We (and Sid) get a mention in the Merc

Earlier in the week, I received an email from Merc scribe Scott Herhold requesting to excerpt the now infamous bachelor party account by commenter Sid. I obliged and was grateful for the mention. I had been waiting to find out when the story would hit, so you can imagine my joy at seeing the article this morning.

IA couldn’t get a comment from AT&T. But through Kalra’s chief of staff, Joseph Okpaku, the councilman denied the bulk of Sid’s assertions. The councilman said he didn’t say AT&T was being a “pain.” Through his spokesman, Kalra added that he had never said anything about a backdoor deal. “It seems this guy is trying to get his five minutes of fame by making it seem like he has the inside scoop on the A’s situation,” Okpaku wrote (read the back-and-forth at http://www.mercurynews.com/internal-affairs).

I don’t have much else to write about the whole thing, other than as usual, take everything you hear with several grains of salt.

56 thoughts on “We (and Sid) get a mention in the Merc

  1. But it must be true, I read it on the Internet!

  2. Doubt that group of guys will be inviting Sid to their next poker night—

  3. Sid!

    This is the only way I can reach you.

    The article was fairly harsh and called your memory and your honesty into question. If you’d like to respond, I run a local blog, Silicon Valley http://thedailyfetch.com.

    Email me if you are interested in responding. I will publish what you write unedited.

    Mr. Sid: Your turn…

    Watch Dog

  4. Let the ass-covering begin! That is some serious walkback there and the tone of it makes me believe Sid’s account even more. Whenever they attack you for wanting your {{variation of Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame}} they show the contempt they have and you can bet they are lying to preserve their position. What was Mr. Councilman doing spouting off at a party to the lowly fame-seeker Sid anyway? If he wasn’t another coward hiding behind a “spokesman” maybe we could ask him.

  5. I feel so TMZ right now….

  6. I’m willing to bet that the truth is somewhere in between both accounts. Sid, of course, probably wanted to hear certain things, and that’s what his brain subconsciously picked up on. Meanwhile, the councilman probably was happy to have an ear and exaggerated.

  7. and does it really matter—bottom line is that the information that was shared was not ground breaking—we all know that ATT has been a pain in the ass…question is whether or not the gints were leveraging their relationship with ATT (naming place ATT Director on their board)–now that would have been news—relative to a backroom deal—wow–one hell of a deal for LW—wait nearly 3 years I will have an answer…

  8. its a matter of perspective … ATT is no “pain in the ass” to me.

  9. You obviously don’t have an ATT cell phone…

  10. Journalistically, I don’t think Sid did anything wrong. A councilmember was talking to a citizen, and that’s it. The councilmember never said, as far as I know, “off the record,” or “this is for your ears only.” It was IA that went and confirmed the name of the councilmember. Sid didn’t give that up. I just hope that the comments don’t come back and bite anyone which could get in the way of the acquisition.
    ML, if I am not mistaken, if there is eminent domain, then the city would be responsible for the costs of moving the entire operation, yes? Might not be a huge cost for AT & T, probably a bigger cost for Aeris.

  11. @ML–but it was always assumed that the city would pay for land and relocation costs–regardless of ED requirements–correct?

  12. @GoA’s – Yes. No surprises there.

  13. At the end of the day, who really cares what Sid or an intoxicated councilman have to say about this whole drama. What really matters is what Wolff, Beane and Selig have to say about the ballpark situation. As for David’s comment above, that’s a classic Oakland-only approach: hope for San Jose to fail so that maybe Oakland will win. That’s real classy brah (sarcasm).

  14. @Tony – please don’t try to speak for me. I didn’t say anything close to what you attribute to me. The A’s play in Oakland. I have what I want. I’m not hoping for anything (except a power hitter or two).

  15. @TonyD–i recall Sid saying that he and the councilman were quite sober during their extensive conversation. Where is Sid anyway lately?

