Stand for San Jose sues City of San Jose

AP’s Janie McCauley has the news of a lawsuit filed by Giants astroturf group Stand for San Jose against the City of San Jose. The group alleges that City “abused their powers and ran roughshod over their legal duties, including their duties to protect the public’s right to vote and to comply with laws designed to protect the environment, prior to committing to sell public lands for a Ballpark Project.”

I snipped a piece of the City’s municipal code for occasions like this:

4.95.010 Prohibition of the use of tax dollars to build a sports facility 
The city of San José may participate in the building of a sports facility using tax dollars only after obtaining a majority vote of the voters of the city of San José approving such expenditure.

A “sports facility” for the purpose of this chapter is to be any structure designed to seat more than five thousand people at any one time for the purpose of viewing a sporting or recreational event.

“Tax dollars” for the purposes of this chapter include, without limitation, any commitment to fund wholly or in part said facility with general fund monies, redevelopment fund monies, bonds, loans, special assessments or any other indebtedness guaranteed by city property, taxing authority or revenues.

Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the city from allowing the construction of a sports facility funded by private investment.

If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, then the remainder of this chapter and application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

The phrase “participate in the building of a sports facility” has always been subject to interpretation. For some, it can mean the City bearing some of the direct construction cost of a stadium. It could mean contributing some or all of the land, especially if the land is sold or leased at below market rate. It seems that Stand for San Jose thinks that the City needed approval via a referendum before signing off on the land deal, even though it’s just an option at this point. The City has been consistent in that it will put the entire package – land deal and all – up for vote when all of the details are completed. By going in Stand for San Jose’s route, virtually every step of the process would have to approved by a public vote every time. The idea sounds like a recipe for gridlock, especially when you consider that the EIR process started in 2005, four years before Stand for San Jose was hatched by the San Jose Giants. All this time, a year after EIR certification, and that’s when you decide to file a lawsuit?

Of course, the Giants (both SF and SJ) could have chosen to stay quiet for years because they were lobbying the City for improvements to Municipal Stadium. Convenient then, that the timing of all of these political and legal actions would occur after the City provided redevelopment funds for Muni? Way to bite the hand that feeds you, Giants. Even more convenient, take a look at how a referendum is required for any venue with a capacity of 5,000 or more. Muni’s capacity? 4,200. Should Muni’s improvements have required a referendum too?

On the other hand, I think the A’s and City could reduce some of their exposure to these types of actions if the Diridon land deal was simply done at market value. Wolff Urban Development is buying the Hotel Sainte Claire at market value, why not the ballpark land? – is what people will argue. This 2005 SV/SJ Business Journal article hints at possible actions if City pushed for a discount. Then again, it’s likely that Stand for San Jose would simply sue based on the EIR, forget the land deal. Coincidentally, the positive budget deficit news reported yesterday (now down from $80 to $25 million) actually works against both Mayor Chuck Reed and Stand for San Jose, since resources won’t be so scarce in the near term.

I would’ve had more sympathy for the mini-Giants had their owners not chosen to sell out to the big paternal Giants to the north. Now it’s just one big corporate interest trying to push around another with the City in tow. We know that the Giants’ motive is to have the A’s leave the Bay Area altogether, or at least rot in the Coliseum for years to come. Thankfully, it appears that Bud Selig is getting off his duff and getting the Giants to the table. Then maybe, just maybe, all this B.S. posturing can stop. Or, as Christina Kahrl tweeted:

http://twitter.com/#!/ChristinaKahrl/status/142832962747113472

Two other observations – note how Stand for San Jose shared the news with the Associated Press instead of the local news outlets when they filed the lawsuit. Looks like someone else is figuring out how to work the national media as well. Also, I like how Stand for San Jose has no problem filing tons of paperwork with the City, yet can’t bother to post any of these filings or letters on their website. Come on astroturfers, if you’re gonna call for “transparency”, you should at least practice what you preach.

78 thoughts on “Stand for San Jose sues City of San Jose

  1. What retards…..This is going to a vote regardless. Their lawsuit is frivolous based on that alone. They will lose badly in court and these jerks will take a huge loss monetarily once they get counter-suit in a way that will put them under water,

    Wow…..I wouldn’t disagree with this suit if it was not going to vote in the first place….some morons in this city that makes me ashamed to be a citizen of San Jose.

  2. I also forgot to mention that the land for a ballpark has been appraised for 6.9M…The exact amount the A’s are paying for it.

    25M was before the recession and is a lost amount based on that. This is a ploy by the big parent Giants to stop the A’s……My fan-hood of the SF Giants is almost coming to an end.

  3. The Giants are bound to get litigious as we closer to resolution. I agree SJ needs to do more to prevent exposure, but this isn’t going to stop the city or the A’s. I think a referendum is on the ballot by the presidential primary because I think MLB will decide.

  4. Bud Selig’s lack of leadership on this issue is ridiculous. Hey Bud, you have just been called out… What are you going to do about it?

