Should the Oakland Raiders play at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, next year?
That’s a hell no, according to a swell of San Francisco politicians scrambling to block the move.
Shiny new Supervisor-elect Matt Haney and Board of Supervisors members Hillary Ronen and Aaron Peskin tell me they’re against the Raiders touching a single cleat on San Francisco soil, and will do what they can to stop it.
It’s an especially thorny matter as the Raiders’ tentatively proposed jump across The Bay seems to be a negotiating tactic to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars to the City of Oakland for abandoning the Oakland Coliseum for (hotter? drier? sandier?) pastures in Las Vegas.
The proposal is the newest development in the ongoing litigation between Oakland and The Raiders, and was subsequently confirmed by the San Francisco Giants themselves.
“There has been initial interest expressed in exploring the opportunity of the Raiders playing at AT&T Park,” the Giants said in a statement. “Many details would need to be figured out. The Giants want to do what’s best for Bay Area fans and would be open to the concept just as we hosted Cal Football in 2011 when Memorial Stadium in Berkeley was being renovated.”
The officials I spoke to are worried San Francisco is turning into a bargaining chip against The Town.
“Why would we want to write ourselves into this in a really ugly way?” said Haney, who won this November’s election to represent District 6, which includes AT&T Park.
“San Francisco would be the scabs in this scenario if we undercut our friends across the bay,” he added. “People want the Raiders to keep their word and play in Oakland.”
Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the nearby Mission District, said she would personally ask the San Francisco Giants’ CEO to refuse the Raiders.
“I will call Larry Baer and say ‘Don’t do this. Don’t do this to our sister city across the bay,’” she told me. “This is a slap in the face, I don’t want to have anything to do with this.”
Supervisor Aaron Peskin told me, in a statement, “Whether it’s the thoughtless impacts (again) to San Francisco’s waterfront neighborhoods who haven’t been consulted, or the unneighborly blow to Oakland (again), we’re done ripping off Oakland — 2019 is the year of building bridges and working cooperatively with our friends in Oakland.”
I did call Mayor London Breed to see if she’d come out against the move, but did not hear back before press time. It would be surprising if she didn’t fight this, as she and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf have allied on a few issues at least.
While it’s not immediately clear what leverage San Francisco could bring to bear on the Giants in this matter, the Giants do depend on a make-nice relationship with our officials — their Mission Rock housing development behind AT&T Park, for instance, came from productive talks with District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim.
As for the Raiders, if they did play in our decidedly more-expensive city, it wouldn’t be the first time. After their founding in 1960, they played their home games at Kezar Stadium, and in 1961 they played at Candlestick Park, so they’ve even been roomies with the Giants before.
Not that I’m any great sports fan, but even a casual look shows they aren’t so hot — the franchise hasn’t had a winning season since 2016. They weren’t doing so hot before that either.
The Raiders are a team bereft of stars, with one eye on Las Vegas and one foot out the door. And if San Francisco has anything to say about it, they’ll vamoose without our help.
* * *
Steve Kawa is back. He may not be a household name in San Francisco, but to those who operated for decades in city government he became known as the “shadow mayor.”
The enormously effective former chief of staff to mayors Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee, as well as a top aide to Mayor Willie Brown, is known as someone to be reckoned with. Kawa retired in May last year, capping off 31 years of public service. His last reported salary was $206,700, before benefits.
But that doesn’t mean he’s lost his contact list — he’s got an inside line to Mayor London Breed and her circle of confidants, and is armed by an intimate knowledge of The City’s inner workings.
Now, Kawa has started his own “strategic advising” business.
So who will he advise? The Police Officers Association during union negotiations with The City? Developers seeking permits? Political campaigns?
“I have no clients lined up at this point, I just formed it,” Kawa told me Wednesday. “I continue to want to advise and help people and particularly when it comes to public service, in that world.”
* * *
San Francisco’s least favorite oligarch Ron Conway, a key financial backer of moderate political campaigns, has seemingly backed President Donald Trump’s border wall.
A day before Christmas Eve (or Christmas Eve Eve, if you’re funky), Conway tweeted, “Great Question from Newt Gingich [sic] and Don Graham: ‘Rather than shut down the government, why don’t the president and Congress agree to appropriate the $5 billion he wants to build the border wall and provide legal status and a path to citizenship to the dreamers?’”
The reactions included those telling Conway to pay for it himself and some outright cussing. My favorite nickname was hinted at: Con Wrong-way. Bless you, internet.
His tweet puts one of the most influential San Francisco political shakers on record backing Trump’s border wall.
A reminder of those still politically active in San Francisco who have at one time or another been gifted by Conway’s pocketbook: Breed, state Sen. Scott Wiener, the Police Officers Association and Firefighters Local 798 (the unions through support of a bevy of moderate candidates through PACs).
You know, just in case you were wondering.
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the San Francisco Giants.