  16. This is all a result of a bunch of A’s die-hards who are fed up with the A’s being an MLB ghetto, and are desperate to hear any news at all on progress of being able to move out of that ghetto.

    (mind you, I’m not calling the city of Oakland a ghetto, it’s a reference to being in a horrible stadium and being on MLB welfare and not being able to attract MLB star level talent).

    So somewhere here’s something at a party where someone who is “connected” to the situation is blabbing stuff in a probably half inebriated state, then posts it to the A’s die-hards. Then the frenzy of speculation of what means what, who said what, who’s interpreting what, etc etc.

    Meh, I’ll wait for concrete info, thanks.

    And that concrete info will be coming soon, apparently. The BRC is done with it’s work. The result is either the A’s allowed in SJ, or the A’s stay in Oakland, but with some sort of concrete plan (including complete EIR, and financing mechanism).

    I really, really do not see the BRC, Selig, or MLB spending 2-1/2 years on this study, and then coming up with nothing, saying “after all this time, you’re staying in Oakland, and you’re on your own to figure it out”. MLB has a vested interest in getting a new stadium for the A’s, an making them a revenue generator as opposed to a welfare recipient.

  17. @ jeff-athletic – your postulation of people possibly just “blabbling stuff” may be correct, but I would tend to believe Sid in his accounts. Historically, even though Sid tends to favor SJ, he has been very vocalin his belief that the A’s will either 1) move out of the Bay Area or 2) be contracted. I am more inclined to believe EN in his assertion that attacking Sid’s credibility just basically reinforces the account for the faux pas on Kalra’s part….

  18. @Anon–i guess the planets aligned just now–I pretty much agree with your above post.

  19. Dissecting Sid’s comment line item by line item again:

    1. ATT is being a “pain in the ass” and will not move unless forced to by eminent domain. Even re-zoning the land for ATT in West San Jose did not help the cause at all. In fact the city council in hindsight would have never agreed to it had they known ATT would still refuse to leave.
    Is this so hard to believe? The supposed quid pro quo still never materialized to date as ATT is still holding up the last parcel even after the rezoning.

    2. The city will not use eminent domain on ATT unless MLB gives the OK that the A’s can move to San Jose. Therefore this is not a “race” between OAK and SJ. San Jose like Oakland is in a holding pattern waiting for MLB to make a decision…..Two cities, same boat.
    He told me that they cannot “justify” using eminent domain on ATT without MLB approval to move forward.

    Another very believable account, since why would push ED something that hasn’t been confirmed yet?

    3. He stated to me their RDA is pretty much done and he “implied” to me Wolff will have to buy the last 2 parcels himself but would not out right say it when I tried to question him more on it. The city council knows full well that Wolff will pay for it because everyone knows it is a “drop in the ocean” of the overall cost of the stadium. He also mentioned SJ unlike most cities did not misuse their RDA funds and used it for several successful developments across the city.
    Also very believable, as Wolf even has stated outright he can/will purchase the land if necessary. Remember, this was also done at Fremont, so it’s not just fluff.

    4. He agrees with me Lew Wolff has some kind of “backdoor” deal with Selig as being a former lawyer he does not understand Wolff’s patience with the situation. The city has brought up an anti-trust lawsuit to Wolff and he has told the city “not to sue” and to let the process play out despite San Jose having an excellent case in anti-trust court, which he agreed with me is “solid”.
    What’s so hard to believe about this? It wasn’t a statement, just an assertion based on belief and experience.

    5. Without Wolff supporting an anti-trust lawsuit San Jose is stuck in mud and he is very pessimistic the A’s to San Jose will ever occur. Although he is still holding out some hope.
    Another no brainer. As LW will not / cannot sue MLB itself.

    6. He also agreed San Jose is getting the “best ballpark deal” of any city in history of MLB. The city is not paying for anything outside of what they have so far. Diridon will be re-developed regardless of the ball park but not for several years to come. BART or High Speed rail would have to be within 3-5 years of being in San Jose.
    While it is a strong belief, it borders on being a fact that a privately financed ballpark deal for SJ to compliment an existing plan for Diridon Grand West….