  5. “We know that the Giants’ motive is to have the A’s leave the Bay Area altogether, or at least rot in the Coliseum for years to come.”
    .
    The above quote is where the (SJ) bias clouds the reality.
    .
    The City of Oakland has a 250 Million dollar financial plan to get the Victory Court Ballpark started. Ignoring that fact , will not make it go away.
    .
    The Giants can’t stop the A’s from doing anything in Oakland’s territory.
    .
    There are two different styles going on in this “battle” for the Oakland A’s. On one hand, alpha-male Chuck Reed defies a MLB gag order and is at Purdy’s feet with every detail. While Quan and the City of Oakland, until this recent leak from Gregory Hunt, are quiet. Take whatever you want from it.
    .
    Victory Court is alive!

  6. @Sid

    “My fan-hood of the SF Giants is almost coming to an end.”

    My fan-hood, and I was a fan, of the SF Giants, ended as soon as I started following the stadium/T-rights issue.

    Not only did my fan-hood end, but the more and more I’ve followed the issue, and the more things happen, the more I’ve come to absolutely loathe the SF Giants. As far as I’m concerned, they are public enemy number 1. I have “hated” other teams over the years (Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys, Dodgers), but with those the “hate” wasn’t true hate – it was just fan rivalry, and having a “bad-guy” to be against, for your “good-guy” team to overcome, and it was all in good fun. In other words, not true hate.

    But with the SF Giants, it is true hate. The SF Giants are true rat-f%$# b@ast@rds.

    But more and more, I see them getting what’s coming to them. The City of SJ might just turn around and counter sue (as Sid mentions), and I’m sure Bud Selig is now really really pissed off at the Giants. Maybe BS was going to arrange a compensation for T-rights package, but maybe now he’ll just say “f%$# it, no compensation, T-rights are done”. I could also see Silicon Valley corporations currently buying luxury boxes and seats at AT&T turning around and boycotting the Giants (wouldn’t that be something), due to going against their (SV corps) interests (Giants trying to stop the building new stadium in their backyard, creating jobs and increasing business climate).

  7. Exactly two weeks ago Ken Rosenthal reported that Selig would be meeting with Giants executives regarding territorial rights. At the very least the Giants are using the proxy lawsuit as a threat to gain leverage during negotiations. At worst this is the beginning of a long and ugly battle for the A’s survival.

  8. Forgot to write that Rosenthal said Selig would be meeting with Giants within two weeks. If true, that first meeting has either already happened or is today.

    • Forgot to write that Rosenthal said Selig would be meeting with Giants within two weeks. If true, that first meeting has either already happened or is today.

      Thanks for that info GJ10.

  9. Outstanding post RM! Could not have said it better myself ;) IMHO market value for land is looking more and more likely. By the way, should Selig/MLB have met with the Giants by now?
    @ David,
    Good one!

  10. Many of the the A’s and Giants ownership’s families are very close to one another as they are linked together by schools, social clubs , business, service organizations ,etc . They all live in the same ‘hoods and ” potluck ” in their ” 1 % -er ” way all the time .
    Must make some of them queasy to see this legal action .

  11. $250M is about $350M short

  12. So we effectively have one franchise, via surrogates of course, suing to stop the stadium efforts of another franchise. Way to lead, Bud. Selig needs to tell the Giants to pull this lawsuit or face serious sanctions…

  13. David, they may claim they have $250 million to buy the land for the ballpark at VC (which is all that will cover in this case given the number of businesses they have to buy off and the infrastructure needed at that site). But they still have $0 for a ballpark itself. And that assumes they actually have $250 million which is highly suspect in and of itself.

  14. It would be so much easier if a new ballpark could be built in Oakland. But where is this mysterious $250 mill? It assumes a massive loan from MLB (which has to be paid back of course), I’ll bet, and probably assumes a pile of redevelopment $$, which is on its way out. Then, there’s the matter of a privately financed ballpark not being possible in Oakland.. Oakland’s plan remains: Oakland keeps the A’s, A’s owners assume all the massive risks.

  15. Ratto and others have asked to see *details* of the financing. Wolff is short millions. Is there a deposit from Cisco in a bank somewhere? He needs a vote in a terrible time to have one as well as eminent domain. This is the first lawsuit, with more to come (as was stated by Herrera in SF).
    .
    I like Oakland’s chances.

  16. David: How do you know Wolff is short millions? Proof, please. Why should Wolff share private financing details with a clown like Ratto? Once again, San Jose losing does not = Oakland winning.

  17. David,
    Please cease with the nonsense. If you want to champion Oakland’s efforts (?) that’s great. But you’re questioning of SJ’s/Wolff’s efforts and championing of the Giants obstructionism is ridiculous to say the least. In short: stick with Oakland and leave SJ alone!

  18. …if the San Jose ballpark project gets killed off by a series of frivolous lawsuits, then Wolff will sell the team back to MLB, which will relocate it to either San Antonio, Sacramento, El Paso, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Portland – to some other place that is willing to put up public $$ for a ballpark construction, which of course won’t happen in Oakland.

