Oakland City Council members should end their public posturing and sign the deal extending the A's lease at the Coliseum.
It's possible that, by holding out, the city might extract a little more from the baseball team's tight-fisted co-owner Lew Wolff. But that would be a foolish pursuit of financial crumbs that would endanger the ultimate and much-bigger goal: Keeping the A's in Oakland long-term.
What's at issue now is not construction of a new ballpark; it's simply a contract to house the A's in the existing, nearly half-century-old facility until at least 2017. The deal was hammered out between the A's and the joint city-county authority that runs the Coliseum.
But the deal must also be approved individually by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which is expected to give its blessings, and the Oakland City Council, which is balking.
Understandably, city officials don't want to repeat the Raiders debacle of two decades ago, when the county and the city took on huge debt to bring the football team back to the Bay Area. This lease deal simply isn't on the same scale, nor does it have the same sorts of risk.
Moreover, there's no excuse for this last-minute gamesmanship. The eight-member Coliseum authority board has four city representatives, two of whom are council members who should have been briefing their colleagues.
In addition, the city administrator's and city attorney's offices have had, or had the opportunity to have, members present for the regular authority briefings on the months of negotiations.
Consequently, Wolff reasonably expected that any deal he struck with the authority would be blessed by the city. The time for Oakland officials to raise significant new issues has passed.
Council members need to make peace with Wolff and retain Major League Baseball, which is also running out of patience, as an ally. Nixing the lease deal at the last minute could poison those relationships and jeopardize hope of reaching an accord on a new future park.
Wolff has made no secret of his desire to move the team, to Fremont, to San Jose, to San Antonio, to Montreal, to anywhere outside Oakland. The A's want a new ballpark, but there is no public money here to help.
Cutting the legs out from under a deal Wolff and the authority negotiated in good faith would only make matters worse.