SF City Hall arrested for Receiving Stolen Merchandise, The Golden State Warriors
A longtime San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist, Bruce Jenkins, recently put together a 5-part farewell East Bay series on the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors time in San Francisco and its current home, Oracle Arena, across the bay in Oakland, CA.
But reading between the lines of the history of the Warriors entire time on the west coast reeks of racism, past and present.
An un-supporting San Francisco forced the team out of The City, while current city officials acted just as racist by claiming the Warriors belong to San Francisco with no regard for what the team meant to a Oakland Black community.
The series ends with an unbelievable statement by current Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, which suggests, Blacks in Oakland are too dumb to know they’ve been had in “Looking to the Future.”
A letter dated, May 11, 2012 by the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, invited the new owners of the Warriors to first, look at some Embarcadero land, before the plans shifted to the Mission Bay site after Saleforce CEO, Marc Benioff sold the team property at a discount that some were eyeing for affordable housing.
Lee ended the letter by asking the owners to “…Consider returning home to San Francisco…” That statement contradicts the evidence that appears in Chapter 1 of the Jenkin’s Chronicle series, titled, “Crossing the Bridge.” The Lee letter should be viewed as disingenuous and dare I say, the beginning of a SF City Hall orchestrated theft.
Exhibit A form Crossing the Bridge:
“Officially, the San Francisco Warriors had two homes — the Cow Palace in Daly City and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium — but they often resembled a traveling circus, playing mid-’60s “home” games in Bakersfield, San Diego, Fresno, Las Vegas, San Jose, Sacramento, Richmond, the University of San Francisco gymnasium and, more often than the rest, Oakland. There were times when San Francisco fans wondered whether the team would actually show up. In the crazy season of 1965–66, with the NBA reaching out to parts unknown and routinely scheduling doubleheaders, the Warriors played games against St. Louis in Omaha, Detroit in Miami, Cincinnati in Phoenix and Baltimore in Seattle.”
When the Warriors first relocated to San Francisco, the above narrative suggests they were still desperately looking for a permanent home. The name, “San Francisco Warriors” suggested the owner comitted to San Francisco. But the lack of fan support, or a proper San Francisco basketball venue suggested, The City did not support professional basketball at the time. This incudes the fact, the Warriors had the lowest attendance in the league their entire time as the San Francisco Warriors from 1962 to 1971.
The Warriors owner at the time was forced to leave San Francisco due to lack of support or he was surely going to end up broke. The final slap in the face was in 1971. Then San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, decided to reverse course on putting forth a bond measure to build the Warriors a San Francisco arena. That 1971 decision resulted in the owner immediately changing the name while still in San Francisco.
Under the late Mayor Ed Lee’s administration, a strange request was part of the 2500-page Environment Impact Report (EIR) which the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved in October of 2015, giving unanimous support to build.
The San Francisco Business Times asked, Should San Francisco pay Oakland for stealing the Warriors based on a San Francisco State professor and economist, Philip King report, which was in the EIR.
In the Biz Times piece, King suggested San Francisco should pay Oakland for what he projected: “Oakland will directly lose $44.9 million and 494 jobs due to the move. He adds that “most Warriors fans will continue attending games after the relocation rather than seeking local substitutes. The relocation of the Warriors, then, constitutes a significant redistribution of economic activity within the larger Bay Area.”
But in a subsequent 2016 Oakland Magazine article, the East Bay Times reported, King, suggested even his revised 805 jobs lost and $73 million a year in lost economic energy may have been “too low.”
San Francisco enjoys a $10 billion a year tourism industry verses Oakland’s $800 million a year tourism industry. So, if San Francisco has so much more than its Oakland neighbor, why would The City act with such a covetous spirit just to look better at the expense of neighboring Oakland?
As a longtime San Franciscan (1960) and a Warriors fan since 1975, I cannot imagine the Warriors making me a bigger Warriors fan by moving 17 miles closer to where I live, especially knowing how well the East Bay community has supported my favorite basketball team through thick and thin.
Hiding stolen merchandise on 11 acres of land in the new Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, when the owners could have built a new arena on 130 acres in a depressed Black Oakland community reeks of racism. The chosen site is a new White San Francisco community.
This could not have happened without a covetous San Francisco City Hall in what the late mayor called his “Legacy project.”
Legacy is a gift. So how can one give a gift that was stolen from someone else? Answer: Self-serving politicians who couldn’t care less about the poor communities of neighboring municipalities.
But the clear thieves are the owners of Warriors. In 2010 they purchased the team for $450 million. And according to Forbes, the team is now valued at $2.6 billion; a year before their new San Francisco arena even opens for business.
So, why are the Warriors suing Oakland and Alameda County over an Oracle Arena technicality, in an attempt to get out of paying $40 million in Oracle Arena public debt that was demanded by the prior ownership? Answer: Greed.
UPDATE 10/29/18: Arbitration judge rules Warriors must pay the $40 million they owe in Oracle arena bond debt
At the end of the day, it was the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; the legislative body for the City and County of San Francisco, mainly responsible for this abhorrent political conduct. This un-San Franciscan spirit of coveteousness and greed could not have been approved if SF City Hall’s legislative body spoke up against greed and in support of a struggling East Bay neighbor.
But the 2018 SF Board of Supervisors could begin to demonstrate respect for Oakland if the eleven member legislative body had a half-full thimble of courage to make an official statement of apology and declare a city policy of, Thou shalt not help the rich steal from struggling Black communities.