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Friday, August 25, 2017

With Scott McKibben's Departure Oakland Coliseum JPA Must Install Coliseum Advisory Board

With Scott McKibben's Departure Oakland Coliseum JPA Must Install Coliseum Advisory Board - Video

With Scott McKibben's Departure Oakland Coliseum JPA Must Install Coliseum Advisory Board In 2014, I noticed that a long-time friend was interested in the then-open position of Executive Director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, commonly known as the Oakland Coliseum JPA. I sent him an email to reach out, he expressed the need for my advice and help, I blogged and lobbied for him to get hired. That was P. Scott McKibben: the now out-going boss of the Coliseum JPA. He's headed to the San Francisco West Bay and to run a new Levi's Stadium Authority. McKibben, in many ways, was the perfect tonic for a Coliseum JPA that was paralized by politics. Accustomed to appointing executive directors that did not have a sports business background, the Coliseum JPA allowed itself to become the arena for political battles between the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda. The talks around the new Oakland A's lease most notably reflected this problem, and that formed the foundation for a call by Alameda County Officials to sell its ownership of the sports facility to the City of Oakland, thus making it the sole owner. With McKibben's arrival came an elimination of that political problem. The reason was simple: Scott's experience running the Rose Bowl, the respect he had from Oakland Raiders and Oakland A's and Golden State Warriors executives and his professional approach. With Scott, City and County elected officials had a trusted person to hand off the matter of solving the facilties problems. I can't count the number of times Oakland and Alameda politicians expressed how impressed they were with Scott – two said to me he was a “breath of fresh air.” Scott's departure would seem to leave the Coliseum JPA rudderless, but there's a solution. Established in 1996 as the legal seat of review of the bonds for the refurbished Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the JPA enabling resolution allows it to have up to ten commissioners, and a 20-member group called the Coliseum Advisory Board. The 1996 resolution reads “The Authority may establish a Coliseum Advisory Board of an even number of up to 20 members to provide the Authority advice and recommendations on any matter it deems appropriate relating to the operation of the Coliseum Complex. The City Council of The City and the Board of Supervisors of the County shall each appoint one-half of the member of the Coliseum Advisory Board. Each member of the advisory Board shall serve a two-year-term and may be reappointed.” The Coliseum Advisory Board is strictly advisory – no member has voting power or say over any activity at the Coliseum Complex. But, even with that, the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda have never, not even once, implemented the part of the Coliseum JPA that allows the Coliseum Advisory Board to exist. Why? From my experience with the Coliseum JPA, and that goes back to the beginning, my impression was that the City and the County didn't seem to want real sports experts at the table. To have tbem there would mean, at times, a wholesale rejection of whatever ideas or approaches the politicians wanted to adopt. The other reason the Coliseum Advisory Board is not in place, is that no executive director has asked for one, and in its history, I am one of the few in Oakland who has advocated for one to be created. My first go at that was back in 1998 during the time I worked for Mayor Harris. Time to catch up. The San Francisco Bay Area, and Oakland in particular, is rich with sports business legends who would jump at the chance to serve on the Coliseum Advisory Board. The only change in the legislation for it should be compensating the advisory board members for transportation and time costs – perhaps a $50 per person payment. Not large, but symbolic and helpful. Moreover, it allows the consideration and recruitment of people of various ages who's knoweldge is valuable but who's incomes may be low, for whatever reason. Another change should be such that each sports organization, Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders, and Golden State Warriors, be allowed to appoint one person on the Coliseum Advisory Board. If I were the next Executive Director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, I would immediately push for the creation of a Coliseum Advisory Board. It allows for a chance to give fans a seat at the table and help improve what is still the greatest single sports facility in the World. Stay tuned.


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