KQED Forum tomorrow @ 9 AM

I’ve been asked to be an in-studio guest for the 9 o’clock hour of Forum with Michael Krasny (KQED 88.5 FM) tomorrow. We’ll be discussing A’s and 49ers, two teams whose current cities, future goals, and economic situations have more than a few similarities. Tune in to hear my nasal Asian self live!

I’m just catching up with the news from the press conference and subsequent news stories. Before I go into my analysis, here are the newest articles from the East Bay Express and SF Business Times. I haven’t seen pics or renderings that, so if anyone has the Powerpoint preso that was distributed, I’d welcome an e-mail containing it.

Prior to the press conference, Jeff asked me what I expected from the presser. Here’s what I said:

I expect some pretty pictures and an “offer of assistance” if the A’s are willing to play ball. I don’t expect them to delineate what that assistance is. There should be much talk of how good it could be for Oakland, maybe a token bit about the A’s. I expect Council to appear conciliatory as opposed to quotes from the last year.

Thankfully I was wrong on the assistance part. It looks like the City is willing to assemble the land necessary for the ballpark. The rest is exactly how I expected it to go. Many readers and commenters here criticize Oakland for not doing more to get a really “solid” bid in, but I’m going to differ with that. Negotiating with landowners and starting environmental impact reports is costly, time-consuming business, and I wouldn’t expect the City to commit to that unless they got some positive feedback from MLB and/or the A’s. As for how quickly or easily they could assemble the land at either Oak/3rd or JLS North (a.k.a. MLK/3rd), your guess is as good as mine.

Then again, this is why I don’t like this four/three/two site strategy. It makes it very convenient for Oakland not to commit to any additional effort. The stance can be, “See? Two viable sites that Wolff never investigated and they were right under his nose.” If you’re trying to score political points, then great, you’ve done it. Next? If you actually want to build something, you’d get much of this rigamarole out of the way and get down to business (as much as you could within the resource constraints you have). I can only assume that they’re waiting for the panel to render its final decision, after which they can move forward. Honestly, the path would be much clearer if a consensus formed around a single site, whose strengths and weaknesses couldn’t be conflated with another site – and most importantly, could be properly debated with San Jose’s Diridon site.

What I don’t get is why Oakland and San Francisco choose to make their announcements on the same day. Way to steal the spotlight from each other, folks.

I suppose I’ll be watching the news for reports from the press conference. Videos will be posted here as they come in.

26 thoughts on “KQED Forum tomorrow @ 9 AM

  1. I think “viable site” is all up to interpretation. If Lew Wolff/A’s don’t think a particular site is “viable,” then it isn’t; regardless if Oakland politicians think. This isn’t jut a matter of looking at a map, plotting 20 acres and saying “here’s a site or two; Lew Wolff was wrong!” Anyhow, my money is on this being the last thing we hear out of Oakland regarding the A’s and a ballpark. By the way, San Jose has taken nearly 5-years to put together Diridon South; it aint that easy fellas!

    • RC–hope you are right—prefer to move onto the next step and look at architectural drawings of a ballpark than the on-going site debatee–if Kettmann was correct in his interview he indicated that architectural drawings were underway already—I have heard a park in SJ will be more modern than retro—can’t wait to see what is proposed–

  2. ML–guess I differ on what I would consider to be minimum expectations–SJ has been acquiring the property and finished an EIR without any guarantees or support from MLB (in fact the opposite)–why the free pass for Oakland? Oakland has the team and had the opportunity to really impress the BRC—and this is their best game—-guess at minimum I would have expected them to have “begun” something–land acquisition or an EIR—-oh well—my kids say I am too demanding also—

  3. It’s easy for SJ to move forward when there’s a constant wink-nudge going on. Oakland doesn’t have that kind of relationship.

    • ML—Respectively point out that they have the team, and they have had the benefits of the checks and balances of the BRC—-sorry, I won’t buy into the conspiracy theory—

    • In the Live Blog it was posted that MLB required a site of 20 acres, I dont think Diridon fits that requirement does it?

      • In the SEIR for San Jose the acreage has been expanded but I don’t remember how big exactly. 20 Acres seems like a guideline, you can build a modern MLB park on 13 acres.

  4. ML,
    you wouldn’t happening to be going to the KQED in SF across from the Muni bus headquarters would you?

    Because I’l be over there tomorrow as well…around that time actually

  5. The reason for the three site strategy is simple: the immediate audience is Bud and the Blue Ribbons. Not the A’s, not the fans, not local residents…sure, Oakland also wants all of them on board, and thinks this plan will win them over too. But for right now, the goal is to make the BRC report next month (?) say that an Oakland ballpark is a strong, viable option.

    If only one site is advocated, it’s that much easier a target for detractors to snipe at, on land control, freeway access, transit, parking, NIMBYs, EIR issues, whatever. Any site, anywhere, has challenges that can be spun as “insurmountable” in a short intense period of lobbying. But put three attractive sites out, and those issues are much harder to construe as making Oakland unviable in toto.

