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    Calling on the Warriors to Pay Their Debt

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    As Oakland’s city-wide elected Councilmember, I seek to serve and protect the needs of all the people of Oakland. This includes the importance of protecting our public from potentially devastating cuts to public services. 

    That is why I wrote a letter to the Golden State Warriors, urging them to drop their efforts to avoid paying $40 million of their debt. According to news reports, the Golden State Warriors are threatening not to pay $40 million of the outstanding bond debt on the Oakland Arena. This is the cost that the Warriors had promised to pay in order to make upgrades to the Arena at their request.

    This threatens Oakland and Alameda County taxpayers, who would then be left to foot the Warriors bill. The Warriors have already announced that they are moving the Chase Center, a new facility being built in San Francisco. While the move on its own will cause economic harm and job loss to Oakland and Alameda County, and traffic congestion and difficulty for hospital patients for San Francisco, my concerns were regarding the even greater harmful effects that the people of Oakland and Alameda County would endure, should they be forced to cover this debt. 

    As we work hard to provide for public needs, remedy our homeless crisis, crack down on illegal dumping, and more, to be faced with tens of millions of dollars of cuts would be unjust, unacceptable, and would cause harmful cuts in vital public services for the people of Oakland and Alameda County.

    In my letter, I hoped to appeal to the Warriors’ knowledge of the long history of Oakland and Alameda County’s commitment to the Warriors for many years, even when the Warriors were not a championship team, and Oakland’s extensive work to help support and celebrate the victories. 

    I’ve also asked that they search their hearts to act in a positive and uplifting manner, to still believe in “strength in numbers” and upholding their reputation of community service, and to promise to fully pay the debt on the Arena.

    My hope is that instead of having this strife, we can unite together, as we are warriors to protect all of our community. 

    Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016.
    She also serves on the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and as the Chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).