Category: Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders Las Vegas NFL Stadium Snags Are Roadblocks

More fake news about the Oakland Raiders Las Vegas NFL Stadium was tossed your way this week.

There are some in the sports media business who just write to maintain access. Access to team players, managers, and owners. When that desire runs up against the public’s need to get the truth, readers stuffer under the worse barrage of fake news there is. That happened on Tuesday of this week.

I’m not going to name the person at fault for this, but the scribe is well-known in San Francisco Bay Area Sports Media and, from an entirely other perspective, is a heck-of-a-nice person. Still, the writer is obviously only trying to make the Oakland Raiders brass happy, because this person issued a take with the headline that the Oakland Raiders Las Vegas NFL Stadium project will have only snags and not roadblocks, and based that conclusion only on a so-called source who said “the casinos want this”, referring to the Raiders new stadium.

My friend could have got that kind of quote from any yahoo – and that dude or dudett would not even have to be a Las Vegas resident. “The casinos want this” is a statement only a person who has not really followed the Oakland Raiders Las Vegas NFL Stadium story, let alone understand urban development, would make.

Everyone who knows the Oakland Raiders Las Vegas NFL Stadium story is aware, and in some cases painfully so, that the project is posting a giant mound of costs that the Raiders would never have to deal with in Oakland. Let’s look at what they are:

1. Relocation Fee of $370 million: This is the easy cost the Raiders have to bear and they expected it, and because it’s levied by the NFL, there are a number of ways the League can allow the Silver and Black to afford to pay it. Still, it’s a cost the Raiders would not have to deal with in Oakland.

2. Off-Site Transportation Cost of $450 million: This is 50 percent of the estimated $900 million in total, stadium related, expenses for the installation of a number of projects the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has identified as needing to be completed before the stadium opens. Such things as new interchanges (three of them) at $200 million each, and ‘High Occupancy Vehicle” lanes along Interstate 15.

The Southern Nevada Tourism and Investment Act (SNTIA) is the law that not only gave the greenlight to the much-talked-about $750 million subsidy for stadium construction, it also mandates that the “developer” pay an “adequate” amount of the off-site transportation infrastructure cost that was preliminarily determined by NDOT. Note the word preliminarily.

Here’s the latest bad news associated with that matter: the Las Vegas Stadium Authority hired a firm called Marnell Companies to basically review the Kimey Horn Transportation Study – the one that laid out that the Raiders would also generate a number of traffic problems for streets and roads, not just the highways. Well, guess what? Marnell Companies found a ton of errors that also point to the late-2016 NDOT report of $900 million, and the Kimey Horn work which was based, to a degree, off of it.

The simple explanation is that no one at Kimey Horn or NDOT bothered to estimate the actual traffic impact of the stadium itself on top of and in addition to the current traffic levels! In the case of NDOT, existing planned projects were identified as candidates for early construction, but not one person bothered to ask exactly what kind of highways and roads would be needed because of the stadium but that are not planned as of now. In NDOT’s defense, it did say the findings were preliminary. But what this means is the real cost of the transportation infrastructure improvement needed for the Las Vegas NFL stadium is not known, and is certainly higher than $900 million – which means the Raiders share of that cost is going to be north of that, thanks to the SNTIA.

What Marnell Companies also pointed out is that NDOT and Kimey Horn did not take into account the combined traffic produced by the patrons leaving the Raiders stadium just as others are trying to get to McCarran International Airport. That would create a nightmare traffic situation higher and beyond the kind of ‘we can deal with traffic as if it’s nothing’ take that Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak shared a few months ago when it became obvious this traffic deal had not been thought out by the Raiders. There are a lot of problems – did you know the stadium can’t even handle having a line of taxis and Uber and Lyft cars? That’s what Marnell Companies discovered. Wow!

3. Parking Facility Cost of $195.7 million: that’s based on Clark County’s regulatory call for 14,000 additional parking spaces and only because, well, the Raiders need 16,250 of them, but can only come up with 2,250 next to the stadium – times the per-acre cost of land around the stadium, the market rate of which is $2.9 million right now, and then times the number of acres needed: which is 67.4 acres assuming that each parking space is about 210 square feet – that comes to $195.7 million.

So that total cost is, so far, $1.015 billion in costs that the Oakland Raiders have to bear that they can avoid by building a new stadium in Oakland. Repeat, the Raiders could take the Fortress new stadium deal in Oakland, and save at least $1.015 billion in costs. Let’s add that to the stadium’s base expense of $1.9 billion – we get $2.915 billion – almost $3 billion in expenses and climbing. Note that we have not even seen the acutual price tag to build the stadium (the guaranteed maximum price), and we will not know what that will be until (hopefully for the Raiders) February or March of 2018. That could be even more expensive that the $1.9 billion – and that does not even include other unforceen costs. Like, who’s going to pay for the much-needed water runoff drainpool? The Atlanta Falcons Stadium has one; what ahout the Raiders stadium, which happens to be in a flood plain?