  19. I don’t have details from Wolff or Oakland. I don’t know the details of either groups proposals. I just find it interesting that Wolff’s plan, without all the details, is taken as gospel, “shovel ready”, etc. I know everyone “hates” on the leadership in Oakland and extrapolates that into an inability to get things done – which is flat out wrong. I have nothing invested arguing against that perception this blog (People are going to believe whatever they want to… All we do on here is speculate. I look forward to knowing more details, in the weeks ahead.

  20. I actually view this as a positive- regardless of where a ballpark is built there is going to be an opposition group who will challenge the EIR- let’s get the process moving- don’t want this to hang up the actual construction by coming after a vote in SJ

  21. Looks like a desperation act by stand for San Jose. they know momentum is growing for the pro movement for moving the A’s to San Jose. There were many lawsuits by San Francisco residents a decade ago against AT&T park.
    Also, don’t be surprised if the City of Oakland files suit preventing the A’s from leaving (or at least allowing the use of “Oakland” to be used).
    It is good economic times to be a lawyer .

  22. Vince, not sure what Oakland would sue on. Once the lease is up the A’s can leave at their leisure. And they’re not planning on taking the Oakland name with them. They’re going to be contractually obligated to become the San Jose A’s.

  23. @David – True all we can do is speculate about the financing in Oakland or San Jose. But think about it, do you really think MLB would green light San Jose if Wolff did not have a solid financing plan in place? Why would they go through the trouble of meeting with the A’s and Giants if moneywise it just couldn’t be done?

  24. @fc – If something were “green lighted”, wouldn’t that news be plastered all over Bay Area news sites?
    .
    “Due diligence” necessitates meeting all parties.

  25. @David – You’re way off on your assessment. We know what the parameters are for the San Jose ballpark site. CIty provides land and infrastructure. Team privately finances ballpark. In Oakland, we’ve heard that they’ll provide up to $250 million. But where is that money coming from? If it’s redevelopment (which I think it is) it’s dead in the water and MLB knows that, which is why they haven’t responded and they’re not taking it seriously. There are far more than enough means to get this done in the Valley via numerous types of financing. Oakland, on the other hand, is a complete unknown at this point, and City and boosters have seen to it that it stays that way. The $250 million ballpark plan at Victory is anything but a “fact”, especially if no one has any public confidence in it.

  26. @Jeff-Athletic- I feel ya dude. I am a Giants fan who used to go Candlestick as a kid. I dragged my parents to games at night and once I turned 11 they started dropping my brother (age 10) and I at day games until ATT opened in 2000 when I turned 18. I must have gone to 40-50 games at Candlestick in the 1990s.

    We would go to the games, take the ballpark express to the end of Van Ness and walk to the Cannery and meet my parents there. This was in the 90s when we did not have cell phones or pagers….not many parents would leave their kids at ATT at the age I was at that time today.

    Unlike a lot of Giants fans who joined the “bandwagon” once Pac Bell was built I was one of those true fans who sat through the drudgery known as Candlestick when they used to get 15k in fans a game.

    Now the Giants sit there with a beautiful ballpark and are crying about a team moving 50 miles south to my hometown?

    The Giants are the only team in MLB who owns a city in their territory larger than themselves. I cannot find one team where this situation exists in all of MLB.

    This totally frustrates me as a fan and a citizen of San Jose. Now Stand for San Jose is suing the City over the land options that in order to be exercised needs to pass on a public vote? At least wait until the option gets exercised first before suing….makes no sense.

    Now I do not think SV companies will boycott the Giants because so few of the do biz with the Giants anyways. So it is relative.

    In the end the Giants are probably meeting with Selig at the current winter meetings with a vote ready for the January owners meetings……The Giants deserve zero.

    Even so, I believe MLB will compensate the Giants for all of this because it is their flaw in the system. The territory should have been shared in 1993 when the leagues combined. LA, NY, CHI all made sure on this and the Giants have been using this loophole in MLBs system far too long.

  27. @Vince Oakland has no legal grounds whatsover to stop the A’s from leaving. They already tried such a lawsuit when the Raiders left, and got spanked.
    .
    Similarly, they have no grounds for a lawsuit to prevent the A’s from using Oakland in the team name if they chose, it’s public domain. Just like nothing stops the pizzeria down the street from calling themselves New York Pizza. Not that the A’s have any intention of using the name “Oakland” in San Jose.

    @David In a world where corporate premium seat revenues account for probably half an MLB teams’ stadium revenue and possibly all of its profits, the financing calculus is this:
    .
    – Hundreds of such customers in San Jose’s back yard = easy financing for San Jose.
    – Very few such customers in Oakland’s back yard plus brutal competition from the Giants for those that exist = no possibility for such financing in Oakland.
    .
    Your continued insistence that this extremely well capitalized ownership group with extensive real estate development experience is going to have any difficulty lining up financing for a ballpark is simply wishful thinking, at best. Putting your fingers in your ears and saying neener-neener-neener is not going to make economic reality go away.

  28. @bartleby- “neener-neener-neener”?? Hahaha! Have not heard that one in years.

    Your points are correct.

    If Wolff did not have financing MLB would not move forward with San Jose at all. Which they are showing signs of doing so.

