City Council agrees to extend talks on lease extension.
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Oakland extends talks on A's lease
Rick Del Vecchio, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle
In a hopeful sign for the future of professional baseball in the East Bay, the Oakland City Council agreed Tuesday night to continue negotiating with the Oakland Athletics on an extension of the teams' lease at Network Associates Coliseum.
City representatives, who met Tuesday night to vote on a possible lease deal, agreed to spend two more weeks to negotiate with the team. They will consider a proposal from the A's for a five-year lease extension paying $450, 000 a year in rent and about $150,000 annually from a ticket surcharge.
The council was divided on the merits of the proposal, which had been worked out without their involvement by the A's and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
"This is a marriage (between the) city, county and A's," said Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. "Hopefully, we'll get down to some really serious discussions."
The negotiations between the city and the A's will include the possibility of a new ballpark in Oakland.
"The owners of the A's have made a concerted effort to show that they're committed to Oakland, willing to put a winning team on the field, willing to pursue the possibility of a new downtown stadium," said A's consultant Sam Spear.
"Because of the political problems in Oakland in the past, (team co-owner and managing partner Steve) Schott has looked at other cities," Spear said. But now Schott has "totally focused his energies on Oakland," he said.
E-mail Rick DelVecchio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| By kevink on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 08:24 am:|
Funny, the Mercury spun this story to sound like they put off the decision because many of the council members were negative on the plan.
Kevin, Mr. Trafton, the negotiator of the JPA and liason to the A's told us after the meeting that negotiations and changes have already been made but were not presented yesterday. Trafton had already met with the owners representatives and the black out dates have been changed or agreed upon and there are other changes which were not presented last night.
At the City Council meeting yesterday, the original lease drafted by Haggerty and the A's was presented and Dany Wan spoke against it (with the weakest argument possible, citing Coors Field's rent and lease duration as a comparison, totally forgetting or probably not aware Coors Field is not only brand new but a baseball only park...no comparison possible).
The Councilmembers who spoke in favor of the lease extension were Brunner and Spees, with Brunner suggesting an extension in negotiations and Spees seconding the motion.
The most interesting suggestion came from Brunner when she said that it would be wise to keep the councilmember which has shown to have troubles in dealing with all Oakland sports franchises, to stay out of any further talks...DLF mumbled at the end that he realiazed it was him and that he would stay away of any negotiations...hehehehehe
Posted on Wed, May. 29, 2002
Oakland pushes plan to keep A's
Agreement on a lease extension at Network Associates Coliseum through 2007 is not far off, officials say
By Ann Tatko
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
OAKLAND - The Oakland City Council delayed for two weeks a decision on a proposed lease extension that would keep the A's at Network Associates Coliseum through 2007.
The council decided Tuesday to send both favorable and skeptical city officials to negotiate directly with A's officials.
Oakland officials want further exploration of three proposed terms:
• The $500,000 annual rent;
• A cancellation clause that would allow the A's to buy out the remainder of the contract and leave the Coliseum at any time with 90-days notice; and
• Blackout days that would allow the A's to select eight dates when no other events could be held at the Coliseum complex, including the Arena.
"We don't want just a better deal but the best possible deal for all of us," Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown said before the council meeting. "Our goal is to keep the A's in Oakland, and a short-term lease with a 90-day buyout doesn't offer us that guarantee."'
Scott Haggerty, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors president, drafted the proposed lease terms after discussions instigated by the A's last month. Oakland officials were not part of those negotiations.
When the proposal was presented this month to the Joint Powers Authority, which oversees operations at the Coliseum complex, officials and appointees for the city refused to approve the lease terms without further negotiations.
The A's now play under a year-to-year lease that ends in 2004. They pay no rent under that contract.
"Revenue is a key issue,"' City Manager Robert Bobb said. "We want to have some discussions about this and we would like those to be direct negotiations with the A's." Bobb added that he is optimistic an agreement on a lease extension can be reached in two weeks.
As directed by the JPA, Thaxter Trafton, the authority's chief executive, has gone back to the A's to renegotiate. Trafton was not a part of the initial discussions with the A's.
"This should be a marriage between the city, county and A's," said City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, who sits on the Joint Powers Authority.
"This is a positive gesture by the council that I hope the A's will accept. And I also feel that Thaxter Trafton should be involved. One reason we're here is that he was not at the table, " De La Fuente said.
Some council members said that the proposed deal is not comparable to other lease agreements for Major League Baseball teams, as revealed by a study of 16 teams using 1999 data. But Councilman Dick Spees said the deal should be looked at on its own merits.
