News for 10/30/11

A few newsbytes as the week begins:

  • Matier and Ross report that the 49ers are gunning for a 2014 opening of the Santa Clara stadium, even though the finances – especially the stadium builder licenses – aren’t ironed out yet.
  • One of the reasons the CEQA/EIR process exists in California is that municipalities and citizens can identify issues that need to be addressed and take care of them early. In Miami, the Marlins ballpark is being built with no significant new transit infrastructure in an area that desperately needs it. The Orange Bowl/Little Havana neighborhood is at least 2,000 spaces short of what should be supplied for a full house, and on-site parking totals well less than 5,000 spaces. The nearest Metrorail station is almost a mile away, and shuttles to take fans from that station and other parts of Miami are currently unfunded.
  • Speaking of transit, the California High Speed Rail project will face renewed scrutiny with the release of an updated (and final) business plan on Tuesday. The Merc’s Mike Rosenberg paints a pessimistic view, as federal funding has dried up and has made continuation of the project an extremely difficult decision. So far, $650 million has been spent on planning and engineering studies.
  • Side note: If HSR goes down in flames, the combined cost of that project and the shuttered Solyndra plant in Fremont would be $1.1 Billion. That would pay for the 49ers stadium and change, or an A’s ballpark in Oakland/San Jose and a Sacramento Kings arena. Before you scoff, know that the total annual revenue for just the NFL and MLB combined ($16 Billion) surpasses that of the movie industry – box office and DVD sales – on an annual basis ($15 Billion).
  • Not only are the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees forced to spend the year barnstorming while their ballpark is renovated, they won’t be able to keep the Yankees team name in the future. The Yankees brand is to be exclusive to the club in the Bronx. The same will go for all of the other Yankees minor league affiliates. Way to keep it in the family, Steinbrenners.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig may have to determine the proper compensation for the Red Sox allowing Theo Epstein to escape to the Cubs, since the two teams can’t come up with mutually agreeable terms on their own.
  • Wondering if Selig will actually retire after his contract ends in 2012? The establishment of an office at his old alma mater in Madison might be the ticket. Selig apparently wants to write his memoirs and participate in the history department at Wisconsin, including the hiring of a professor to teach the history of sports.
  • In addition to Selig’s endowed chair, three members of The Lodge (baseball team owners) also set up a scholarship in the names of Selig and his wife, Suzanne, as part of the university’s Great People Scholarship program. The owners? Three who are incredibly indebted and linked to Selig: fraternity brother Lew Wolff, current Brewers owner Mark Attanasio (who bought the team from a trust headed by Selig’s daughter), and Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner (who was a major beneficiary of the three way Boston-Florida-Montreal ownership swap deal). What do you get for a man who has everything? A scholarship in his name, of course! Now that’s a going away present.
  • One thing to keep in mind regarding Occupy Oakland: the horrific injury suffered by Iraq War veteran and Wisconsin native Scott Olsen will almost assuredly result in a lawsuit against Oakland/OPD, one which is not likely to come out well for the City. Whenever that judgement is rendered, it’ll be more money that Oakland simply doesn’t have for projects such as an Oakland ballpark.
  • On the bright side, the Oakland Tribune and other local papers will keep their names after all.
  • Tony LaRussa goes out on top.

Good stuff to come later in the week.

48 thoughts on “News for 10/30/11

  1. NIMBY champion Mike Rosenberg painting a pessimistic picture of HSR? I’m shocked (sarcasm). As long as we have people in Washington hell bent on destroying our country to save the rich, HSR won’t get any federal funding. Our hope? November 2012!

  2. @ML–All city’s, including cash-strapped SJ, are paying out judgments (for big amounts) for many reasons all the time, and projects big and small still continue and will in the future. This in no way should affect the ballpark situation. The good news, which you fail to mention but the article does, is that doctors expect Olsen to make a full recovery according to his roommate.

  3. Insurance companies pay out judgments, not cities, no? Oakland’s insurance premiums might go up but would Oakland have to itself cut a big check if there is a settlement?

  4. Tonly LaRussa Retired… wow

  5. Another big news item that just came across the wire:
    Tony La Russa is retiring after a 33 year career as a manager. And boy, what a great career. 3 WS wins, 6 pennants, 14 playoff appearances, 3rd most wins of any manager. Definitely first ballot HOFer.
    His arrogance has always turned me off, but the guy knows baseball, knows his teams and is a winner. One always wonders if the Haas family didn’t sell, how many more years he’d be with the A’s.
    He managed only two years less than his total hits as a player: 33 t o 35.