So far, no casino has officially stepped forward to take on these expenses on behalf of the Oakland Raiders. In fact, as Las Vegas minority contracting activist Stanley Washington told me “the casinos have gotten a lot for spending no money at all – they’re not about to change that. Now, Everyone’s watching to see what the Raiders do.”

Raiders Owner Mark Davis scared away the blank check Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson had offered to pay for all of these costs (and as a gift to Las Vegas) when Davis tried to double-cross him.

I hear the popcorn’s good in Las Vegas. Maybe the guy who wrote the take about the idea that the “casinos want this” should have some for himself – he’s gonna need it.

Libby Schaaf Runs For Re-Election As Mayor Of Oakland, Raises $161K So Far

Libby Schaaf is officially running for re-election as Mayor of Oakland – not new news at all. Let’s take a look at where the 50th Mayor of Oakland, and first white woman to run the City of Oakland, stands in her quest to retain her seat as of this moment in time. Preliminarily, one has to say she looks pretty good, particularly from a fund-raising and competitors standpoint.

In 2014, Schaaf raised $341.503.55, and even though challenger Bryan Parker raised more than she did by just over $11,000, he failed to make that money become votes: Schaaf gained 20,094 votes (when rank-choice voting second and third selections are combined with first picks), versus just 5,546 votes for Parker. (Who has said he has no plans to run again, but people do change their minds.) This year, Schaaf’s on a good pace with respect to that.

Right now, according to City of Oakland campaign files, Schaaf has already raised just over 47 percent of her 2014 campaign total, or $161,557.66 as of July 30th 2017.

That $161,557.66 came from some of the usual suspects: local Oakland entrepreneur John Bliss and his wife Kim Thompson, who’s an Oakland lawyer, Oakland Lawyers Joan Story and Bob Stumpf, long-time friend and legal talent recruiter Becky Taylor, San Francisco-based Political Consultant John Whitehurst, Oakland-based Political Consultant Jason Overman, Yui Hay Lee’s architecture firm, William Rosseti of Oakland apartment owner J and R Associates, and SCN Strategies of San Francisco.

The list was also notable for who didn’t put money into it: one name that sticks out among them is long time Oakland lawyer Zachary Wasserman of Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP (a firm Mayor Schaaf once worked for). Another is Amy Baker, who seems to have timed out from supporting the Mayor this time around.

I know these two were supporters before, because they were at the same initial fund-raiser i attended in 2014, and assembled by Oakland developer John Protopappas – who’s name was not on the City of Oakland record this time around, either.

And missing were the folks in this video from the press conference on the minimum wage law:

That would seem to imply Mayor Schaaf has a problem drawing back the people who initially helped her. Considering it’s still early in the political ball game this time out, that could change.

Still, Mayor Schaaf has crafted for herself an uphill battle – and the hill is formed by two simple facts: she forgot to bring along her real friends, and Libby micro-managed in matters she was better off letting more experienced players work for her.

The friends matter reared its head, first, in 2014, when a mutual friend of ours complained that she wanted to work for Libby (and needed work) but could not get a call back from her. I did reach out to Libby on her behalf, but the then-new Mayor was supposedly too swamped to get back to our friend.

That’s the lesson in politics: friendship is a two-way street: you can’t ask for people to help you, if you’re not willing to help them when you reach the prize. For all of his errors, that’s the one rule Donald Trump did not forget when he became POTUS: keep your friends close – period. Money is the oil that helps friendships run smoothly – the other factor is communication. Libby didn’t get the memo in both cases.

(Mainstream media types might complain about friends and cronies in politics, but then they turn around and act the same way in newsrooms. Go figure.)

The other lesson is to let more experienced people help you and then you sit back and take the credit. Scott McKibben, the current head-boss over at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was completely unappreciated by Mayor Schaaf, and her bad treatment of him is one reason he’s all-but out of the door and headed to run Levi Stadium. If McKibben had been the head of a task force to retain the Raiders (and one ran by the JPA), the Oakland Raiders arguably would not be wasting bucks in Las Vegas as I write this.

But I digress.

So with that, and more from the usual suspects of errors in judgement you and I both know about (like the Police Sex Scandal, the Ghost Ship Fire, and the apparent loss of the Raiders), it would seem Libby has a set of problems that could hamper her quest for the brass ring, once again. But there’s one fact: as of this writing, she’s running for Mayor of Oakland unopposed.

Sure, there are many rumors that this person, or that person, or me, will go against Libby, but none of them has materialized for now. Heck, I was just told there’s a rumor that a former African American female employee of Libby’s thinking of running for Mayor.

