The headline of the Bay City News story reporting that San Francisco/Santa Clara had been awarded the 2016 Super Bowl 50 read: "Bay Area Cheers Super Bowl Bid." Its lead paragraph said "Cheers rang out throughout the Bay Area when it was announced that the San Francisco 49ers have been selected to host the 2016 Super Bowl at their new stadium in Santa Clara." Indeed, press conferences were held at San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Jose City Halls where mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, Santa Clara mayor Jamie Matthews and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed broke out the champagne and praise for the regional cooperation that made the successful Bay Area bid possible. Mayor Lee issued a statement just after giving Golden State Warriors standout Stephen Curry the key to the City of San Francisco saying that " hosting a Super Bowl in the Bay Area will bring an enormous economic boost to our entire region and leave a lasting legacy for the entire Bay Area."
All three mayors acknowledged that the best hope of winning the Super Bowl 50 bid was to form a regional pact in which each particularly city would play a specific role with the Super Bowl. Santa Clara would host the actual game at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara; San Jose would provide police and hotel rooms near the stadium, while San Francisco would be the host city, where both teams, and most media, NFL executives, sponsors and many of the fans would stay, and where most of the parties, receptions, press conferences and official Super Bowl events would be held. With all this talk of regional cooperation, something and someone was missing. What was missing was any talk about Oakland and the East Bay's involvement with a "regional" Super Bowl.
There were no Super Bowl celebrations at Oakland City Hall and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan did not join her counterparts in San Francisco and the South Bay in celebrating the "regional cooperation" that made the San Francisco Super Bowl bid possible. There was virtually no mention of Oakland or the East Bay in stories on the Bay Area Super Bowl, with the exception of a possible Super Bowl event at the Fox Theater and a chance that UC Berkeley's newly rehabbed Memorial Stadium could be a practice site for one of the Super Bowl teams. Members of the winning Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee told reporters that the winning Super Bowl bid would have financial benefits for the entire Bay Area, but there was no mention of how Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville and other East Bay cities would benefit from the "regional" Super Bowl.
Mayor Quan was not part of the 17 member Bay Area Super Bowl bid committee, nor were any other East Bay elected official, executives of East Bay businesses such as Pixar, Clorox, Safeway and Chevron, or current or former executives of the East Bay's three professional sports franchises. The members of the Bay Area Super Bowl bid committee were almost exclusively from San Francisco and the South Bay, and included former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, former Secretary of State and Stanford resident Condoleezza Rice, 49er Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young, San Francisco based financial guru Charles Schwab, former San Francisco Giants executive Pat Gallagher and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
The one exception not representing San Francisco or the South Bay is chef Thomas Keller, the owner of the ultra expensive French Laundry in Napa Valley. Oakland insider Zennie Abraham, who put together Oakland's unsuccessful bid to host the 2005 Super Bowl, said that the only involvement Oakland played toward the winning bid was an advisory role from the Oakland city tourist board..
What does the apparent snub of Oakland and the East Bay by the Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee say about the concept of Bay Area regional cooperation? Mayors of the Bay Area's three largest cities often talk about the importance of moving past the provincial nature of running their own cities and working together with mayors of other cities but it seems that in practice, the concept of regionalism is only exercised when cooperating with another city or region is in the best interest of all parties involved. A few examples:
When San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed was elected mayor in 2006, he promised more regional cooperation with the two cities to the north, San Francisco and Oakland. Reed however quickly made enemies with both officials in San Francisco and Oakland when Reed indicated that he would do whatever it would take to have the Oakland A's relocate to San Jose. Reed has been in the forefront of a four-way dispute between the A's owners, the San Francisco Giants, and the cities of Oakland and San Jose concerning where the A's should play.
The Giants contend that they control territorial rights to San Jose and that the A's cannot move to San Jose without the permission of the Giants and Major League Baseball, and Quan believes the A's should stay in Oakland.. After years of neglecting East Bay sports teams by former Oakland mayors Jerry Brown and Ron Dellums, Quan campaigned on a promise of keeping the A's, and Oakland's two other pro teams, the Warriors and the Raiders, in Oakland. Both San Jose and Oakland are awaiting a ruling from a blue ribbon Major League Baseball committee that has spent four years studying the pros and cons of allowing the A's to relocate to San Jose.
While the City of San Francisco has no official say on whether the A's should move to San Jose, The City would lose about $100,000 in taxes that teams playing the Oakland A's pay while they are staying in San Francisco hotels, and charter flight landing fees paid to San Francisco International Airport by teams playing in Oakland.
