," Wan said. "It's quality control, labor relations, the whole Oakland A's thing, his own little political agenda."

Brown called Bobb a "solid city manager" and said he was "impressed with the way he overcame budget problems."

Brown denied rumors that former assistant City Manager Delores Blanchard would be named interim city manager, and said that he would name someone from City Hall as an interim in a "matter of days, not weeks." He said he would conduct a search for a new person.

Brown said that embattled Parks and Recreation Director Harry Edwards, whom he brought on board three years ago to shake up the Parks Department, had to retire because of issues with his pension at the University of California, Berkeley. Edwards has been on leave from the university since accepting the city post. He also squelched rumors that Assistant City Manager George Musgrove had been fired.

Staff writer Angela Hill contributed to this report.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jenmed on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 02:34 pm:

Brown appoints Deborah Edgerly interim City Manager. The choice is supported by Bobb. From SF Gate.

Oakland finance director Edgerly to replace ousted Bobb

Janine DeFao, Chronicle Staff Writer

A day after he ousted his city manager in a city hall shake-up, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown picked the city's finance director Wednesday to run the city's daily affairs until a permanent replacement is hired.

In another development, Harry Edwards, a former UC Berkeley sociology professor who has run the city's parks and recreation department for the past three years, said Wednesday he is not retiring, as had been reported. Edwards said he hopes to remain on the job.

Deborah Edgerly, the city's director of finance and human resources, will become the interim manager when City Manager Robert Bobb leaves his post, Bobb said.

The appointment of Edgerly, who has worked in City Hall for several years, is "absolutely great," said Bobb. "She knows city government; she has my undying support."

Bobb resigned Tuesday under pressure from Brown, in a shakeup that had long been rumored but still caught many people by surprise.

"I thought it was a good time to make a break," said Brown, who has given no specific reason for Bobb's ouster after more than five years. "I know it's painful, but in the long term it will be positive."

While Brown has put Oakland in the national spotlight in his four years in office, it is Bobb who has had the less glamorous, nuts-and-bolts job of running the city.

Bobb, 58, said last night he was leaving of his own accord but that he and the mayor have "had conversations over the last several months with respect to (Brown's) desire to bring in his own management team."

The two strong-willed leaders have reportedly clashed on a number of issues, most notably Bobb's push for a downtown ballpark on a site Brown preferred for housing. Brown won.

But Brown played down that conflict, saying Bobb had been a strong manager but that he needed "new blood" ... to maintain momentum."

He said a search then would begin for a "chief operating officer" who could have less power than Bobb and is likely to earn less than his $224,000-a-year salary. Bobb has been one of the highest paid city managers in the state.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 09:34 am:,1413,82~1865~1492217,00.html

Bobb's ouster dims hope for A's ballpark
Former city manager one of biggest supporters for downtown stadium
By Robert Gammon, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND -- It already looked dead. But now it really looks dead.
That seemed to be the consensus Wednesday of fans and proponents of a downtown Oakland A's ballpark, now that City Manager Robert Bobb -- maybe it's biggest backer -- has been shown the door.

"We saw it coming. We knew Robert Bobb was too strong for the mayor," said A's superfan Lil Bartholo. "But it's a setback, there's no question about it."

A's fans and ballpark supporters nearly lost all hope last year when Mayor Jerry Brown overruled Bobb and pushed ahead on a large housing development for the same uptown site identified as the best spot for a stadium in the East Bay.

Then they cried foul when it was revealed Brown's Forest City housing development was going to be built by friends of the mayor who were expecting a $50 million-plus public subsidy from the city.

The mayor defended his plan, saying the housing development was the only concrete proposal for revitalizing Oakland's long-struggling downtown. Brown called the ballpark a pipe dream and noted the A's owners had steadfastly refused to say how much of their own money they would spend on a new stadium.

Then fans took another hit when longtime City Councilmember Dick Spees, also a leading ballpark backer, retired at the end of December.

Yet, some fans were still comforted by the fact that Bobb -- who last year led a nationwide tour of cities that had built new ballparks -- was still in a position of power in Oakland. Moreover, they knew A's management liked Bobb.

They also got a morale boost when word came that A's owners were considering selling half or all of the team to a mysterious Silicon Valley investor interested in keeping the team in Oakland. But that supposed deal, like three previous ones, has yet to come to fruition.

Fans also knew that even with Bobb, a new ballpark looked extremely unlikely given the current economic climate and given the current A's ownership.

Now, with Bobb gone, it could be the final nail in the ballpark coffin.

"I'm disappointed. Things are not looking good for a ballpark," said Jennifer Medeiros, co-chair of the Oakland A's Fan Coalition. "The ownership situation has got to change. I think people are pretty clear that (co-owner) Steve Schott is not interested in staying in Oakland."

A's President Mike Crowley would not comment Wednesday on Bobb's ouster.

Still, sports fans don't easily give up all hope. They know all too well Yogi Berra's famous line: "It's not over, until it's over."

And the Forest City housing development, despite the mayor's backing, is no sure thing. City Councilmember Larry Reid -- angry about Bobb's firing -- has vowed to fight it. And City Hall sources said the project itself could be on the ropes, with Forest City possibly coming back soon for an even larger handout. Forest City probably will not even finish environmental work on the site until early next year.

