Let’s be clear — we love our homegrown teams and want to keep them in the Town. At the same time, we love our communities, and want to see Oakland foster an environment where everyone thrives, including our immigrant, refugee, student, and working-class community members. With the Oakland Athletics considering a new location for their stadium near Chinatown and Laney College, this is the city’s chance to move forward a progressive vision that delivers a state-of-the-art stadium for fans while providing benefits to our community members.
The Oakland A’s have announced their plans to leave their current home at the Coliseum and are considering building their new ballpark next to Laney Community College and Chinatown. They are proposing a 35,000-seat, $500 million stadium on a 13-acre location of publicly-owned land, with the largest share of the land belonging to Peralta Community College. While we’re glad the Oakland A’s are Rooted in Oakland, we believe that community college public land should be used for public good, provide affordable education, and preserve cultural, historic neighborhoods.
Like many neighborhoods in the Town, Oakland’s Chinatown and Eastlake neighborhoods are already facing increasing displacement pressures with over a dozen private luxury housing and business developments planned for these neighborhoods. A newly proposed “ballpark village,” which would include a new stadium, luxury housing, corporate retail and hotels for tourists, is threatening the livelihood of our working class, immigrant and refugee communities as well as Laney Community College, one of the most accessible and affordable public educational institutions in the Bay Area. This proposed development would mean the potential disappearance of Chinatown and Eastlake as well as the shrinking of Laney. Instead, we think the stadium should remain at the Coliseum and support East Oakland by providing good jobs, affordable housing and neighborhood investments.
We know from our community outreach in 2015 that East Oakland residents support a Coliseum City development that brings community benefits to the stadium’s current neighborhood. These benefits would include tenant protections, good jobs with worker protections and living-wages for East Oaklanders, and more. In fact, among the 2,450 voters with whom we spoke, 91% of them supported these basic community benefits.
This proposed stadium location is far from being a done deal, and that’s why we want to be clear at this beginning stage that we do not think moving their stadium to this location is a good idea. The A’s announcement of this as their preferred site is just in the beginning stages with the Peralta Board of Trustees, who have the ultimate decision-making power about how their land will be used. Their responsibility is to ensure all Peralta colleges, like Laney, are achieving their mission of “delivering programs and services that sustainably enhance the region’s human, economic, environmental, and social development”, not negotiate real estate developments.
If you agree that the A’s should stay at the Coliseum, invest in their East Oakland neighborhood, and protect Chinatown from more gentrification and displacement, join us on October 28 and/or November 4 as we talk to voters about the issue. Along with our partners at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), we will take results from these conversations to Oakland’s decision-makers including the Peralta College Board of Trustees and City Councilmembers so that they know what the community would like to see.
Oakland, CA 94612
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