Category Archives: Uncategorized
I have a quick update for those of you who have been kind enough to donate. While the book is taking longer than expected, it will be done soon. I’m planning to distribute the book on April 20. That’s right, 4/20, if only to commemorate that I must have been high to think this blog project could have been completed in less than eight years.
Editing and compilation of previous posts has been mostly completed. After some experimentation, I’ve decided to allow the content to flow this way:
- Chapter (subject)
- Archived posts in chronological order
- repeat steps 2-5 for rest of book
The chapters are titled Oakland, San Jose, Fremont, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors, Earthquakes, TV/Radio, and Industry. Each chapter will have an introductory essay, a sort of executive summary for those who want to quickly go over the last decade or so. (Note: these essays are exclusive to the book. They will not be published here.) Then come the posts. When possible, I’ve updated or removed dead links – and there are a lot of them. News summary posts are not included. You may have noticed that I haven’t done a newswrap post in a while. That’s because I’ve decided to let Twitter handle much of that kind of redistribution and reserve this blog for longer form posts.
Graphics will also be included. The book will be distributed in PDF, ePub, and Kindle/Mobi formats in a single .ZIP file. If you donated, I’ll email the book directly to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If you prefer a different email address, let me know. And if you haven’t donated yet, it’s not too late to do so (look to the left sidebar).
Thanks for everyone’s generosity over the past months and years. We’re in a good place to keep the site running for as long as it takes. I think you’ll be equally entertained by my hackery and frustrated by how slowly this saga has gone. Cheers.
Update 7:30 PM – Added link to Controller’s report.
Yesterday we got word that the 49ers and Santa Clara prevailed in its lawsuit to reclaim $40 million in redevelopment funds. Today comes the news that the State of California has ruled that land transfers from the City of San Jose to the Diridon Development Authority were ruled illegal.
The Controller’s ruling on the ballpark land seems to hinge entirely on the fact that the City/RDA didn’t enter into a sale agreement with A’s ownership until November 2011, after the June 28, 2011 cutoff when AB 1X 26 took effect.
The RDA made unallowable asset transfers of $29,137,727 to the San Jose Diridon Development Authority (Authority), a joint powers authority made up of the City and the RDA. All of the property transfers occurred during the period of January 1, 2011, through January 31, 2012 and the assets were not contractually committed to a third party prior to June 28, 2011.
The graf above comes from the 12-page report released today, a draft of which was sent to the City on November 15, 2012 to allow for a response. The City argued that “there is no statutory or legal support” for the 6/28/11 cutoff to no avail. The Controller disregarded this argument and directed the land be turned over to County-appointed Successor Agency, whose oversight board will make the final determination of what to do with the land. City has cutely shortened “Successor Agency” to SARA and for good reason. What does SARA stand for?
Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose
If the Diridon Development Authority is the “son” of revelopment, SARA is the daughter. What does SARA make of this mess?
Ordering the City to return the assets to the Successor Agency only to have the Oversight Board direct that they be returned to the City is simply form over substance and wastes valuable time, energy and resources to arrive at the same result.
Regardless of what happened with the Controller’s decision (which was expected) the City still feels that the land will end up with the A’s. If they had inked the sale agreement in March 2011 instead of November, the transfers would’ve been in the clear. Now they could sue the State the same way the 49ers did, but since that would be even more costly and the City and County are already working on a proper land disposition agreement, that seems like a terrible idea.
What will happen next? My guess is that the land won’t actually be sold. Instead, the parties will work on a lease agreement that would allow the A’s to build on the public portion of the ballpark site while the A’s buy the rest over time. The alternative is to sell the land for “market value”, with a yield large enough to be approved by the Controller. The purpose of this is two-fold: get a sale so that funds can be sent to the state, and ensure that the land is assessed at a value high enough to get adequate proceeds to the state, county, and schools. Mayor Chuck Reed, who is on the SARA oversight board, released a statement in response to the ruling just a few minutes ago.
I am disappointed in the findings made by the State Controller regarding certain properties transferred from the San Jose Redevelopment Agency to the City of San Jose, San Jose Diridon Development Authority, and City Housing Agency.
The properties transferred to the City include assets that serve a civic or government function, and likely will fall under the government use provisions of the new redevelopment dissolution law and my expectation is that the Oversight Board will make the same findings.
With respect to the Diridon Development Authority properties, the State Controller failed to recognize an Option Agreement validly entered into between the JPA and the Athletics Investment Group. Any transfer of these properties to the Successor Agency would be subject to the contractual rights of the Athletics Investment Group as required under state law.
The City Council and County Supervisors have both made their desire to have a ballpark built on the site known through formal resolutions in the past. My expectation is that we will continue to work together to bring the Athletics to San Jose regardless of the ultimate ownership of the JPA properties.
Coincidentally, an oversight board meeting is scheduled for tomorrow morning at City Hall. While this news came too late to make the meeting agenda, I would expect the matter to be discussed. I’ll attend and report back.
