By Terri Kay
A community/labor meeting was held in West Oakland on Saturday, September 21, as part of a series of meetings which have been held on the greedy land grab planned by the billionaire Fisher family and real estate developers to move the Oakland A’s to a new stadium at the Port of Oakland. Speakers at the packed meeting talked about the effects of privatization and gentrification and how this will affect the Black community and port workers.
“They also discussed the connection between A’s billionaire owner John Fisher and the privatization of public education in Oakland. Fisher and his family run the KIPP and Rocketship charter schools and the A’s manager Dave Kaval is on the board of directors of Rocketship. The school board is closing public schools in Oakland while opening up more privately run charters. The Fisher family has given millions to the California Charter School Association and are seeking to destroy public education while privatizing the Port of Oakland and building a stadium, hotel and 4,000 million dollar condos in the development scheme.”
Previously, on Labor Day, the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, led by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10 and supported by Danny Glover, held a meeting in deep East Oakland, as their first townhall to try to stop the billionaire Fisher family’s attempt to move the Oakland A’s to the Port of Oakland. In an attempt at a major land grab, the Fishers (owners of the Gap clothing chain), are trying to pull the A’s out of East Oakland’s Black community and build a stadium at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, right on the San Francisco Bay. The move would endanger thousands of longshore workers and truck drivers’ jobs, while further enriching the Fishers, real estate developers, and further gentrify an already heavily gentrified city of Oakland.
Per the Alliance:
“The Coliseum has been home to the Oakland A’s since they played their first game there in 1968, and both the stadium and the team are integral parts of East Oakland’s identity and history. We believe it is in the best interest of both Oakland residents and A’s fans that a new, state-of-the-art facility is constructed at the current location, which is supported by existing transportation infrastructure, does not threaten the livelihoods of working-class jobs, and will revitalize the East Oakland community.
“Disrupting Oakland’s active port with a stadium and luxury housing threatens good-paying jobs and creates significant health and safety risks. The Howard Terminal site is simply incompatible with a stadium and luxury housing. It is inaccessible for the thousands of fans who attend A’s games and the infrastructure needed to support safe travel to and from the proposed stadium isn’t in place and isn’t feasible.
“A new coliseum would almost certainly lead to the elimination of thousands of working-class jobs and displacement of a long-standing industry … sets a precedent for shrinking the city’s blue-collar population in favor of new residents”
Watch the videos to hear it from actor Danny Glover; Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10 retired, and past Secretary-Treasurer; and Derrick Muhammad, past Local 10 Secretary-Treasurer, and others.