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Oakland Raiders News | NFL, City of Oakland Working On New Stadium; Las Vegas Update

According to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, The City of Oakland, the County of Alameda, and the NFL are working on a stadium plan to keep the Oakland Raiders in Oakland – and to head off Las Vegas Raiders plans

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and The Oakland Raiders Town Hall Meeting of last fall of 2015, and held at the Fox Theater, played a mayor roll in the situation that formed the Oakland Raiders news today: the National Football League working with the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda in planning for a new stadium for the Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex.And, as Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley told me on Saturday, during Oaktoberfest in the Dimond District, talks with the National Football League and Ronnie Lott of what Mr. Miley calls “The Lott Group” are going well.

In fact, they’re going so well, Supervisor Miley worked to downplay progress and the good Oakland Raiders news in my talk with him, as you can see in my Zennie62 on YouTube blog interview above and here.

Contrary to views expressed by some local media types who seem to want the Raiders to leave Oakland for Las Vegas, the fact is the NFL has worked with the City of Oakland, the County of Alameda, and the Oakland-Alameda County Joint Powers Authority on the objective of a new stadium for almost year, now.

 

Indeed, as explained at Zennie62.com on December 4th, 2015, “the National Football League is forming a plan to keep the Raiders in Oakland, and not have them go down to Carson.”

Oakland Raiders NFL Stadium News Update

Oakland Raiders NFL Stadium News Update

As it is happened in January at the NFL Owners Meeting in Houston, NFL Owners rejected the San Diego Chargers / Oakland Raiders plan to build a 65,000-seat stadium in Carson, and approved the then St. Louis Rams’ plan to move to Los Angeles, become the L.A. Rams again, and build a state-of-the-art 80,000 seat stadium complex in Inglewood.

 

 

The rabid Oakland fan base and Mayor’s Schaaf’s success at building a positive relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff, caused that outcome, even as Raiders Owner Mark Davis has made moves to try and relocate the organization out of Oakland.

 

According to many talks with NFL Officials, the Oakland Raiders fans gave what one official recently said to me, and for the second time, an “emotional experience” during the crowded Oakland Raiders Town Hall Meeting at the Fox Theater last year. As an aside, you can see what happened and how the NFL staff in attendance reacted via this 18-video playlist from Zennie62 on YouTube:

 

 

The NFL Loves The SF Bay Area Media Market

 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was invited to give a presentation to the NFL Finance Committee in New York City on November 14th of 2015 (Zennie62Media was one of the press organizations on the scene in NYC). The NFL staffers and owners were, I was told by league officials, “charmed” by Mayor Schaaf, who was asked to show how the Oakland / East Bay Market could support the Raiders in her presentation.

 

 

That the NFL asked Mayor Schaaf to focus on the Oakland / East Bay Market and not on new stadium progress was a major news point completely missed by the media. The San Francisco Bay Area has had two NFL teams since 1960 and the media market that has grown over that time now ranks as number six in among NFL city metro areas, but is number three in terms of advertising cost-per-point behind New York and LA.

 

Moreover, Nielsen reports that of the top six cities, the San Francisco Bay Area is only one of two who have realized an increase in the number of television sets in the most recent, reliable data from 2015.

 

Where does Las Vegas rank in media market size? 40th. So Mark Davis is essentially asking his NFL Ownership friends to take a media market size and media market rights fee haircut by working on a deal with The State of Nevada and Clark County to build a stadium there, rather than focusing exclusively on staying in Oakland.

 

The importance of Mark Davis’ efforts can’t be underscored because the NFL’s major revenues come from the sale of the right to broadcast its games. In turn, the rights fees are determined, in part, by what it costs to show commercials in NFL cities – the lower that rate, the less the overall rights fee would be.

 

In an era of fragmented media stretched between the web, mobile, and television, the NFL games offer the best opportunity for brands to get their products seen by consumers across demographic groups. Since corporations have proven, time and again, that they would pay top dollar to show commercials during NFL contests, the major media networks (which take money from those companies to present their commercials) have been willing to pay the NFL as much as $27 billion in 2011.

 

And that 2011 deal is up for renewal in 2022.

