Wolff, SJ ready to roll on remaining Diridon land purchases

We’re almost exactly one month from what could be a very pivotal owners meetings in Milwaukee. And while Commissioner Bud Selig may not end up feting his colleagues over a Brewers’ World Series, it may be that Selig’s frat bro Lew Wolff will be the one celebrating. Merc scribe Tracy Seipel reports that the recently formed San Jose Diridon Development Authority (a.k.a. SJ City Council) will meet in closed session to arrange an option from which Wolff could buy the remaining ballpark site parcels.

As discussed previously, Wolff would in all likelihood have to pay for both land and moving costs for the affected landowners/business, since SJDDA/SJRA is tapped out now and for some time to come. One thing that may help is that Maritz Wolff, Wolff’s real estate investment firm, sold a series of hotels in August for $570 million. Some portion of that could easily offset the estimated $24+ million of the remaining land buys. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the timing is set up for a 1031 exchange, which would limit tax exposure for Wolff (in-depth knowledge on this subject is above my pay grade).

Seipel also reports that the purchase may be part of a final push to convince Selig and the other owners:

Mayor Chuck Reed explained it another way:

“It’s so that Lew can go to the commissioner of baseball and say, ‘I control the dirt.’ ”

Reed characterized the plan as taking away “one more little reason the commissioner can’t make up his mind.”

Because of the black cloud over redevelopment and the lawsuit against the state, it’s possible that much of the money may have to be reclaimed by SJRA for its extortion payment to the state, the big bond payment that’s due next month (which could cause a default), or other issues that the agency has to address. It’s not just a matter of SJRA being broke. They also can’t enter into any new agreements, which is probably what caused City to in a moment of prescience create SJDDA. It’ll be interesting to see how the option agreement is structured. The Airport West agreement went through some major changes before arriving in its current form.

Seipel ends the piece with a note from City Attorney John Doyle, who said that a referendum will be required for the ballpark/land transaction.

There are a number of follow-up questions that can only be answered by the actions of SJDDA and affected parties in the coming weeks:

  • What will be the final price for the transaction(s)?
  • Does this lead to Wolff buying all of the land, or giving the purchased part back to the City/SJDDA?
  • Unlike Airport West, the purchase of Diridon has a much earlier deadline. What is that deadline?
  • Is Wolff in effect bailing out SJRA by doing this?
  • While Reed openly cheers on the influence that this move may have, Doyle (as you would expect) tamps down expectations on MLB’s decision-making. What’s the story here?

The road ahead promises to be scenic, and a little bumpy.

119 thoughts on “Wolff, SJ ready to roll on remaining Diridon land purchases

  1. Is there really a story there re: the difference in temperament between Reed and Doyle?
    .
    If anything, I think the “new” need for a referendum points to a change in parameters from the past opinions that Doyle has issued in terms of what would or would not require voters’ approval. Could this be that the negotiations will be less than fair market value or are they very worried about being subjected to lawsuits from watchdog/community groups?

    • @Genaro – As I’ve been saying all along – no matter what the circumstances, the referendum is good C.Y.A. Proponents can always spend and outspend to get their desired result.

  2. I understand the general need to do that, but what I wonder is if there ever was a threshold that could have been met for not needing any voter approval, thereby limiting the ability of the deal to fall apart through other means.
    .
    Could the Autumn Parkway infrastructure changes been under any other guise than falling into the “ballpark” category? If not, then it makes sense that if a vote was needed, you might as well lump everything into that basket.

  3. While happy about the possible land transactions and finality of this ballpark saga, shaking head very, very slowly about this whole referendum thing. City Muni code has been clear since day one on when a vote is needed. Why Doyle and the city (through opinions) want to make this lots harder than it should be is beyond me. If a vote wins in a landslide, great. If one goes down in flames because opponents are successful at lying about “tax money for millionaires while our libraries close” crap, then you just blew an opportunity of a lifetime. And respectfully RM, I have never bought the “CYA” angle of a vote, because anyone who wanted to file suit based on them simply not wanting to see a ballpark (see NIMBYS) would do it regardless of up or down vote. See successful passage of high speed rails Prop. 1A and how good that did of preventing lawsuits. In closing, I really hope the city of SJ knows what they’re doing here.

  4. so why would the a’s need to have a vote if they bought up all the land? is it to ask for infrascuture improvements that will need to happen around the a’s new park?

    do agree it makes it all more likely that you know who from across the bay will continue with their lies if a ballot is put up and you know damn well the media which is in their back pocket isn’t gonna call them out on it.

  5. Well, there we have it. It’s San Jose or bust, Wolff says. My fear is even if the Giants problem is cleared up, there will be NIMBYs fighting it just for the sake of fighting it. Groups who’d rather see more empty office buildings or simply resent the salaries baseball players make.

  6. @letsogoas,
    Even more ridiculous is that those infrastructure improvements would happen anyway; ballpark or no ballpark. So why no public referendum on the Quakes stadium? Same exact setup: a private venue being built on private land.

  7. ….There will be a perception that the taxpayers are paying for the stadium. I already had to explain to someone that we would NOT be paying for the thing. The benefits of bringing in more $$ into the downtown and making SJ a more desirable place to live – and potentially raising property values – are a bit harder to explain, especially through the cries of “no millions for billionaires while our police are being laid off!” Yes, there is no referendum at all on the Earthquakes – it’s just another private venture. No vote on the Lowe’s hardware store built next to the Earthquakes site, either.

  8. The Baseball-to-San Jose booster groups have a war chest and are ready to spend and raise more money when the time comes. That’s not an issue. The issue is that even if Reed & Doyle were to try to sidestep the referendum requirement, anyone opposed would only have to gather 30,000 signatures to force said referendum.

    @Tony D. – I hope this finally puts the vote question to rest. You do realize that with the city’s budget the way it is, there’s no chance Autumn Parkway gets completed without the ballpark, right? Without the ballpark the project gets put on the backburner.

  9. Still kinda odd to me that they think this needs a vote when the Earthquakes stadium plan which is similarly structured now did not.

  10. as usual, nothing coming out of Oakland.

  11. ML, I’m unclear as to whether this option covers just the parcels the City already owns, or whether it also includes the two remaining parcels as well. Seipel admits that it’s unclear as to where the negotiations are with regard to those last 2 parcels. Wouldn’t it have to be the City that negotiates with ATT and Havens just in case they need to go the ED route?
    ..
    It is my hope that should MLB grant access to SJ, that Selig give strict orders to the Giants not to become involved in any way with any campaign to derail the ballpark. After all, by trying to defeat a ballpark measure, their actions could be viewed by MLB as going against “what is best for baseball”.