    In summary, what is so hard to believe of this account? I think Kalra is just backtracking, because he didn’t think it would come to light in the press….

  20. @ JK – Next year 2012, there is a solar planetary alignment…..so there is always hope for either 1) Oakland VC or 2) an actual BRC decision…..

  21. In case anyone was wondering… Dave Newhouse wrote another article and he didn’t mention Victory Court. Wonder why?

  22. Jeffrey – Thanks for the heads up. Here is the article and my response to Dave via email below. Hopefully he replies but i doubt it since i haven’t met a passive pro-Oaklander who isn’t all talk and no action yet….http://www.insidebayarea.com/athletics/ci_19026440

    “Wolff has painted a vile picture of Oakland, and how unresponsive the city has been to his needs for a new ballpark. A big lie.” Hey Newhouse – are you pro-Oakland or just pro-ignorant? Care to give us an update on the VC EIR? Or how about reporting about how the Coliseum authority already is drafting a study for a new stadium for the Raiders? What has Oakland done to date again? /silence

  23. @Anon–jeez, what do you expect when you come across as a big jerk like that?
    FWIW, I saw the article this morning and wrote Dave on a factual error on the Wolff ownership. He said they had 6 straight losing seasons under Wolff, where it should be 5 (his first year, 2006, they were in the playoffs). He wrote me back a few hours later and thanked me, but it’s still not corrected in the article as of this hour.

  24. Not shocked Newhouse hasn’t corrected the errors. If he did he’d have to rewrite a good portion of that article. I mean he starts with a fallacy (that the Giants have “upgraded” Municipal Stadium) and just devolves from there.

  25. @Anon – I expect much more out of Dave Newhouse as a columnist including facts, status, and a call for transparency and action as opposed to emotional rambling, name calling, and basically venting. I think an effort such as a VC or any Oakland ballpark has to have much better organization, planning, and leadership. All three of these are clearly lacking. Believe me, if SJ was this bad, I would voice my opinion as readily to our own government. OT – I may come across as a jerk and that probably is because of my outspoken personality that does not take passivity as an option (i like people with drive and initiative and not excuses). I’ve had many coworkers tell me as such, but later find I’m not as anal and uptight as I may outwardly portray, especially over some alchohol and music! I may diss the pro-Oakland crowd, but it is because of the perceived inaction that is emanating from the camp. While your emotions may show how much you want the team, i hope that the facts and logic in the whole VC EIR process inspire you to do actually do something about it.

  26. “passive pro-Oaklander” You keep saying this. I’ll tell you what, come to Oakland and call people that, see what reaction you get. You seriously need to get over the name calling shtick.

  27. oops – I meant @ JK-USA, not myself….must stop think of Tyler Durden! :X

  28. @ eb – Sure, you want to join me, or actually do something about it? Tell you what, I will write a whole discourse and what I think the pro-Oakland crowd could/should/would do. You keep venting and talking…and yet try to get mad at the label “passive”…../irony

  29. @Dan–The Giants have spent about $3 million of its own money on stadium upgrades over the last few years and plan on $14.5 mill in major renovations to Muni Stadium when and if the decision goes there way.The stadium has already received $970,000 from the San Jose Redevelopment Agency over the past few years for electrical upgrades, bathroom renovations and other work.

  30. @Anon You’re right, feel free to generalize whole groups of people and call them names. What was I thinking? Look, you want to write a discourse, fine, but if you want to be taken seriously, then stop with the juvenile behavior. I don’t know what your over-compensating for, but different opinions or not, we’re all A’s fans here. Christ.