    If the 49ers can get 1B in financing in Santa Clara, the A’s with a naming rights deal in the books would be able to “slam dunk” 400M in San Jose.

  29. @David – Maybe I should have said “…consider green lighting San Jose…”. Regardless, I think you’re in denial if you think MLB is seriously still considering Oakland as an option. With no evidence of a viable financing plan, how can MLB even begin to start looking at Oakland. Things may change down the road should Diridon get voted down, but right now I don’t see any momentum in Oakland’s direction.

  30. The SF Giants are not also waging war against the Athletics, in an effort to keep them badly crippled or force them out, but they are, in a de-facto sense, waging war against all of MLB, along with the city of San Jose.

    The A’s in SJ, with brand new state of the art ballpark, will turn the A’s into a profit center, rather than money drain (receiver of revenue sharing). The Giants trying to get in the way of this flies in the face of MLB, and is a direct deterrent to MLB’s financial interests.

    The A’s in SJ, with the building of a new ballpark, means more jobs, more tax revenue, and a stimulus to the local business climate, in San Jose. The Giants trying to get in the way of this flies in the face of the City of San Jose, denying new revenue source, jobs, and enhanced business climate.

    It’s pathetic. The Giants are basically saying that they can’t compete with another strong team, that they can only compete with someone who is severely handicapped. This, while having one of the best ballparks in MLB, which is always sold out at inflated prices, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in one of the wealthiest markets in the country. And yet, they can’t compete with someone fair and square. Just completely pathetic.

    Sad, because, even though I’ve always liked the A’s better, in the past I always supported the Giants . They have a history in my family – my Dad was a big Giants fans, and my older brothers were fans
    and I remember going to a game when I was a kid during the McCovey/Mays era, and then later to games with college buddies during the Craig split finger fastball era. I even got excited last year during their world series run.

    But now,with the Giants sneaky, cut throat, greedy, dishonorable behavior, it’s kinda like having a loved family member turning into thief, or worse, violent criminal.

    But happily, this latest astro-turfing frivolous lawsuit will amount to nothing, because the deal was going to a vote anyway, and Wolff has not been bothered. And Selig, as well as the rest of the owners in the lodge, seem in favor of the A’s in SJ (why else would Selig ask for more seats at SJ). It’s coming to a close, Most likely Selig will open SJ, and the A’s will move forward, and not Gnats lawsuit will stop it.

  31. In a weird way, I can’t help but think that many city leaders in Oakland will be happy to see the A’s gone. IDLF has said as much a few years ago in regards to them staying at the Coliseum. Quan might have started off with good intentions, but seemed to be completely overwhelmed by a million issues before touching the amenity of professional baseball in her town. It just seems like, by whatever evidence exists, Oakland is going all in with the Raiders. There is nothing at all tangible indicating that the A’s are staying, and I am sure soon enough, we will be hearing that confirmed.

  32. **The Giants are the only team in MLB who owns a city in their territory larger than themselves. I cannot find one team where this situation exists in all of MLB.***

    Tampa is larger than St. Pete, Dallas is larger than Arlington, but they’re viewed as a common one-team Metro area. The real question for MLB is whether the Bay Area is a one-team metro area or a two-team one, I suspect it’s two.

    • **The Giants are the only team in MLB who owns a city in their territory larger than themselves. I cannot find one team where this situation exists in all of MLB.***Tampa is larger than St. Pete, Dallas is larger than Arlington, but they’re viewed as a common one-team Metro area. The real question for MLB is whether the Bay Area is a one-team metro area or a two-team one, I suspect it’s two.

      But nothing prohibits the Rays from moving from SP to Tampa, or the Rangers from Arllington to Dallas. Besides, there’s only one team in those markets, so they really don’t compare with the Bay. But you are correct in that this is a two-team market; definetely!

  33. By the way RM, respectfully disagree that the “positive budget deficit news” out of SJ is a negative. Just my opinion, but I don’t see how the city possibly providing a discount on a land sale (whether it’s for a ballpark or condo development) affects the city’s budget or bottom line. Especially if the private development will provide much needed sales tax revenue and acts as an economic stimulus for the downtown. (again, just my opinion)

  34. @Tony D. – It’s not about the actual budget numbers. It’s about having ammunition in the debate about the budget, the ballpark, collective bargaining, etc.

  35. Lawsuits are anticipated and expected. It would be interesting to know how many were actually filed, with the respective county Superior Courts, during the last 2 California baseball stadium projects; San Diego/Petco project and the SF/PacBell/AT&T project. Once we know those numbers we could compare and contrast with the SJ/Cisco effort and see how it stacks up against those 2.

