Oakland A's co-owner Lew Wolff this week made perhaps his strongest pitch to city leaders that his ownership group is better positioned to build a stadium-anchored development at the existing Coliseum complex than a development team already brought on board by the city.
In a six-page letter to interim City Administrator Henry Gardner, Wolff wrote Tuesday that the A's are already determining whether they can make an offer that would "vastly reduce or even eliminate" the massive public debt on the Coliseum site stemming from the 1990s renovation that brought the Raiders back from Los Angeles.
Obtaining control of the sprawling East Oakland sports complex would allow the A's "to develop and control our own destiny -- which I must do for the A's to be a viable Major League Baseball organization," he wrote.
Officials with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority say they have had preliminary talks with the A's about a land deal at the 120-acre Coliseum site, which is owned jointly by the city and county.
The city, meanwhile, is still in exclusive talks with a separate development group that is seeking to build a sports and entertainment center at the site dubbed Coliseum City. However, the development team has failed so far to meet deadlines or bring aboard investors willing to buy the property or cover an estimated $600 million shortfall for a new Oakland Raiders stadium.
In contrast to the city's development group, Wolff wrote that his team's "expertise and financial capabilities" are "strong, credible and proven." He noted that it was completing a 17,000-seat MLS soccer stadium in San Jose "without a cent of public funding."
On Thursday, Councilmember Larry Reid, frustrated by a lack of progress on Coliseum City, said the city should try to find a new development group for the site and that Wolff, a developer by trade, would be an appealing replacement.
"His record speaks for itself in terms of his capacity to change communities," Reid said when informed of the letter. "He's built housing. He's built retail. He's built hotels."
A few council members have been more skeptical of Wolff's recent interest in the Coliseum site, fearful that he could be stalling while continuing to pursue a move to San Jose. In his letter, Wolff reiterated that he was will take a closer look at the Coliseum site only after an agreement is reached on a lease extension at O.co Coliseum.
Wolff's letter touched on several subjects including the Raiders and his frustrations with both the city and the Coliseum City team, which recently proposed demolishing the Coliseum next year to make way for a new Raiders stadium. He wrote that "mean spirited" people were making "false statements on a continuous basis" and that "the piling on of fabrications and outright lies is getting beyond me and my partners' tolerance."
As for the Raiders, Wolff wrote, "I believe that the community must reach out to the team or teams that are absolutely capable of implementing a desired venue in the City of Oakland."
Asked about the letter on Thursday, Wolff said he had no interest in disturbing the city's development effort and "no clue" at this point how many teams could be accommodated at a redeveloped Coliseum complex.
Fremont city officials receive salary raises
City Manager Fred Diaz and Fremont's five council members have received salary raises.
The City Council earlier this week approved a 2 percent cost-of-living hike for Diaz, a Fremont employee since 2004.
The raise matches the cost-of-living increases that took effect for most Fremont employees this month.
The $5,000 bump will push Diaz's annual salary to $265,345. The city manager's five-year contract runs until July 2018.
The City Council also gave itself a raise. A 4-1 vote -- with Councilman Raj Salwan dissenting -- boosted council members' annual salary by 40 percent.
Mayor Bill Harrison's monthly salary rose to $3,095. The other four council members' monthly pay now is $1,970.
The council's July 8 decision takes effect in December. It was the City Council's first salary increase since 2002.
Castro Valley: health district fills vacancy
Roxann Lewis was appointed Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the Eden Township Healthcare District board.
The appointment runs through the end of the year. Lewis takes over the seat held by board member Carole Rogers, who resigned at the end of June.
Three seats on the district's board are up for election in November, including the one Rogers held.
Lewis heads the district's community health advisory committee. She also is a member of the West County Board of Zoning Adjustments and worked in San Leandro Hospital's radiology department before retiring.
The district board unanimously approved Lewis at its meeting Wednesday. Eden Township awards health care grants throughout the district, which includes Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Fairview and Castro Valley.
Eden Township awards health care grants. It no longer owns a hospital, having sold Eden Medical Center to Sutter Health in 1998. The district lost a lengthy court case against Sutter over ownership of San Leandro Hospital and still owes the nonprofit health care group millions in damages.
The district includes Hayward, San Leandro and the unincorporated area in western Alameda County.