There may have been a temblor in SoCal earlier this week, but today’s news coming out of LA is truly earth shattering. Sports and entertainment conglomerate AEG is having its auction halted. An executive shakeup has also occurred, with longtime CEO Tim Leiweke leaving. Owner Phil Anschutz will be “more engaged” in the company, and COO/CFO Dan Beckerman will now take the reins over Leiweke.
With Leiweke leaving, there is no longer a champion for Farmers Field. Beckerman may have been key to expanding the AEG empire to what it is today, but he’s still a bean counter at heart, not a vision guy. Leiweke was the visible champion for many projects, from Staples Center to MLS (in its early years) to Farmer Field. Unless Anschutz gains a newfound desire finish the job of bringing one or more NFL teams to LA, and Beckerman can sign off on the profit-related compromises that may be required to make it happen, Farmers Field is dead.
Beckerman’s first comments after today’s news spun it as if Farmers Field remains a major priority:
“The Company has a number of interesting business opportunities, and the expertise of the management team and our 26,000 employees around the world will allow us to select those prospects that best enhance the Company’s performance. Priority projects going forward include the development of Farmers Field adjacent to our L.A. Live campus and the pursuit of our plan to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles…”
AEG is only positioning in this manner because it’s potentially more valuable with Farmers Field in the portfolio, even if it’s only a fantasy at the moment. If one of the bidders were to come up with the $10+ billion offer to buy AEG, Anschutz would take it in a heartbeat. That’s not what he’s getting offered, so that’s why the company is being pulled off the table.
What does this mean for AEG’s operations at the Coliseum? It’s all status quo for now. When Oakland/Alameda County get around to settling on the scope of Coliseum City, then things could get interesting.
USA Today NBA writer Sam Amick has a 2-for-1 today in the form of a solid interview with USC Sports Business Institute’s David Carter prefaced by a recap of the ongoing Seattle-vs.-Sacramento drama. Carter tries to get to the heart of the issue facing NBA owners next month: Is it better to be the 5th team in a larger market (SEA) or the only team in a smaller market (SAC)? Carter doesn’t take sides, instead choosing to lay out the cases for both. He also expanded the discussion to include the implications of trying to build something in California, where public funding for stadia is difficult to attain. The end of the interview has a response that encapsulates the issues in Sacramento and throughout the state so well that I had to quote it here. (Questions come from Amick, answers from Carter)
Q: I’ve been hearing a few things about the public subsidy coming into play with Sacramento’s offer, potentially around $255 million that they would put into the arena, and the idea that the NBA has concern about walking away from that type of public contribution – especially in California – where it’s so tough to get public contributions. If they walk away from it, they lose a blueprint they’d like to use moving forward. Does that pass your smell test?
A: “That’s a great observation. We’ve seen that with not just teams, but teams and venues throughout the state – from San Diego to obviously now Sacramento. The Bay Area is a good example, and LA has been at the center of it. These leagues want to be able to extract public subsidies, and if they don’t do that then it gives other cities the opportunity to point the finger and say, ‘Well they didn’t kick in tax dollars over there, why should we here?
“If it’s a quality, free-standing business that’s going to be competitive in the marketplace, then it should be able to survive on its own. That would be one side of the argument. The other side of the argument, from these owners – and it’s a good one – is that there are a lot of people who are enjoying our product and not paying directly for it. You have a sense of pride in your city, even if you don’t attend a game or you don’t watch too many of them on television. Someone needs to pay for that externality, for that benefit that the community is getting for having this company in town. You could argue that that subsidy is supposed to cover that benefit people are getting from having the team there. Maybe it’s more of theoretical bump than anything else, but it’s fair to say, ‘What’s Green Bay without the Packers?’ That’s truly a sports company town.
“Maybe if it’s an amenity, or if it’s a resource that a lot of people want and can identify with, then maybe people should be paying for someone living vicariously through their product but not paying for it.”
Take that into your weekend. I’m going to refrain from commenting on it for now, as I’d like to see what responses are elicited first.
In case anyone was wondering if Lew Wolff was behind or approves of (tacitly) the recent antitrust lawsuit rumor (via the Chronicle’s John Shea):
This is a good example of the crap I occasionally have to put up with. From the A’s Fan Radio Facebook page:
The most interesting thing about that last AFR broadcast was that at one time the most simultaneous viewers was fewer than 10. At least half of those were readers of this site who were curious about D’Sjon Dixon’s Estuary Park plan. They and I care about the future of the A’s in the Bay Area. Apparently many AFR viewers and listeners (however many there actually are) don’t.
Enjoy the small amount of attention your trolling caused, Keith Salminen.
Update 3:00 PM – Good to know that Salminen reads the site. They all do even though they hate the viewpoint. If only there were someone from the Oakland-only camp who cared enough to provide thorough information and analysis. Anyway, here’s his latest ranting.
