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It’s pay to play here in Oakland -- politics, not baseball.

Oakland is so much better than San Francisco. Who needs tourists and cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge? We’re building a signature bridge -- the new six-billion-dollar Bay Bridge. I know it’s taking a really, really long time, but what’s the rush? Jerry Brown had it right. We’re too good for a “freeway on stilts.” We’re the East Bay; we deserve a single-tower span unlike anything else ever built before. And those Bay Bridge welders who said they were handed envelopes stuffed with cash to cover up injuries and bad welds? They must have been lying, just like state Senator Don Perata said they were. Stop your whining, guys, and get back to work.

Speaking of Brown, he’s so much better a mayor than Gavin Newsom. The only reason San Francisco needs a workaholic mayor is that the city has so many problems. Here in Oakland, we’re so together that we don’t even notice if our mayor spends half his time running for his next office or jetting off to Los Angeles. After all, he earned it, didn’t he? More than seven years in office and Brown has the city humming. Crime is almost nonexistent and our schools are some of the best anywhere.

And what about those Oakland A’s? Just because the team goes to the playoffs a few times, where does Lew Wolff get off thinking that he can ask us for help building a new ballpark? Well, sure, he said it wouldn’t cost us anything, but hey, we can’t be bothered right now; it’s still basketball season. Let the A’s move to Fremont or Vegas or wherever; we’re too good for them. Good thing we finally killed all that talk about building a new A’s ballpark in Oakland. And speaking of strokes of genius, how about Brown’s decision to fire former City Manager Robert Bobb? That’s one for the record books. Let Washington, DC, have him, along with the baseball team that he helped them attract.

And while we’re on the subject of downtown development, who really needs a waterfront? We were smart to give away Jack London Square and Oak-to-Ninth to Perata’s pals. Now it’s them who’ll have to worry about it from now on. As for Uptown, we’re so much better off giving Brown’s close pals at Forest City more than $60 million of our money to put up some apartments. Here in Oakland we’re proud of our motto: “Pay to play.” And we’re proud of the fact that the FBI is investigating our state senator for public corruption. What’s Willie Brown done lately aside from being on that dumb radio show of his? -- Robert Gammon

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