Wolff willing to meet with Knauss + Quan & Miley in Chron

From the end of Joe Stiglich’s recap of Tuesday night’s thrilling walk-off slam win (courtesy of Mark Purdy, I assume):

A’s owner Lew Wolff said Tuesday that he would be willing to meet with Don Knauss, the Clorox chief executive officer who is spearheading the latest effort to keep the team in Oakland. But Wolff, who is traveling in Europe, said he would spend most of that meeting outlining his unsuccessful efforts to build an East Bay ballpark.

“If they want to look at all that, I would do that,” Wolff said. “I would be delighted to meet with him.”

For the sake of argument, let’s say that they meet in mid-June. That’s after the owners meetings and before the All-Star break, and without knowing the two men’s schedules, probably enough lead time to schedule something. Wolff explained what he’s going to do, which is in all likelihood to give the presentation he gave MLB some time ago. Knauss will probably try to sell Wolff on Oakland. He may or may not bring up the Giants’ T-rights. He’ll bring up his Coca-Cola/Minute Maid experience. What will he have on hand to try to refute Wolff’s case against Oakland? Keep in mind that Wolff has been working on this stadium business for longer than Knauss has been at Clorox.

Coming out of this hypothetical meeting, expect both men to have their talking points. Wolff will explain that he’s tried everything he could. Knauss will probably say that circumstances merit a fresh approach. Beyond that, what should we expect? Prepared statements? Mini press-conferences? No one should expect some great solution to come out of meeting, or that Wolff will suddenly feel like selling the franchise.

Will Oakland backers continue their PR war for the next month? Interestingly, the thrust of this campaign currently goes over Wolff’s head – appealing to John Fisher and MLB, not addressing Wolff directly.

While most fans were reading the Tribune ad from early Tuesday morning, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley penned their own op-ed in the Chronicle. From the piece:

Over the past three years, MLB has made it clear that any new A’s ballpark would require the public agencies to provide land, infrastructure and some parking while the team would finance construction. Under this type of public-private partnership, the city and county’s general fund would not be put at risk. The city and county already own the land, and only minor improvements to the infrastructure surrounding the ballpark are needed. There is ample land at the new ballpark Coliseum site to provide the team with development rights, which could assist with the financing. The parcel is large enough to meet Major League Baseball’s specifications.

That’s a curious selling point, because the reality of Coliseum City appears to be different, at least according to a case study published by the Airport Area Business Association in conjunction with Coliseum City principal JRDV and students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. From the study:

Oakland, Taking Control of Its Destiny

The Coliseum complex presents a unique opportunity to prepare a pioneering business model that generates revenue for both public and private interests. A winning plan to finance, build, and operate a new Oakland stadium will draw upon historical data and the successes of other urban cities across the U.S. in developing projects that revitalized their surrounding communities and invigorated local and regional economies.

The estimated community benefits amount to upwards of $1.3 billion in direct spending, tax collection, employment, and wage earnings. Nonetheless, can the City of Oakland and Alameda County really afford to go down this path again given that it is still repaying its previous Coliseum bond and loan debts of at least $145 million?

Can Oakland overcome the challenges and obstacles it faces, and make the new stadium a reality? Are the withdrawal of redevelopment monies, the negative perception of Oakland (and especially Deep East Oakland) by investors, and the soft commercial real estate market insurmountable? Can the City of Oakland and Alameda County garner the public support required to approve the necessary public financing and inspire investor confidence?

It’s funny, the PR campaign hasn’t mentioned much about the difficulties Oakland and Alameda County face. It’s also curious, though not surprising, that the study has no mention of the A’s as a future tenant at Coliseum City. It only considers the Raiders and Warriors. Quan and Miley want people to believe that putting in a new ballpark is as easy as adding a bedroom onto a house. It’s all part of the disjointed narrative that the Oakland lobby continues to push: no consensus on a site, all sites are great, no broad, honest public discussion of the obstacles any project faces.

Mile wide, inch deep.

