We’ve reached November, mostly intact. We’re deep in the thick of Las Vegas relocation drama, with the proposed owners vote just two weeks away. We also have Nevada Political Action Committee Schools Over Stadiums fighting heartily to prevent John Fisher and the Oakland Athletics from receiving the bulk of the $380 million in public financing that the Nevada state legislature approved months ago.
Howard Stutz has a great piece in the Nevada Independent regarding MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's comments about John Fisher and the A's potentially losing their approved public financing.
Manfred stated "If there was an adverse development with respect to that referendum, that would be a significant development, that's all I can say about that".
A quote from the piece that hits home for me is from Nevada State Education Association spokesman Alexander Marks, who said “Nevada voters should decide whether their tax dollars are used to subsidize a billionaire’s stadium”. I wholeheartedly agree.
There’s little evidence to suggest that newly built ballparks drive the amount of economic growth that they claim to, and Marks is right that the voters should be the ones to determine where their tax dollars are spent. If they don’t want to put their money into the hands of greedy billionaires like John Fisher, that should be their choice, not the choice of the lobbyists who stand to profit from the venture regardless of the product the A’s put on the field.
Additionally, Oakland 68’s treasurer Todd Saran published a scathing essay in the Nevada Independent yesterday that is a must read.
"“MLB’s revenue-sharing scheme has allowed small-city teams such as Milwaukee or Cleveland to stay competitive. But it has a downside. It has allowed Fisher to cash in on other owners’ charity instead of doing his job: signing star players, marketing the team and drawing big crowds.”"- Todd Saran
Saran points to it in the article, but we can look at Fisher’s approach to his other team, the San Jose Earthquakes, to get a glimpse of the future. Fisher had the Earthquakes new stadium built as the smallest in MLS, and just a few years later is clamoring for more public money for stadium improvements.
The A’s plan is to build the smallest stadium in baseball in Las Vegas. We can’t expect him to suddenly reverse course and invest heavily in the team when we have enough evidence to suggest otherwise.
We also have former Oakland A’s executive Andy Dolich making the case against relocation in the Mercury News.
"“Why did John Fisher get the Nevada legislature to give him $385 million dollars of taxpayer support when he has categorically stated that 100% of his new ballpark project and beyond would be 100% privately financed?”"- Andy Dolich
The A’s have spun and twisted their story from the beginning. We can expect that to continue for the duration of it. It's an unfortunate reality.
We’re just two weeks away from the expected owner’s vote on the proposed move to Las Vegas. Here’s to hoping the A’s stay in Oakland, where they belong.