  36. What miserable people they must be, to dwell in this kind of desperation and fear. Imagine that, the Giants have almost inarguably the most beautiful venue with the most spectacular view in all of MLB if not all of sports…. they are a year removed from their crowning achievement as a franchise that has put them on the map in the greater sports world in a way they have never enjoyed…. they have a tremendous fanbase with all or most games sold out to the rafters for years to come, in one of (if not the most) beautiful and unique cities in the United States if not the whole world… and all they can focus on and think to do is to destroy the team that plays nearby them, a franchise that — when the Giants were at their lowest point as a business entity and were nearly forced to slink away in ignominy to Tampa 20 years ago — helped save them out of the goodness of its own heart. What can you say? You realize that the SF Giants are a predator that has as its ultimate goal the extermination of the Athletics from their sight, and it just makes you wonder just how utterly miserable they must be to be doing what they are doing. I know I’m famous for drama and hyperbole and most of the people around this issue feel that that posture provides me with the overall credibility of a crackhead, but that fact doesn’t change the idea that I find this situation and the Giants’ egregious and downright evil role within it to be shameful to the power of hideous, really and truly.

  37. @emperor

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Maybe bit dramatic, but still accurate.

  38. I agree with just about everything EN said, which sir, was very eloquent and explains why my hatred of the Giants has moved beyond a rivalry “hate”, to real hatred.

    That said, I must quibble just a bit – there is a bit of revisionist history being bandied about that the A’s ownership gave the SJ territory out of the goodness of their hearts for the overall good of baseball in the Bay Area.

    Keep in mind that SJ/Santa Clara were nowhere near what they are now econmically as the corporate center of the bay area when the rights were given up. Make no mistake that the Haas family certainly thought they could capture a great deal of the north bay as well as San Francisco, just a short hop away over the Bay Bridge.

  39. @plrraz

    Wolff has recordings of the minutes of those ’92 meetings (as does BRC/Selig) where the south bay T-rights were for the purpose of the Giants building there. At the time, it was an advantageous strategy for the A’s, because it had the Giants going further away, and more of the population base was still mostly centered around the peninsula and the east bay.

    But alas, as we all know, the Giants didn’t build in the south bay. So in so doing, they kinda forfeited exclusivity on south bay t-rights.

    I don’t know what legal ramifications the recorded minutes have, but there is actually nothing legal about pro sports T-rights anyway – it’s all a violation of anti-trust laws. It’s mostly a “gentleman’s agreement” among those in the lodge.

    Basically, the Giants have squat for leverage.

  40. Friday’s lawsuit filing surprised me. I’ve been a Giants fan for 33 years; I pay attention to the minor league teams. But I had no knowledge that the Giants quietly had acquired 55% ownership interest in the San Jose club in 2010, soon after the ballpark battles began in San Jose. Now I see that you’ve been on top of this stuff since 2009. I’m stunned that the Chronicle and sfgate have ignored the developing drama.

    As I say, I’m just now paying attention to some of the details. But I have one question for A’s fans who like the idea of Wolff moving the team to downtown San Jose: Isn’t his plan rife with conflict of interest? I think the guy is the largest private commercial landlord in downtown San Jose; he’s now adding the Sainte Claire to his San Jose portfolio; he also owns parking and retail property downtown. Won’t a ballpark make him a lot of money indirectly, even if he continues his low-budget ways with the team, and just breaks even with the franchise at the new park? In other words, isn’t his interest in the additional downtown development itself, and not in the baseball franchise? He doesn’t need to win much to keep a modest stream of fans going to games, meanwhile improving the neighborhood he lords over.

    Just asking. I am genuinely interested in informed responses.

    • @xootsuit – Wolff Urban/Maritz Wolff used to own huge swaths of downtown SJ. Much of that was divested over the last decade, the only properties of note remaining being the Fairmont and the Hilton. As I’ve written previously, there’s little left to develop in downtown that isn’t already spoken for. Even the area between the ballpark and arena can’t be developed for at least a decade as long as BART remains in planning. If Wolff really wanted something solely/mostly to spur development, 1) he wouldn’t have waited this long, and 2) he’d have pushed for a closer location to the downtown core than Diridon.

  41. Why don’t the Giants/Stand Up for San Jose mention anything regarding the proposed San Jose Earthquakes soccer specific stadium? I’m so sick of the Giants.

  42. @#$% Raiders!
    @xoosuit, Wolffs empire in downtown SJ, including future ballpark, helps San Jose as well. If the “conflict of interest” provides sales tax revenue, economic stimulus in the form of further development and jobs, then let him conflict all he wants.

  43. Marine Layer: I’m just going by this page from the Wolff Urban website.

    http://www.wolffurban.com/portfolio_offices.html

    More than half of these buildings are in downtown San Jose. Do you have a link to information about the divestment? Did they sell the properties outright? If so, then Wolff may have no conflicts, and may have an interest in selling the new park out every day and then reinvesting the revenue in the team.

    On the other note, I was at the Sainte Claire just a week ago. I know how far away the downtown core is — actually closer than downtown SF to China Basin. I also understand that the downtown area has benefited tremendously from HP Pavilion — because of the Sharks, but other attractions, too.

    Tony D., a downtown ballpark will benefit San Jose, I think. But what I am asking is if it really will benefit the A’s — i.e., provide enough revenue to pull the franchise out of the low-budget grind.

  44. Actually, you can ignore my last post. It looks like the very page I linked to shows that most of the buildings have been sold.

  45. @xootsuit – Exactly.

