Oakland 12/9 Press Conference

First of all, thanks to Nina Thorsen’s excellent start-to-finish coverage @KQEDNewsLive. She was tweeting like a madwoman while I was stuck in transit. Hopefully I’ll get to hear the audio soon so that I can comment more thoroughly. Bear with me, I’m at the Trappist celebrating LeAndre’s new job at Lucasfilm with him over beers (wow!).

Here’s what we know:

  • The Victory Court EIR is not done. Not even started.
  • The City is presenting two site options, Victory Court and the new Coliseum City. The Coliseum has an RFP out for planning and redevelopment of the Coliseum area on both sides of 880, and Coliseum City is basically the plan.
  • Mayor Jean Quan and Let’s Go Oakland’s Doug Boxer emphasized the positive economic impact of either plan.
  • Quan positions either site as feasible if MLB, the A’s and Warriors are willing to play ball.
  • Quan has talked to the Giants. They have said they could delay San Jose for up to ten years.
  • There will be renderings of Coliseum City released soon. I’ll put them up when I have a chance.

Rendering of Coliseum City. You may not notice the ballpark hidden behind the high-rise hotel. It's an apt depiction of how the A's have been treated by Oakland: Raiders' stadium glowing, arena in background but prominent, ballpark an afterthought.

After the meeting we spoke to Let’s Go Oakland’s Doug Boxer briefly. He was very straightforward in his assessment:

  • The litigation aspect is a very real threat for the A’s.
  • The two Oakland sites are being pitched not only as alternatives to each other, but also as alternatives to San Jose if that plan doesn’t come to fruition.
  • I asked him if he was disappointed that there was no progress on at the state of the Victory Court EIR. He said yes but also understood why – the City is only dealing with itself until MLB commits to Oakland.
  • There are no innocents among the various parties (A’s, Giants, Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, MLB) involved in this mess.

Honestly, this came off pretty much as I expected. The Coliseum City plan makes sense since the City is putting resources into it. A new/revamped arena and ballpark can slot in as alternatives to a Raiders stadium in the planning work, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Other than that, it’s a terribly disappointing bit of news. There has been no action on the EIR front, and virtually nothing has happened in the last 2.5 years, yet Quan is characterizing the Oakland options as doable by 2016. Oakland’s track record doesn’t back her up. It all sounds like a bunch of fronting, and everything else I’m hearing outside of Oakland indicates that the City is not going to get the chance to prove itself. I’m not sure Oakland deserves it.

Added 2:34 PM – The Trib will have a live chat today at 3:30 to cover today’s news. Participants will include reporter Angela Woodall, BANG senior editor for community involvement Martin G. Reynolds, and the ever popular Dave Newhouse.

Added 4:05 PM – Two new pics of Coliseum City.

Overhead shot has ballpark on north lots. I assume the green strip running from left to right (north-south) through complex is the easement for the sewer interceptor.

Close-up shot shows hotel between ballpark and stadium

180 Responses to Oakland 12/9 Press Conference

  1. bartleby says:

    @xootsuit “don’t try so hard.”
    .
    And here I thought I was writing a sincere response to what a took to be a sincere position. My bad.
    .
    ” Microsoft didn’t “lose”: Microsoft managed to defend A/T cases worldwide and remain essentially intact (unlike Standard Oil or AT&T, for example, to cite two comparable monopolists that got split apart by big A/T challenges). Settlements after decades-long litigation resolved the matters for MS. A lot of people reading this blog probably use Windows and Explorer together. If MS had “lost,” that wouldn’t be happening much.”
    .
    That’s an interesting rewrite of history. Microsoft lost on the merits. Its attorneys were cited for contempt of court and/or accused of introducing misleading and/or false evidence several times along the way. During the remedy phase, the Clinton Administration gave way to the Bush Administration, which quickly decided to stop seeking the breakup of Microsoft.