    • @fc – Hard to say. I expect the option to be for the already purchased parcels so that the funds can be turned around for the rest. They’re smarter than me, so I expect that they have a few more options that we’re not aware of.

      The Giants’ resistance is where leverage against managing partner vote can come in. Even though Neukom is expected to be The Man through this session and the end of the year, Wolff, Selig, or others can force the G’s hand.

  12. @Vince – Based on what Boxer had to say… and Wolff’s tunnel-vision for the South Bay – i “understand” the silence from the City of Oakland. Unfortunately, Oakland’s efforts have had to sidestep (team) ownership and work directly with MLB.

  13. Yes, I would think the Giants would have to firmly butt out – no funding opposition groups, no getting surrogates to sue, none of that nonsense. It’s one big corporation – not 30 different corporations – in MLB. Unity must be mandated by the commissioner. The Giants fighting to stop the A’s would be no different than the McDonald’s downtown fighting to stop the McDonald’s on First Street.

  14. I find it hard to believe that “working directly with MLB” means Selig isn’t saying anything to his 50-year pal, Lew Wolff, who is in fact the person most affected by what Oakland wants to do. “Bud, what’s Oakland doing for my team? “Sorry Lew, I’m not going to tell you anything.” Anybody really believe that scenario?… While the Raiders possibly moving out of the Coliseum might open up new possibilities in Oakland, it’s such a theoretical thing that MLB would need several more years to see how it shakes out. We’ve already been watching every other team in MLB get a new ballpark – how much longer are we supposed to wait while Oakland ponders another theoretical? San Jose is close to shovel-ready.

  15. @pjk–MLB should wait to see how the Raider thing shakes out. I’m patient and can wait. In the meantime, we can compete and hang on to some of our players instead of the rebuilding process for the umpteenth time in the BB era.

  16. @jk–you continue to overlook that regardless of a location in Oakland there is on way to privately finance a ballpark there–waiting for the Raiders to move to either LA or SC isn’t going to change anything-

  17. I still don’t agree that the Giants have much say with respect to votes simply because they’ve gone against the Commissioner quite a few times and they still got approval for various items. Even if they don’t want to take the avenue of suing MLB, they may be allowed to fight against it by propping up entities to fight a vote. The “good of baseball” clause should have prevented the formations of the prior puppet groups that did the push-polling but they still occurred.
    .
    Again, there is something with these sales or something that is different now than before when the thought was that a referendum was *not* needed.

  18. @Genaro – I’ll just put it this way. There are other higher-ups within MLB who are going to bat for Wolff and the A’s. If the Giants really want to make it difficult, they’re in for a world of hurt.

    Re: referendum – I’ve been consistent on leaning towards a referendum, even if Wolff buys all of the land. It would be naive to think that the matter is as cut-and-dried as a blurb from the municipal code.

  19. R.M.,
    I’ve relunctantly accepted the fact that this thing will go to a vote, but again, I just hope that SJ (with Wolff’s guidance) knows what it’s doing to engage in actions I still do see as technically necessary. I’d hate to see the city get egg all over its face (loosing referendum) and have Wolff take his private investment elsewhere. If you’re good with it and confident, then so am I ;).

    MLB working directly with Oakland? Waiting out for the Coliseum to open up? I’m completely speachless.

    • R.M.,I’ve relunctantly accepted the fact that this thing will go to a vote, but again, I just hope that SJ (with Wolff’s guidance) knows what it’s doing to engage in actions I still do see as technically necessary. I’d hate to see the city get egg all over its face (loosing referendum) and have Wolff take his private investment elsewhere. If you’re good with it and confident, then so am I ;).MLB working directly with Oakland? Waiting out for the Coliseum to open up? I’m completely speachless.

      Meant to say “actions I still don’t see as technically necessary.” Been thinking R.M.: if Wolff buys ALL the land at Diridon and pays ALL the costs of ballpark, with city making minor investment in much needed Autumn Parkway, then possible opponents really have no arguments against a referendum. And for the record all, I’m never speachless about a solid plan for an A’s ballpark ;).

  20. @TonyD–“I’m completely speechless.”
    Good. It will give many of us on this board a much needed break. 🙂

  21. Wait to see how the Raiders thing shakes out? How many more years? The “Raiders thing” is contingent on the 49ers first building a stadium, or moving to an LA stadium. Neither of those facilities is even a sure thing. No ground broken on either place. How many years should MLB wait? 5 more years at the Coliseum? 10 more years, maybe?…If Wolff gets approval for San Jose and ground is broken, it’s going to be time for the Oakland-only crowd to stop pretending that a move to San Jose is the same as a move to San Antonio.

  22. ML, that would only be important if the Giants try to stop the A’s by suing MLB; how would fighting against the referendum via opponent groups put them in a perilous situation if they’ve already been doing it?
    .
    And something has changed ML, even you have evolved from your previous postings based on Doyle’s various observations/opinions. Two years ago you thought the A’s should not be looking at the city for land: https://newballpark.org/2009/02/11/san-jose-looms-on-the-horizon/ I wonder if the “land buys OK if stadium isn’t sole plan” portion matters if the City sells Wolff the existing parcels at fair market value. If the city ends up at cash neutral, can it be said that there were no funds placed towards ballpark land acquisition and thus not subject?

  23. re: Oakland’s secret deliberations… When the Giants had one foot out the door and seemed headed to Tampa Bay, Mayor Frank Jordan acted in rapid fashion and publicly assembled a plan to save the franchise for Frisco. Compare that to Oakland’s secret, several years’ long deliberations to supposedly save the A’s. Doesn’t give us a lot of confidence, does it?

  24. @Genaro – Yes, something has changed. San Jose has no money. SJRA is practically dead. Back in 2005, 2007, and even 2009, no one in City thought the situation would be so dire. Now anything that involves a public expenditure – even if it will eventually be reimbursed – is politically risky. I have a SJPD friend who is steadfast against the ballpark because he thinks the money should be used for the department, even though freeing up that money doesn’t solve any of the city’s financial problems in the long run.