"We've had indications from a number of sources that we can work out the blackout dates and the 90-day clause,"' Spees said. "We are very close to working this out."'
| By sactodavey on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 10:28 am:|
I admit have not been following the lease extension fully but the 90 day cancellation-buy out clause if the A's have this what good is a lease ext. anyway when they can up and move at any time period??
Might as well have no lease if it has no real power and can be broken at anytime by the A's.
| By rono on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 12:06 pm:|
| By jeffreyb on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 11:11 pm:|
but for fear of being unreasonably cursed out, double amen.
Well...too bad you folks above didn't show up at City Hall to congratulate and cheer the politicinas who feel the same way as you do. They would have appreciated that, I am sure.
De La Fuente
they are all saying Amen also..In fact they want at least a 10 year lease with no out clauses and of course a rent equal to Coors Field...after all...what does Coors Field, Jacobs and Safeco have that the Coliseum doesn't have, no?
And btw...these same great visionary politicians of yours are also telling the A's owners and all A's fans that the new ballpark in Oakland is just a figment of the imagination in the minds of a few. That all Oakland needs police and more ghettos to keep all their dangerous residents under control and not wondering and roaming the streets at night.
What a great incentive for Schott and Hofmann to sign a 7 year, increased rent and no out clause contract, don't you think that's great!!!!
So why don't you all write to those great politicians congratulating them for their good ideas in wanting the most out of those greedy owners. Tell them that if they don't want the terms of that lease, they can leave and make sure the door doesn't hit them on the way out...
| By sactodavey on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 09:26 am:|
Todays spander article, at least with the new lease the A's will help pay for upkeep hey if they are willing to pay let them.
Shows me 1 thing that yes Wilma they are making tons of $$$$$ this year, if they wanted they could get away with no pay free coiseum like before so lets sign even though they can walk anytime.
The council's principal gripe against a longer lease is that the A's have played rent-free at The Net since 1997 and now are offering to pay only $450,000 per year with a new agreement. The council feels that's too low.
| By jenmed on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 09:49 am:|
The A's are already paying for all upkeep expenses, which total over $1 million per year.
The ridiculous thing about the council's so-called "gripe" is that the reason the A's are paying no rent is not out of the goodness of the JPA's heart, but because the A's were awarded the free rent after the Coli was refurbished for the Raiders without the A's input. The renovations made the Coliseum much less desirable for baseball. So, suddenly the A's should be paying tons of rent?
About all the gripes surrounding the 90-day out clause - the lease is already year-to-year. In what way is a 90-day out worse than a year-to-year lease, especially when the A's are on the hook financially for the full length of the 5 year deal?
| By eyleenn on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 10:48 am:|
Correction to sactodavey's last post: the column he refers to is Dave Newhouse's, not Art Spander's.
It's posted in a separate thread.
thanks ey and who is Wilma?
| By chris_d on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 11:19 am:|
If the city council does indeed negotiate a better deal with the A's, one that is better for Oakland/Alameda County and lays the groundwork for a better relationsip, then that would be awesome -- even it does prove me totally wrong! :-) I advocated the Haggerty lease extension out of fear that the whole deal would fall apart completely, but I'm glad, in lieu of an approval, wiser heads are prevailing over a total 'no' vote and they're at least keeping a possible extension alive.
At the very least, I'm still glad we were present at the city, county and JPA meetings. Hopefully, we had an effect on the politicians' willingness to stick with the extension. One of those aim for the moon but land in the stars, type of thing.
And kudos to rono and sactodavey for being able see the larger picture. We had our reasons for fearing that the lease extension may have been an all or nothing proposition, but I'm glad I was wrong re: that.
| By eyleenn on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 11:34 am:|
It is indeed comforting that, although it was clear that IDLF had the votes to kill the lease extension, he went along with a "consensus" vote to continue discussions with the A's. Maybe I'm projecting, but there seemed to be a sense of relief in the Council chambers that they didn't have to take that vote Tuesday night.
yes ey, I agree with the relief atmosphere after Brunner introduced her motion and Spees seconded her motion...
I was watching DLF very closely and he was actually jumping up and down very fast on his chair and I thought he was getting ready to jump up and fight the motion but he didn't...especially when one of the councilmembers (I actually forget if it was Spees or Brunner) mentioned that there was one councilmember who had a history of contention with ALL the sports teams and that this councilmenber should stay out of the negotiations this time...
DLF actually spoke very fast in an almost mumbling fashion but he did admit that he knew he was the councilmember who should stay away from the negotiating table due to his history...
