14 January 2006

As usual, Mayor Brown doesn't help

At a business forum in San Francisco yesterday, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown continued his hardline against public funding and stadia, while his counterpart across the bay, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, talked up a stadium and development deal with the 49ers, who have looking for a replacement home for the better part of the last decade.

Brown went so far as to suggest that the 49ers and Raiders share the Coliseum instead of the City investing in the 49ers' stadium plans with homebuilding giant Lennar Corp. An excerpt from the Chronicle article about the forum:
"We've already got a stadium and we have a nice BART system, so why don't the people of San Francisco just come on over and the 49ers play at the Coliseum? ... Maybe we could call it the 49ers-Raiders Wonderland.''

Brown's suggestion wasn't really serious, but he wanted to make a point: The business of building ballparks and sports arenas, he said, is more wrapped up in ego and emotion than good business sense. Given that football teams play at home less than a dozen times a year each, sharing a site would be economically prudent, he said.

"I think the conversation about sports stadiums is one of the most strange and imaginary kind of thinking,'' Brown said at the South of Market forum sponsored by San Francisco Business Times. "Serious business people all of a sudden revert to some childish fantasizing.''
Of course, this bluster is easy to show when the mayor is a lame duck with no constituency to answer to regarding this issue in 11 months. Brown, however, has been very consistent with his stance, so he at least deserves credit for not bending to the political winds. If the A's leave Oakland, principles won't matter much, and Brown will be long gone from his uptown loft.