Cyber Monday Reality Check

Update 11/30 10:57 AM – There was an article at the Merc website about a San Jose special election in March being unlikely, but it was pulled. It may have to do with the deadline to place an initiative on the ballot for the special election. The article will run in tomorrow’s edition, so we should see it later today/tonight.

Sorry, no great deals for consumers here. There’s still plenty of stuff to read before Wednesday’s big rally planning commission session, so let’s let ‘er rip.

At A Better Oakland, V Smoothe has, as usual, a very realistic and substantial take on where Oakland is in the process. Thankfully, she references some of the work we’ve done here on site reviews (Howard Terminal/JLS West/Victory Court), and states her preference for Chris Kidd’s Jingletown site concept. More to the point, she defines what the purpose of the session is:

So basically, this is when you have an opportunity to go say what you think should be studied in the EIR. Like, for example, you could go and say, “I think it’s really important that the EIR examines pedestrian and vehicle safety impacts at the railroad crossing at the intersections of Embarcadero and Broadway, Franklin, and Webster” and that would be appropriate. If you went and said instead “I think Lew Wolff is an asshole and the A’s should stay in Oakland,” that would not be appropriate. Or productive. You don’t have to go to the hearing to have input on what gets studied — as I mentioned above, you are also encouraged to submit your comments in writing.

Just as important, she takes just two paragraphs to nail the frustration many fans have with the City of Oakland and Oakland-only boosters.

…And the attitude from so many City officials and A’s-in-Oakland boosters that we should keep the team because we just deserve them rather than because we have an actual plan for how we’re going to accomplish that infuriates me.

So it isn’t that I’m anti-Oakland so much as I’m anti-whining. And running around bitching about how unfairly Lew Wolff treats Oakland while doing absolutely nothing to further the goal of offering a viable stadium site is whining. While Oakland sat around feeling all put upon and pouting about being rejected and claiming there are tons of great ballpark locations all over Oakland if your ignore all the feasibility problems with them, San Jose, without any guarantee or even real reason to believe they could land the team, identified a site, bought up most of the land, certified an EIR, and built up significant community support for their proposal. That’s what being serious looks like.

Couldn’t have written it better, or more credibly, myself.

Over in St. Pete, Tropicana Dome has proven to be more costly for the city than expected, at $7.3 million per including operational costs and debt service. Rising insurance premiums and increased traffic control expenses are partly to blame. Besides those already sobering figures, the Tampa Tribune also asked whether or not the region can actually support the Rays in the long run. As studied nearly two years ago, the population of the Tampa Bay Area is not particularly large, and the location of the Tropicana Dome is nearly the worst within the region for attracting the greater populace. The biggest hurdle, however, could be getting a privately financed facility built in a region bereft of corporate interests:

The Tribune studied the Fortune 1000 list of major U.S. corporations and found only six companies on it based in the Bay area. Miami only had six, too. The median number of headquarters companies in a major-league market was 20.

Sounds familiar.

If you’re interested in the subject matter, there’s an article in the Chicago Tribune about the company that is converting Wrigley Field back from football to baseball. The very same field that, if the Ricketts family is allowed, would be torn up to build underground clubhouses for both home and visiting teams in left and right field, respectively.

Apparently the Marlins are trying to color coordinate the seats in their half-built, future ballpark with sponsor brands. Hmmm…

32 thoughts on “Cyber Monday Reality Check

  1. ignoring the whining from the article, building under (assuming watertable isn’t an issue) would be a great idea to sidestep the limitations imposed by the neighborhood association on expanding the stadium.

  2. this woman has an opinion…no better (or informed) than most. SJ has done all of those things she mentions. I guess the SJ folks hope they don’t end up with a new ‘Target’ or ‘Walmart’ like Fremont did.

    Didn’t Fremont do most of what SJ has, to this point?

  3. “no better informed than most” Clearly, you don’t read ABO.

  4. Zonis, watertable is an issue, IIRC. The Jack London Aquatic Center nearby had to drive 160 foot piles to built a structure less than 60 feet high.

  5. @Chris — yes, they are informed about the ins and outs of Oakland. But like you and I, they don’t have a clue what the BRC, Selig, the Giants and the A’s ownership will do after the decisions are made.

  6. @David – What MLB does has nothing to do with what V Smoothe was writing about. She’s writing about the civic, political process. People who don’t try to understand or appreciate it are bound to be disappointed by it and the results.

  7. David, Fremont didn’t complete the process exactly. They began what Oakland is beginning. Fremont, as originally planned is not really analogous to San Jose or Oakland. For one, the A’s were buying the land. Which is more analogous to what the A’s pitched north of the Coliseum.

  8. Hopefully it means a ballpark initiative won’t be necessary. Perhaps SJ officials now have an inside track on what will go down at the Winter Meetings and Wolff has agreed to buy ALL the land at Diridon.
    December 6-9 can’t come soon enough! By the way RM (going back to the last thread), did Wolff make any money off of the Pac Commons deal? He owned the land, right?

  9. @tony d. – No he didn’t.

  10. He didn’t make money or didn’t own the land?

  11. If there is no special election, I’d be cometely shocked if that turned out to be good news for San Jose.

  12. I was always under the impression that a good part of the $80m spent was for land acquisition. I thought part of the agreement with Cisco involved the acquisition of land, as well as naming rights.
    Cancellation of the March special election does not sound very encouraging if you’re a SJ supporter. I did a quick Google search and here’s what I found:
    The San Jose Mercury News 16 hours ago
    Special election in March for A’s ballpark measure unlikely
    .Which is why San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed now says that a March election appears unlikely, because a committee appointed almost two years ago by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to study whether the Oakland A’s can move to San Jose still hasn’t made a… Full Article at The San Jose Mercury News
    Like ML said, the full article has been removed, and I can’t find it in the archieves.
    Amazing, simply amazing.