Considering there are two who fit that “former” tag, and one of them is Director of Communications for Mozilla, that could only mean Peggy Moore. Yep: the same Peggy Moore who ran for the Oakland City Council At-Large Seat and lost to the incumbent Rebecca Kaplan. The same Peggy Moore who was one of Libby’s major behind-the-scenes campaign workers the first time out.

Yes… THAT Peggy Moore…

Keep your friends close, right?

Stay tuned.

Libby Schaaf For Mayor Of Oakland 2018 Campaign Statement And Monetary Contributions To Date by Zennie Abraham on Scribd

Oakland Raiders Fans Groups Plan Press Conference For Sports Lawyer

Oakland Raiders Fans Groups and community-wide supporters retain
Attorney James W. Quinn
The nation’s foremost Antitrust Litigator
NEWS CONFERENCE
Monday, June 12, 2017 – 10:30am
Oakland City Hall, Frank Ogawa Plaza, downtown 14th and Broadway
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Oakland, CA, June 9, 2017, The fight continues as #StandWithOakland – comprised of local citizens, business owners, faith leaders and fan groups (including “Forever Oakland” and “We Stand With Oakland”) –has engaged top sports lawyers in connection with the NFL’s decision to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. Spokesperson Raymond Bobbitt states, “Our organized efforts will continue as we seek justice for the citizens and fans, worldwide. We have retained attorneys James W. Quinn of Berg & Androphy and co-counsel Eric Hochstadt of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.”

The group’s goals include exploring viable options with community leaders, city and county officials to keep professional football in Oakland CA; interfacing and engaging with business advocates to develop economic opportunities and; prospects for the first African American participation in NFL ownership.

Jim Quinn is an accomplished trial lawyer, who served for many years as head of the Litigation Department of the international law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Mr. Quinn specializes in high stakes commercial disputes. He has practiced in all areas of complex litigation and alternative dispute resolution, with particular emphasis on antitrust, securities, false advertising, sports, entertainment, patent and related complex intellectual property litigation. Clients call upon him in matters that are high-profile, high-stakes and, often, international in scope.

Eric S. Hochstadt is a partner in Weil’s Litigation Department. Mr. Hochstadt’s practice focuses on civil antitrust, class action, and other complex and sports-related litigation, as well as criminal cartel investigations and antitrust counseling. He has represented clients in a broad range of industries, including broadcasting, e-commerce, electronics, financial services, pharmaceuticals, private equity, publishing, and transportation. Mr. Hochstadt is ranked by Chambers USA Antitrust, recognized by The Legal 500 US for antitrust as well as being named a “next generation lawyer” for the sports industry.

Additionally, Mr. Quinn has counseled and represented players associations in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. Quinn served as the lead counsel for the NFL players in their successful antitrust challenge to the player restrictions in the League (McNeil v. NFL). The New York Times labeled his participation at trial as “instrumental in helping change the face of major professional sports.” In 2016, Mr. Quinn was named as one of 17 “Elite” Power Players for sports law by Sports Business Journal.

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Oakland Needs A New News Blog: “Oakland News”

Since 2004, when I started Oakland’s first true blog (and not a news website) Oakland Focus, Oakland has seen the following online publications come and many go:

Grand Lake Business
Oakland Local
A Better Oakland
Make Oakland Better
The Oakland Tribune

And between 2004 and today, 2016, the ways that media is published and distributed have expanded and changed at the same time. Back then the concept of micro-blogging was just that. 2006 gave us Pownce and Twitter. And now, even though the basic micro-blogging platform is easy to build, it seems like everyone has just counted on Twitter without challenge.

But this growth and change has caused many established news sites to reduce in both web traffic and staff size. And many offline media publications did not successfully make the leap to the Internet. And so the Oakland Tribune is, for all practical purposes, dormant.

The last Oakland news website standing, The Oakland Post, is a fantastic publication ran by the legendary Paul Cobb. But The Oakland Post’s problem is, it hasn’t successfully monetized its content, nor widely expanded from it’s base in the African American Community of Oakland to fill a news void that has gotten only larger with time.

This is also true of the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. Blogs like SFist and 7×7 have tried to cover Oakland culture, but they just don’t get it, and only know that after decades of being ignored by the white media in the Bay Area and the World, Oakland is now mainstream.

The hunger for Oakland news has become so great, some have turned to The New York Times, but even that has failed to meet the demand.

cropped-Rod-Dibble.jpg

There has to be a publication that has enough Oakland moxy to know that Rod Dibble has played piano at The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue, and since 1960, and yet pay attention to who’s running for what Oakland City Council seat, and why!

I could go on and on, but you get the point now: this new site is the news venue of Oakland. The main difference here is that you can read about what Oakland’s are doing in their own words, and using there own voice, either in text or video.

Like this:

“Oakland News” is an experiment I am excited to get going.

Let’s go!