 

The NFL wants to walk into the 2022 negotiations being able to show a more valuable overall product to Walt Disney Company and the other media giants by that time, and that explains moving the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles, and it is the reason why the league will not allow the Raiders to walk out of Oakland for Las Vegas. Media fragmentation has the NFL very concerned about the future growth of its seed-corn money base, and is working to insure it increases over the next generation.

 

The Ronnie Lott Group And Oakland Coliseum NFL Stadium Plan Progress

 

To complete the process of building a new, state-of-the-art NFL stadium for the Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum, on August 26th, the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda entered into a 90-day “memorandum of understanding” with the Oakland City Pro Football Group LLC, which is ran by NFL Hall of Fame Defensive Back Ronnie Lott, who’s joined by NFL alum and USC legend (which is painful for this Cal-Berkeley grad to write) Rodney Peete.

 

For two months prior to the August MOU date, the Oakland City Pro Football Group LLC was characterized by Oakland officials as consisting of Lott, Peete, and Egbert Perry, the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of The Integral Group, and Chairman Of The Board of Fannie Mae. But while the MOU itself specifically mentioned Lott and his group, it did not name Perry in any way.

 

Then, Perry and another LLC he’s part of called Stadium Real Estate Partners LLC sent a letter to Oakland and Alameda County Officials announcing an offer to buy Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum land for $167 million, or about $2 million over the $165 million required to defease the ‘Raiders Bonds’ used to pay for the upgrade of the Oakland Coliseum stadium to bring the Raiders back to Oakland from L.A in 1995., and that the City and County have paid a $20 million annual debt service on since 1996, when the plan to sell ‘personal seat licenses’ fell short of revenue goals, raising only $56 million, when an initial sale of $83 million was required.

 

That offer by Stadium Real Estate Partners LLC was rejected by The City of Oakland. Mayor Schaaf said to me that “We aren’t considering it for recommendation at this time because we want an agreement with the NFL. I am committed to keeping the Raiders and The League at the center of the deal. We can’t give up our right to control the destiny of what happens to that land (at the Coliseum). A new stadium that keeps the Raiders in Oakland, but is responsible to the team, the league and the taxpayer – and enhances economic vitality around the Coliseum and delivers community benefits.”

 

The act of rejecting Perry caused some Raiders fans, and this blogger, to believe the entire process of maintaining the Raiders in Oakland was in trouble. But a number of Oakland Officials, and most notably Mayor Schaaf on the record, have made assurances that is not the case.

 

Indeed, the entire Perry soap opera masks the simple fact that since last year, the Raiders have had drawings of what a new Oakland Coliseum NFL Stadium will look like, and while Oakland officials have seen them, they have never been released to the public. And this year, the Raiders have taken construction bids for a stadium cost study. Additionally, Larry McNeil, the Raiders Vice President of Business Affairs and stadium point person, has worked with Oakland Officials, even meeting with the Mayor and consultants as recently as September 15th.

 

According to Miley, a stadium plan is expected to be done by January of 2017. And the entire affair has been helped by the news that the Oakland Athletics are interested in building a new baseball stadium at Howard Terminal. For a time so many possible areas were being considered the Oakland A’s might as well have selected Michaan’s Auctions land in Alameda.

 

The Perry soap opera also masks the news that, as Miley told me in my interview over the weekend, Alameda County is no longer interested in selling its part of the Oakland Coliseum to the City of Oakland, believing it can help in the new stadium planning process by providing its considerable resources for use.

 

That’s a major change from last year, when, in May, the same Supervisor Miley dropped a bomb of a press release announcing the County’s Board of Supervisors wanted out of, as they put it, ‘the sports business’. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors have obviously cooled its collectively heated emotions, and resolved to work with the City of Oakland as a team. And that has come at the perfect time because of the presence of what Mayor Schaaf calls “The Las Vegas Threat.”

 

Raiders Las Vegas NFL Stadium Plans And Proposed Nevada Special Session

 

In late January, Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis met with Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and University of Nevada Las Vegas President Len Jessup to tour possible sites for a new Raiders stadium in Sin City. Davis, rankled that the NFL rejected his Carson stadium proposal, took up an offer by Adelson, who, in turn, was reportedly wooed (via his deputy government affairs representative Andy Abboud) by former Raiders player and Las Vegas resident Napoleon McCallum.