    If the BRC says that Oakland remains viable and says the A’s have to work on that for awhile, one actual proposal should emerge pretty quickly.

    • I hope you are right.

    • So the panel (not sure why people are calling it “Blue Ribbon” because it’s not) is going to determine that Oakland has a strong ballpark site candidate without having enough information to vet it as a strong ballpark site candidate? Come on now, these guys aren’t blind. One’s a Bay Area guy who’s well versed in he business. It won’t take more than a couple cursory checks to see how easy/difficult any one site might be.

      • You misunderstand what I wrote. All three sites have lots of info to evaluate them on the merits. And Oakland posits that each site is viable, and has its entire political and corporate base saying so together. The three site strategy isn’t an attempt to trick the savvy Blue Ribboneers into a dubious plan. It’s a strategy which makes it much harder for those who dearly want Oakland to be deemed inadequate–Lew Wolff and the City of San Jose, specifically–to make that decision seem as though its all about the “huge” obstacles at any one site.

        Your point above about SJ’s cozy access vs. Oakland’s outsider pitch makes this approach quite understandable. Wolff gets to whisper sweet site slanders into Bud’s ear pretty much anytime he wants; by pitching three sites as viable, Oakland hopes to diffuse that effect somewhat.

      • So FSU–Oaklander is an “outsider” to a process yet has had the benefit of the team that has been agressively protected by territorial rights—and yet has done nothing but identify 2 additional sites during the past year—I would have alot more respect for Oakland’s efforts if there was an admission by its leaders that it has dropped the ball and is trying to recover…lets be honest here–if SJ wasn’t in the mix there would be NOTHING going on for the A’s in Oakland…just like the past 15 years—the city of Oakland and its leaders are reactive…not pro-active–as it should have been

      • FSU- Couldn’t one say, “Enough with bullcrap, there is no plan” just as easily as “Well, there are three sites to investigate (excepting that one has already been investigated) we should hold off on TR’s until they are all done.”

        Really, I am perplexed by the throw a bunch of stuff on the wall and see what sticks approach. We both know that the OFD site and surrounding area is probably the best… why the disingenuous inclusion of Howard Terminal? Why confuse the issue with another site that has more than 30 owners to convince to sell?

      • It’s not that much more work to vet three sites as opposed to one. Have an intern make a few calls. Not that difficult.

      • Perhaps I’m being obtuse, because both your answers read as though you’ve not read my posts at all. Not about tricking BRC. About making detractors’ job harder. Oh well, such are teh internets.

      • I understand you, FSU. We’re describing different parts of the process. I just think you’re overselling the positives of the strategy. Al dente is good for spaghetti, not for business or politics.

  6. The real criticism with Oakland remains that they sat on their hands for so long. Now the city is unwilling to move forward immediately to demonstrate a real commitment to keep the team. I just don’t think identifying some potential sites means much at this stage. Yes, it would cost the city money, but to just sit back and wait for a thumbs up from MLB seems like an awfully risky move.

    I don’t know… the logical part of my brain knows the more risky move, politically, would be to waste the money in such a high profile way. Even if Oakland did everything they could at this stage, the A’s would still probably move to SJ. Oakland is stuck in a difficult situation, but they have only themselves to blame. It’s frustrating, and very sad.

  7. Too little, too late.
    Too bad.

  8. FSU–I think we all get what you are saying but I for one don’t agree with it–my football analogy is that Oakland is in the prevent defense–which as we all know rarely is sucessful. My take on the 3 sites is consistent with what others have said…Oakland leaders are looking to play the victim role and cast the blame on someone else in the event that MLB opens the door to SJ. Simply put …its a CYA strategy not an aggressive strategy that would have really put them back in the game. Somewhere along the line Oakland leaders should have realized that you can’t treat treasured assets like shit because you feel they have no other opportunities—you can point the fingers all day long at Wolff and company but the real blame here lies with the horrible leaders in the city of Oakland…not only today but over the past 15+ years-

  9. It’s like the Cleveland situation. The Browns played in the worst stadium (ever?) and tried to get a new place. The Cavs got a new arena, the Indians got a new ballpark, and guess what, the Browns got fed up and moved to Baltimore. W’s got basically a new arena, The Raiders got Mt. Davis and guaranteed sellouts, and the A’s got the shaft. Now everyone wants to pile on the A’s for trying to get theirs.

    And this whole “getting stimulus money” thing is getting thrown around way to much. Stimulus money for a ballpark, yep, that’ll go over well with taxpayers across the country.

  10. Mark,

    Stimulus money will be used for infrastructure, parking and road improvements for traffic in the downtown area, while the ballpark itself will be privately financed.

  11. Oakland Athletics – this ballpark will most certainly NOT be privately financed if the ownership doesnt want to build in Oaktown.

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