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Councilmembers De La Fuente and Reid Fume Over Supervisor Scott Haggerty's Agressiveness in A's Lease Deal - County Questions Oakland's Leadership

Ok. Here's the real deal and it's the truth. The County of Alameda's key leaders have no faith in the ability of the City of Oakland's leaders to get anything done with respect to the A's. As one person who's an Alameda County official recently told me, "There's no one from the City of Oakland who seems to care" about the A's. Another Alameda County official once said he kept wondering when someone from the City of Oakland was going to show leadership, but it hasn't happened.

This is why Scott Haggerty took the action he did as explained in Paul Rosunsky's article below. It's a way of telling the City of Oakland -- by action -- that they're not handling the A's matter properly. It's no surprise to me that the County side of the Oakland - Alameda County Coliseum Authority has taken the matter of renegotiating the A's lease in its own hands.


Oakland officials cry foul over A's deal
Council members say they were kept in dark about lease extension talks between supervisor, team's owner

OAKLAND — The potential deal to keep the Oakland Athletics at McAfee Coliseum until at least 2010 was thrown a curve ball Friday as irate city officials complained they were not informed about recent conversations with the team's owner.

Two Oakland City Council members said they were surprised by a Tribune story reporting that A's owner Lewis Wolff and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty had settled differences over a lease extension for the team.

And both cautioned nothing is final until the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, Alameda County and Oakland all approve the pact.

"It just caught everyone off guard," said Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland). "We are still supposed to be in negotiations. It had not been brought back to us, and we need to understand the deal before we agree."

Haggerty said Thursday night he and Wolff had cleared up a few misunderstandings and the owner had agreed to sign an extension keeping the team in Oakland the next four years, and possibly longer.

Although Haggerty was asked to speak to Wolff by Alameda County Supervisor and Authority President Gail Steele, no other member of the authority knew the conversation occurred until now. Which is why there was so much confusion and anger Friday morning as they tried to sort out the deal's details.

"Our responsibility is to work together," said City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale). "With all due respect to Mr. Haggerty, this is what creates problems."

But Haggerty's conversation with Wolff did not result in any changes to an earlier offer submitted to the team's owner, Haggerty and Steele said. It simply clarified language in a letter De La Fuente and Steele sent earlier this month, they said.
"The bottom line with this deal is that Scott did not change anything, he just helped clarify," Steele said Friday. "It is understandable that they are upset because they didn't know what was going on." Wolff said he is still interested in signing the lease extension with the deal points outlined in De La Fuente and Steele's letter.

Those points include having the A's play at McAfee Coliseum until at least 2010, with three, one-year options after that.
In return, the A's would pay the authority an annual average of $750,000 a year, starting with the highest payment — $1.2 million — in 2007 and declining each year through 2013.

The deal also would allow the A's to keep control of concessions unless the team announces a move outside Alameda County.

"At first, it didn't look like what we wanted, but when he clarified, it seemed like something that I wanted," Wolff said. "It is very fair."

"At this point, it is up to the (authority)," he added.

The authority is expected to review the deal sometime in October.

Despite his anger, De La Fuente said he most likely would approve the extension if the major deal points weren't changed.

"If that is what it is, we will go from there," he said. "My job and Larry's (Reid) job is to negotiate what we believe is in the best interest of the city and the county."

Steele said she has a similar responsibility, which is why she asked Haggerty to help.

"I hate to see everybody mad over something, when there is good intentions involved," she said. "Everything was done in the best interest of keeping the A's here."
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