Quan rallies businesses behind Oakland teams

(KGO)
September 11, 2012 6:41:57 PM PDT
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is continuing her cheerleading efforts that began at Monday night's Raiders game. She's trying to do all she can to keep professional sports teams in town and on Tuesday morning, she targeted local businesses.

It is officially "Oakland loves our sports teams" spirit week. So, Mayor Quan spent the day bouncing from business to business fanning the flames of sports passion and reminding business owners why it's so important they keep all three teams in the city of Oakland.

Quan spent her morning encouraging business owners to hang signs to show their love for Oakland's professional teams, but it's the mayor's conversations with team owners that could reveal if the love flows both ways. "When we're talking, I'm always optimistic. You're not going to get much more from me than that," she told ABC7 News.

But it's the teams that are asking for more, much more. Oakland is the only city in the state with major league baseball, basketball, and football sports teams but all three may split for the alluring promise of new digs and greener pastures. The mayor is convinced that keeping the three teams in Oakland will move the city's balance sheet out of the red. "Our economy grew by 11 million last year and I think it will continue to grow," Quan said.

At Lanesplitter Pizza, professional teams and thin crust are good for the bottom line. Bodies fill seats, people eat, and doing it over a hot slice helps Ian Moll's business thrive. "People come here to meet other people, to talk to each other, and the local sports teams is a great way to do that," he told ABC7 News.

But there is no public money left for stadium construction. The A's and Warriors are intent on moving to wealthier Bay Area counties. Even with the promise of a new multi-use sports complex that would house all three teams, the Raiders are the only ones who have made it clear they want to stay in Oakland. Still, city leaders need to find a way to pay for it without leaning on taxpayers. "What we're promising the public is that the general fund will never be put at risk in any of these deals," Quan said.

That will require creative accounting and possibly new bond measures that require a long-term commitment. Oakland and Alameda County are still paying $10 million each, every year, on the 1995 stadium bonds that brought the raiders up from LA.

Fans of keeping the teams in Oakland are quick to highlight Monday night's sold-out Raiders game. They say it is a clear demonstration of their commitment to the team and their strong fanbase. No move required.


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