Oakland closes schools, subsidizes Raiders' owners

KPFA Evening News, 01.03.2013



KPFA Evening News Anchor David Landau: Turning now to Bay Area news, just over a week ago the Oakland Tribune reported that the Oakland and The Oakland and California Green Party's Laura Wells, seen here just before being arrested for protesting her exclusion from a 2010 televised debate between California gubernatorial candidates. Wells is running for California State Controller in 2014. Alameda County Joint Powers Authority, which oversees the Oakland Coliseum complex, had just agreed to spend a million dollars studying proposals to build a new stadium and related developments surrounding it. The proposal, dubbed Coliseum City, calls for construction of an entertainment and sports district on the 1000 acres of land where the Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Arena now stand. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Laura Wells, Green Party activist and candidate for State Controller about what that says about Oakland's priorities.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Laura Wells, would you like to comment? 

Laura Wells: Well, to me, it's a question of priorities. One of the things that I think we don't talk about enough when we're making decisions, whether it's at the city level, state, or country, is that the basic job of the human species is actually to take care of the next generation. And how that applies when we're talking about spending a million dollars for a plan for a possible stadium is that this past year, in Oakland, five schools were closed, including a school in my neighborhood that's been around for more than 80 years, but there were five schools closed in order to save money. To me that's a very messed up priority.

KPFA: Would you feel differently about this if the Oakland Raiders were a real home team, owned by the City of Oakland, rather than by a corporation?

Laura Wells: Well yeah, like the Green Bay Packers, it's been almost a hundred years, and they're owned by the community, and so they benefit the community, and the community supports them wholeheartedly. They're not moving anywhere, they're bought and sold. The community owns that, whereas we're left here negotiating with the owners of the team, which is not the community, but the Raiders' owners, and we're in the position where our council members, the people who are making the decisions, are getting campaign contributions from the developers of sports stadiums as well as other developers. 

KPFA/David Landau: And that is the Oakland Green Party's Laura Wells, candidate for California State Controller, on the Oakland/Alameda County Joint Powers Authority's decision to spend a million dollars studying proposals for a Coliseum City development including a new stadium for the Oakland Raiders. 


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