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Oakland mayor doesn't support using tax dollars to keep Raiders

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says it makes no sense for city to pay for new stadium for Raiders

Although she said last year she would "fight like hell" to keep the Raiders, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is also vowing not to use public funds to prevent the franchise from leaving.

Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, Schaaf said spending taxpayer money to finance a new stadium for the Raiders doesn't make sense considering the city is still picking up the tab for renovations it made to Oakland Coliseum in the 1990s. The city shelled out $200 million to renovate the stadium for the Raiders and Athletics, and the debt won't be paid off until 2026.

“That money we’re paying now is general-fund money we could spend on police, parks or libraries," Schaaf told the newspaper.

The Raiders are seeking public funds to help finance a $900 million Oakland stadium project. The team and the NFL have collectively lined up $500 million and are looking for the city and county to shoulder the remaining costs.

"We don't have $400 million lying around," Schaaf said.

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson echoed Schaaf's stance on the issue, saying it doesn't make sense to pay for a new stadium when taxpayers are still paying for the old one. Fellow Supervisor Nate Miley said he would consider using various forms of public money aimed at keeping the team in town.

As for Schaaf, the only public money she would consider using would involve funds for transportation and upgrading the stadium's land, she said. She believes a new stadium for the Raiders should be privately financed.

In February, the Raiders and San Diego Chargers announced plans for a $1.7-billion joint stadium project in Carson. Shortly after the announcement, Raiders owner Mark Davis said keeping the team in Oakland was his top priority.

Davis told reporters at the NFL owners' meetings last week that the team is finally starting to talk with Oakland and Alameda County leaders, but didn't seem optimistic about reaching a deal. He indicated time is running short on crafting a viable plan to keep the Raiders from moving.

"Let the people at the city and county know what you want done," Davis told a group of Raiders fans at the owners' meetings in San Francisco on May 19. "You've got a willing partner here. But you've got to do it quick, man, that's all I've got to say."

Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.

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