News for 3/24/11

Quick housekeeping note: If you were not aware, this blog is a self-hosted WordPress site. Ever since I moved to this platform in November 2009 after years with Blogger, I have been astonished at the rapid pace of third party development for WordPress. One feature came out today in the form of a server-side plugin called Onswipe, which can automatically reformat any WordPress site into an iPad/touch-friendly format. If you’ve used iPad apps such as Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite, you’ll feel right at home. Here’s a screenshot:

If you have an iPad, your browser (Safari) will show this version of the site automatically. I’m going to leave it up for now, but if any iPad users would prefer to go back to the original version of the site with the sidebars, I’ll heed your words. No other browsers or platforms should be affected. If you are, let me know in the comments. I’ve experimented with a mobile version of the site, but I’ve chosen not to launch it because nobody’s asked for it, so I didn’t want to penalize readers who are happy with the full site on their smartphones, etc.

Now the news:

Evan Weiner has a good overview of how the landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986 impacted the ways stadiums and arenas could be financed.

Jorge Leon was interviewed by Oakland North, a three minute clip in which he manages to dismiss economic viability concerns in Oakland as easily as he does train safety.

Press Democrat columnist Robert Rubino bashes the Giants in consecutive weeks – first the fans, then the team over T-rights.

Bleacher Report’s Brandon McClintock seems to buying into a Wolff conspiracy theory – nevermind the millions spent in Fremont, the lack of interest or cooperation during the Brown administration, or the Coliseum Authority’s lack of willingness to explore a ballpark plus development at the Malibu/HomeBase site.

As for the fate of redevelopment? The legislature is steeling themselves for the fight over tax extensions. Redevelopment will have to wait.

Added 2:27 PM – Speaking of trains, the Harbor Drive Bridge, a pedestrian/bike span that goes over heavily used heavy and light rail tracks near PETCO Park in San Diego, has finally opened. It’s lovely and it only cost $12.8 million $26.8 million to construct. A Victory Court-to-Jack London Square bridge shouldn’t cost as much. It will probably cost many millions of dollars to build, and yes, it absolutely is necessary.

Picture from San Diego Union Tribune / CCDC

26 thoughts on “News for 3/24/11

  1. Why does Jorge Leon rile you up so much? Misguided he may be, he has a lot of passion for his team and keeping them in town. Nothing wrong with that. Didn’t he come on here and post a comment inviting you to talk to him? You both sit in the bleachers. You both have been to the same Oakland meetings. I think you can build more bridges if you try and get his side personally rather than running with your own assumptions via the internet.

    • @Dinosaur Jr./David – Not riled up in the least. I’ve simply heard enough from the guy. On Athletics After Dark Jeffrey wiped the floor with him, and Jorge showed no ability to see even the slightest bit of nuance in the narrative. That’s his right, but it doesn’t make him right. Perhaps you guys are overly eager to defend him, faults and all. He can’t be criticized? Man you guys are sensitive.

      I may take White Elephant Parade’s offer of a beer and chat soon, I’ll let you know how it goes after that.

  2. Jorge is the man!! He hasn’t swallowed the kool-aid, like so many others …

  3. Wait, so listening to interviews/debates the guy participated in is now making “assumptions via the internet?”

  4. That BR article is awful. He doesn’t get that the redevelopment changes affect Oakland, too. And that Fremont was killed by NIMBYism as much as anything else.

    Plus, seriously, dude — the backdrop of port cranes is beautiful to you?

  5. I didn’t say he couldn’t be criticized. I just support his right to express his love for his hometown team PERIOD. Jeffrey may have come across better in the interview/debate, but that has no impact on the decisions to be made by MLB!

    • @David – Judging from this comment by you:

      Jorge is the man!! He hasn’t swallowed the kool-aid, like so many others …

      I’m guessing you won’t be endeavoring to criticize Jorge anytime soon.

    • I didn’t say he couldn’t be criticized. I just support his right to express his love for his hometown team PERIOD. Jeffrey may have come across better in the interview/debate, but that has no impact on the decisions to be made by MLB!

      I would add David that commentary from the Oakland-only crowd ALSO has no impact on the decisions to be made by MLB! Probably less so than what Jeffrey, Bartleby or I have to say (you know…Da Kool-aide crew!)!

  6. Nope. And I’m not criticizing you either, just Ol’ Lew and duma** Selig!

  7. Easy there ML. I Just asked a question of what about is it about Jorge that gets you riled up. Wasn’t Defending him or attacking him.

  8. It was fun talking with Jorge. I am pretty sure I got his opinions direct. Well, with Dale Tafoya’s moderation, at least. We all did.
    The thing is, ML’s criticism above is spot on. The details of financing a stadium, I invite everyone here to research them if you don’t want to take my word for it, are not something that a real advocate for building a stadium can dismiss as “it will happen.”
    Of all the major league parks built since New Comiskey, there has not been a single park entirely privately financed. There has only been 4 that have had more private than public funds. If Jorge wants to see a stadium but in Oakland is he willing to vote for his city government to pay for it? That is what it takes in most big league cities.
    If not, how is he expecting it to be paid for?