  6. Who had “October 30th” on the “when is ML going attempt to spin Occupy Oakland into a slam on Oakland stadium efforts” poll.
    Seriously drop the Occupy stuff from the blog. It will put it in dangerous territory politically and is irrelevant to the subject matter.

    • @pjk / Dinosaur Jr. – In the past I’ve seen cities have to dig into the general fund to make such payments. If it is something that can be taken care of with insurance, so be it. Otherwise, a rejoinder like “Don’t go political” isn’t much of a response. We’re talking bottom line here.

      Citation: The City of Oakland had to pay nearly $2 million of the $10.5 million total payout to settle the Riders case. That amount is the City’s “deductible”. Insurance paid the rest. I’m curious to see how the Riders case and the terms of the settlement affects how the City is insured going forward.

  7. @Dino Jr–Damn, I had October 28th!! He was a little late on this one.
    I agree, that O O/WS is irrelevant on the stadium efforts.

  8. huge social change in effect and its spun into a “negative” for the cities plan for the A’s? really? I hope that guy at Occupy SJ doesn’t fall off of that 20 ft. perch he’s on…. the city could get sued …. by the way… solidarity to my Occupy San Jose folks. This is bigger than baseball!

    • @David – If he does fall off the wall, I’ll cover it exactly the same way I did the Olsen case. There is no comment on the politics of the Occupy __ movement here, it’s only about the fiscal impact – which is important.

  9. It seems fair to point out, an epicenter of the anti-Wall Street movement is not an intuitive site for a venue to be marketed as a place for entertaining corporate clients. Just sayin’.

  10. Also just saying: I would just say that the Occupy Oakland movement and the related police actions has put Quan into a very negative light. So much so that now she could be facing a recall. How this will effect Oakland’s ballpark “situation”? I have nothing more to say about that.

  11. @bartleby – it started in NY. Your anti-Oakland bias showing.

    @TonyD – You can’t be serious.

  12. Don’t want to get too political, but just want to say I support the 99%ers 100%. I can’t believe Oakland is ground zero for it, though. I feel for Mayor Quan on this. A no win situation for any person in her shoes. She must show strong leadership through all this, after a real bad night last Tuesday.
    Oh, if I was the guy camping on top of the wall in SJ, I would of rolled over the ledge to my death the first night the way I toss and turn when I sleep!!

  13. @David–you’re right that it started in NYC and it is Ground Zero for it over Oakland, my bad, but Oakland is getting most of the attention lately. They were chanting “Oakland, Oakland, Oakland” in NYC the day after the tear gas incident.

  14. @David I am well aware where the movement started. I said “an epicenter,” not “the epicenter.” See attached article.
    Also, so far as I know, no one has gotten their head bashed in in New York, at least not yet.
    Taking note of relevant facts does not constitute “anti-Oakland bias.” Just because I don’t share your religion does not make me anti-Oakland.

  15. @bartleby You’re right, no canister head shots. Just a leg run over by a cop’s vehicle, innocents pepper sprayed, protesters punched in the face and beaten with batons. Run of the mill stuff.
    I for one am proud of the actions being taken in Oakland. Hearing my city’s name being chanted by occupy movements around the world is a beautiful thing. If corporate clients are afraid or don’t support the movement, well that speaks more to their sad/guilty state of mind, in my opinion.

  16. Why are you adding the two figures for a total loss when they aren’t fully funded by the same sources? HSR’s costs have started before 2009 and part of the cost is from California dollars.
    Nice to see the hypocritical quote from Ms. Alexis of the Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design NIMBY group who created the lawsuit. You can say that about any huge project; guess we shouldn’t strive for progress.

  17. Responsible rail design as in – put the thing where it has no chance of affecting my property values, right?

  18. @jk-usa

    One always wonders if the Haas family didn’t sell, how many more years he’d be with the A’s.

    Considering TLR’s last three A’s teams were a collective 186-234 (for a tidy winning percentage of .443), he probably would not have lasted much longer, either by his own choice of by that of the upper management.

  19. @eb – that’s right!

  20. @eb I never made any kind of value judgment on the protesters or their goals. Personally, I have some sympathy with their views. But if you think these protests make corporate execs think, “Now there’s a spot I want to entertain my most valued clients,” you are mistaken.

