OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Mayor Libby Schaaf is drawing the line when it comes to using taxpayer funds to keep the Raiders in Oakland as Nevada legislators push for a new Las Vegas football stadium.
“I do not think that is it responsible to offer $750 million in public funds,” Schaaf said in an interview with KPIX 5.
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Schaaf’s made it clear that the city is not going to get into a bidding war with Las Vegas.
“It is not appropriate for Oakland or Alameda County to come up with $750 million in public funds,” the mayor explained. “We are not repeating mistakes of the past.”
The mistake was the last $180 million Raider stadium deal that went bust and wound up costing Oakland and Alameda tax payers $20 million a year.
“Oakland remembers a similar promise that was made to us in the past that did not materialize,” Schaaf said. “I hope that Nevada lawmakers look at that cautionary tale.”
Paying off the Raider deal meant millions less for public safety, roads and other city services.
But if the city won’t match the Las Vegas money, what can they do?
“We are offering to finance the infrastructure that could be upwards of $200 million,” said Schaaf.
Other city officials working to keep the Raiders in the East Bay echoed the mayors sentiments.
“But no public money going into the actual building of the stadium. The mayor has made that absolutely clear,” said Councilman Larry Reid.
“I still believe that we can get private investors,” said Councilman Noel Gallo.
One group the city is talking with is headed by former Raider and 49er Ronnie Lott.
Reid said the city was open to getting money from the federal government and going to the state for grants, as long as the money was not coming out of the pocket of Oakland taxpayers.
While Oakland residents KPIX 5 spoke with agreed that local sports are important to the economy, there was some skepticism about the Raiders staying.
“This is professional sports. There is no loyalty to the community. No loyalty to the fans,” said East Bay resident Richard Hodge.
One advantage Oakland may have is appealing to the NFL to vote against the move because of the established loyal fan base in the Bay Area and the fact that the region is a larger media market than Las Vegas.