I don’t quite get his obsession with doing things face-to-face. After all, if he was really that upset before he could’ve come up to me at FanFest, a Save Oakland Sports meeting last year, at a game. If Salminen wants to have a chat over a beer at the West Side Club, I’m down. If not, well, his nonsensical posts will continue to provide comedic fodder for this site.
Back to real news later tonight as I’ll be covering the Sacramento City Council meeting. As you were.
Update 2/24: I’ll put this up one more time, and that’s it. Thanks for your support. Please see below this post for new content.
The response to the donation request has been excellent so far. Thanks to all of you who have donated. I’ve been working hard on editing the blog archive, and I hope to have something for you shortly.
If you haven’t given yet, please consider it. The site won’t go dark without your donation, but every little bit will allow me to get a better hosting situation, cover gas and transit fare to meetings, and other expenses. Click on the Donate button to the left to get involved. You’ll get an e-book containing the best posts from this blog, and my humble gratitude.
Last week I realized something. If I’m going to put some news out into the world, I better make sure the site can handle it. I’ve been in the process of evaluating different providers, and I found that I should have some headroom to handle large bursts of traffic should it come this way. There are other things I need to cover too such as caching, which will be part of the ongoing work here.
You may remember the five-part Lew Wolff interview from 2011 (Part 5). If you havent read it, do so. This blog format allows for the kind of expansive interview on display there that isn’t possible in a tightly edited form of media such as print. I know that you come here for expansive coverage, and I do my best to deliver it. To ensure that this work continues, I’m asking for donations, just as I did for the Wolff interview.
I’m asking for $10 or more, if you can afford it. The donations will help pay for ongoing site costs, travel expenses for meetings in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, and elsewhere. There’s a donate link to the left which will get you to PayPal. This worked quite well before, so I’m going with the same method this time around. This is not a request that I expect to make more than on an annual basis.
What will you get? Well, let me explain a few things. A handful of you know that I’ve been working on a book based on this blog. The book will not simply be a reprinting of articles. It will be fully chronological narrative of everything that has happened, going as far back as the early Finley and Haas eras. This book can’t be finished until some decision is rendered regarding the A’s future in Oakland and the Bay Area, which has frustrated me to some degree.
Until that’s all squared away, I’d like to offer a digest version of all of the important articles on this blog. It will include all of the analysis and opinion pieces written from 2005 to the present. News recaps will not be included. I’ve already been organizing all of this information for the purposes of the long book, so editing it for what I’ll call the blog archive is a relatively trivial matter. The blog archive won’t be ready this week, but I promise that it’ll be ready early during spring training. Included will be a preface, which won’t be posted on the blog. Like last time, I’ll provide a ZIP file containing multiple formats (PDF, ePub, Mobi for Kindle). If you’re interested, I may provide the archive organized by topic or in chronological order or both. I’m open to suggestions. I’m also exploring Apple’s iBooks format, though that’s probably for something else down the road which may involve a Kickstarter campaign or something similar…
Anyway, I appreciate your support and readership all these years. I’ll try not to blow a gasket putting together the archive, so that the tome gets to you as soon as possible.
P.S. – I should warn you that having written 1,700+ posts here, and the average length of each post being 500 words, even if I pull out a lot of the chaff the archive could look downright encyclopedic. That would preclude any chance of an actual print volume, though I suppose no one’s stopping you from printing parts of the PDF out. As I get closer to finishing the editing, I’ll provide an update on the length. Look at it this way: if you’re paying by the word, it’s CHEAP.
This is a list of new venues that have opened for the four major pro sports since the launch of this blog in March 2005.
On a related note: For some reason the day counter had disappeared from the sidebar. It has triumphantly returned.
Go about your day.
Then wait some more.
Bud Selig. The State of California. The San Francisco Giants. Irwin Raij. Bob Starkey. Corey Busch. AT&T.
It’s a terrible feeling being helpless. Unable to control one’s destiny. At the mercy of other governments and governing bodies. That’s San Jose’s lot when it comes to bringing in the A’s. There isn’t much they can do about it. Sue MLB or the Giants and it would take years to resolve. Suing the state over the ballpark land deal would also take time. The best and most San Jose can do now is make sure the Earthquakes stadium gets built on time. The City needs to a productive example to the community that it can in turn use to sell to the public prior to a referendum. Consider it a feather in the City’s cap than a must-have.
One thing that could become a factor is the status of the A’s at the Coliseum past 2013. Though it’s expected that the A’s will sign some kind of short-term lease extension (likely brokered by MLB), San Jose should be ready to act if the A’s/MLB/Coliseum Authority can’t come to a deal. That may mean pulling some strings to make way for a temporary facility. If that’s what it takes, so be it. Aces Ballpark in Reno took a year to build. West Sacramento’s Raley Field took less than nine months and was planned to take only six months. San Jose should be prepared to act quickly on an MLB ruling, not the City’s strong suit.