    Wolff seems to be confident enough to project well over $200 million in annual revenue by the time the ballpark opens.

  46. FYI, this xootsuit character is a frequent commenter on the SF Gate gnats and A’s blogs, where he goes under the name “sharpdrestman” since the xootsuit login was banned. His general line is the classic gnat spin to the effect that Wolff is a capitalist mercenary out to exploit the A’s in order to build shopping malls, oppress the poor, destroy the environment, etc. Oddly, he claims to live in Oakland despite supporting the Evil Empire of the West.
    .
    When pressed even a little he’ll stand up for the notion that Stand For San Jose is a real grass-roots organization of homespun environmental activists and not simply an expression of the low-life, litigious and monopolistic nature of the gnats ownership group. Chuck Reed was too kind when he characterized them as puppets of the gnats; they are the gnats.

  47. xootsuit, I love the “adjacent development” angle without context. The Chronicle hasn’t only ignored the reality of this situation, they have completely misinformed people on this point (with the help of the pro Oakland crowd). The original plan, which was in Oakland and adjacent to the Coliseum, called for adjacent development as a means to finance the park. It is pretty simple, by having a large amount of the adjacent land available for sale to other developers (at a time when the residential Real Estate market was booming) the team could turn the profit from transfer of development rights into funds for stadium construction. When it was clear this wasn’t going to happen in Oakland, the same model moved to Fremont. When it was clear that the model was no longer viable (not to mention vociferous local opposition in Fremont), the focus moved to San Jose. This is because there are financing mechanisms available in Silicon Valley that aren’t in Oakland or Fremont.
    .
    It isn’t a nefarious land grab to build a shopping mall. It is a plan to build a ballpark with limited public funds.
    .
    And… Screw the Giants.

  48. Regardless of xootsuit’s motivations or true identity, he does ask a legitimate questions – Wolff’s motivations. Marine Layer already thoroughly addressed that – that Wolff has divested most downtown SJ holdings.

    But I’ll make another point, that in the end it doesn’t matter. Of course Wolff, or any other team owner, needs to be, and ultimately is, motivated by personal profit. Professional sports needs to exist as a self sustaining, profitable business, not as a charity (rich man’s trophy toy), nor as a government supported entity. So if part of Wolff’s motivations was to feed his existing holdings in SJ, well, fine. It’s a business. But he would not, and nobody would, build a stadium, move a team, and not expect it to pay for itself eventually, i.e. he wouldn’t want losses from the team to offset profits from other holdings. He would want it all to be profitable.

  49. It looks like the taxpayers in the city of Santa Clara, may have to pay for the right to host the S.F 49ers. Already, the cost of building,has exceeded what the voters approved. Not to mention the larger burden (risk) the city has (recently) taken on. A community-based business should be able to make a profit. But raping cities is what most sports franchises are engaged in, IMO.

  50. Santa Clara approving that deal ($100 mill plus possibly other costs) for a facility sitting empty 355 days a year was mind-boggling. The best solution would have been to send the A’s to San Jose, knock down the baseball half of the Coliseum, put up new football stands and put both the Raiders and 49ers there. There’s already half a football stadium that’s only 16 years old, with BART access and a big parking lot. Fill the needs of both the 49ers and Raiders for half the cost of one new stadium. I know some people don’t want the A’s leaving Oakland but since nobody can find a way to keep them there, absent Oakland paying for a new ballpark (which won’t happen), San Jose becomes the only remaining option for keeping them in the Bay Area.

  51. My “true identity” is as I stated it in my original post on this site — I’ve been a Giants fan for 33 years, and I pay attention to the team’s minor league clubs, and I was unaware that the mlb franchise quietly had taken over 55% of the ownership interest in the SJ Giants, obviously as part of the battle going on with the A’s and mlb over territory rights. I came to this site for information. There’s a lot of it here. I certainly didn’t come to this site to get into spats with sfgate commenters.
    One question I have: the AP news story (probably based on a press release drafted by the Pillsbury law firm in SF) mentions a 30-day deadline to file the type of lawsuit the plaintiffs have filed. Anybody know in which court the plaintiffs filed (state or federal), the title of the lawsuit or have a copy of the complaint or petition filed?
    Finally, I don’t know how this plays into the mix. Perhaps a new ballpark — including the jobs and commerce that will be generated by the construction itself — will help the city. But it’s also easy enough to see the other side too:

    “If San Jose decides in coming weeks to declare a fiscal state of emergency, it will open itself up to certain litigation. Wrestling with an $80.5 million deficit in the coming year, the Bay Area city would be the latest public entity to turn to the controversial tactic to deal with spiraling personnel costs.” . . . The San jose Cit Council had been slated to vote Tuesday on a declaration of fiscal emergency, but lawmakers postponed the vote, saying officials still need to factor in the cost of savings from public employee cuts [etc.] . . . . Cities have rarely declared financial distress siince the Great Depression . . . . [etc.]” Declaring a “state of emergency” is a step cities have been taking when they want to cancel or modify expensive public employee contracts.

