As usual, we’re in a quiet period leaving the January winter meetings and a month before pitchers and catchers report. At least we have FanFest coming up this weekend. Speaking of FanFest, if folks would like to meetup at FanFest, I think we can meet just inside whichever entrance they use, probably the Plaza Club entrance (lower) or East entrance (upper). I’d love to meet at a great restaurant or bar within walking distance, but… you know the problem there.
Now the news:
- The Merc’s Tracy Seipel has a roundup of effect the shuttering of redevelopment will have on numerous South Bay redevelopment agencies, including San Jose’s. As has been written previously, SJRA has been winding down over the last year or so, making the shutdown less painful and abrupt than it is for other cities, many of whom are trying to extend the deadline from February 1 to April 15. While San Jose remains in an good position with regard to getting its planning and preparation together on a ballpark, its ability to acquire additional land for the ballpark is gone, leaving A’s ownership to take care of the rest.
- Also in the Merc, columnist Scott Herhold makes the political calculation that if San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed continues to be aggressive if pushing for a pension reform referendum, he may find a lot of enemies of the ballpark in the form of public employee unions. Personally I know a few who are already opposed and are blaming the ballpark effort, so this is no joke. The simple fact of the matter is that with the unions providing givebacks and lower projected costs leading to a smaller budget deficit, the City is not in the kind of fiscal state of emergency that requires such drastic action on the Mayor’s part. Cooler heads should prevail.
- St. Petersburg pols think a light rail system connecting their city with Tampa could help jumpstart attendance.
- Apparently there is a Florida law which dictates that any stadia built with some amount of public funds requires those facilities to be used as homeless shelters when games aren’t being played. This includes huge football stadia, domes like Tropicana Field, even spring training ballparks. Now two legislators are trying to enforce that provision, which until now has remained dormant.
- Chron’s Leah Garchik has an entertaining account of 49er fans being stuck on a bus in gridlock for three hours even though it was only going within city limits.
- Added 12:07 PM – Lawrence Berkeley Lab has picked the site for its second campus: Richmond. The land was already owned by UC, so LBL needed to be bowled over to pick a different site in Oakland, Alameda, or Emeryville. In the end, that apparently didn’t happen. Sites proposed by Oakland included the Zhone property across 880 from the Coliseum, and the Oak-to-Ninth site east of Jack London Square.
- Added 8:30 PM – The City of Oakland released a proposal that would layoff only 105 full-time employees as part of the redevelopment shutdown. That figure would be slightly more than half of the 200 layoffs that were expected.
- Added 11:35 PM – The Santa Clara County Registrar confirmed that the 4,500 signatures gathered in a petition effort for a new referendum were good. This sets up a situation where the City Council, which has been firmly pro-stadium, will probably reject the petition effort, setting up a court battle. The interesting new twist to this saga is that the current Mayor is Jamie Matthews, a staunch opponent of the stadium plan. Matthews, who replaced Pat Mahan (proponent) last year, was merely a dissenting vote on the Council when the original vote passed in June 2010. Matthews seems emboldened enough now to turn the stadium effort into a real war. Correction 1/25 9:00 PM – Councilmember Jamie McLeod is a dissenter, not Jamie Matthews, who has been a longtime supporter of the stadium plan.
More if/as it comes.