    Some might look at this history and conclude Microsoft ran a questionable defense, lost, and had its fat pulled out of the fire by a timely change in the political winds. You apparently interpret this as evidence of Neukom’s legal genius. Whatever. Not that it’s particularly relevant to the point you seem to be trying to make anyway.
    .
    “I’m not endorsing MS, or litigation. I’m just reminding you that things are a lot more complicated than you seem to realize.”
    .
    On the contrary, the fundamental point we are debating is fairly simple. You made the fairly obvious point that complex litigation can last as long as ten years, and implied that the Giants could delay Cisco Field in this fashion. I pointed out the Giants have several severe hurdles they would have to overcome to keep the case in court, but that even if they could, litigation does not automatically equate to delay of the project.
    .
    The usual remedy for most legal claims is money damages (e.g., assuming the A’s were doing something wrong by moving to San Jose, how much did it cost the Giants). A Giants lawsuit would not in and of itself prevent the A’s from building the park anyway and playing in it for many years while the action ground its way through the courts.
    .
    Only if the Giants were able to get an injunction could they actually stop the A’s from going forward. This is considered an extraordinary remedy, rarely given. In order to get one, the Giants would typically have to prove that they were likely to win on the merits, and that if the A’s were allowed to proceed they would suffer irreparable harm that could be be rectified by payment of money.

    I doubt they could meet either of these requirements. Any harm they might arguably suffer would take the form of potentially lost revenues. Unless they could show the A’s move would literally bankrupt them, it’s hard to see how this couldn’t be made good by the A’s simply writing a check.

    Further, it is entirely likely that if they Giants were able to get an injunction, they would be required to post a bond covering the A’s losses from the delay if the A’s ultimately won on the merits. If you assume delays up to ten years, this could be hundreds of millions of dollars. Quite a gambit. I don’t see it happening.
    .
    “The best thing about the LR article I linked up is its discussion of the unpredictability inherent in any case that involves the mlb A/T exemption. I was especially interested in the cases the author discussed that concerned A/T actions under state laws. Now that would be a slo-mo case: Cartwright Act cause of action, trying the scope of the mlb A/T exemption, in your local, over-worked, back-logged county superior court. Chances for SJ diminish significantly. (Not impossible, I assure you; but not easy.)”
    .
    I’m really not sure why you’re so fixated on the A/T exemption. It doesn’t represent a cause of action for the Giants, nor does it help them keep a case against the A’s or MLB in court. Rather, it’s the main thing shielding the Giants from getting hammered in an antitrust lawsuit themselves (with the potential for treble damages). The possibility of it being invalidated represents a risk to the G’s, since that means they basically lose their case. But if it’s upheld, that does nothing to help them, it just maintains status quo. Meaning: They would have to press some very marginal breach of contract and/or equitable reliance type claims, and make some very difficult showings to get a remedy (injunction) that would be meaningful in this context.
    .
    Look, every time a team moves, someone is pissed off and often sues. How many real world examples can you name where such a lawsuit dictated or even delayed the result?

  2. Marine Layer says:

    This law debate is getting serious. Completely over my head.

  3. Dude says:

    Well here, let me dumb it down a little bit. Looking at the renderings, I notice a few things:
    -the airport connector is illustrated
    -it appears to have several new stops in the area
    -including one right about where the player’s parking lot used to be
    -the bart bridge appears unchanged
    -but the properties surrounding it have all been redeveloped
    -the entrance is elevated above the surrounding concourse
    -that means the entrance to the arena has been reconfigured to enter from a higher level
    -or the concourse has been lowered near the entrance

    I love the illustration of grand development visions. It’s always fun to look over the details and dream of what might be.

  4. Tony D. says:

    I come back after 7 hours and come to find this suit character getting hammered? I love it! You can apologise to me later Dan for accusing me of being “mean” to the Guy earlier ;) turns out he deserved it. By the way, downtown San Jose was jumping tonight! Good night all.

  5. Mike says:

    Happy day 1000 of the BRC, and we finally have answers.. Oh wait.

  6. GoA's says:

    Considering it’s about day 6000 for the city of oakland and this is the best they can do maybe 1000 isn’t so bad- here’s to believing that in the next 1000 days we’ll be getting ready to see our A’s in a new ballpark!

  7. Anon says:

    LOL @ SFGate comments. Quan is a goner….Go A’s!

  8. TW says:

    It is completely understandable that Oakland and the Giants are going to play freely with the truth as well as throw everything but the kitchen sink into the mix (dirty tricks being fair game in a fight like this). Oakland and the Giants are looking to get the best deal for themselves and are going to play hardball. However, their goals are different. Oakland wants, albeit without as of yet trying too hard as counter intuitive as that is, for the A’s to stay in Oakland. The Giants want the A’s out of the bay area. It is silly to believe the Giants would want the A’s in a big, brand new, state of the art palatial facility in Oakland. That is not a benefit to the coffers/value of the Giants, it may well end up being a drain. The Giants know the A’s are a bottom feeder and with a move will increase their value. The A’s are squandering value with their current environment. If they can block San Jose, the A’s are leaving. The Giants franchise value will increase greatly with that development. And they don’t need to block them from SJ outright, they just need to make the hurdles so tall and numerous that the SJ plan falls apart.