    The only people who thought a referendum wouldn’t be needed comment on this blog. Those within City (and probably Wolff himself) haven’t considered that realistic since the beginning.

    • @Genaro – Yes, something has changed. San Jose has no money. SJRA is practically dead. Back in 2005, 2007, and even 2009, no one in City thought the situation would be so dire. Now anything that involves a public expenditure – even if it will eventually be reimbursed – is politically risky. I have a SJPD friend who is steadfast against the ballpark because he thinks the money should be used for the department, even though freeing up that money doesn’t solve any of the city’s financial problems in the long run.The only people who thought a referendum wouldn’t be needed comment on this blog. Those within City (and probably Wolff himself) haven’t considered that realistic since the beginning.

      Watch it now R.M.! I’ve always gone strictly by SJ Muni Code for my opinion re a vote, and nothing else (respectfully ;o)

  25. @ jk – for one time on this forum, would you actually attack the issue itself (how to build a new ballpark in Oakland), instead of attacking people who have objective data to support it? Yes, I know the answer to you is to sprinkle unicorn dust combined with Haas’ ashes to bless a non-existent ownership group who will willing give up close to a billion dollars to finance a ballpark in a depressed area. /rolleyes
    @ ML – Given Reed’s clout as well as the backing of the SJ City Council (including vocal proponent and future mayor, Sam Liccardo), I don’t think a referendum is too much of an issue, especially if Wolf buys up all the parcels of land. It would be worded differently to the effect that: “allows a developer to build a privately financed ballpark on private property”. If you also read the Merc comments frequently, I think a majority of SJ residents also don’t associate ballpark as rediverting police/fire/public funds to a private project. Only the most naive or vocal of union backers (see the most outrageous commentary piece by SJPD Union chief piece before calling SJ “Sin City” lol) only think that way….

  26. That’s a bit harsh ML, even you changed your stance/equivocated throughout the lifetime of your blogs, as recently as this year with the entertaining of a way in which a referendum would not be needed.
    .
    Was it not always going to be either all land owned by the City or acquired and re-sold to Wolff at fair-market value? The redevelopment agency getting shuttered would only expedite the issue if ED was not going to be involved.

    • @Genaro – Don’t attribute a sentiment to me that I did not write. I’ve always framed the “no referendum” option as something that would require all of the chips to fall neatly into place, and thus have regarded the possibility with varying degrees of remoteness.

      Even now I can see that many are falling into the trap of thinking that the land deal will move in a certain direction. Don’t assume anything there. That’s why I have a lot of questions at the bottom of the post.

  27. somewhere along the way the union brethern will need to unite–$500+M of private investment puts alot of union trades folks to work—and last I recall they had about 30% of their folks sitting idle–

  28. Look, it’s completely OK to say you’ve changed your position but there’s no need to act superior about it. You wrote in that piece I linked earlier that “Theriault also brings up the possibility of a referendum, to which as we all know by now Lew Wolff is allergic,” yet now say that “The only people who thought a referendum wouldn’t be needed comment on this blog. Those within City (and probably Wolff himself) haven’t considered that realistic since the beginning.”
    .
    Frankly, that was a totally uncalled-for dig and you know it.

  29. Back in the early 1990s the Giants got shot down narrowly for a publicly financed stadium in San Jose and Santa Clara.

    That was pre-dot com boom and pre-housing boom.

    In this day and age San Jose will for sure approve a privately financed ballpark with the city donating land to the team that otherwise will not be developed by the city for years to come.

    No new taxes, no general fund money, and the A’s pay for the whole thing? Wow, that would pass on a referendum in any US city hands down…Even in California.

    With Baseball San Jose and their war chest and ML points out a referendum will pass so easily it maybe shocking.

    In most US cities the public pays for the stadium, here that is not the case and Baseball San Jose will have a very easy time convincing people of that. As will the A’s, the SJ city council, and Lew Wolff.

    It is a very ominous sign I must say that Wolff is buying the land now, 1 month before the MLB owners meetings.

    Why not wait another month to see what happens? Unless he knows the final outcome already….

    I may be wrong after all, Selig may let the A’s into San Jose after all these years. Otherwise Wolff is no fool to spend $25M dollars on land he may never use….He learned the hard way in Fremont.

  30. So LW buys most of the Diridon land to save SJ’s ass, then SJ is shot down by MLB sometime next year (or later), and now he has semi-worthless land in Fremont and not so worthless land in SJ. Wow, what a smart businessman. Could of saved time and money if he spent a little more than 5 minutes looking in Oakland, the A’s rightful home for the last 43 years.

  31. It must suck to be bitter. Left speechless yet again. A solid ballpark plan? Now let’s talk!

  32. Too bad Oakland has’nt lifted a hand in keeping the A’s. They had a great shot when Robert Bobb was City Manager. Now Oakland can’t even produce an Environmental Report. Blame Oakland politics on this one.

  33. Bitterness and anger does cloud ones judgement

  34. Why wouldn’t an Oakland / East Bay resident be bitter about the way both Wolff and the local politicians have handled this situation? If the A’s go to San Jose I’m sure they’ll be more than fine economically, but a major portion of the fan base is going to feel major resentment at the way this whole affair has been handled. Now you may say, “Who cares, we’ll have a new base in the South Bay,” maybe, however 43 years of baseball culture in the East Bay has produced a distinct group of fans that aren’t going to just shrug their shoulders. This may be a stretch, but I think Wolff will go down as the most hated sports figure in Oakland/East Bay sports history. Al had that title, but he brought Oakland’s team back and was a winner. Wolff doesn’t have any sort of cred built up.

  35. @eb–beautiful, spot on post. Couldn’t of said it any better myself. Wolff could of been a hero in the Oakland/Eastbay like Haas was if he gave Oakland the same consideration as SJ, but he’ll go down as a true villain in the eastbay if BS gives him SJ. And he’ll have to live with that for the rest of his remaining years.

  36. re: I may be wrong after all, Selig may let the A’s into San Jose after all these years.

    …yes, it would be hard to fathom that Wolff is going ahead and doing this without reason to believe he’s going to get what he wants. We’ve had several years of San Jose’s very public assemblage of property and deliberations, including warts and all, vs. Oakland’s clandestine, secret “negotiations’ behind the franchise owner’s back. Sounds like San Jose may soon be hosting MLB.