Brunner and Spees were masterful and showed their vision into what negotiating and compromising can accomplish instead of just grandstanding and bickering such as we have seen them do over and over at these meetings.
| By jeffreyb on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 12:31 pm:|
chris d, ignoring the slur by ommission, it's nice to see a reasonable response re a potential better deal.
the coalition is not served by postings like Lil's, trying equate any questions about the lease with trying to drive the A's out of town.
what took you so long to jump in to distort and attack me...oh well, what else is new?
were you there? did you hear what I said at the city council meeting? did I ever say for one minute the deal should not be negotiated?
what I said was that the members who wanted the no out clause removed were exactly the ones that said the A's should not have a new ballpark.
the big improvement and relief came when now we know that the ones who will be doing the negotiations with the A's are exactly the ones who voted for the ballpark proposal which the Mayor derailed...the chances for a better deal is in who will be negotiating the lease with the owners...
can't you see the difference in what I posted and what happened at the city council meeting?
of course not...you're way too busy looking for things to attack and be negative.
| By jeffreyb on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 03:08 pm:|
my post was not about the council meeting. it was about your blasting post, in which you equate anyone who speaks out here against the 90 day clause with politicians that don't want a ballpark. what you said at the council meeting has nothing to do with my point.
what specifically did i distort?
>what I said was that the members who wanted the >no out clause removed were exactly the ones that >said the A's should not have a new ballpark.
right, and that kind of us/them approach is what i complained of in the first place. the 90 day out clause bothers me in the face of contraction. that doesn't make me a new ballpark opponent. nor rono... nor the plenty of others who read here, but don't post, and certainly aren't encouraged to with your attempts at shutting up anyone who disagrees with you.
When I mentioned "members", I was refering to the
councilmembers and not forum members. That was the distortion you introduced with your lawyering ways...great in putting words in people's mouths.
I had exchanged thoughts about the out clause with Rono and he knew exactly what I said about the lack of bargaining power some of the councilmembers where coming from when I even mentioned the fact the owners sued to break the lease and would never agree with dropping the out clause without a ballpark in the works...etc...etc...
but guess what jeff...
You just reminded me that I should apologize for others who read this forum for having engaged in an exchange of posts with you.
I will now continue to do what I should have done from the start, which is to completely ignore your posts. Go find someone else to pick on and whine about...or be prepared to talk to yourself as far as I'm concerned.
| By jeffreyb on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 04:48 pm:|
which is yet another attempt to shut up those who dare question you. ...a tired repetitive one at that .
ok, so i confused [lawyerly distortion?!?!?]which members you wenre referring to. my bad.
but the confusion came about due to your attempts at lumping posters here with council members opposed to a new stadium.
is this a distortion?
>Well...too bad you folks above didn't show up at
>City Hall to congratulate and cheer the
>politicinas who feel the same way as you do.
>They would have appreciated that, I am sure.
>De La Fuente
or is this:
>...these same great visionary politicians of
clearly, you were saying that anyone who opposes
the Haggerty lease is in complete agreement with a host of politicians. you were tarring with a huge brush.
and now you want to get even uglier by applying your ultimate sanction of 'ignoring'.
you do this to squelch any dissent. it is obvious, and ugly in the extreme.
whether you address me directly is of no concern to me. i want to talk about substantive issues regarding the A's, and will continue to do so, politely, and without personal attack. your not addressing me in a personal ugly attack will be benificial.
| By rono on Friday, May 31, 2002 - 10:22 pm:|
I think that we need to get over the notion that everyone or anyone who objected to the original lease proposal be it politician or fan is somhow against a new stadium or the A's . Somehow we need to reach a understanding that a 90-day out or one year out is no longer acceptable. I frankly don't know whose idea it was to extend the lease in the first place. I will assume it was Haggerty or someone with the JPA. If the A's really want a new stadium they have to stop the tinkering that they have done with the lease arrangement over the last seven years. Its time to step up to the plate. Pointing fingers at the politicians no longer works, nor do phony sales or bogus claims for damages. The rental figure at this time is virtually meaningless . I will let the politicians elected or otherwise debate and decide this issue. This issue of committment is absolutely crucial. If they won't agree, then no deal and they need to be told that in no uncertain terms. If they will not accept it, then they are not really interested in a new stadium in this area. I believe that the concilliatory attitude diplayed in the last day or two means the first phase of the negotiations is over and the secon d phase can start. We probably have four or five to go. Keep up the hard work and keep the faith.
I have said from the start that the lease extension should not be a deal maker or breaker for the new ballpark process.
However, the timing and how Hagerty went about his negotiations with the A's became somehow unfortunately linked to the new ballpark process.