 

That ignited Las Vegas Sands partnering with The Raiders and Majestic Realty to present a plan for a 65,000 seat stadium in Las Vegas, and before a group formed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and called The Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee, or SNTIC, and that was already meeting over the past year ostensibly on how to pay for expanding the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

 

Davis and Adelson wanted the SNTIC to send a recommendation to the Governor that a hotel tax increase and a subsidy of $750 million for a new NFL Stadium in Las Vegas or Clark County should be presented in a bill to the Nevada Legislature. A request that, given the size of the public contribution and the fact that Adelson, worth $29 billion, could pay for the stadium himself, seemed a long shot to get from the SNTIC.

 

But the Governor’s SNTIC was wired by Adelson and the Las Vegas Casino Industry: many top casino managers sat on it, and in 2015, Las Vegas Sands had given over $25,000 to the campaign of the two elected officials on it: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Clark County Supervisor Steve Sisolak. (Moreover, Adelson has given over $200,000 to the campaigns of over 20 Nevada elected officials or those running for office over the past two years.)

 

With that, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal owned by the Adelson family, it should come as no surprise that the SNTIC would eventually approve Davis and Adelson’s request. Now, it’s up to Governor Sandoval to call the special session, which has not happened yet even though he said the meeting date would be between October 7th and October 11th.

 

It’s October 4th now.

 

Whatever’s going on to cause what seems to be a delay, Nevada political observers, and Raiders fans close to the story believe that with taxpayer groups loudly crying foul against what is called a welfare give to a billionaire in Adelson, and this being an election year, there’s little desire for the Nevada Legislature to approve the huge level funding.

 

Moreover, there are concerns with the Raiders / Las Vegas Sands NFL stadium plan and they were left unadressed by the SNTIC, which was rushed to get to a conclusion because the Raiders are anxious to get a Las Vegas proposal before NFL Owners by January of next year:

 

First, the Raiders plan is without a firm land deal, and one of the two areas selected is right next to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, an idea that Southwest Airlines has told me it would not be in favor of for reasons of aviation safety.

 

Second, the proposed legislation calls for a bond issue with a debt coverage ratio that, at 1.5, is below the industry standard of two, or double the revenue from the proposed tax increase. To put it simply, the bond deal by design is in danger of not being able to pay for itself. Governor Sandoval has said he’s convinced the bond deal can work, but then he is considered to be working to meet Adelson’s request. And I’m told a number of Nevada elected officials don’t want to piss off Adelson.

 

Third, the proposed legislation is written such that there would be no cap on the amount of money the public, known as The Nevada Government and Clark County, would spend on the NFL Stadium over and above the $750 million. The SNTIC rejected the proposal that there should be a cap, and so the public could wind up spending over $1 billion on an NFL stadium if the Nevada Legislature and the NFL Owners gave Davis and Adelson what they wanted.

 

Sheldon Adelson’s Legal Problems With Money Laundering Claims

 

Finally, there’s the issue of Adelson himself and the flurry of lawsuits filed and settlement given around allegations of money laundering connected to Chinese high-rollers, some said to have questionable business practices. You can learn more about that in my vlog below, but to what degree does this problem taint the entire deal? Will Nevada Legislators take that into account in an election year that’s just 35 days from conclusion as of this writing?

 

 

If not, and the Nevada Legislature approves this gargantuan public subsidy for the Raiders and Las Vegas Sands, the entire matter will fall to The Clark County Board Of Supervisors for a final decision. Because of a newly installed “Home Rule” law in 2015, Clark County gets final say on the $750 million bond issue. I talk about that, here:

 

 

Stay tuned and subscribe to Zennie62 on YouTube for up-to-the-minute video-blogs on this story.

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Activism

After Wood Street Clearance, Homeless People Stay

Advocates claim about a dozen of them showed up on November 8 to support residents. One of them, Annmarie Bustamente, said their presence “definitely helped the residents block the eviction” and that the residents were “tired of displacement and said no” to a member of Oakland’s Public Works Department encouraging them to move. 