    With that said, the Oakland tact is almost pathetic. A) They have a really cool drawing yet, in real terms, Oakland has done nothing, literally nothing, to make a A’s stadium plan closer to reality (that is the most unbelievable part). B) They let MLB know that their plan doesn’t have the burden of lawsuits …lawsuits they (and the Giants by proxy) will be filing if the A’s move to SJ. C) Oakland government has more money than San Jose, disregarding that San Jose is light years further in the process (including spending money) and have shown the A’s extreme due diligence for some years (while Oakland has been nearly absent). The whole thing is almost surreal…..

    The Giants will not be suing anyone regarding the move to SJ. TR is a non issue once MLB decides (and duh! Most owners want the A’s to become a non welfare team and increase MLB revenue). The only thing the Giants will be doing is behind the scenes support of small front groups who can throw up procedural roadblocks. The result of them have little chance of legal success but may delay the process sufficiently. As far as Oakland lawsuits, short of a sympathetic judge who stretches the legal boundaries and requires the almost certain overturn on appeal, these lawsuits will ultimately be a waste of time.

    If, and it is an if of unknown potential, SJ voters approve the park, lawsuits are nothing more than a few bumps in the road toward the inevitable. For Oakland and the Giants, the election is the real battle to be fought. They’ll have their media allies (numerous), they’ll have money to fund anti stadium groups, they’ll have the time to produce ‘paperwork’ to show the stadium deal will surely be a bad deal for SJ residents.
    If I am SJ, I damn well better make sure the stadium vote contains iron clad job gains for the unions. There support will be critical to pass the proposal……maybe the difference between success and failure.

  9. MarkyJ says:

    Next, Quan’s going to suggest dumping tons of dirt & sand into the port of Oakland to build an island sandlot for the A’s.

  10. asch says:

    People are again missing the point of all of this. IF oakland shows they have the ability to produce a ballpark in Oakland, a move to SJ must be dismissed. That was THE point of all of this. Whether Oakland stalled or ownership lied for years, it’s moot at this point. IS there a viable stadium site in oakland. The answer is: YES. If that’s the case, a relocation to SJ is in question. Now, IF there is a stadium site in Oakland, but ownership doesn’t want to stay, they must look at selling the team to ownership who will stay, before relocating the franchise out of the area.

    The point of the BRC was to determine location of A’s stadium. In fact, Lew was supposed to do that years ago (but only did the minimum to say there wasn’t so he could push a move out of the area – we all know that). Regardless of city politicians doing a poor job (happened) and the past 2 ownership groups lying through their teeth (happened) – if there are feasible sites for a new stadium in Oakland, they cannot be dismissed.

    The mistake that many national writers (like the moron Ken Rosenthal) make, is saying it’s SJ or same situation in Oakland. That is not the case. While we all know that Lew wants to move the team out of Oakland and has since day one, the *POINT* was to get a new stadium IN OAKLAND. That’s what was stated. If these locations are viable (and you tell me, are they??) then ownership must make a decision as to whether they are going to stick and around build, or sell the team to an ownership group who will.

  11. pjk says:

    re: They have a really cool drawing yet, in real terms, Oakland has done nothing, literally nothing, to make a A’s stadium plan closer to reality (that is the most unbelievable part).

    …Yes, I was surprised at the lack of substance of Oakland’s “plan.” The same old feeling of entitlement to a free ballpark and trying to force the A’s owners to build there, with some conspiring with the Giants thrown in. I hope the other MLB owners see what the Giants are up to and vote 29-1 to l et the A’s into San Jose..

  12. Tony D. says:

    @asch,
    Good one! Way to make ones stomach hurt on a Saturday morning. This is easy..repeat after me: corporate support, private financing, corporate support, private financing, and so on. How does the $2+ billion “Neverland” get paid for again?
    BTW, happy 1,000 days all! Just think, in another 1,000 days we’ll be witnessing final construction of beautiful Cisco Field in downtown SJ!

  13. Jeffrey says:

    Asch: where is the “viable” site again?