  31. I read the newhouse article and just ignored it—the guy has zero credibility in my book—he can’t substantiate any of his claims–won’t take on the real challenge which is to explain how Oakland could privately finance a ballpark–in any location–doesn’t acknowledge that the VC site is challenged–and perhaps that the city has not even begun an EIR—now is promoting the Coli where the city of Oakland is embarking on a design/EIR for a Raiders stadium only—-in reality he should be writing for Nat’l Enquirer—

  32. what a bunch of shmucks … Dave Newhouse is a Titan in the Bay Area news community. Nowhere else on the internet can you find the kind of anti-Oakland (sports) hyperbole, as i constantly read on here. Its cult-like. You guys are the “Vanguard” lol!

  33. @ eb – if you want to write to me directly with your opinions of me, be my guest. If you want to actually do something about the Oakland situation, feel free to let us know what…./waits

  34. this phrase has mesmerized a lot of A’s fans on this site: “shovel ready”. Its like kool-aid, lol!

    … and its a lie.

  35. @David–can you at least ackowledge that you find it a bit strange that newhouse doesn’t even mention VC which is the site chosen by mlb….or is your oakland bias just too blinding?

  36. Newhouse is part of a cadre of East Bay and Frisco writers who will never endorse a move of the A’s a whole 35 miles south. They think by pointing to a spot on a map and saying “Go build here,” Oakland is being helpful to Wolff. Oakland and these writers don’t much care if Wolff and Fischer go broke building a ballpark for Oakland.

  37. @jk – So what you’re telling me is they’ve finally paid for some long deferred maintenance that the 70 year old stadium was in dire need of having done.

  38. That Newhouse article is a joke. It reads like a guy posting on a website (such as this). His argument comes down to the one many make on this website: these guys have tons of money, why can’t they just build a new stadium here in Oakland?

  39. DN a Bay Area “titan?” That was a good one David! LOL. Newhouse states the only way Wolff gets San Jose is by major lawsuit..huh!? You might want to retract your brown nosing of DN David since he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

  40. First, Dave Newhouse has been around a looooong time. In my book, longevity demands respect. So, take that for what it is worth. I find myself disagreeing with him a lot, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy of our respect.
    .
    Second, he is horribly unobjective on this whole situation. Which is fine, this is sports we are talking about. I am horribly unobjective about sports related topics at least 273 times a day. If there was a baseball team in the city I lived in and there were rumors that ti was leaving to go to a neighboring city, I’d probably want to argue on behalf of my city too.
    .
    Third, what is really interesting to me is that he is the only Pro Oaktown columnist that I have read who has publicly admitted that Victory Court may not be financially feasible. I mentioned his article today because it seems to be the culmination of a shift.
    .
    In ML’s interview with Lew Wolff he mentioned that he had spoken to someone in Oakland who was interested in “trying to make it work at the Coliseum” (as far as I recall that was a direct quote, I don’t feel like going back and looking it up).
    .
    Rebecca Kaplan has talked about keeping the A’s in Oakland at the Coliseum complex, which seemed like a break from the City’s position when I first read it.
    .
    Rick Tittle said that Jean Quan brought up Victory Court and the Coliseum in the recent meeting with Lew Wolff.
    .
    The “Build it at Victory Court” sign in the Right Field bleachers was replaced with “Keep Our A’s in Oakland” at every game I went to down the stretch…
    .
    It’s all just anecdotal evidence, but it lends credence to the thought that maybe Oakland is looking at Victory Court and thinking it is too challenging (especially with no RDA).
    .
    As a fan, I have to admit I would be let down if the idea of a downtown (or adjacent to downtown) site is cast aside in favor of redeveloping the Coliseum Complex into a three stadium island off 880. It’s possible there are awesome plans for such a complex, it seems to work well in Philadelphia, for example. Of course, we don’t know anything cause no one will say anything.