Regardless, an Oakland A's ballpark likely won't happen without new A's ownership or a change of heart from current ownership, stadium proponents say.

"I just think there has be a signal from them, stepping forward and showing interest ... that they want a downtown ballpark," Spees said.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jenmed on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 09:57 am:

The dream IS NOT dead. Fantastic article by Dave Newhouse.,1413,82~10835~1492088,00.html

Downtown A's park dead but ...

CALL ME a fatalistic optimist, but I'm not ready yet to say ...

It would have been a magnificent jewel to gaze upon, that downtown ballpark in Oakland. An architectural gem. Subtle, yet noble and proud.

The ballpark would have reflected what Oakland is and what it desires to become, a great baseball town with a Hall of Fame tradition and an ensured baseball future, and run by a mayor who cares about sports.

I'm just not going to give up simply knowing that ...

The ballpark would have brought more distinction to Oakland than the housing project planned for the same site -- a project criticized for its cheap construction and its fattening of certain Oakland politicians' pockets.

And the ballpark would have been really downtown. Not by the Oakland Estuary but next to the historic Fox Theater, which was to be fully restored and located behind center field when the ballpark opened in 2006.

It would have been special watching Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito -- if theA's can afford to keep all three marvelous pitchers -- mowing down hitters in a charming ballpark instead of a cavernous football stadium.

I admit it really looks bad now for a downtown ballpark, but I still won't concede that ...

We can only dream now of what a downtown ballpark would have been like. Yes, its concept was buried Tuesday as Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown shoveled the last bit of dirt on the gravesite he dug all by himself.

That's all true, but was it buried for good just because ...

Brown is the enemy of sports in Oakland. He isn't alone -- Al Davis is public enemy No. 1 -- but Brown's an enemy nonetheless. He sees himself as a visionary, but when it comes to sports, he's myopic.

Last July, Brown finally forced the Forest City housing project down Oakland's throat. The project would be built between Telegraph and San Pablo avenues, between 18th and 21st streets. And there went all mental images of Eric Chavez homering off the Fox Theater marquee.

Then whatever hope there was of a downtown ballpark was eliminated two days ago when Brown kicked Robert Bobb out of his Oakland city manager's job.

"The ballpark is totally off the radar screen," Bobb said Wednesday. "It's a memory."

But perhaps not the last memory, or the last hope, even though I know ...

Bobb was the driving force behind the ballpark. It was Bobb who brought HOK Sports of Kansas City -- the Michelangelo of baseball stadium architects -- to Oakland to find the best ballpark site in the East Bay.

And it turned out to be downtown Oakland, which should have been a boon to this city. But the ballpark idea was in immediate trouble because A's owner Steve "I Left My Heart in Santa Clara" Schott refused to commit one penny toward its construction.

"The ballpark is dead for three reasons," Bobb said. "A. Political. B. Financial. C. Clash of the titans. Until the A's come to the table with real interest and real money, there is no common agenda."

Well, again, call me a fatalistic optimist, but whatever ...

I'm not giving up on a downtown ballpark. And I don't mean downtown Fremont, which was HOK's very last option. Fremont doesn't want the A's, and even less so after observing Schott's penuriousness.

But look around baseball. Major league cities are building retro ballparks to replace outdated stadiums. These same cities also have mayors who believe ballparks bring business into the city. And that is true.

I still believe a downtown ballpark project can fly in Oakland. It may take a few more years to get off the ground, but I'm not convinced the Forest City project will be built. It's not a finalized deal by any means.

Surely the Raiders trial could have some bearing on a downtown ballpark. But regardless of who wins in Sacramento, the other side will appeal, and the eventual winner may not be known for years.

Before we know that outcome, the A's could have a new owner who will commit financially to building a ballpark.

And Oakland will have a new mayor in 2006. Could such a person revive the ballpark plan?

"No question," Bobb said. "Depends on the person."

Certainly the next mayor will be more sports-oriented than Brown. A downtown ballpark does seem far-fetched at the moment, but nobody thought the Raiders would ever return to Oakland the day they drove off to Los Angeles.

So there's always hope. And Bobb's not leaving town just yet.

"I'll be at the ballpark tonight," he said Wednesday.

He won't see the mayor there. The mayor thinks the Seattle Mariners are a shipping company.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 10:47 am:

Interesting tidbit from the major column re Bobb's ousting:,1413,82~1865~1492216,00.html

Bobb to set up firm

Bobb said Wednesday that he has no plans to leave Oakland, and that will set up his own consulting firm called the LAPA Group LLC -- named after his sons, Lawrence and Patrick. He said he is interested in sports management.

"Maybe some sports team needs to diversify its management team. I think my skills are transferable," he said. "I'm a free agent now."



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bleacherdave on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:23 am:

He squashed speculation he would run for public office, saying: "Some people are cut from a certain cloth to be elected officials. I'm not one of them."

Mr. Bobb says he's looking for a job in sports management! I'm hopin he's really hangin around town to run for mayor, next go 'round. Despite protestations to the contrary, I'm hopin he does the thang.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 12:01 pm:

Matier & Ross on Bobb's ouster:

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 11:04 pm:

Moonbeam blew it on Bobb:


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