  21. @bartleby – there’s a small growing protest in SJ too. I hope it gets larger than Oakland. Your speculative comments on the subject don’t make much sense. There’s been police violence in: Milwaukee, Portland and NY City. I doubt the chamber of commerce in any of these cities are getting worried (yet)>

  22. @David The protest in San Jose is small and has been almost invisible. This is partly because of the fundamental character of the city, and partly because the sensational events in Oakland crowd San Jose out of the newspaper.
    As far as Milwaukee, Portland and NYC: None of those cities is currently trying to attract or retain an MLB team. My point wasn’t that the “Occupy” protests were going to have a broad effect on business in any particular city (including Oakland). My point was that the fact these protests are going on right when the fate of the A’s is being deliberated is not helpful to Oakland.
    Make no mistake: The raison d’etre for these SOTA venues is as a playground for businesses and the wealthy. That is where the extra “revenue generation” that MLB teams hunger for comes from, not regular folks. Firebrand radicalism of any kind, particularly that which is specifically targeted at big business, is not a selling point in this regard.
    You may think I’m an elitist. I’m not. If and when a new A’s park is built, I will be sitting up in the cheap seats. I’m not saying it’s great that regular folks are getting crowded out, just acknowledging reality. But the way I look at it, the big businesses will be subsidizing my entertainment. In that regard, we will be far better off if Cisco Field is built than taxpayers in cities where they got to pay for the ballpark and end up sitting in the cheap seats anyway.

  23. So, if a stadium is built in Oakland – three years from now, if its done, some businesses won’t buy suites, because of all of this going on right now? that is a sssssssssssstrech!

  24. @David that’s not what I wrote. The protests are going on right now. The deliberations on the A’s future are going on right now. I said, the protests may factor into the deliberations on where the stadium is built.
    Now, three years from now, if a ballpark somehow got built in Oakland, it’s true that businesses won’t buy suites there. But this will be primarily because it’s horribly inconvenient to both them and their clients and there is a far more convenient alternative in San Francisco.

  25. But according to the 79%ers (pro-SJ camp) on here, I thought Oakland had no chance in hell, that SJ is a slam-dunk, a no-brainer, a done deal. Why should the Occupy Oakland have any bearing at all? Other MLB cities with heavy handed police with OWS: Denver and SD. The list will grow to other MLB cities, and the fans and corportations won’t all of a sudden cancel their tix.

  26. @jk-USA-I am happy to bet you that in 5 years there will be no ballpark in Oakland- regardless of MLB decision on SJ- you willing to take the bet- 1000 bucks or more- your call-

  27. If you give me at least 50-1 odds maybe, other than that no bet, cuz it’s in BS’s hands and he doesn’t want a team in Oakland just like his buddy Lew doesn’t either. I wish he’d do the right thing and give Oakland a chance though. I’m holding out hope, but I just don’t know how this is going to turn out.
    Speaking of odds, did you hear about the guy who won $375k betting on the Cards?
    He placed 2 bets at $250 each on Sept 12 for the Cards to win the pennant (500-1) and WS (999-1), winning $125k and $250k. He hedged his bet just before the WS with his pennant winnings and bet $100k on the Rangers, so his total profit was still $275k. Crazy!

  28. Why would Occupy Oakland have any bearing? Um, did you notice that Quan was loudly boo’d offstage when she tried to address the crowd? Did you know of the escalating crime rate combined with police brutality this is being associated with OPD? Did you forget that Batts just resigned? If Quan goes, VC is dead….Oakland ballpark is dead. As far as Occupy SJ – I talked to some of them when I had a wedding event last week at the City Hall Rotunda. Not the sharpest tools in the shed, but they have passion in their belief (whatever that is). And at least they’re trying to do something about it unlike some of the selfish, passive, sensitive, and bitter people on here.

  29. By the time a decision is to be made on an A’s ballpark, this occupy stuff will be a distant memory.
    In the mean time I don’t think this will affect any decisions concerning Oakland.. San Jose is still the front-runner, at least for now.

  30. re: Now, three years from now, if a ballpark somehow got built in Oakland, it’s true that businesses won’t buy suites there. But this will be primarily because it’s horribly inconvenient to both them and their clients and there is a far more convenient alternative in San Francisco.

    …this about says it all. Oakland wants Wolff to forget about all this and build the ballpark, anyway. if he and Fischer lose their shirts, no skin off Oakland’s back.