    The Recorder, 12/5/11, p.1.
    At a minimum, this circumstance brings the discussion back to Marine Layer’s original point that a deal at market value would’ve made a lot more sense.

  52. @xootsuit – Mayor Reed’s “fiscal emergency” is nothing more than a negotiating ploy and he has already backed off the declaration. New calculations have the projected budget deficit at only $25 million, and that gap can be dealt with in negotiations with the public employees unions.

    The lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara Superior Court, though the court’s website has not yet been updated to include case data for last Friday.

  53. re: perspective on Santa Clara deal. San Jose spent $135 mill on an arena used hundreds of days a year, bringing in hundreds of thousands of people to downtown San Jose. The anchor tenant is listed as “San Jose” in every newspaper’s and Web site’s sports section worldwide. Santa Clara, meanwhile. will spend at least $100 mill for a barely used facility housing San Francisco’s football team. What a deal…

  54. @David Make sure you mention that next time you inquire about the Victory Court EIR

  55. @xootsuit

    Xootsuit – as a longtime, hardcore Giants fan, do you personally care whether or not the A’s build in San Jose?

    I’m just curious. I’d like to gauge the feelings of actual Giants fans.

    I brought this whole T-rights / stadium issue with my brother, who is a big Giants fan and doesn’t care about the A’s, and being that he doesn’t know much about the situation, he immediately reacted with “so what if the Giants don’t want someone moving down the street” (I explained that the A’s would actually be further away), and “the bay area can’t support two teams, etc.

    If I were more of a Giants fan, or simply didn’t care about the A’s, I would not care whether or not the A’s build in San Jose. I would know that the Giants are sitting pretty right now, and the future looks very bright for them, and whether or not the A’s are around, and whether they were actually competitive, wouldn’t affect that.

    But again, I want to see how Giants fans feel about it.

  56. @jeff-athletic

    As a Giants fan living in Santa Clara County, I would say the “I don’t care” view is close enough to my feelings of the A’s situation. Really the whole thing is fascinating to me as a neutral observer and sports fan.

    I grew up in San Jose, still live close by, but the Giants are my team. When I was younger I cheered for the A’s and G’s about equally. Then Inter-league play came along and I had to choose, I think at some level I was always more of a Giants fan anyways.

    If they build in San Jose, great. It’s good for the Silicon Valley community as a whole. But I’m not going to switch to the A’s just because they’re a few miles away. I’ll check out Cisco field to be sure, but I’ll continue to attend AT&T for most of my baseball outings.

    Besides, as a 49ers fan I’ll soon have one of my teams close by in a few years.

  57. KEEP THE A’S IN OAKLAND! Say NO to San Jose!

    Once again, time wasted on a site that is never going to pan out when old dumb dumb Lew should have focused on Oakland after Fremont fell through. Just like Fremont, this is going to blow up in his face.

    Just save us all from more wasted time and b.s. Wolff and start building at Victory Court already or sell to someone who will!

  58. @A’s Fan Radio–better watch out for the pro-SJ guys on here. They’ll beat up on you like a step child for ripping old Lewie.

  59. Anyhow..
    moving along; Jeff athletic, I have yet to meet one giants fan down here who is against the A’s moving to SJ. The closest is one coworker who thinks if the A’s move in the “lil” giants will move out. If the SJ giants are able to stay with the A’s downtown then he’s all for it. The majority of giants fans I know are also pretty pissed over the giants position re territorial rights.

  60. @Tony D- same experience here- tint fans that I talk to are supportive of the A’s moving to SJ for all the reasons Demo J cited- with inter league play they will also be able to see their team locaaly

  61. A;s Fan Radio… Victory Court? When is that EIR starting again… And, why is that site not gonna blow up again? Seriously?
    .
    jk-usa, reasonable folks (who are pro bay area) don’t let drivel pass without a comment.

  62. @Jeff-Athletic: As a Giants fan, I don’t care where the A’s play. I think the Giants are set for a while. The new owners who saved the Giants from moving to Fla. in 92 invested deeply and wisely in the team while they still played at Candlestick, and got moving on the privately funded new park, too. As a result, the new park (which is, you have to admit, beautiful) was sold out the first year, and has been a success ever since. The 2010 season reinvigorated everything. The Giants seem to be in a strong position. That will remain true no matter where the A’s play.
    I’ve lived in the East Bay, however, for most of my 33 years as a Giants fan. And as an East Bay resident, I would hate to see the A’s leave Oakland. I think Oakland needs the A’s. (I’ve also always sort of liked the A’s.) And I don’t trust Wolff. I don’t see how a downtown San Jose park could possibly draw the way the Giants park does. I just don’t see San Jose as a unique solution to the revenue problem. Personally, I would like to see a beautiful new A’s ballpark in Oakland, near downtown (or uptown). So to that extent, I have a preference.