P.S. – A snippet from today’s Oakland Tribune editorial gets the tone right:

The next step — and this will likely be one of the toughest ones — is for the city to demonstrate some uncharacteristic vision. It must grab this opportunity with a firm grip and hold on with all its might.

That will mean putting asunder petty bickering and other nonsense to come together in common purpose. Not just saying the words in a photo op, mind you, but actually doing it.

When was the last time the City of Oakland accomplished a major project that didn’t turn out to be a budget-busting mess marked by political infighting and legal drama?

93 thoughts on “Wolff willing to meet with Knauss + Quan & Miley in Chron

  1. coliseum city project is a complete non starter for any new a’s park in oakland if i’m wolff or if magically the a’s are sold to a pro oakland group looking to build a new park.

    still think in the end the a’s will be in sj within the next 4-5 years.

  2. Why would a “PR campaign” put forward potential challenges during this stage? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of their intentions?
    As for the meeting, I hope both parties come into it with some flexibility. Not a fan of Wolff’s, but at least he’s meeting with Knauss. Who knows, maybe their eyes will connect from across the room, magic will blossom and they’ll start a two man wolf pack.

  3. @eb – I wouldn’t expect it to. The problem is that virtually all of Oakland’s efforts to date are PR moves. When are people supposed to have the real discussion? When does the PR campaign turn into a campaign to, you know, build a stadium? Seems as though the strategy is to say to MLB, “Forget what happened before, we’re in good shape now, trust us as we figure out the details.” Forgive me for being a little skeptical. And if Selig and the other owners are also skeptical, how can you blame them? What do they really have to go on in support of Oakland?

  4. Quan could not find her …..with both hands.

    it is so obvious : delay delay delay….

    I would not be surprised if BS and the G’s are behind all this PR BS. BS won’t do sh#t and just want to wait out Lew and Fisher. Lew and Fisher will get tired of the mess and give up some day.

    SJ please sue BS and MLB.

  5. Between the Chron, EBExpress, and Tribune pieces I’m convinced now that this was an organized papering of the letters to the editor sections of the various papers that service the east bay to coincide with the presser. However they’re all fluff just as the presser was, and what’s worse Quan is still delusional enough to think that Coliseum city still has a shot. I’ll give Knauss that at least, that he realizes a real site needs to be chosen, not some pie in the sky plan at a site in the worst possible location.

  6. The only thing that gives me pause to the “coordinated press bomb” is the fact that you have the City pimping Coliseum City while Knauss is talking downtown and the “fan” letter offers absolutely no solution. I agree it is coordinated… But it is an interesting approach to messaging when the message isn’t all that consistent. I guess it’s better than stupid slogans on bed sheets.

  7. sounds like someone with more power the ol’ Lew, told him he has to share his toy.
    it would be easier to talk about obstacles in a real partnership. Being that Oakland has to deploy this effort without contact with A’s ownership, to date – the current narrative make sense to me.

  8. slightly off topic but: BOOM goes the dynamite! #brandomoniumrunswild
    I don’t believe anything in the “binder” will be news to the Oakland folks. From what I understand, a lot of it is detailed communications between the A’s and various folks in Oakland’s government/power structure.

  9. eb and david,
    I ask you guys because I think you are both Oakland and/or Alameda County residents (maybe wrong on eb) but do you guys think the Coliseum City plan (when it actually gets to the point of being a solid plan) will fly without someone pushing for a referendum on the thing?
    I am an Alameda County resident, and if Alameda County is expected to chip in public funds for the thing I would sign a petition to get it on a ballot because I don’t trust the people that are the public face of the plan to get a deal that works for taxpayers (yes, I mean Jean Quan).

  10. J, Nice walk-off last night! I’m not “believer” in Inge, but he’s much better than the stiffs we’ve thrown out there post-Chavez!
    Any contact between ownership and the City of Oakland, is positive at this point. Maybe they can talk lease extensions at this meeting.

  11. re: it would be easier to talk about obstacles in a real partnership.