Hagerty should not have gone on his own, drafting a lease agreement bypassing the people who had been hired (JPA commissioners Trafton and Robert Brown etc) was a mistake which culminated in what we saw when the JPA came to an impasse. The timing and his secretive ways was damaging to say the least.
Fighting over the terms of the Hargerty lease became counter productive and destructive to the relations between the city and the owners. Fortunately good thinking from some of the politicians like Spees and Brunner saved the situation.
The lease extention would become a moot point if the A's would reach a financial agreement with the city/county on a ballpark. If this happens, the first pitch at the new ballpark would be 2006.
If and when this happens, they could draft a 30 year lease agreement or a provisional agreement for the coli until the new park is built.
So, in my opinion, what needs to be negotiated is the new ballpark and not really the coliseum lease. And, most importantly...the politicians who should be negotiating with the A's should be the ones working for a new ballpark and not the ones who oppose it.
Thanks for your understanding of the point I was trying to make and thanks for your encouragement.
PS: now back to watching WC soccer
| By jeffreyb on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 07:34 am:|
>So, in my opinion, what needs to be negotiated
>is the new ballpark and not really the coliseum
>lease. And, most importantly...the politicians
>who should be negotiating with the A's should be
>the ones working for a new ballpark and not the
>ones who oppose it.
This is a good and reasonable point. Of course, it ignores the fact that you (and Chris?; certainly not Eyleen, given her explanation that the 90 days is/was related to a new stadium...) not only endorsed the new lease, you sent out an email urging the troops to come and support it.
as rono says, the A's commitment is the key issue. National events are shaping up to make the A's a contraction candidate once again. If this lease proposal were signed in Minneapolis, the Stadium Authority there wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on in it's fight with MLB.
In other words, taking such a position, then saying forget about it, is inappropriate, given the importance of the issue. it centrally affects the extent to which the OAFC is listened to.
| By eyleenn on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 10:53 am:|
Jeff, I can't say that I understand your post completely. However, just to clarify my opinion, I do support the lease extension at the very least as a sign of goodwill between the politicians and ownership. I don't think anyone is overly concerned about the 90-day out clause. What I posted earlier was what I read in one of the news articles. Obviously, the circumstance of a new park being ready for the A's is not the only one in which the 90-day out could be used. If the A's are determined to move or be contracted, that will happen regardless of any out clause. Unless, of course, a new ballpark is on the horizon.
I believe agreement on a lease extension is at best an interim step towards a new ballpark. If the A's owners finally indicate that they will put their money where their mouth is, negotiations can proceed on a new ballpark and it won't matter if a lease extension is approved. However, if the owners continue to hide in the shadows, a lease extension will certainly not guarantee that the A's won't leave or agree to be contracted.
With regard to "the extent to which the OAFC is listened to," from what I have observed, the OAFC is well-respected by the city officials and others involved in the ballpark drive. I don't think you are in any position to comment on the OAFC's credibility, particularly in light of your personal bias.
| By jeffreyb on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 09:06 pm:|
what bias might that be?
eyeleen...there ARE those overly concerned about the 90 day out clause. that is what is under discussion. my own fear is that it is designed by the A's to be used in the event MLB wants to contract the team. If the government agrees to it, all the arguments that the coliseum authority in Mineappolis used sucessfully in court will be unavailable to prevent contraction of the A's.
| By rono on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 10:07 pm:|
You are very right. Even if contraction is all smoke, the A's will always use it( the out) as a lever in their negotiations for a new stadium. It will be virtually impossible to get a deal done. It is still not clear to me who intiated the lease extension and why. What we have seen so far makes absolutely no sense. If this nonsense persists I suggest the OAFC simply suggest that the A's agree to exclusively negotiate with Oakland and Alameda County for a new stadium for a period of three years. This proposal should be offered to MLB and Mr Selig to show we are serious about getting a new stadium. They should not be so interested in contraction if we are pushing for a new stadium. With no lease committment or willingness to negotiate exclusively with local authorities and no firm stadium plans of their own, the A's are not offering us any hope for reasonable negotiations.
| By eyleenn on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 10:31 pm:|
I was at the council meeting on Tuesday. The council members did not seem overly concerned about the 90-day out, rather about the amount of the rent and the black-out dates.
| By rono on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 10:52 pm:|
I hope they know more than I do.
| By jeffreyb on Monday, June 03, 2002 - 09:20 am:|
i don't think this group of county or city politicians are up to doing anything remotely like what the Minneapolis stadium authority did...
that doesn't mean that fans shouldn't attempt to draw such issues to their attention.