  37. @eb,
    Actually ugly and spot off. Don’t bring that “Navigator crap” up in here! You know, thinking you speak for all or the vast majority of A’s fans. I’d bet you the true vast majority of A’s fans just want a new ballpark in the Bay Area period, be it Oakland or SJ.

  38. @ Tony D. Where in my post did I say “the vast majority of A’s fans?” Where? I said, “a major portion of the fan base,” of which I clearly specified those who are IN Oakland/East Bay. I live here, grew up here and I can tell you that there is a sizable amount of OAKLAND A’s fans here who will be upset just as there are those who don’t care. If you don’t want to acknowledge that, it’s up to you.

  39. i’d include myself on that list of a’s fans who just want a new park SOMEWHERE in the bay area soon. if it’s sj fine, if it’s oakland fine too. but at this point sj is miles ahead of oak and having led my entire life in oakland, pretty damn sure the politics would take years and years and years before something concrete happens in building any kind of sports venue. especially after the debacle of the coliseum/arena renovations where we’ll be paying for that for many years to come and a decade from now or even sooner all three teams playing at the complex may very well be gone.

  40. @ letsgoas I understand that line of thought, I really do. However, to dismiss the opposing viewpoint as inconsequential is, in my opinion, lacking foresight and ignoring reality.

  41. Two questions: one for Marine Layer:

    Marine Layer: you mention “higher ups in MLB.” Who are these “higher- ups?” Please identify them.

    This statement would seem – repeat seem – to imply that you have access to some people high in the MLB hierarchy but I thought you mentioned (could be wrong ) that Lew Wolff doesn’t confide in you? How else could you know this?

    What, really, is the deal?

    Let me be direct: has Lew Wolff informed you of what is truly going on?

    Second question: to whomever keeps posting that Oakland ‘has not even started an EIR.”

    Can you please provide some concrete evidence or couch your statement – something to the effect that ‘it appears’ Oakland hasn’t done an EIR?

    Otherwise, even though you may be write, the statement is written as if it’s fact.

    If it is fact that Oakland hasn’t started on the EIR, then please provide it.

    Thanks.

    Go OAKLAND (not Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Irwindale or Bangor, Maine) Raiders.

    A’s observer.

  42. More and more bitterness directed at the A’s owner and none directed at the politicians who deliberately failed the team for years.

  43. @pjk *ahem* “Why wouldn’t an Oakland / East Bay resident be bitter about the way both Wolff and the local politicians have handled this situation?” Wolff is the figurehead, the constant and the ultimate decision maker, so yeah, he’s going to get the brunt of the ire.

  44. I live in Vacaville. I attend +/- 30 games/year and have since my first (partial) season ticket ownership year, 1987. Before that, starting in 1979, I made it to as many games as possible, pobably in the neighborhood of 20/year. A move to San Jose make my A’s game commute much more of a pain in the ass…..but I definitely support it – I plan on being part of a charter season ticket holder group. The extra drive time will be worth haveing a viable major league franchise for a change.

  45. “*ahem* “Why wouldn’t an Oakland / East Bay resident be bitter about the way both Wolff and the local politicians have handled this situation?” And the only ones to blame are the residents who either 1) voted them into office or 2) do not do anything about it….stop blaming others and start looking at yourself first……passive, sensitive, and now bitter…..gets better everydAy.

  46. Anon, I understand you need to compensate for certain shortcomings in life, hence the constant name calling, but at some point the trolling must get tiresome, no? I’m doing my best to speak my point of view without dismissing anyone else’s. Please, get over the “internet tough guy” routine, It’s sad at this point.

  47. passive-aggressive much?

  48. @ eb – lol….keep concentrating on me and just remember what you did when the a’s left town 😉

  49. @hecanfoos Me? If so, you should re-examine the definition. I have no need to stay on good terms with Anon and have had squabbles over his behavior in the past, hence my open disdain.
    @ Anon Troll’s gonna troll.

  50. Good grief.

    ML, you have my sympathies.

  51. @eb–I’ve given up on Anon already, and pretty much ignore the dude This tough guy stuff is getting quite old, He should change his name to Anon Troll.

  52. @Jk-usa I fell into the trap. Seriously, I had no intention to bicker. I’ve been looking over baby boy names online (found out I’m going to be a dad!) and I got caught up in the type of crap I’m sick of on this site. Sorry to those reading it. Anyway, perspective is key.

  53. RM,
    Please make it stop. Goodnight!

  54. @eb–Congrats!!!
    That’s great news. Now lets get some more great news from MLB for the Oakland fans now. I never wanted to bicker on here and said nothing wrong there but I’ll get jumped on again for saying it, that I’m delusional, smoking something, etc…. That’s what pisses me off about this site. Oh well, I can take the heat but it’s no fun at times.

  55. Nice article. I bet Shea didn’t know that he would be cast into the “Newhouse-Dickey-Ratto-Cohn” evil cabal of Bay Area newsman who are stupid, by the pro-SJ crowd on this blog.

  56. David,
    Feel free to open your eye$ to reality whenever you feel like it brah. You (and others) constantly ignoring the realities of Oaklands political/economic situation, as well as the depre$$ed nature of the Coliseum/Oakland region (Al Davis’ words, not mine) is starting to get a little old (we know, we know…it’s all Wolff’s fault). Won’t get on you to much about it though because, again, I’m not bringing my work home with me.
    Speaking of Shea (wouldn’t call him stupid, just highly misinformed and harboring SF/Oak bias); if he’s now openly touting the Coliseum for an A’s ballpark, what the hell does that tell you about Victory Court?

  57. Is Oakland-Alameda County prepared to pay for an Anaheim Angels-style renovation of the Coliseum, or is Wolff expected to pay for that, too? The city/county own the building. And of course we’d have to wait several years for the Raiders to leave before any work could start…

  58. from the Shea article: (Wolff) wouldn’t be able to privately finance a park as he could in San Jose.

    …to Oakland-only advocates, it’s of no concern whether Wolff makes $$ or loses all of it with an Oakland ballpark. It’s all about Oakland getting a free ballpark like Frisco got.

