We looked at the steady increase in taxpayer-funded stadium construction recently, and Sports on Earth wrote about what they term "sports welfare"—this week, Bloomberg explained a combination of those phenomena, and a notably clear example of the way sports franchises can factor into the zero-sum game of their city's budget. If you live in Oakland and have been waiting for 911 for 20 minutes, first, stop reading Deadspin, there's an emergency. Second, blame the Raiders:
Oakland, California, the fifth-most crime ridden city in America, faced a $32 million budget deficit last year. It closed the gap by dismissing a fourth of its police force, more than 200 officers.
Untouched was the $17.3 million that the city pays to stage 10 games a season for the National Football League's Oakland Raiders and to host Major League Baseball's Athletics in the O.co Coliseum. The funds cover debt financing and operations and are supplemented by $13.3 million from surrounding Alameda County, based on data compiled by Bloomberg from public records.
"If someone calls 911, you're looking at an indeterminate amount of time before an officer can respond," says Barry Donelan, 40, a sergeant who is president of the Oakland police union. "Citizens are suffering." Reversing a renewed rise in violent crime is out of the question, he says.
This year, the number of murders in Oakland has risen 16 percent; rapes, 24 percent; and burglaries, 43 percent, according to a city crime report. The average response time to emergency calls in Oakland has slowed to 17 minutes this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in August.
The Raiders, 2012: Making Oakland citizens suffer in creative new ways. In addition, the piece notes, "Jacksonville, Florida, also fired police officers and cut services while lowering the Jaguars' rent 11 times since 1993 and deferring $12.3 million in rent payments."
There's much more, including the way organizations can leverage the threat of leaving, and the complicated process by which the city of Oakland ended up paying Goldman Sachs $4 million annually through the Raiders, so go read it. The Raiders are losing to the Panthers anyway.