    …Except that Oakland’s idea of a partnership is: A’s owners take 100% of the risks, city gets 100% of the benefits. If PSLs, suites, sponsorships, tickets don’t sell and there is a gigantic debt to pay off with insufficient revenues, then A’s owners simply go bankrupt. That’s Oakland’s concept of a “partnership” with the A’s. What’s Oakland offering for ballpark construction? The same old $0.00.

  12. Jeffrey, do you think the Mayor would be the point person for any decision making? I doubt it.
    if there needs to be a referendum at some point, that’s good. I don’t trust any politicians: local, state or federal. “Public faces” don’t get shit done. Working-class subordinates behind the scenes are always getting the hard stuff done.

  13. Oakland’s idea of a partnership with the A’s, from a historical perspective:
    A’s owners: We want baseball-only improvements to the Coliseum.
    Oakland: Sorry. we’re turning the place into a football stadium instead. Hope you don’t mind…

  14. It sounds to me like Oakland is offering development around the stadium as a way to pay for the stadium:

    Available land: Over the past three years, MLB has made it clear that any new A’s ballpark would require the public agencies to provide land, infrastructure and some parking while the team would finance construction. Under this type of public-private partnership, the city and county’s general fund would not be put at risk. The city and county already own the land, and only minor improvements to the infrastructure surrounding the ballpark are needed. There is ample land at the new ballpark Coliseum site to provide the team with development rights, which could assist with the financing. The parcel is large enough to meet Major League Baseball’s specifications.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/08/EDUE1OF15Q.DTL#ixzz1uNhv0eU8

    This was Lew’s original concept in Oakland though I am not sure it is really feasible without the whole “rezoning to residential increasing the land value” angle of Lew’s original plan. The plan, that he DID outline back then was to rezone the land residential and flip it to other developers. The difference in value would have created a significant source of construction funding back int eh Real Estate bubble. That isn’t an option now, so perhaps there are toher entitlements they have in mind.

  15. Didn’t Ol’ Lew’s original plan include: property across 66th street that he insisted needed a new BART station?

  16. Lew Wolff has investors. Given the way Oakland and its business leaders confronted him publicly, basically telling him that his assessment of Oakland was wrong, how confident would Wolff’s investors be if Wolff suddenly did an about-face and tried to convince them that an East Bay ballpark venture was a good idea?


    It’s just not lining up. Obviously, the Oakland business leaders would prefer working with the mystery potential owners group, otherwise this anonymous group wouldn’t have been contacted and used as a passive threat against the Wolff/Fisher group. Despite the city, business leaders and fan group expressing their desire to keep the team in Oakland, it’s still a incongruous mess.

  17. David, have you ever negotiated for a living? To answer the question, it did, but that was a starting point. If you recall the City of Oakland didn’t come up with the plan, in fact they haven’t come up with one to this day.
    Realistically, if we teleport back to that period of time there are legit reasons that he wanted to be across 66th (protests by the good ‘ol Raiders and Warriors about losing parking for one) and a need to have the most possible acreage for the entitlement funding scheme.
    Oakland could have said “BART is staying put but we can figure out a creative way to move people from the existing station to the new ballpark.”
    It takes two to tango, and Oakland hasn’t done much tangoing really… A whole lot of posturing, but not much tangoing.

  18. Briggs, from what I read in Lew Wolff’s comments he has no intention of making an about face. He is going to show Don Knauss the details of what he has done. Knauss can give platitudes about “hard by possible” all he wants. Where are the details? I know Lew has them, does Don?

  19. Added to the original post:

    P.S. – A snippet from today’s Oakland Tribune editorial gets the tone right:

    The next step — and this will likely be one of the toughest ones — is for the city to demonstrate some uncharacteristic vision. It must grab this opportunity with a firm grip and hold on with all its might.

    That will mean putting asunder petty bickering and other nonsense to come together in common purpose. Not just saying the words in a photo op, mind you, but actually doing it.

    When was the last time the City of Oakland accomplished a major project that didn’t turn out to be a budget-busting mess marked by political infighting and legal drama?

    Now that’s what I’m talking about.

  20. Whoa. A straight talking editorial? Me likey… I especially like the truth dealt about vilifying the owners as nonproductive.
    I sit skeptical, but ready to root for some kind of plan that isn’t Coliseum City.