  59. @ eb How, exactly, could Wolff have “handled the situation differently” in a way that would have made a difference to the hard-core, Oakland-only crowd? (Other than, of course, building in Oakland regardless of whether it makes business sense or not.)
    .
    “Everything ends badly, or else it wouldn’t end.” Bottom line, ANY time a sports franchise moves, even a modest move within its own market, there are going to be SOME extremists who are unhappy. Rational East Bay A’s fans, who I believe constitute the vast majority, realize that they have no cause to be bitter (in fact, are grateful for Wolff’s efforts to preserve and strengthen their team).
    .
    Just to humor me, assume, for the sake of argument, that Wolff actually knows his business. He’s sitting on market studies and mounds of other specific data that tell him exactly which customers he needs to draw, and what kinds of commitments they need to make, in order to make financing pencil out.
    .
    Assume also that the lenders have access to that same data and will not, in fact, lend the money for a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland (as stated in Shea’s article).
    .
    Would you not then agree that the Oakland-only zealots are being wildly unreasonable? That they should consider the possibility that these facts are true before vilifying Mr. Wolff? After all, EVERYONE who has access to that data so far (including two ownership groups of both the A’s and Giants) has drawn the same conclusion.
    .

  60. @ eb By the way, congratulations on the upcoming birth of your son. You and I may not agree on much, but I do sincerely wish you well.

  61. @ bartleby It’s interesting that you refuse to acknowledge the fact that there will be a sizable amount of EastBay/Oakland A’s fans who will have lasting harsh feelings against Wolff. Why is that?Extremists and zealots, really? Look at the groups at the Coliseum, the 47,000 on Let’s Go Oakland, the posters on John Shea’s new column (which is like the bizzarro world version of this message board), this is just a small example of what’s out there. I live around and deal with casual Oakland/East Bay A’s fans who are sick of Wolff as well.
    I’m not saying that the whole of the East Bay/Oakland will rise in unison and storm Wolff’s castle (it’s in San Jose, right?). I’m merely making the assumption that Wolff will go down in East Bay/Oakland history as a negative figure, whether due to simply taking the team or due to his lack of tact. That doesn’t seem like much of stretch to me.
    Case in point, here is part of a post made by Rayburn’s son (hope you don’t mind me using it).
    “No championships or titles or awards will ever compare to this act of leadership and courage that is being led by these people. Make no mistake, this effort is not being done for money or for personal gain, but is being done for all the right reasons.”
    Can you imagine this line of thought coming from your average Oaklander? I’m afraid, Bartleby, we just see this whole affair differently.

  62. @bartleby Thank you, it’s exciting.

  63. 47K on a FB page? Commenters on Shea’s article? Again, I’m completely speachless. But I digress: congrats eb on the new addition to your family…AND GO RAIDERS! (last post until at least tonight)

  64. @ Tony D. ” this is just a small example of what’s out there.” I’ve said that this was my assumption, feel free to disagree all you want. Also, GO Raiders!

  65. …The New Jersey Devils hockey team has a very similar history to the Oakland A’s:
    * Both relocated – to NJ and Oakland, respectively – simply because a new facility was built
    * Both relocated to places where strong fan ties to another team were already established.
    * Both then began a history of poor attendance after moving to their new locates.
    * Both fan bases got extremely upset at talk of relocating the teams.

    Now, there are some differences:
    * In NJ, fans got very upset about talk of moving the team hundreds of miles away to Nashville.
    * In Oakland, fans got very upset about talk of moving the team 30 miles away to San Jose.

    What happened next?
    * In Oakland, everything is in a holding pattern as far a new facility.
    * In New Jersey, the team got a brand spanking new arena in Newark. But the attendance still stinks. 12,000 and change (officially) for the last two home games, in a facility that seats 17,500

  66. I’ve been saying for months now that they should look at a new Coliseum if VC falls through and the Raiders go to SC. Makes too much sense. Build a better ballpark than AT&T and smallish SJ Cisco, with about 39k with an Oakland sports museum next to it. Won’t quite have the awesome views of SF or a downtown setting, but the area has a big master plan down the road that should improve things for stuff to do before and after the game you guys keep insisting on but doesn’t really matter to me.
    Okay, I’m ready to get blasted on here by Lewie’s flock.
    Go Raiders!!!!

  67. re: Assume also that the lenders have access to that same data and will not, in fact, lend the money for a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland
    …good point. Lenders these days are very leery of financing anything. It took me months to get a refinance from the same mortgage company with which I’d already had a sterling payment record. A gamble like a privately financed Oakland ballpark? I can very much see banks balking at that. (When Frisco got its ballpark, the economy was in much better shape and $$ was easier to get)

  68. You guys are pissed that Al came in and ruined the Coliseum for the A’s. Okay, the Raiders may leave for SC in a few years, hope you’re happy now. The Coliseum can then be blown up and redone right for a kick-ass A’s new ballpark. So it’s not in a cutesie location like SJ, but it’s been home to our beloved A’s for 43 years. Continuing this great legacy there is the right thing to do. If LW balks at this idea, he should sell to someone who embraces it. I’m still hoping for VC, but plan B at the Coliseum will work. SJ should be as a very last option. Fremont just plain sucks and i’ve hated any location there from day 1, especially if they don’t keep the Oakland name. If the A’s have no choice but to move out of Oakland, anywhere from Richmond to Hayward would suffice and keeping Oakland in their name is a must.

  69. A’s “great legacy” in Oakland includes many years of bad attendance and playing second fiddle to the Giants, even when the A’s have a better team….Richmond and Hayward? Sounds like VC all over again – pick out a spot on the map and see what can be done to move out the existing property holders. I’m not aware of big, expansive tracks of vacant land in either of these cities, but maybe there is some. And who pays for it?

  70. @pjk The A’s will still play second fiddle to the Giants in San Jose, probably even more so, actually.

  71. @eb–at San Jose’s Christmas parade last year, the Giants were the Grand Marshal’s and everyone was going crazy over them. Some A’s players were their signing autographs but no one really noticed. It’s definitely Giants territory, and not many eastbay fans will go there to see games. Have to rebuild a fan base from scratch. No slam dunk on selling the joint out after the first year, especially if they’re not winning and continue to do things on the cheap.

  72. re: SJ parade. The Giants had just won the World Series. The term, bandwagon hoppers, comes to mind.

  73. re: The A’s will still play second fiddle to the Giants in San Jose, probably even more so, actually

    …the Bay Area news media, which absolutely does not want the A’s going to San Jose, will continue to maintain the A’s as “second fiddle,” or even worse, except for the Mercury News. But the 1 million people of San Jose, the South Bay’s corporations, etc, will have other ideas once the ballpark opens. East Bay and Frisco writers, meanwhile, may go kicking and screaming to an SJ ballpark, but they’ll go just the same.