  63. Keep the A’s in Oakland? At what site? How will it be paid for? Oakland won’t pay for it and a privately built stadium in Oakland would bankrupt the owners. I’ve seen these “Keep the A’s in Oakland” banners at the current stadium at A’s games, amidst thousands and thousand and thousands of empty seats. Does Oakland have some sort of birthright to keep the A’s without supporting them? Ranked dead-last in attendance this season….Sell to someone who will pay $1 billion to buy the team and donate a $500 mill ballpark? Anyone think that’s going to happen? If San Jose doesn’t happen, what most likely happens is MLB buys the team from Wolff, wastes a season trying to sell to someone willing to privately finance a ballpark in Oakland, and then opens up the bidding to ownership groups from other parts of the country and the A’s are gone.

  64. @suit,
    Giants are in a strong position, and the A’s deserve to be in that position as well, and being in SJ puts them there. Wait! You don’t see how SJ solves the revenue problem? They don’t call the SJ metro $ilicon Valley for nothing! Like yourself, I think it would be awesome for an A’s ballpark in Oakland…in the early 2000’s!! Alas, we are where we are today because the city of Oakland hasn’t did crap for the team going on 17 years. Enough is enough for the A’s…its time for SJ!

  65. Look, I’m here to learn about the ballpark issues, that’s it. This blog is quite clearly a great place to learn about those issues. My personal preferences are just my preferences. (If I had my way, Oakland would budge Fairyland over a ways and put a beautiful new park on the point that juts into Lake Merritt. Splash hits for all.) My interest in the A’s ballpark issues grew exponentially after last week’s lawsuit alerted me to certain aspects of the territorial-rights chess game that has been going on for several years now under the radar. I guarantee you I’m not going to throw my support to one side or the other in that particular business battle based on my baseball allegiance. So, please, continue to respond to whatever I post if you feel like it — but don’t assume I’m hostile to A’s fans, or, even to A’s fans who want the team to move to San Jose. I’m not.

  66. The A’s in San Jose would be able to draw fans from Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties with ease.

    Right now people in those 4 counties (2.6M people roughly) have little choice on baseball with the A’s and Giants located where they are now.

    The Giants will still have a bigger grasp on the Bay Area still but the A’s in San Jose will allow them to get fans from areas that have been otherwise neglected by MLB to this point.

    Alameda and Contra Costa belong to the Giants, I hate to say it. The A’s will still get some fans from there since it is opposite commute to San Jose on weeknights.

    The Giants will continue to do well at ATT for years to come. The A’s in San Jose will do much better than they would with a new Oakland ballpark because the Giants got such a long head start on them with Pac Bell in 2000 in that general metro area.

    Baseball meetings are going on right now……One can theorize Selig is meeting the Giants right now in private discussing the compensation MLB is willing to offer.

    I hope they refuse and get voted off the island….that way they get what they deserve. Nothing!

  67. Or not. Looks like the chips are falling in the A’s and San Jose’s favor.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/05/SPV71M8NE7.DTL&tsp=1

    Even Jerry Reinsdorf a two team market owner is voting for the A’s. And he’s got nothing good to say about Oakland either. “Certainly, (the Coliseum is) past its time. In my opinion, Oakland’s past its time, too. Oakland’s had plenty of opportunity to build a stadium and hasn’t gotten it done.”

  68. Stanley Stanson
    December 5, 2011 at 9:18 PM (Quote)

    Uh oh. Trouble in Miami. This might occupy some of the Commissioner’s time. A’s to back burner again???

    Actually, since the A’s are ready to move forward with a plan that minimizes the public risk, and would be put up to a public vote, I’d think Selig would want to push the A’s forward. Baseball will need some good PR after one of their obscenely rich owners (Loria) screwed over the taxpayers of Miami to build him a private play-palace.

    BTW, I think the A’s should pay market value for the land – the difference really isn’t all that much, and the PR value for the A’s would probably be worth more than the extra few millions.

  69. Someone should ask Reinsdorf about his conversation with Lying Larry Baer before he got his ownership approval. This stuff is gonna make a really good book someday.

  70. >>>=Even Jerry Reinsdorf a two team market owner is voting for the A’s. And he’s got nothing good to say about Oakland either. “Certainly, (the Coliseum is) past its time. In my opinion, Oakland’s past its time, too. Oakland’s had plenty of opportunity to build a stadium and hasn’t gotten it done.”<<<

    Two owners just openly said — reading between the lines — they will support the A's in the T rights fight (whether it is to vote to revoke it or the more likely use the vote to make the Giants come to a fair deal). That's a big deal. If any other owner speaks like this in an interview, well, 3's a crowd. There can be no doubt this thing is breaking the A's to San Jose way….as well as little doubt the owner's meeting will be the big meeting.

    That doesn't mean it's a done deal with the owners but the A's ship has good wind in their sails while the Giants tack seems to have them in a flat sail area.

  71. I think the gnats lawsuit sealed the deal for the A’s. It’s one thing to whine and drag your feet, but overt hostility is not the done thing in the gentlemen’s club.

  72. the last thing this city needs is to incur the responsibility of supporting the “WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL”
    squandering millions on them while cutting your city services.
    I guess the mayor has given up on attracting big business (not A’s) and he now just wants to
    paint the city workers as the bad guy’s at any opportunity. seems to me we should say NO to the A’s
    as well as the mayor

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