  31. “If Quan goes, VC is dead….Oakland ballpark is dead”.
    I disagree, Anon. Considering that Quan won’t even go on 95.7 the Game to talk about it, and she has referred Doug Boxer (of LGO) instead, she is all talk, and little walk. Plus, Wolff just said “no” to her at the recent meetings. As much of an Oakland A’s fan that she is, I don’t think her being Mayor gives the A’s any better shot at Oakland/VC than if some other Oakland A’s fan who may take over for mayor. I don’t like the idea of Kaplan prioritizing the Coliseum over VC, which seemed very naïve of her. Arnie Fields would have been great as an Oakland advocate, but unfortunately, he finished far behind in the mayorial race, perhaps due to not having a concrete plan for much else (sorry, Arnie, if you are reading this and I am mistaken on the latter).

  32. I have resisted coming to this site because of the obvious SJ bias bent and the fact the ML at one point censered one of my first comments because of a subtle reference I made that had a racial undertone to it. Trust me it was really subtle. Now I see that ML makes a comment regarding the Occupy Oakland Movement has something to do with the approval of the baseball stadium at VC. ML really? Your subtilties are not so subtle, somewhat hipocritical. A lot of the motivation and momentum behind this ideal of moving the A’s to Sj is just what it is. It’s the 1%ers imposing their will on the 99% (since we are on this path) that somehow all the high tech corporate money is too good for gritty Oakland. The irony of it all SJ suffers from the….get this…the same problem little ole Oakland suffers from. Pride and a sense of relevance. Poor SJ has grown up from its Orchard Trees to become the 1%ers playground of Wealth, Power, & Prestige. SJ, now wanting to flex its mighty economic muscle of not being just the High Tech geniuses or the Stanford revolutionaries they want to give themselves a grander platform to continue to say look at me, and how much better we are than you! Sounds familar? Is this not what the occupy movement is protesting about?
    So let’s go and take more from the 99%ers, the snakepit which Oakland is….where the likes of Apple and Google would never have their clients step foot in, so the pro SJ crowd could never imagine that these titants would ever put a dollar into corp. suites and electronic billboards. No way they could have their names associated with a waterfront ballpark in the center of the one of wealthest regions in the world. Why because its Oakland and those damn pesty 99%ers, hell they can’t afford or even understand what we are making in Silicon Valley. They don’t deserve to be relevant!

    As to you Sj people you are relevant and its ok, but as one of your titants(Jobs) said about another titant(Gates) you have no imagination!!
    I will again end on this….I would rather see the A’s move to Portland, than see them in SJ. It is like seeing your wife leave you for your brother and move across the street from you.

  33. Today’s Mercury News says Josh Willingham unlikely to re-sign. And the beat goes on…

  34. Wow, Trojon67… where do we begin?
    First, it’s easy to see a pro-SJ bias when pretty much 90% of the news about a ballpark moving forward is out of SJ. Second, any racial undertones, however subtle are still not cool.
    The Occupy movement is against the government, or at least trying to get the attention of the government to do something. I think that’s clear, as many of the groups are camping out in front of government facilities.
    A ballpark anywhere–Oakland, San Jose, San Rafael, Windsor, Sacramento, Portland, San Antonio… you name it–requires the government to help, even if it’s just to get all the land together and plan city infrastructure improvements.
    So this means that they’re related in at least one regard–The Government Needs To Do Something. And when you have the government doing something for the private sector…. do you think that might piss off the Occupy people? Surely that means they’ll mention it. Surely that means the pressure would be against building a ballpark? And if the government officials decided to spend their time on resolving the Occupy issues, surely that means there is less time to deal with the ballpark?
    Now, compare the SJ and Oakland protestors. Well, I can’t. I haven’t seen anything in the news about SJ except a dude on a wall. I have seen, however, violent clashes between the police and citizens in Oakland. Whether or not those citizens are actually Occupy people or just imported “professional protestors who only need a reason” as I call them, who’s to say? Either way, it sure makes it look like getting government help to build a stadium in Oakland is going to be harder than in SJ.
    The rest of your rant is really just you verbalizing the pain you feel in regards to losing ‘your team’ or having your city slighted. The short and simple truth is that a majority of the money is in Santa Clara county, and the big companies that are required in order to build a private park WITHOUT A TON OF PUBLIC HELP won’t put their money into a stadium unless it’s convenient. Wait, did I say without a ton of public help? Without lots of money from the government? A government that is going to have even more pressure put on it by the public to reduce cuts on things like schools and other required public facilities?
    Yes, all cities might be suffering from this to some extent, but I can’t help but think that the visibility of Oakland’s movement makes this a detriment many times that of San Jose.
    So that is why this is all relevant.
    P.S. Victory Court is not a waterfront location. It’s still a few blocks away from the channel, and billing the VC stadium location as anything similar to the location of AT&T Park is disingenuous.