  74. I guess we will have more details by the end of the month.How long before a referendum can take place on the sale of the parcels? Would Selig wait for the results of the vote before making the decision? This is maddening.
    Rather than an answer soon , I could see this dragging on into next year.

    pjk, The A’s and Devils also have something else in common. The two coolest Franchises in Pro Spoirts. At least that’s my take, being that they are my favorite teams.

  75. Robo: I did leave out a couple of important details re: Devils and A’s.: Best logos in their respective leagues and, unfortunately, lots of championships that have gone largely unappreciated in their regions. I love the Sharks but that Devils logo is devastating.

  76. pjk, You are right , both teams are very much unappreciated for their accomplishments.Oh well, probably due in part to the reasons you have pointed out above.Niether are in “glamourous” locations. Before Newark, the Devils held Championship parades in their parking lot!

  77. Lol @ jk and eb – typical passive, sensitive, and bitter responses by resorting to personal attacks. It’s ironic that you would call me a troll as i have both made more proposals and contacts for keeping the A’s in Oakland. What were your ideas again? /silence

  78. @Anon–calling us “stooges” just shows your true colors. You being the biggest name caller on here, I would of banned you years ago if I was a ML.

  79. @jk How is Anon’s use of “stooges” any worse than your persistent use of “sheep” to describe those who disagree with you?

    @eb “It’s interesting that you refuse to acknowledge the fact that there will be a sizable amount of EastBay/Oakland A’s fans who will have lasting harsh feelings against Wolff.”
    .
    The question is what constitutes a “sizable amount.” And whether the number of people who feel that way is exceeded by the number of those who feel otherwise.
    .
    “Extremists and zealots, really?”
    .
    In my opinion, that is a fair characterization of people who vilify a man for not doing something which makes no economic sense, and who have no sense of gratitude for getting a SOTA ballpark at no public expense within their home market. So, yes.
    .
    “Look at the groups at the Coliseum, the 47,000 on Let’s Go Oakland, the posters on John Shea’s new column (which is like the bizzarro world version of this message board), this is just a small example of what’s out there. I live around and deal with casual Oakland/East Bay A’s fans who are sick of Wolff as well.”
    .
    People involved in LGO prefer the team stays in Oakland, yes. But it is a mistake to assume this means they are all a monolithic wall of anti-Wolff opinion. Despite their preference, a lot of them will wind up pretty pleased if a new yard is built in San Jose. In any event, 47,000 is only 1.8% of the population of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties – a tiny minority.
    .
    People posting on SF Gate? Please. You have a small number of the most extremely opinionated people posting over and over. Their noise level does not correlate to the number of people who share their opinion. Just as on this board: Obviously, you have some impassioned opinions. However, I’m guesstimating there are something like 20 or 30 regular posters on this site. Not a statistically valid sample size for gauging Bay Area opinion.
    .
    I actually worked in the East Bay for several months this summer on a project. My experience was, most people weren’t even aware the A’s were working on building a privately-financed park in San Jose. When I told them, their reaction was, “Wow, great, it would be nice for the A’s to have a new ballpark. And how refreshing the A’s are not shaking down cities for public money.” That’s not a statistically valid sample either, but I do believe it is more representative of public opinion than what you see on blogs devoted to the A’s.
    .
    “I’m not saying that the whole of the East Bay/Oakland will rise in unison and storm Wolff’s castle (it’s in San Jose, right?). I’m merely making the assumption that Wolff will go down in East Bay/Oakland history as a negative figure, whether due to simply taking the team or due to his lack of tact. That doesn’t seem like much of stretch to me.
    .
    Well, we just disagree; I think the number of people who will view him positively will be far greater than those who will view him negatively, even in the East Bay. Particularly with the passage of time, when initial passions cool and people have a chance to see how great the new park is.
    .
    Anyway, you sidestepped my question. Assuming a new privately-financed yard in Oakland just doesn’t pencil out, how, exactly, could Wolff have “handled the situation differently” in a way that would have made a difference to the hard-core, Oakland-only crowd?

  80. @bartleby–Wolff said something like the best site in Oakland was Uptown (it was everybody’s favorite site) but it was given to developers for housing and there’s no place else he can build after a 2 year search in Oakland. Okay, lets say 20 shovel ready acres was available in Uptown right now, no major hurdles, no one to move out and relocate. I’d still say he’d find something wrong with it like not enough parking close by, still don’t have the corporate support, can’t finance it, etc…He never had any intentions of building in Oakland, which is what I’ve been saying all along. I still can’t believe this little swath of land in SJ is the only place he can build in the Bay Area.

  81. What if those barriers are real? In particular, the Corporate support argument is a real barrier… Callin him a liar doesn’t change that.

  82. @jk You completely side-stepped my question. How is Anon’s use of “stooges” any worse than your persistent use of “sheep” to describe those who disagree with you?
    .
    As far as Wolff never intending to build in Oakland: Financing is a pre-requisite to building a ballpark anywhere. Whether or not it can be obtained in any particular location is a question of fact, not opinion, and will be driven by economic fundamentals of that location.
    .
    So if it is a fact that financing does not pencil out for a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland, how can you fault anything Wolff has done? You keep acting like as long as you have a clear plot of land, you can put a ballpark anywhere and it will succeed. That simply is not the case.

  83. Jeffrey the letsgooakland.com site has a list of people committed so some form of financial backing to a new Oakland stadium. Is that not enough support? Or is this list phony? The names on the list might not be worldwide big wigs but they are some wealthy individuals. Clorox, Kaiser, Matson Shipping, Signature Properties, Pandora, and Pixar are some companies that have a strong presence in the East Bay. Not strong enough coporations? For an Oakland A’s stadium, I would argue you could get some regional giants stepping to the plate for the needed revenue ensuring financial sustainability for an Oakland stadium. You are not going to get some backing from the community if you continue to say you are not interested. Who am I talking about here? Hmmmm!

  84. @Ethan “Not strong enough corporations?”
    .
    Not numerous enough corporations. In contrast to the six you name for the East Bay, there are something like 340 members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, most of whom, not surprisingly, have significant presence in Silicon Valley.
    .
    Not to mention, strong presence of law firms, accounting firms, and VC firms which doesn’t exist in the East Bay. Most of the AmLaw 100 has a presence here. Almost none of them do in the East Bay.
    .
    This is significant when your financing depends on being able to sell long term commitments to something like 10,000 very expensive club seats and 150 – 200 very expensive suites. The market for those is not primarily wealthy individuals, its corporations, law firms and other service firms.
    .
    Let’s put it this way: Clorox is not buying out the club level by themselves. They’ll probably buy a few club seats, maybe a suite. You need a lot more corporate base than that.