  9. Jeffro,
    Keep in mind that based on that SJ is not 100% private either and requires a vote by the City of SJ to make happen.
    Also keep in mind that any private financing model would require a willing owner. We all know Lew’s feelings in Oakland. Lew has done this in San Jose and it is quite possible based on his business partnerships in the Baseball San Jose Astroturf group that he has had this put this together for sometime. Lew even said in 2006 he tried for three years to negotiate with the Giants for T-rights. That doesn’t come across as putting together partnerships to make it work in Oakland to me.

  10. @dj You have to ask yourself, if Mr. Wollf isn’t a “willing owner” with respect to Oakland, why isn’t he? He is a businessman; he doesn’t have any personal animosity for the city. If the numbers penciled out, he’d probably be talking to Oakland. Most owners with two cities to play off each other, do so. He’s not doing that. Why not?
    The answer, very simply, is the numbers don’t pencil out and he’d just be giving false hope and wasting everyone’s time.

  11. D jr… What does a vote have to do with anything? The vote in San Jose (where the stadium construction is supposed to be 100% privately financed) would not be about funding a stadium, it would be “do we want to have a baseball team here?”
    The difference in the specifics of a funding model is what is important. In San Jose, there is a huge corporate presence that can make up a lot of the funding via ticket sales. Look up how AT&T Park was funded. You will note that 48% of the funding came from naming rights and presales (charter seats and suites, etc.). That is almost all from corporations/businesses. The rest was a loan from Chase, with about 5% coming in the form of Tax Increment Financing from the City of SF.
    Estimates for a new A’s stadium, $460M. Cisco’s naming rights, $130M. To fit into the AT&T model (which is the closest thing to a 100% privately financed stadium in recent history), Other corporations have to come up with 100M by way of seats and sponsorship packages. That isn’t outside the realm of reality when you consider the SVLG is in support of the move and can rally it’s members to buy suites and packages.
    That won’t happen in Oakland. So how is it going to be paid for?

  12. I just like to let everyone know that I really appreciate the kool-aid/Jim Jones allusion in this A’s financing a new ballpark. Being in a suicidal cult and taking an educated, sober look at economic realities is really the same thing when you (don’t) think about it.

  13. @Briggs – I know that was a terrible tragedy in Guyana. But it has become a metaphor, used by many people… inappropriate as it may be.

    @Bartleby – If Lew had no animosity… why can’t he congratulate the Mayor of the City his franchise plays in (not even a phone call from Lew), but he has his whole clan of Wolff’s donating $500 each to SJ mayor Reed’s campaign?

  14. @David–LW/JF dumped 25k into the Perata campaign for nothing…lol., and that’s the last thing LW wants to do is to congratulate mayor Quan for a stunning victory. It’s too late anyways; won’t mean as much. He’ll be forced to talk to her soon if SJ gets dumped.

    • I figured someone would start talking about “the call” soon enough. Either party could call the other and start the discussion if they so choose. The fact that neither has shows how chilly the relationship is. Class and respect cut both ways, and both sides are guilty of having neither.

  15. Is it normal etiquette for a sports team owner to call and congratulate a mayor-elect? I mean, does the winner in New York each election get calls from the Yankees-Mets-Rangers-Knicks? What about the Giants and Jets, are they expected to call?
    If not, then why would Mr. Wolff call? He calls Mayor Reed because he’s trying to do business.
    Maybe he didn’t call because it’s not the usual etiquette and he has no business to discuss. Maybe he didn’t call because she ran on a platform of trying to frustrate the A’s efforts to get a new ballpark, and she’s not his favorite politician. Maybe he didn’t call because he’s been at this for years and is getting frustrated. Whatever the reason, it’s a big stretch to take that one, minor incident and try to construe it as “Lew hates Oakland.”

  16. “He’ll be forced to talk to her soon…”. No he won’t.

  17. “He’ll be forced to talk to her soon…” yeah…I can hear that conversation playing out—BS saying to LW–you need to spend $500M of your own money to build a ballpark in Oakland because…well because…because….even the gints have recently suggested that perhaps Sacto is where the A’s should be….not a mention of Oakland in their comments….other than those few pro-Oakland guys who post here there is not a rationale individual yet who has suggested that it makes business sense to build a ballpark in Oakland–not one—-

  18. ML: in regards to the bridge, I agree that there needs to be an extra to be built very soon. In the meantime, there is the AMTRAK station overpass and the one that goes from Oakland Market to the parking complex across the street (and tracks). If a sellout crowd were to go from dining at JLS to Victory Court during the same hour, these would not be enough, as the elevator waits for some would take too long. However, if an average of 5-6,000 people moved from VC to JLS for every game, than those two are good enough for the time being, until enough money is raised to build one or two more. When JLS had the Eat Real fest, drawing thousands of people steadily each day, there was very little wait getting across via the elevators and overpasses. They are both quite a few blocks from the VC site, but the walk from them isn’t difficult. If a bridge is done over the tracks at Oak Street, it would only have to be long and high enough to clear the street and tracks, which hopefully would not require millions of dollars.

  19. @Jeffrey – excellent post….funny how all the Oakland Kool Aid boyz haven’t responded a peep about it.

  20. @ML–anyone else having problems with this format on their ipads? For some reason it starts to load on mine and right before it is complete it kicks out of it—-can’t look at the site at all any longer on my ipad–maybe there is a setting I have wrong? never had any issues on ipad with previous format—Thx

  21. @GoA’s- I’ll have to check when I get home. I know that I can’t submit comments from the iPad view– I don’t know if anyone else has had that issue.

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