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Oakland City Council drops Coliseum lawsuit

The city finally pulled the plug on its ill-conceived lawsuit.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After a head-scratching six weeks, the city of Oakland finally, mercifully dropped its lawsuit to block the purchase by the A’s of a partial interest in the Coliseum complex from Alameda County.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and A’s President Dave Kaval both indicated that they are making progress in negotiations on a deal for the Coliseum site.

It remains unclear why the lawsuit happened in the first place, and why it had to happen on the eve of the biggest game of the year no less, but it seems like all relevant parties are viewing this as water under the bridge.

If anything, the public reaction to the lawsuit reinforced that the people of Oakland want to keep the A’s.

The annual “Pulse of Oakland” survey results were released a few days ago, and they revealed that 44% of Oakland residents surveyed wanted the city to drop the lawsuit (compared with only 28% who approved of the suit). In addition, 77% believe retaining the A’s is important, and 68% are in favor of the new Howard Terminal stadium.

Perhaps those results, combined with a group of major Oakland business leaders vocally coming together asking the city to drop the suit, helped make an impact (side note: The group called themselves “Town Business” which, if a group of corporate executives adopting the slang of a pimp rapper isn’t representative of the uniqueness Oakland, I don’t know what is).

Or maybe it was Rob Manfred’s relocation threats and the team’s earnest negotiations that moved the needle.

Whatever the reason, the good news is that all parties are back at the table and working on a deal. We’ll see what comes next.

Here’s the full statement from Kaval on Wednesday, via the A’s press release (7:52 p.m. Wed.):

“We are pleased that the Oakland City Council has directed the City Attorney to immediately drop this lawsuit. We are committed to the long-term success of East Oakland and the Coliseum site. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Alameda County, and creating a mutually beneficial partnership with the City of Oakland.”

Update: Follow-up statement from Town Business, via A’s press release (9:42 a.m. Thu.):

Town Business released a statement following today’s court hearing to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the City of Oakland against the planned land sale between Alameda County and the Oakland A’s.

“We are thrilled. One week ago, Town Business stood united at City Hall to urge Mayor Schaaf, Council President Kaplan, and the City Council to choose leadership, not lawsuits. Today, City officials delivered. Our hope now is for the City, A’s, and County to work collaboratively to keep the A’s in Oakland and deliver real economic and community benefits through a new privately financed ballpark at Jack London Square and revitalized Coliseum district. As representatives of more than 80 local business and counting, Town Business stands ready to support these vital projects in every way possible.”