  85. BTW, LOTS of empty club level seats visible on TV for the supposedly sold out Raiders home game yesterday. Just sayin’.

  86. Ethan,
    You’re kidding..right? If not, then listen carefully. Those corporation’s you mentioned might be fine and dandy for an Oakland ballpark if the bulk of the financing is in the form of public funds (ie $200 million in civic taxes or bond monies). Since the ballpark will be privately financed, then you need the BIG CORPORATE BUCKS that is Silicon Valley, San Jose, not the relatively miniscule companies you mentioned. Sorry pal, but that’s reality. Private financing = THE BIG DAWGS OF TECH! Good day.

  87. Damn Bartleby, you beat me to the punch. Hopefully soon we will be able to meet over a beer in downtown San Jose (the man behind the mask 😉

  88. So the problem with an Oakland stadium it can’t find buyers for 10,000 club seats? Do the Giants have that now? I don’t think San Jose Cisco Field is going to have 150-200 corporate seats either. Of course I could be wrong.

  89. San Jose has $120 mill naming rights deal with Cisco, for one. Oakland has nothing in this regard. And we already know of the weak market for suites at A’s games through attendance at any recent A’s game. Economically priced suites sit mostly empty.

  90. *corporate suites, not seats.

  91. @ Ethan Yes, exactly. To clarify, I should have said “10,000 club and charter seats,” since I think that’s roughly what AT&T has. Of those, only around 7,000 are technically club seats; the rest charter. And AT&T has 68 suites; I’m assuming more for Cisco because the A’s seem to be putting so much emphasis on minisuites. (Still, 150-200 may be a bit high).
    .
    But you get my general point: Club, charter and suite seating is what paid for AT&T Park. Oakland simply does not have enough corporate base to do the same, especially in direct competition with AT&T Park (but on the wrong side of the bridge).

  92. Ethan, you’re trying to translate the stadium plan for San Jose when it’s specific to that location. A Coliseum site would require County/City funds for construction and other locations in Oakland would require the City to acquire land either through purchase and/or ED.
    .
    If there was a plan available in Oakland that made more financial sense for Wolff, he’d be building in that location. In order for there to be such a plan, there has to be more than just site identification which is all that has been offered by East Bay Officials.

  93. @ Ethan After surfing around, I found a site which says Cisco is supposed to have 107 suites. So my original guess was high, but my point remains the same.

  94. @bartleby–didn’t mean to side-step the question. I guess not a whole lot of difference, but Anon has been the biggest name caller on here and i fell into his devious trap AGAIN and used the sheep comment a few times and I shouldn’t have. He gets me rather riled up and I’m boycotting his posts for now on and promise I won’t name call any posters from here on out.
    As for being called “stooges”.. I soytanly resemble that remark…nyuk, nyuk, nyuk…

  95. @ jk – for someone who continually calls LW/BB and others as “carpetbaggers”, etc. it’s funny you would say that my saying folks as “passive”, “sensitive”, and “bitter” as name calling…..as for stooges, if you think you fall under that category, then you’re only incriminating yourself by taking offense to it….

  96. @jk It’s good that you have a sense of humor about these things. :-0

  97. @bartleby–i try to grin and bear it on here. FWIW, The 3 stooges are all my all-time favorite comedians, and in the early days of the net I used stoogeuy as an e-mail address and handle on some blogs. So I guess I am a stooge in a way, but in a good way.:). Can you imagine if those guys were around now doing their schtick, how rich they’d be? They did okay for back in the depression era ,but weren’t too smart on the business side and should of made much much more. A movie about them with Jim Carrey i think has been scrapped.

  98. @bartleby “how, exactly, could Wolff have “handled the situation differently” in a way that would have made a difference to the hard-core, Oakland-only crowd?”
    If I were to list off a number of issues I and others have had with Wolff, it will just result in typical tit for tat between the two of us. Go onto Let’s Go Oakland, Baseball Oakland, etc. and you will hear arguments, of which I’m sure you’re familiar, that follow my line of thinking. Bottom line, you’ve made up your mind about Wolff and so have I. Given the situation, it would appear most wanting the San Jose move highly approve of the guy and those against it don’t (though ML has been slightly critical of Wolff, for that I give him kudos.)
    As for the East Bay mindset. Look, no offense, but a few months among the lawyer crowd (your occupation, correct?) is one thing (was it Walnut Creek?). I’ve lived here all of my life. A significant portion of the people in Oakland and Alameda county that I’ve talked to have ,over the past five or so years, expressed disdain for what Wolff is doing. Granted both of our interactions are not the greatest indicators.
    As for the 47,000 on facebook, those people aren’t isolated. They all have family and friends who, more than likely, feel similar to the original member. Case in point, myself. I am a member, my wife feels the same way, her side of the family ( which is Mexican-American/Catholic aka HUGE) are almost exclusively Oakland A’s fans. While they may not be following the situation all that closely, they’re definitely going to have an opinion.
    Look, what I’m saying is based on what I’ve experienced living here. I realistically can’t prove my theory and, really, neither can you fully backup your counter claim. Time will tell and in the end, if the move happens, I hope most CAN look past the move. I just don’t want to see Oakland receive even more negativity and bad luck.

  99. Also, sorry for my late response. The prospect of Kyler Boller has greatly diminished my sports enthusiasm.

  100. I don’t think Wolff has done a good job on any of the various iterations of the ballpark project but the fact remains that he did try to build in Oakland, when the team was winning, and was still turned down. The only thing that created such a reaction was when the A’s said San Jose; even the move to Fremont did not cause such an outcry that you see now.
    .
    Look at what Piccinini said about how his ownership group would have done: “Create action as you will … raise the whole standard. We thought if we could raise the attendance, and make it something that everyone was proud of, we then would have an opportunity to get a new facility.” http://www.modbee.com/2010/01/23/1019702/piccinini-reflects-on-as-deal.html
    .
    In either case, it would have required a serious effort from East Bay Officials and they still have yet to get their house in order. The A’s have always represented a wedge issue for those who run for office but always get kicked to the curb a year after an election.

