Oakland Council Vote Unacceptable to A’s

Oakland City Council voted yes to a proposal to keep the Oakland Athletics in town. Unfortunately, the A’s balked at the city proposal, which may clear a path for the baseball team to move to Las Vegas.

The Oakland Athletics’ proposal for a waterfront park got the cold shoulder July 20 from the Oakland City Council. Council voted to support an amended proposal which A’s President Dave Kaval insisted amounted to a no vote.

“The current term sheet, even with these amendments is not something the A’s have consensus around,” Kaval said during the meeting. “I just really want to stress that voting yes on something that we don’t agree with… is not an effective path forward.”

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement citing his dismay with the vote.

“For the last four years at my request and urging, the Athletics have invested significant resources and have made a major commitment to their community in the hopes of remaining as Oakland’s only major professional sports franchise,” Manfred said. “We are disappointed the city council chose to vote on a proposal to which the A’s had not agreed. We will immediately begin conversations with the A’s to chart a path forward for the Club.”

The main sticking points involved offsite infrastructure, community benefits and the length of a non-relocation agreement tied to the project site at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal. The city did amend a clause which takes the responsibility for $352 million in offsite infrastructure costs.

Without approval for a $12 billion mixed-use project that included a $1 billion stadium, Kaval said it would be difficult to stay in Oakland.

“I question why we’re even here today,” Councilman Carroll Fife said. “I don’t know where we go from here after doing somersaults, after receiving insults, after being disrespected.”

Kaval noted the team would entertain further negotiating over the next weeks before the council goes on break, but Fife didn’t see the point of doing so.

“It’s not a negotiation, it’s really do what we say, or we will leave,” Fife said. “That is not respectful. I don’t even see the necessity of my comments if that’s the space they’re working.”

Kaval said Tuesday was the first time the team saw the city’s amendments. He said the A’s real estate team will review it to see what it entails, and team officials will talk with league representatives.

“We’re a little in the dark and all of that language is stuff we’ve never seen before,” he said. “It was a surprise to us.”

Meantime, the A’s will continue exploring Las Vegas, making its fourth trip before the month ends.

“I do take issue to how the A’s have shown up through this process,” Councilman Loren Taylor said. “The bullying tactics, the sleight of hand, the tweets from Vegas meant to taunt and sort of provoke. If we were voting on the A’s and how they behaved… it would certainly be a no vote.”

The unfavorable vote could lead Manfred to give the A’s permission to explore other cities for possible relocation. Reportedly there are six additional cities that could be considered.

A joint statement from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilwomen Rebecca Kapaln and Nikki Fortunato Bas called the vote a “milestone” in their efforts to keep the team in the city.

“Based on our extensive negotiation, shared values and shared vision, we believe the A’s can and should agree to the terms approved by the city council today,” the statement read. “This is the path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland in a way that protects our port and taxpayers and will produce the benefits our community demands and deserves.”