With her city on the brink of losing a third professional sports franchise and a second to Las Vegas, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff — a Democrat — didn’t hold back in an interview earlier today with a Bay Area ABC affiliate, calling the largest US casino center “gross.”
Schaff was being interviewed by ABC7 regarding the city’s ongoing negotiations with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics — a team at the center of long-running rumors regarding a move to Las Vegas.
A’s President Dave Kaval recently said the business climate is more hospitable in Nevada than it is in California. That echoes the sentiments of scores of companies that have departed the most populous state in recent years. Schaaf wasn’t keen on Kaval’s comments.
Yah, it’s going to be more complicated, and you’ve got to be much more environmentally focused when you’re developing on the precious California coastline than in the gross desert of Las Vegas,” the mayor said in the interview.
The A’s are pursuing a waterfront stadium project in their current home city.
Las Vegas Clapback
Some local officials in Las Vegas aren’t taking Schaaf’s derision lightly. For example, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft voiced his opinion on Twitter.
“Mayor Schaaf, this ignorant and elitist comment may be one reason why so many people, companies, and teams want to get the heck out of your jurisdiction,” wrote Naft.
Indeed, Schaaf’s track record of keeping teams in Oakland is abysmal. Since she took office in 2015, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors departed to San Francisco, while the Raiders left the city for Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman stuck up for her city as well, acknowledging that the gambling hub is proficient in balancing environmental sustainability while maintaining its status as one of top tourism destinations in the world.
“Mayor Schaaf, we’d love to have you join the more than 42 million visitors a year and enjoy a trip to Las Vegas. We could go to a Raiders game,” said Goodman in a statement.
A’s Considering Multiple Las Vegas Sites
The MLB club reportedly identified at least four Sin City sites that could be reasonable spots for a new stadium. However, that quartet doesn’t include land near the Tropicana, as was previously speculated.
The A’s stadium lease in Oakland expires in 2024, so a move before then is unlikely. Assuming a move bringing the club to Las Vegas for the 2025 season is announced between now and 2024, it’s likely the team will need temporary accommodations before a new stadium is MLB-game ready.
Las Vegas checks that box as well, because the city is home to the A’s Triple-A affiliate, the Aviators. The team has called Oakland home since 1968.
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