What is the sound of one hand clapping? What was your face before you were born? Does a dog have a Buddha nature? Why is that nobody in Oakland government and sports seems to talk directly to each other?
Some questions are just unanswerable.
The latest salvo in the public meltdown surround the Oakland Coliseum comes today, as the development team responsible for the Oakland Raiders casually let slip the following: "Oh yeah, that stadium that you're all arguing about with the A's? The one that that taxpayers still owe $180 million on after we made you rebuild it in the nineties? We want you to tear it down. Like right now."
The news of the Raiders surprising position comes from the Chronicle, which reports that, "the Raiders are in talks [with Mayor Jean Quan and the city of Oakland] to tear down the stadium next year to make way for a new home for the NFL team."
In a massive understatement, Stanford University Economics Professor Emeritus Roger Noll told the Mercury, "The probability of Coliseum City working financially and some team committing to it would be greater if there was only one team involved."
The proposed new new site for the football team would be called the Coliseum City, a combined sports and retail complex on the same site as the existing stadium (as well as the Oracle Arena.) Seems that plans are in the works to put a new structure in place for the 2018 season, which would mean tearing down the Coliseum in 2015. In fact, the city of Oakland has already spent $4 million in planning the changeover. If that weren't to happen, "the Raiders are making arrangements to play elsewhere."
The story of the Raider's plans seems to be the latest in a strategic series of leaks (many of them to the Matier and Ross) as the various parties position themselves during ongoing negotiations between the Oakland A's and the joint power authority that runs the Coliseum, which is made up of the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Though the members of the county supervisors appeared ready to extend lease terms the Athletics that the baseball team has asked for, members of the Oakland council (though not all of them) have balked at the details of the proposal that would extend the A's lease for the next ten years.
Supporters of ratifying the deal with the A's, including Oakland city council member Larry Reid have questioned the teardown, calling it "crazy, absolutely insane" after a tense meeting at the city council last night.
So what's going to end up happening? Heck if we know. But you can bet that some other bombshell will get lobbied in the press tomorrow. Maybe they all just sit down in a room and hash it all out? If you believe that, we've got a stadium to sell you.