  101. @Genaro Well, Fremont is in Alameda county, but I think the bigger factor is they were still going to be the Oakland A’s. Truth be told, I wasn’t thrilled about Fremont, either. Also, yes, Oakland politicians tend to be infuriating.

  102. @eb- Fremont would ot have retained Oakland- LW made that clear- the whole point is to take direct advantage of a large corporate base in SJ/Silicon Valley- you continue to overlook where the money needs to come from to privately build this ballpark

  103. @eb–i don’t think Wolff would of called them the Oakland A’s if they were in Fremont. Word has it at the time that it would of been Silicon Valley or San Jose A’s of Fremont. In the Piccinini article, he thinks differently:
    “If the A’s went to Fremont, I think they would still be the Oakland A’s,” Piccinini said. “To bring the whole East Bay thing together, Oakland has to be the flagstick.”
    That’s totally opposite of Wolff believes. He wants nothing to do with Okland and everything to do with San Jose and Silicon Valley.

  104. @GoA’s-I don;t think so. Wolff wanted Silicon Valley or San Jose in the name. He never mentioned Oakland. Have to find the article where he said that. When i read that, I cancelled my season tix package after 19 years. Have to go now but we’ll find it tomorrow.

  105. Agree jk-he would ot have retained Oakland because he is privately financing it and needs silicon valley money to do it- Piccinni would have wanted public money to make this happen- which means it never would have happeed under his ownership

  106. There was never an official name for the team in Fremont other than “________ Athletics @Fremont.”
    .
    There was little doubt the “________” wouldn’t have been “Oakland.”
    .
    Oakland, as a brand, is not exactly worth all that much. Not many city names are… Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco… Outside of those, there isn’t much of a huge draw based on a city name except for a limited portion of the population.
    .
    Consider that folks who live from Napa to Gilroy describe the area they live in as “San Francisco” or the “San Francisco Bay Area.”
    .
    From that perspective, the A’s probably should have considered being called the San Francisco Athletics.

  107. “From that perspective, the A’s probably should have considered being called the San Francisco Athletics.” I just threw up in my mouth.

  108. As far as I know there is nothing that keeps them from doing that- LA Angels and Dodgers- would be classic in your face to the giants- kinda like the idea

  109. Seriously guys, please stop. The SF A’s? My nose is bleeding and I have involuntary twitches…*shudder*
    You know what would make me somewhat more accepting of the San Jose move? I know it’ll never happen, but calling the team the “Bay Area Athletics.” For some reason, to me, it would lessen the slap Oakland would feel if they left.

  110. EB, I am not advocating for “SF” just pointing out that the notion that “Oakland” is a huge drawing card is pretty far fetched. San Jose is in the same boat.

  111. After 43 years in the O, the SF A’s is just plain wrong , just like San Jose A’s is. I can possibly see the Warriors taking on the San Francisco name even playing in Oakland. They used to be called that and they played there. Not crazy about it, but it would make them an even bigger drawing card. Mayor Quan is a huge W’s fan, more so than the A’s I believe, and she would like the W’s owners to consider the Oakland name for the W’s. Better than Golden State, that’s for sure.

  112. @ eb “Given the situation, it would appear most wanting the San Jose move highly approve of the guy and those against it don’t.”
    .
    EXACTLY. Exactly my point. That’s why I’m saying, your comment about Wolff “handling things differently” is way off the mark. Nothing he could have done in the past few years, other than get lucky enough to win a World Series, would have made any difference with how East Bay fans feel about him, now or in the future. It’s all about the ballpark, and where you stand on that issue tends to overshadow anything else.
    .
    Let me put it this way: If Wolff had showered Oakland with love and affection for the last five years, never put the tarps on, spent wildly on free agents, and bought a magnificent new scoreboard for the Coliseum, but finally succeeded in building a park in San Jose – the same people who hate him now would still hate him.
    .
    On the other hand, if he had done everything exactly the same way but built a park in Oakland, those same people would be on here showering him with praise. They’d be saying things like putting the tarps on was a savvy business move, showing how an owner committed to Oakland could overcome the market’s economic shortcomings with creative business thinking, etc., etc.
    .
    “As for the East Bay mindset. Look, no offense, but a few months among the lawyer crowd (your occupation, correct?) is one thing (was it Walnut Creek?).”
    .
    I am a lawyer, but I was on site at an East Bay company and working primarily with non-lawyers. (They were mostly company executives, however – the folks you need to buy the premium seats.)
    .
    “I’ve lived here all of my life. A significant portion of the people in Oakland and Alameda county that I’ve talked to have, over the past five or so years, expressed disdain for what Wolff is doing. Granted both of our interactions are not the greatest indicators.”
    .
    My point wasn’t to say that, after three months, I know the East Bay better than you do. I don’t. However, the distinction I would draw is that you and the others seem to be projecting your views on the rest of the East Bay citizenry. You believe they are overwhelmingly anti-Wolff.
    .
    I am NOT projecting my views on East Bay folks, or South Bay folks for that matter. I am a strong A’s fan, believe Wolff is a great owner, and have been following the quest for a ballpark on a daily basis. But I’m realistic enough to know this does NOT describe a large number of people in any part of the Bay Area. The vast majority of them are either casual fans or non-fans. These folks don’t and won’t have strong feelings for Wolff one way or the other, regardless of what happens. They are not aware of what’s going on, and really don’t care. They will be mildly pleased if and when a new ballpark appears somewhere.
    .
    My point about mentioning my time in the East Bay was that it was consistent with my latter belief. In three months, I did not speak to a single Wolff-hater.
    .
    “As for the 47,000 on facebook, those people aren’t isolated. They all have family and friends who, more than likely, feel similar to the original member.”
    .
    This is a wild stretch also. I see no evidence of strong correlation of political views, sports allegiances, or much of anything else within one’s circle of family and friends. Not all my family and friends share my views on any given subject; in fact, the diversity of opinion is quite broad.

  113. Excellent post, bartleby. Your third and fourth paragraphs, while speculative, are exactly how I believe this would be playing out under the circumstances you describe. I’m going to apologize in advance because I know this is going to piss some people off, but this singular focus the Oakland-only crowd has on the stadium’s zip code clouds their view of the entire situation and process, and leads to some rather illogical conclusions and opinions. I’m impartial to which city the stadium sits in, so this is coming from someone without skin in the game.

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