  41. @jeffrey–while I agree with the spirit of your post can’t agree with you on newhouse—respect as a journalist is earned not just granted because of tenure—each time you put the pen to paper you have to earn that respect all over again by being factual in your comments and spending the time to find out the truth–rather than just report your emotional bias—in this article newhouse has done zero fact finding–and yet continues a character assaination, not based on facts, but his emotion. This type of journalism belongs in the nat’l enquirer–

  42. Since Wolff has made it clear that he’s not paying for a ballpark in Oakland and Oakland won’t do it either, East Bay and Frisco columnists should stop talking about problems and start looking for solutions – as in recruiting rich folks to buy the A’s for $400 mill and build a ballpark for another $500 mill to $600 mill. Columns about “Wolff and Fischer are rich and should give Oakland a free ballpark” are not getting the job

  43. …not getting the job done.

  44. EN and I have butted heads in the past as he was one of the biggest proponents of Oakland. His “screed” highlights the frustration i also see with the Oakland government, but I am not ready to say the fat lady is singing at the Coliseum yet, until the BRC decision is publicly announced. If it is a done deal as EN describes it as, I will be paying very close attention to how the civic leaders in SJ take responsibility on this. As much as I have grilled on the Oakland camp, I invite them to also critique all the details on the SJ effort…..

  45. @ML- any info on what the scheduling game that Quan played when LW and she met or were supposed to meet?

  46. @GoA’s – I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  47. @ML in EN “screed” he talks about Quan disappearing and playing bullshit scheduling games (his words) with LW- just wondering if this occurred recently-

  48. @GoA’s: I heard she cancelled the first scheduled meetup with LW and then talked with him at City Hall several weeks later. I said it was BS scheduling games because in the position Oakland has been in, hanging by a thread with an ownership that is already inclined to view their ballpark proposals as ineffectual, you have to demonstrate that the thing is a huge, bend-over-backwards priority and rescheduling is just not an option, IMO.

    Her office has also essentially ignored requests from Chris Townsend to have her on The Game to discuss the whole thing and lay out where she’s going with Victory Court. At one point I think he wanted to have her on opposite Chuck Reed, or have them both on one after the other to present a balanced perspective of both cities’ sides, but she declined and only he made it on.

    @ML: aw shucks, thanks man

  49. @ EN- thx for the additional insight. Completely agree with you- the “effort” is hard to understand- and I am sure that MLB has figured it out by now- cat and mouse only works for so long- gotta have substance at some point-

  50. I always had a feeling that it was just a last gasp attempted by Quan and Boxer with Victory Court and the fact that Boxer never really had all of the answers showed how feeble and opportunistic their attempts were.

    ML, I think there should be a new discussion on the financial situation of the ballpark; over the summer, Maritz-Wolff sold a hotel group to some Hong Kong investing family, http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2011/07/29/maritz-wolff-sells-five-hotels-to.html, and I feel there may be some credence to Ratto’s comments about financing being the last true hurdle to a new stadium.
    It may be a requirement that the fixed assets be in something more stable than hotels.

  51. @Genaro – I’ve been working on such a post though it’s from a different angle. More later this week.

  52. @Genaro,
    Wolff has mentioned in the past that “private equity” would also play a role in ballpark financing. You may be on to something with your post: perhaps Wolff obtaining full financing for the ballpark is what’s also delaying a “decision” from MLB and Selig. Perhaps the private equity will also play a role in the final (or all) land acquisitions at Diridon. I don’t know about you, but I think exciting times are finally ahead of us.

  53. Sweet ML, looking forward to it.

    TonyD, I just saw that article and the date of the article/sale makes me think it’s relate just because of the recent excitement towards a resolution. I really do wonder though if the Giants knew financing was always going to be the trigger and prepared themselves to fight outside of Baseball’s purview. The ATT parcel situation is something that seems awfully tricky and for as much elation there would be over the OK for the new ballpark, it could just as easily swing back into being mired.

  54. @genaro,
    I’m confident that once financing and land issues are 100% dealt with, Selig will bring both the A’s and Giants to the table to settle the territorial issue once and for all. No threats of lawsuits or fighting outside of MLB’s purview necessary 😉

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