Open Letter: An Apology to Oakland, CA from 97,863 San Franciscans
Dear Oakland Residents,
My name is Allen Jones. I am a long-time resident of San Francisco (1960) and a Golden State Warriors fan since 1975.
I am sending to the entire population of Oakland, a sincere apology on behalf of the San Franciscans who casts nearly, 98,000 “Yes” votes in support of the June 5, 2018 San Francisco election ballot measure, Proposition I, aka “Relocation of Professional Sports Teams.”
The ballot measure was a Declaration of Policy intended to make it clear, San Franciscans are not down with being co-conspirators with its governing body, in ripping off anyone; let alone our neighbor, Oakland of its beloved professional basketball team.
Unfortunately, 131,000 San Franciscans voted, “No”, to apologizing to Oakland for what the evidence suggests was the biggest rip-off of a Black community since the beginning of slavery.
We are sorry for the actions of our elected officials, those who voted against this apology and the San Francisco media that successfully worked to keep this apology from reaching the people of Oakland.
Notwithstanding my belief that any ownership group of a professional sports team should be able to go wherever the owners feel they can make the most on their investment, I draw the line as a sports fan, on how any ownership goes about relocating a team.
The morally reprehensible act by the Joe Lacob ownership group to abandon a Black Oakland community, for a new White San Francisco community reeks of racism as much as it smells of the competing foul odor of greed.
Highlighted by the failed attempt by the owners to walk out on a public debt of $40 million was brazen and quite nervy. And though an arbitration judge saw right through this attempt to dine and dash, it gives me no comfort to hear both sides of this now resolved dispute acting like no harm, no foul.
The tools used by San Francisco City Hall in this theft from an Oakland community were racism, greed, covetousness and corruption. This was a classless act by what I still believe to be a, “World-class city.”
San Francisco has a $10 billion a year tourism industry verses Oakland’s $800 million a year tourism industry. In other words, a world-class city helps its neighbor; it does not help itself to its neighbor’s jewels.
From the first meeting the late Mayor Ed Lee had with Peter Guber, up to waving on the back of a convertible during an Oakland parade celebration of one of the Warriors NBA Championship, and to this day, I have felt both ashamed and embarrassed for my favorite city.
And in defense of the late San Francisco mayor, I do not believe Ed Lee, a man who did not want to be mayor of San Francisco acted alone to create a “Legacy project” by theft, especially from a neighboring Black community.
But an interesting admission by a sitting San Francisco member of the Board of Supervisors confirms for me, I am spot-on in my criticism that racism played a major role in making Chase Center possible.
SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin trying to justify his objection to allowing the Oakland Raiders renting the San Francisco Giants stadium for one season. In a San Francisco Examiner report, the supervisor admitted, “We’re done ripping off Oakland” as his reason. Read between the line of this racist statement by Mr. Peskin. The same city that had no problem with taking the Warriors from Oakland fans became unwilling to share with other Oakland sports fans.
And the fact that the owners of the Raiders eventually worked out a deal for the final year in Oakland in no way lets San Francisco’s un-neighborly act off the hook.
San Francisco was able to snatch the Warriors from Oakland because the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver allowed this to happen. And the entire league should juxtapose this move with the statements made by former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to better get a gage on its own level of hypocrisy.