Quan speaks out in defense of redevelopment

We’ve been waiting for comments from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan about redevelopment, and now we have them courtesy of KGO-TV’s Alan Wong.

ORA apparently has $52 million in cash on hand, $20 million for Victory Court’s development area. Quan was quick to talk up the benefits of redevelopment, specifically pointing to the renovation of the Fox Theater as a glittering example done under Jerry Brown’s watch.

Updated: More from Oakland North’s Laura Hautala:

Currently, the city council is the governing body of Oakland’s redevelopment agency and directs its actions, but (CEDA director Walter) Cohen said the successor agencies might turn out to be cities themselves. If so, the council might continue overseeing the projects normally carried out by Oakland’s redevelopment agency, but with less funding.

Quan told the council that she and the nine mayors from California’s 10 biggest cities will meet with Brown’s finance director next week to discuss details of how the proposal would work. “The scary thing is that folks in Sacramento have not a clue what redevelopment is,” Quan said, adding that even Brown, formerly Oakland’s mayor, seems to have forgotten the extent to which the redevelopment agency provides funding for the city. “We have a special responsibility to make this real,” Quan said.

When the subject shifted to the A’s, things got a little more uncertain. Let’s Go Oakland head Doug Boxer took the question.

When asked if this was the nail in the coffin for the Oakland A’s, Doug Boxer — Co-found of Let’s Go Oakland — says, “I don’t like to think of it like that. It’s very difficult to move a franchise. The Giants were on their way out, quite frankly, including Canada.”

Not exactly confidence inspiring. And there’s an important distinction to make here. In nearly every case of the A’s or Giants wanting to move, the owner was looking to sell the franchise.

  • 1976 – Horace Stoneham looked to sell Giants to brewing giant Labatt’s, who would move the team to Toronto. A court injunction stopped the sale and the team was sold to Bob Lurie.
  • 1978-79 – Charlie Finley tries to move the A’s to New Orleans but is bound to his lease by the Coliseum Commission.
  • 1980 – Finley tries to sell to Marvin Davis, who would move the team to Denver. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn struck down the move. Finley was held to his lease again. (Thanks, MB) Finley would sell the following year to Wally Haas.
  • 1992 – Lurie tries to sell the Giants to Tampa Bay interests after striking out several times in his efforts to get a new stadium built in SF or the South Bay. NL President Bill White intervenes and allows time for Walter Shorenstein to assemble the saving ownership group.

Legal obstacles (ironclad lease, sale acting as a gating mechanism) prevented the moves in all cases. Talk of a lawsuit against the A’s emanating from a clause in the lease has been all but debunked. That leaves Wolff/Fisher with the thing we already know as the last true obstacle: T-rights enforced via the commissioner. We can debate all day and night about how sacrosanct T-rights actually are, but let’s be clear – they’re the only real obstacle left.

14 thoughts on “Quan speaks out in defense of redevelopment

  1. And as has been stated previously, MLB T-Rights (near and far, TV and geographic) have been changed/altered before and can/will be changed/altered again; THAT’S A FACT! No need for me to say more on this thread. Have at it fellas!

  2. I’m sure glad Don Perata wasn’t voted mayor of the “O”. Him being tight with JB and getting $25k from LW/JF, he’d probably say “Oh well, that’s the way it goes. Bye bye A’s. Tough sacrifices during these tough times.We’ll just move on from here.”

  3. Negotiations are going on behind the scenes. But i just cannot see a super majority voting for Brown’s (current) proposal.

  4. re: “It’s very difficult to move a franchise.”

    He’s right. Conditions would have to exist such as a team with poor attendance being stuck in a football stadium and desperately needing a new ballpark, but playing in a city that cannot and will not help pay for a new one. And no private interests are willing to build the ballpark and the franchise owner knows such a venture would be too big of a financial gamble.

  5. $20M for the Victory Court development area?

    Wow….that is no where near close to the amount needed to buy out all 16 businesses and to improve the transportation in the area for a ballpark.

    How does Oakland expect to keep the A’s with only 20M? The land alone that is left at the Diridon South site is about 20M…..Oakland is looking at at least 50M-100M for everything.

    Unless I am not reading this right where does Oakland intend to get the delta?

  6. @Sid – Oakland would have to raise the rest through redevelopment bonds, I’ve mentioned that many times in the past.

  7. Tony, maybe it’s about time that you change your strategy to challenging MLB’s anti-trust exemption. If you got the Tea Party and talk radio idiots as supporters, it’d be done in 30 days!

  8. @ML- I see, but if RDA’s get eliminated would those “redevelopment bonds” be available? Also if I am not mistaken did they not just downgraded just recently?

    • @Sid – The downgraded bonds I was referring to were the Coliseum Authority bonds. Oakland’s redevelopment agency bonds are much healthier. What Brown is threatening is ORA’s ability to take on new bond issues because he needs that money for the state’s use.

  9. Rob,
    Who said I was challenging MLB’s Anti-Trust Exemption? It was the AE that gave the Giants SF back in 1958?
    It was the AE that gave the Giants SCCo/SJ back in 1992. It was the AE that gave the Expos Washington DC early last decade.
    It is the AE that can revert SCCo back to a shared territory and the A’s. Cmon Rob! You’re better than that! (at least that’s what I thought).

  10. Quan, Oakland CEDA ask for calm amid redevelopment fears.
    With March 1 looming as a nebulous deadline to commit the city’s redevelopment dollars, Oakland leaders strained for answers this week on what the future holds and how the city should prepare. Mayor Jean Quan is expected to address the issue at a 1 p.m. news conference this afternoon..


  11. @ML- Understood, thanks for explaining it as I now know the exact difference.

    Lets see what Quan does as their EIR isn’t even close to being completed therefore how can they earmark the Redevelopment Bonds for the A’s ballpark if they do not what is going to cost what?

    Oakland is on its last leg.

  12. ML– could ORA get bonds–or major money of any kind–from the federal gov’t, through successful lobbying? The city has been successful doing this for projects in the past, and perhaps could again. Barbara Lee has been very good for Oakland, and–before he was mayor–Dellums was good as well (i.e. City Hall’s major retrofit following the ’89 quake). Of course, the following may not make any difference, but Obama was an _Oakland_ A’s fan during his years living in Hawaii; it never hurts to mention that anyway.

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