  35. The Raiders were lured back to Oakland by the construction of more than 100 new luxury boxes at the Coliseum. How successful have the Raiders been in leasing these boxes? Not very, no? Tells us all we need to do about the market for premium suites in the East Bay. Why would Wolff and Fischer want to invest their own money in something that has already been shown not to work? (At least the Raiders got their suites courtesy of Oakland/Alameda taxpayers.)

  36. @all – Again, my comment was not about the scope or efficacy of the Occupy __ movement. It was only about the Scott Olsen incident and its specific future fiscal impact on Oakland. I pulled out the Riders example, to which no one has responded even in the slightest. (Why is that so many people have trouble debating facts?) This means money. If some of you want to run with this politically that’s fine, I opened the can of worms. But in no way was I taking a stand for or against Occupy. So if the Oakland supporters want to cast me a protest hater, or the pro-San Jose crowd wants to paint Oakland in a negative light – that’s all your opinion, not mine.

  37. Seems nobody can criticize anything these days without being called a “hater.” When you can’t prove your point with logical arguments, just call names, I guess….

  38. The Occupy movement in San Jose is far less than Oakland and even San Francisco for some odd reason.

    My Dad who has been living in San Jose for 20+ years told me “it is because people in San Jose have jobs and do not have time to protest”.

    Perhaps that is the reason or it is something else but San Jose is a far wealthier city in Oakland from the citizens standpoint and corporate standpoint.

    A big part of that 1% resides in Santa Clara County hence why the Giants protect it with their lives.

    San Jose has problems with their government just like Oakland but nowhere near the same level. In the end it is a far more major city than Oakland will ever be in this day and age.

    Back in the 1960s it was a different story hence why Finley moved to Oakland. It was a booming city and the port business was doing real well and San Jose was prune-yards.

    Now it is all about technology and San Jose is the center of it for the entire world. Hence the
    “Capital of Silicon Valley”.

    Oakland is the past and San Jose is the future, not just for the A’s but in general. I like ML are not against the Occupy protests but I am not for it either.

    I have a job and I going to work and not complain because this how the world works. That 1% creates corporations that employ the 99% in a nutshell.

    Unless we go a straight communist model that is way it will always be. In the capitalist world you either are at the top or the bottom.

    It is up to us as individuals to strive in no matter what we do. Some of us are cut out to run corporations while others are just cut out to work for one and take home their paycheck.

    In either case we need to work as hard as possible regardless of what is going around us. Complaining never gets you anywhere.

    Hard work, dedication, and innovation is what gets you places. Those who want a “handout”…I am sorry, you have create your handouts in this world.

  39. @pjk – The Raiders’ situation is completely different. The Raider attendance problems are mostly because of: losing and people who hate Al Davis, for leaving in 1981.

  40. The Raiders and A’s situations are exactly the same when it comes to luxury suite sales. Both try to sell to the same market in the same place. Neither is successful. I read a 1999 report (from when the economy was still good) that had the Raiders dead-last in percentage of suites sold in the NFL. Wolff and Fischer already k now the score when it comes to selling luxury suites and premium seating in the East Bay, which would be critical to paying for a new ballpark in the complete absence of government funds. And the score is not good. The Raiders built state-of-the-art suites and nobody wants them. Sound like a good indicator of how thousands of premium seats and hundreds of luxury suites would or would not sell in a new Oakland ballpark. (Excuse me, the city and county built the Raiders suites.)

  41. @Sid – way to speak up for the 1%. We tried “Reaganomics” for 30 years … it does not work!
    Also, SJ is a fine city. I like my electronics and the internet. But, don’t turn that into “SJ is now and Oakland is the past”. Oakland has lots of upside. Oakland, like SJ, is always changing. Nothing is static and as a life-long resident, I can assure you, that things haven’t been as “good” since the 1970’s.
    There’s a whole lot of room between soviet-style communism and the type of “bank-takes-all” system we live in today.
    That’ll be my last political comment. I’ll be at Occupy Oakland tomorrow (taking a day off of work).

    @ML – Thanks for allowing this dialogue on your baseball site.

  42. @Sid–this guy must be your hero then:
    “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!”
    Herman Cain

  43. So I guess we’re getting a bargain on HSR. Now it will only cost us $98.5B.

  44. Um, the economy left the doldrums of the 1970s and was revived mightily by Reagan’s policies. Economic growth for a long, long time until banks started giving out risky mortgages. Get your facts straight…

  45. Okay, I’m gonna have to shut this one down.

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