  14. Dan says:

    Asch, unfortunately for Oakland it’s not just about drawing a line on a map. Oakland had to show they had VIABLE sites. MLB has already told them explicitly that the Coliseum site is not valid and that their preferred Oakland site was Victory Ct. However VC is not viable today either because Oakland has done “0″ to make it viable. They’ve not purchased any of the land, not done an EIR, NOTHING. Oakland had to show they had viable sites, not just draw lines on maps and put out renderings. They’ve not done this… Remember NOTHING we say yesterday was new as far as anyone including MLB was concerned. They introduced no new sites that the BRC would have to look through, no new funding sources they’d have to consider, and no completed work like an EIR or land purchase at VC for them to review. I mean hell, the letter Quan sent Selig was a year and a half old according to her. Old news is BAD news for Oakland.

    And yes Anon, the comments at SFGate for the first time related to the A’s aren’t just a Wolff bash fest. With the Raiders and Warriors asking where the door is to leave people are suddenly realizing that maybe there is a systemic problem in the city of Oakland and maybe the A’s were just the first ones to figure that out.

  15. gojohn10 says:

    Ken Rosenthal’s latest article on potential trade partners for Gio and Bailey has an interesting closing sentence.
    .

    A move to San Jose does not seem close to approval.

    .
    http://www.yardbarker.com/blog/mlbbuzz/the_athletics_arent_done/8638498

  16. Dan says:

    Ken must’ve been confused on what moving players indicated. Beane explicitly stated they wouldn’t trade their current prize pieces if they were staying in Oakland at the Coliseum. He did state that they’d be dumping players and acquiring minor leaguers and young guys IF it was going to be approved. If Gio and Bailey get traded too you can start printing those San Jose A’s t-shirts.

  17. pjk says:

    How does he know? Why ask for an expansion of seating at a San Jose ballpark that’s never going to be approved? We all know most of the news media absolutely does not want San Jose getting Major League Baseball

  18. Tony D. says:

    Just read the Rosenthal article; that last line doesn’t make any sense. Its either sarcasm or he accidently typed in “not”. Anyhow, if Beane and Reinsdorf feel a decision is soon or “coming to a head,” than I’m cool with that.

  19. Tony D. says:

    @pjk,
    Rosenthal has been supportive of the A’s moving to SJ in the past; a stand up Guy in my book. Again, sarcasm or misstatement. No worries here (especially after yesterday’s fiasco).

  20. Mike N. says:

    Where exactly do people park and tailgate when going to an A’s game? Looks like they’ve jammed a lot of buildings in the lot. I guess fans park and tailgate on the other side of the lot and walk. Gotta wonder what it would be like after a game where 30k fans all exit the same direction. Would make the Stick look good (in terms of getting home after a game). I wonder how serious the plan really is. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great I’m just wondering if it’s realistic to jam 3 stadiums, a hotel and other buildings into that space. But then again this was planned by city officials.

  21. eb says:

    The SFGate comments were typical of an Oakland/Jean Quan story. Anything focused on the Town brings out racist wingnuts. I don’t know if you saw some of the comments that followed the Hiram Lawrence story, but it was the type of stuff that makes you want to lose faith in humanity. Go to the Cahill trade article and you see the same low opinion of the A’s/Wolff, right or wrong.

  22. xootsuit says:

    bartleby:
    1. Microsoft fought many A/T battles in the 90s, not just the one you cite. In the end, Microsoft escaped dismemberment. That’s the real issue. Government all across the country, the feds here and governments in Europe went after them. They survived intact. I’m not calling Neukom a legal genius. I’m saying that he’s conversant with the issues and knows how to work with outside counsel in high-stakes litigation.
    2. Your discussion of injunctions is rudimentary. I don’t think you’re familiar with the Clayton Act, for example. In any event, I’m aware of many lawsuits that delayed projects without TROs or injunctions issuing. I’m surprised you’re not.
    3. The mlb A/T exemption would be at issue in any lawsuit concerning division of territorial rights. No one in mlb wants to litigate that — especially not in a Calif. state court (under the Cartwright Act, for example). The lawsuit wouldn’t be directly between the Giants and the A’s. The current lawsuit should explain that point to you. The law review article is useful for its comprehensive look at the litigation related to the A/T exemption and at the unpredictability of outcomes in such lawsuits. It underscores the risk inherent in litigation over the San Jose territory. So I’m interested in it.

    Your theoretical projections about basic civil procedure aren’t very compelling. The current lawsuit, with its behind the scenes intrigues and plots, may be just the start. Like it or not, the first lawsuit is imaginative.

    Tell me this — as the A’s are named as the real party in interest in the writ of mandate proceeding, do you think the A’s have standing to move to compel arbitration under Article VI of the MLB Constitution?