  13. Did the city have it pulled or did they just get their messages mixed up.

    I thought the special election was, in part, to push the blue ribbon committee into making a decision.

  14. Well, they could always have the election in June 2011. 3-4 month delay in the grand scheme of things is nothing anyway, considering a yard won’t open until 2014 or 15.
    So if Wolff never owned any of the land at Pac Commons, then all this talk of the A’s loosing $80 million in Fremont has been bogus; correct?

    • @Tony D. – That’s not what I meant. The Target/movie theater land doesn’t appear to be owned by the Wolff/Fisher, though there is some conflicting information there. There is plenty of surrounding land that is owned by Wolff/Fisher, that’s where the lost investment is.

  15. RM@945,
    Got it RM. Thanks.

  16. @all – Emailed Tracy Seipel and just got the reply. The article will run in tomorrow’s edition, so we should see it later tonight.

  17. The whole stadium panel thing is getting sort of “Spinal Tap” at this point. Seriously, it doesn’t take 2 years to figure this stuff out.

  18. @Jeffrey: Yeah, this committee thing has reached Dr. Dre’s Detox or Gn’R’s Chinese Democracy levels.

  19. I thought it was a Blue Ribbon Committee to decide on the release date for Duke Nukem: Forever?

  20. I’d love to be Wolff’s drywall repair guy. Can’t imagine how many holes he’s punched in his wall over the last few years. Obviously this news probably means we won’t hear anything from the owner’s meeting next week, or even through the end of the year.
    Frustrating as hell. Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

  21. @all – This appears to be Mayor Reed’s decision. There may be some backchannel discussion with Selig that’s causing this, I’ve no evidence of that. They may be looking to expand the ballpark proposal – which if done incorrectly could kill it politically, IMO.

  22. Regarding the Blue Ribbon Committee, I have left messages for Bob Starkey and Irwin Raij. My messages were not returned. For the life of me I can’t find Corey Bucsh’s phone number. I wonder if Bob Dupuy’s resignation at MLB is playing into the delay of a decision. The secrecy of this process is somewhat understandable but it would be nice for MLB listen to ideas from Bay Area folks regarding locations in Oakland. Like Marine Layer I am also kind of perplexed why there were no public discussions of Oakland’s selection of Victory Court. At the end of the day, I am hoping for the A’s to remain in Oakland.

  23. RM,
    What do you mean by expanding the ballpark proposal? Increased seating capacity, larger land footprint, more projects in the Diridon area?

  24. @tony d. – I’m not sure yet, and I’m not going to guess right now. We’ll know in a few hours.

  25. The bulk of the article, from what I remember was that the deadline for a January special election is this Wednesday at 2 o’clock. Reed thought that an election could be held as soon as March but Lee Price felt April was the soonest and that it could even go into November; all of this is contingent on public poling which MLB has knowledge of.

    I wonder why the article was pulled? It seemed benign as we still haven’t heard about the BRC report and a delay would be expect if that was the case.

  26. At this point the “Special Election” is relative as once the owners green light San Jose; Lew Wolff is going to buy the land himself. Since the ballpark is going to be privately financed anyways the land costs that are left are a small part of the overall sum. Maybe 5% or so… (20M out of 481M give or take a 10M or so on the total cost).

    He will loan the money to the San Jose RDA and they will use eminent domain to buy the land and move ATT and the welding company that sit there now.

    Then the RDA will in return either pay back the $$ to Lew Wolff or give him rights to land they own for Wolff’s own commercial/residential development down the road some where in the City of San Jose.

    Lew Wolff knows he will make a killing selling to corporations and people in the South Bay so why risk an election for such small portion of the total cost?

    He hopes of course the San Jose RDA can come through but at this point he will not let it get in the way of the ultimate prize.

    Speaking to contact of mine who sits on the City Council and another friend of mine who’s family friend works for MLB in New York have stated to me that this is going happen in 2015. (I want to say who these people are but I cannot as they gave me this info in confidence and I gave them my word)

    The owners see $$ in Silicon Valley and want the A’s off welfare ASAP. They are not going to worry about the Giants until the stadium is set in “stone” to open in San Jose.

    Once that occurs the owners will then figure out a good compensation plan for them but do not want that to be a factor at first as the A’s need the opportunity first to secure financing, land, naming rights, sponsors, etc….

    Figuring out the compensation piece is the least of the owners worries and based on what I heard from my guys will be similar to what they did for Baltimore via revenue sharing.

    They also said December is the time frame when this will come out. We shall see if my sources are correct….

  27. My guess, having seen similar things happen, is that they scheduled the article for Tuesday’s paper, but another story broke and they had to hold it till Wednesday, then realized they already had it on their website, so they pulled it so it wouldn’t like they were printing two-day old news. Not great procedure. Meantime, Zennie is calling for everyone to show up at tomorrow’s Planning Commission hearing, guess he didn’t get the message that it was technical in nature only.

  28. There’s nothing wrong with a bunch of people showing up and stating their support, that’s part of the show. I’m sure there’ll be people that come out against it based on NIMBY or economic concerns. It’s the Wolff demonization stuff that’s irrelevant to the task at hand.

  29. Thanks Sid! I am praying your sources are good!
    BTW, what do you mean by “this will happen in 2015”? If by “this” you mean Cisco Field opening, that would be later than hoped for but perhaps understandable. If “this” means that a deal is settled for the A’s to move, and thus begin construction, that would be a long time to be in limbo.

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