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Homeless Oakland Jessie Parker stands on Wood Street in West Oakland on November 10. The city of Oakland had planned to move Parker and dozens of others from this location between November 8 and 10, but residents refused to move and remained on site after the attempted closure operation. Photo by Zack Haber.
Homeless Oakland Jessie Parker stands on Wood Street in West Oakland on November 10. The city of Oakland had planned to move Parker and dozens of others from this location between November 8 and 10, but residents refused to move and remained on site after the attempted closure operation. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

On the morning of November 8, members of both Oakland’s Encampment Management Team, Public Works, and Police Department came to an area encompassing about 1/5 of a mile from Wood Street and Grand Avenue to Wood Street and 26th Street with the stated goal of clearing the location of homeless people. But after the attempted clearance, homeless people remained in the area.

“The objective was to move as many people as possible,” wrote Oakland Communications Director Karen Boyd in an e-mail. “But that could not be accomplished without the full cooperation of the community.”

“You can’t push us back any further than this,” said homeless resident Jessie Parker, a 63-year-old lifelong Oaklander who came to live on Wood Street after being shot in the leg. The injury prevented him from being able to do the physical movement required for the construction and electrical work he had done in the past. On November 4, the city put up pink notices informing him that starting in four days they would force him to vacate the area he’s lived in for about nine years, but he, like dozens of others living in vehicles, tents or makeshift homes along Wood Street, didn’t leave.

Parker’s statement references the fact that Wood Street is one of the westernmost streets in West Oakland. A little further west from where Parker lives is land owned by Caltrans under the 880 overpass where still more homeless people live, as well as a 1.5 acre plot of land belonging to a company called Gamechanger LLC. To the east are businesses and residential areas.

After about two years in delays, Gamechanger agreed to lease its land to the city for $1 a year and the city opened a Safe RV Parking site on July 7 on the company’s land through the non-profit Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency.

In the Safe RV Parking site, residents who own RVs and trailers can legally live in them and receive services. It’s unclear how long this service will last, as the lease between GameChanger and the city can expire by November of next year. That same lease laid out plans to allow 75 RVs or trailers space to park, but while walking through the site on November 10, this writer counted 29 RVs while half of the site sat vacant. The site is not available for many residents, like Parker, who don’t have an RV or a trailer.

“I never received an offer to move in,” said Parker, who lives in a truck. “It’s for RVs only.”

The site opening has put other residents at risk of displacement who can’t or don’t want to access it. Since Oakland’s City Council unanimously passed its Encampment Management Policy in October of last year, despite protests and critical public comments during five hours of a meeting, city policy now states those living within 25 feet of such sites can face clearance.

Although their policy now allows it, the city had not attempted to move nor even encouraged people who are living near the Safe RV Parking site to leave the area until the November 8 operation. But recent communications from Justin Tombolesi, who is the constituent liaison for District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife, have led advocates and homeless people to believe the company is now pressuring the city to force people to leave the area. In a text message to a homeless resident who lives near Wood Street, Tombolesi wrote “Gamechanger is suing the city because people are too close to the RV site.”

Gamechanger denies suing or pressuring the city. When asked if the company was suing or threatening to sue the city, the company’s lawyer, Pat Smith of Smith LLP, responded in an email, writing “Not at all — no thought of suing the city. The city is solely in charge of the site and ownership has no involvement or concern over how the city is handling things.”

In an e-mail, Boyd wrote that “No filings or actions to terminate the lease have been served upon the city,” but that the city has “spoken with legal counsel representing GameChanger’s lot regarding the city’s plans to create compliance.”

In another text message to the same resident, Tombolesi also claimed the city would allow residents living on Wood Street to move to a vacant portion of land off the street and just north of the Safe RV Parking site during the November 8 closure operation. No residents have moved into that location and residents, as well advocates who were on site that day, claim no one was invited to do so. Boyd said the city offered nine spaces in the city’s Community Cabins, and five spaces in a rapid rehousing program called The Holland. One resident accepted a space in the Community Cabins, which is a program that offers small, unheated shelter in shed-like spaces made by the Tuff Shed company.

