Bay Area opponents of the Raiders return "took formal steps"
yesterday to launch an initiative campaign aimed at forcing
Raiders Owner Al Davis to "post collateral" on up to $64M in cash
advances he would receive, according to Sandy Kleffman of the SAN
JOSE MERCURY NEWS.  The group, Taxpayers for a Vote on Raiders
Deal, hopes to gather nearly 30,000 signatures needed to qualify
a measure for the March ballot.  The group is "worried" because
Davis "walked off without repaying" $16.7M worth of "loans" from
two other cities, Irwindale and L.A.  East Bay officials,
however, say critics "simply don't understand the local deal."
Unlike Irwindale and L.A., the Raiders will get money from the
East Bay only after signing a "binding commitment" to stay in
Oakland for 16 years.  Should the team leave before then, the
city and county could seek damages in court.  And, as Kleffman
notes, payments to the Raiders "are 'loans' in name only.  In
actuality, the payments are advances of ticket premiums to be
collected from fans" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/3).
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