Selig told Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff that he would give him permission to move the team to a "temporary of permanant" location if a new deal was not approved. Wolff told city officials, who have now decided to reignite the lease talks. Just last week, the Athletics agreed to a 10-year lease extension with the Oakland Coliseum, pending city approval.
City approval has yet to have occured however, as some voters opposed the agreement and did not vote. Thus, the lease has yet to be approved. But in order to keep the Athletics in Oakland, the city officials are now pressured to make a decision and fast.
The Athletics have wanted to build a new stadium in another city for some time now, with talk of possible moves to San Jose and Fresno at different times. Currently, even being one of the best teams in baseball, the Athletics are having trouble drawing fans to their games. That issue has been pointed at the condititon of the stadium, which has deteriorated over the years.
It seems that now that Selig gave the Athletics permission to leave Oakland, they will end up staying. While I do not know how serious Selig was in actually moving the team, I personally feel that he just said this to gain leverage on the voters. It will definitely be interesting, however, to see what happens and how the lease talks unfold. Because the Athletics may no longer be in Oakland in just a few years.