Carroll Fife joined the City Council in January 2021, in the midst of the Oakland A’s proposal to build a 35,000-seat stadium, thousands of homes, a hotel, and office and retail space at Howard Terminal near the Port of Oakland and Jack London Square.
The $12 billion project, if built, would have huge impacts on West Oakland and Chinatown. Fife came into the District 3 office, which represents West Oakland and Jack London Square on Oakland’s City Council, after defeating incumbent Lynette Gibson McElhaney. She has served as executive director of nonprofit community advocacy organization ACCE, and was one of the key architects of the Moms 4 Housing movement, and helped organize the Anti Police-Terror Project. She campaigned for her Council seat on plans to address issues of police reform, homelessness, and housing affordability. But Fife told us she believes the scope of the ballpark proposal has sucked up time, attention, and city resources to the point that it’s hobbled the city’s ability to address more pressing issues facing Oakland residents.
Fife, along with Councilmember Noel Gallo, voted against approving the project’s environmental impact report in February. She has been critical of the Howard Terminal development process but unlike Gallo, who would prefer the A’s build at the Coliseum, she isn’t outright opposed to it at the moment. Her stance is more nuanced. In a conversation with The Oaklandside, she discussed where she currently stands on the project, why she supports letting the voters decide its fate, and her frustration over apparently being shut out by the A’s ownership and front office.
Our Q&A focused on the subject of Howard Terminal but also touched on her political future and powerful enemies she said she’s collected less than halfway through her first term. That—along with emails and voicemail messages from some ballpark supporters that have left Fife concerned for her safety and that of her family—has her contemplating whether she was more effective as an organizer and activist working outside City Hall. Fife told us she’s on the fence about running for re-election in 2024.