Reed's effort to move the A's from Oakland to San Jose began before Quan became mayor, but it didn't take long for San Jose City Hall to create further animosity between the mayors of the two cities. During the second week of Quan's tenure in January 2011, news outlets reported that Oakland Police chief Anthony Batts was a top-two candidate for the open position of San Jose Police chief. Batts did not take the San Jose Police Chief job but Batts resigned later in 2011 reportedly over tensions caused by San Jose's recruitment of Batts.
Mayor Quan has received little love recently from her counterpart across the Bay, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee. That wasn't the case two years ago when Lee received his unexpected appointment to become "interim" Mayor of San Francisco to serve out the unexpired year-long term of Gavin Newsom, who had won election as Lt. Governor. Quan, who just five days before Lee's appointment had been sworn in as the first female and first Asian American mayor of Oakland, congratulated Lee for his appointment, which made him the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco. Lee and Quan were longtime friends and political allies, and it seemed that the coincidence that both the mayors Oakland and San Francisco would be Asian American inspired talk of a new spirit of cooperation between San Francisco and Oakland.
Lee and Quan attended Obama’s inauguration and White House state dinners together, and Quan and Lee held joint news conferences on issues of importance to both cities such as the new Bay Bridge construction and violence between Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49er fans. The relationship between Lee and Quan has apparently soured over Lee's giddy endorsement of plans by Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to build to a new San Francisco waterfront arena and move the Warriors from Oakland to San Francisco. Since Lee's endorsement of a Warriors relocation to San Francisco, there have been few Quan-Lee joint press conferences.
The Bay Area is one of the least cooperative metropolitan regions in the country. Of the nation's top 10 largest cities, San Francisco is the only city to operate a transit agency that exclusively operates within the city limits, and there's at least 12 major transit systems operating trains, buses and ferries between Santa Rosa and San Jose. Cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC are part of regional, and in some cases multi-state transit agencies that operate most, if not all buses, ferries subways and commute trains in the region. Most of these regions operate multiple airports under one airport authority, while in the Bay Area the three major airports are operated by the cities of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.
Regional disputes between San Francisco, San Jose and Peninsula communities forced the California High Speed Rail Board to build the first segment of the state's High Speed Rail line in the Central Valley rather than between San Francisco and San Jose.
Is it more than a coincidence that the East Bay, which is home to the Bay Area's largest African American community, is being shut out of Bay Area activities? San Jose has the largest Latin American population in the Bay Area but there were apparently no Latinos on the Super Bowl Bid committee. There were two Asian Americans (Nikesh Arora, CBO of Google and Gideon Yu, President & Co-owner of San Francisco 49ers) and three African Americans (former SF Mayor Brown, former Secretary of State Rice and Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean ) on the Bay Area Super Bowl committee.
Will the 2016 Super Bowl follow the pattern of previous Super Bowls where African American and Latin American owned businesses have complained about lack of Super Bowl business opportunities? A lawsuit filed by the National Association of Minority Contractors claims that no African Americans or Latin American owned construction firms have received contracts to work on the under-construction Levi's stadium where the 49ers will play next year, and where Super Bowl 50 will be held. African American business groups say that the representation of local African American and Latin American owned businesses with Super Bowl related business at past Super Bowls have been similar to the number of African American companies helping to build the 49ers new stadium.
Will the Bay Area Super Bowl Committee reconsider its decision to have Super Bowl 50 be an exclusively San Francisco/South Bay event and invite Oakland and the East Bay to the party?
The East Bay is the home of potential Super Bowl event venues that feature breathtaking views of San Francisco, the Bay and the Golden Gate/Bay Bridges. The Press Box at UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium, the Lawrence Berkeley Hall of Science, the Claremont Hotel, the top floor of Kaiser Permanente's headquarters (which hosted a media party for the Stanford Super Bowl XIX in 1985), the USS Hornet in Alameda, Jack London Square, Golden Gate Fields or the Chabot Space and Science Center are just a few of many East Bay locations that would be more than capable of hosting Super Bowl related parties, receptions and other Super Bowl events.
The Super Bowl Committee, and the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara own an apology to Oakland Mayor Quan, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and other East Bay elected officials and leaders for excluding the East Bay and Oakland in the "regional" Super Bowl bid. An acknowledgement by the Committee that Alameda and Contra Costa counties are part of the Bay Area, and should share in hosting Super Bowl events would be the first step in living up to the claim that Super Bowl 50 will be a true "Bay Area" event in which Super Bowl organizers will encourage the NFL to hold events not only at Thomas Keller's place in Napa, the San Francisco Ferry Building and the San Jose Fairmont Hotel, but at Yoshi's Oakland, the Livermore Wine Country, the Emeryville Marina and other East Bay locations.