Advocates claim about a dozen of them showed up on November 8 to support residents. One of them, Annmarie Bustamente, said their presence “definitely helped the residents block the eviction” and that the residents were “tired of displacement and said no” to a member of Oakland’s Public Works Department encouraging them to move.

Although the closure operation was originally slated to occur over three days between Monday November 8 and Wednesday November 10, no one from the city came back after the first day.

“The ability to proceed Monday impacted the entire operation,” wrote Boyd in an e-mail, “and activities for the following days were cancelled.”

Although homeless residents did not leave Wood Street, Oakland’s Police Department’s Public Information Officer Kim Armstead said the department did tow six vehicles for long expired registration on November 6 and 7 in the area in preparation for the closure.

According to Armstead, the department avoided towing vehicles that served as people’s homes, as the department, following the cities’ direction, has “agreed not to tow vehicles where there is clear evidence they are being used as shelter.” Armstead also said on November 8, OPD supported the city operation with two officers, one sergeant, and six police service techs who provided traffic control and security for city workers.

One homeless resident named Evangeline said the towing of her and her husband’s vehicle has made it difficult to go grocery shopping and to visit her mother, who just had a heart attack. The couple can’t afford to pay the fees to get the car back, so it will remain in the tow yard.

“We’re really stuck,” she said.

Although residents like Parker avoided being moved from Wood Street, it’s unclear when or if the city will come back to move them. According to Parker, a member of the non-profit Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency has been working to secure some form of permanent housing for him, and he’s hopeful that the person will be successful.

“I’m a little older now so my peak interest is getting back into housing,” said Parker. “If I get into housing, I’m sure I won’t go back to this. I can’t take these harsh elements no more.”

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Activism

African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) helps support 25th annual turkey drive in East Oakland

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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The African American Sports & Entertainment Group came out to support the 25th annual Community Giving Foundation Turkey drive at Verdese Carter Park in East Oakland.

Hosted by founder and organizer Marlon McWilson, the turkey drive that started in 1997 has now donated over 35,000 Turkey’s through McWilson’s foundation. In attendance were Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, Oakland PAL, California Assembly Member Mia Bonta (AD-18) along with husband and Attorney General for the State of California Rob Bonta. Assembly Member Bonta also congratulated the AASEG on their recent unanimous 8-0 approval to enter negotiations with the City of Oakland on an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) to purchase the city’s half interest of the coliseum land, and looks forward to working with the team.

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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Bay Area

Get Booster Shot, Celebrate Thanksgiving Holiday Safely, State Officials Say

Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.

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According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”
According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”

By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

Golden State public health officials are recommending that Californians take COVID-19 booster shots to prevent a resurgence of the disease and to celebrate the holidays safely with their loved ones.

“It’s not too late to get it,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Department, referring to the COVID-19 booster shot. He was speaking at a vaccine clinic in Los Angeles County last week.

“Get that added protection for the Thanksgiving gatherings you may attend,” he said.

Last week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine boosters for all adults in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed with an endorsement of the booster vaccine, recommending it for people over age 50, and anyone 18 and older who is at higher risk.

The CDC loosened the language for all other adults, saying anyone over age 18 “may” take the shot.

California officials say the booster shots are plenty and available throughout the state.

“If you think you will benefit from getting a booster shot, I encourage you,” said Ghaly. “Supplies are available. There are many sites across the state – thousands in fact.”

On Saturday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed a separate review of the federal government’s approval process for the booster shots and also recommended that “individuals 18 or older who have completed their primary vaccination series,” take the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters.

California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington state came together last year and created the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The group, made up of scientists, medical professionals and public health experts, is charged with reviewing COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 infections across the United States have increased at a rate of nearly 33%, according to the CDC.

Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.

“COVID-19 boosters are available to all Californians 18 [and over]! Walk-in clinics are open statewide with no appointment necessary – like this mobile clinic in Avenal. Find a clinic or pharmacy near you and get yours today,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office chimed in on Twitter.

Newsom has pushed hard for the vaccine booster since he received his last month.

“Great news for the rest of the country. The holidays are here — make sure to keep your immunity up and protect yourself and your loved ones. Get your booster,” Newsom tweeted on November 18.

According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”

California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.

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