  23. Mossback says:

    Those of us with some knowledge of the outcome of the MS antitrust case have not been surprised by the outcome: The constraints on MS conduct that the Justice Department won were more than sufficient to ensure the loss of market power. MS is now a shadow of its former self and essentially a joke that’s utterly failed to become a significant force in mobile or social networks as the action has shifted.
    .
    The beef that the A’s have with the gnats has some parallels. We have an abusive monopolist in Precious Park with a stranglehold on the Bay Area’s MLB market. That will soon come to an end as well.

  24. Anon says:

    @eb – racism in JQ comments? Sorry, but what I read was anger and outrage among normal people (and not necessarily fans) that JQ would devote her time and city money to 3 sports team when the City’s crime wave should be priority.

    Re: Mickeysoft. I don’t understand all the legalese in the case, but from a technical standpoint, the government essentially forced MS to divorce IE from the core OS, after they claimed it wasn’t feasible. Unfortunately this dragged on for years, and by then competitors such as Netscape was just an afterthought in the browser landscape after dominating initially.

  25. TW says:

    >>>asch
    December 10, 2011 at 6:30 AM (Quote)

    People are again missing the point of all of this. IF oakland shows they have the ability to produce a ballpark in Oakland, a move to SJ must be dismissed. <<<

    With due respect, a "viable" plan was never and should never be the threshold. If it was, Oakland already won this argument a long time ago. They have already provided "viable" plans that would simply take heaven and earth to make happen (or at least a long time to make happen).
    Oakland or San Jose or Anywhere else has to A) have a choice of land B) have a plan to have the land purchased C) prove they have the money to make it happen D) All the pertinent leaders are unquestionably and publicly on board ….those necessary to make the project happen E) Have shown real progress toward making those items a reality. F) one plan is not obviously inferior to other plans.

    Considering how amazingly long the A's have been pursuing a new ballpark, how far along is Oakland on item E? almost nowhere. It boggles the mind! Oakland supporters simply are doing the Ostrich and ignoring this fact. Oakland is light years behind a city (SJ) that had nothing but a long shot at landing the A's, yet SJ was doing their due diligence – working toward a viable (an actual viable) plan.
    Oakland should be embarrassed that they were so absent for so long…. yet they seem so indignant the A's have made 'other plans' to improve their franchise (an improvement that is long overdue). This whole Oakland process is surreal, incredibly mind boggling yet it is an unfortunate indication of how so many politicians operate.

    Never mind the others,

  26. Tony D. says:

    “MLB for Dummies” by Tony D: MLB can alter territories as they see fit, best interest of baseball clause, teams can’t sue fellow teams, SCCO was a shared territory prior to 1992 (pss..it can go back to being shared). Its not that difficult people (some of you at least). No need for legalese or citing irrelevant court cases. Any questions?

  27. tlas says:

    Living outside the Bay Area, I had no idea about Jean Quan or what people are arguing about over her. After listening to the press conference…whoa! And with a Valley Girl accent to boot (no offense to valley residents). Cue me up that Moon Unit song!

  28. Dan says:

    Valley girl accent?

  29. crescent says:

    The fact that Oakland won’t even do an environment report on Victory Court without a mythical commitment from MLB proves they aren’t serious about anything and it’s all PR to make it look like they are trying. And as if any of us with a brain even needed that.

    Look for Oakland to keep moving the goalpost to different sites once a year when the clock clicks down and naive people start expecting progress on this year’s promises. 2011 Victory Lane, 2012 Coliseum City, 2013 Waterfront, 2014 Port of Oakland. It’s a joke just so people can think they are doing something when they aren’t.

    No different than (for example) the Mets saying over and over again they want to keep Jose Reyes. Then not even an offer and he signs elsewhere.

  30. raiderfan64 says:

    I just woke up to damn early and found this article after doing some research on a NFL move to L.A. I don’t watch baseball so I am not in the loop so let me ask the dumb question.1) The Oakland A’s want to relocate because of the current state of the stadium in Oakland stinks and they want an exclusive ball park with out sharing any revenue with the Raiders even though the Raiders don’t make much there.

    So the A’s found a site possibly in San Jose and want to explore their options. In the Mean time the city of Oakland comes up with some cheap renderings of what a new state of the art Raider and A’s separated facilities on the current property would look like.

    2) There is no EIR or financial plan just some artist renderings to make the 2 teams or the A’s happy and content that they got something to look forward too in Oakland.

    Am I on the right track here??

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