I've been giving some thought to what I would like to hear from at least one Oakland mayoral candidate.

I don't think it would garner much opposition to suggest that Oakland doesn't need an overseer of the existing status quo. Ironically, a candidate who truly thought outside the box could very well be penalized for his or her creativity.

From the economy to public safety, from public education to nihilism that suffocates portions of the city, Oakland is besieged with myriad challenges that were generations in the making.

I would like to hear a candidate offer a bold initiative that echoes the words taken from President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, "All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration."

Reactionary proposals to combat the existing problems, though needed and understandable, inevitably will fall short because they are not designed to address the root cause.

Why can't we have at least one mayoral candidate with an eye on Oakland's future?

Assuming the Warriors make good on their promise to move to San Francisco, I would like to see a mayoral candidate commit to building the stadium for the Oakland A's in the Jack London Square area and allow the Raiders to move to Concord, Irwindale, Barstow or anywhere else that suits their fancy.

That would leave a vacant Coliseum property. What then? How about offering the property to a Larry Ellison-type to move their headquarters to 7000 Coliseum Way? With BART expanding directly to the Oakland airport, the location would be ideal.


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Load the package with incentives so that an offer is made that cannot be refused. However, this would merely be an initial step.

The one stipulation would be to include a top-flight high school on the property along with a systematic plan so that middle schools in the area would serve as feeders.

For a deal like this to work, there would need to be efforts to bring business and quality housing to the area as well. The Emeryville model is a good one to emulate; residents of that city are within a five-minute drive of practically every good and service needed.

The corridor along San Leandro Boulevard is pregnant with vacant buildings. Why can't this area be an enterprise zone for live-work space?

A study by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank found that a typical baseball or football stadium costs taxpayers $188 million while generating only $40 million in long-term benefits from jobs and tax revenues -- a 4-1 deficit.

According to a study conducted by Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys titled "The Effect of Professional Sports on the Earnings of Individuals," stadiums actually destroy more jobs than they create and reduce local income overall.

According to the report: "Sports teams require relatively few employees to operate, and most of the jobs are low-wage temporary positions, they cause overall employment and income in a city to decrease when they drive out other local businesses (which provide more jobs at better pay)."

The overall state of the city must be greater than pride associated with having professional sports teams. The gold that was promised when the Raiders returned in 1995 is at best iron pyrite (fool's gold).

Is this a perfect solution? No. But we already know that the status quo does not work. Why not have at least one candidate bold enough to risk defeat to steer the city in a new direction?

Anything short would simply suggest the cavalcade of candidates are offering solutions that tinker around the edges focused more on self-aggrandizement than offering badly needed change. Haven't we had our fill of such mediocrity?

Byron Williams is a contributing columnist. Contact him at 510-208-6417 or byron@byronspeaks.com.