  21. They haven’t posted that on LGO. I wonder why?

  22. If you expect LGO or Baseball Oakland to actually, you know, be honest about things… You are barking up the wrong tree.

  23. I’m not going to blame LGO for being a booster group. They’re quite clear in their purpose. It’s the Oakland pols who should be engaging the public truthfully.

  24. @Jeffrey: Yeah, what data could Knauss’ group be looking at? Who conducted the survey and what was the scope? Seeing that Coliseum City isn’t their preferred site, they may not be looking at the same data that the City of Oakland is. Further, if Coliseum City isn’t their preferred site, their survey must’ve been conducted independent of Oakland’s. If the Oakland business leaders are announcing on DAY-ONE that Coliseum City isn’t their preferred site, how would they back-peddle and rally the troupes if Coliseum City became their only option? I know it’s a dead horse now, but this is less than a plan. It’s barely a coherent idea.

  25. Marine Layer, you seem to know exactly how this meeting will turn out, months prior it happening. Care to end this entire discussion and enlighten us on how the stadium situation will finally resolve itself?

  26. @JGMJ – What do you honestly expect to come out of the meeting? This is nothing compared to actually building a stadium. Only four months ago we saw what happens when an ownership fake signs off on a deal, only to turn tail weeks later. You have a choice. Which would you prefer? I can guarantee you that no one will emerge from the meeting with a “framework” for a deal.

  27. @JGMJ: This discussion should’ve ended over three years ago with everyone agreeing that MLB will act when it acts and no amount of fan/media speculation, pontification or vehement persuasion will change that. But ya know, we do this for… fun?

  28. Briggs, I wonder if Knauss actually has a study? It seemed more like (at least in his interviews) he was still in the “concept” phase.

  29. Say what you will, but I think penning op-ed pieces to newspapers, whether from a CEO of a company or a lowly everyday fan, is still a valid form of making your voice heard. A good friend of mine and I, both of us very in favor of the A’s staying in Oakland, had been working for the last few weeks on a Letter to the Editor about our arguments for A’s fans strong support of the A’s (based on many of the points we’ve made on this very site; whether you agree or not is a separate question). And from our perspective, the energy of last week’s press conference and recent other letters only makes us more excited to write this letter and send it in. Is it some “conspiracy” to flood papers with letters because “someone” is telling us to? No, its because we’re passionate A’s fans who see a rekindled glimmer of hope to keep our team in Oakland, and that drives us to do something. What, as a lowly fan, can we do? We can’t go negotiate with MLB. We can’t tell Lew Wolff what to do. But we can buy tickets to a game. We can write op-eds. Obviously the pro-SJ crowd will say that clearly recent history shows its way too little and too late, and that’s fine. Just know there are passionate A’s fans still alive and well in the East Bay, as much as you like to discount it.

  30. Yeah, I get that baseball oakland is a booster group. I just get really tired of the absurd crap they peddle on their web site. I check in on it once a month or so for a good laugh.

  31. JH510, no one doubts there are passionate fans in the East Bay. Crap, a lot of people who post here are passionate East Bay fans. Hey, including me 🙂

  32. JGMJ: did you read Lew Wolff’s comment? Or did you just ignore everything but “I am willing to meet with Don Knauss.” He pretty cleary signaled how the meeting will go. It doesn’t call for much speculation.

  33. Kudos to Wolff for willing to sit down with Knauss and Co. and show them why there are zero viable sites in the East Bay.

    Knauss does not know what Wolff has gone through and why the BRC delays while Selig brokers a deal to open up San Jose.

    Quan, I know has sat down with Wolff but I doubt even she wanted to hear what Wolff wanted to say about the site surveys he did across the East Bay over the past 10 years. With Knauss in the room he being a private sector guy will see clearly what Wolff has been dealing with.

    Quan only wants to hear what she wants to hear. Knauss will be far more open about the situation by far and I would not be surprised he back tracks after the meeting and agrees with Wolff or has no comment.

    MLB eliminated the Coliseum years ago as they want stadiums in urban downtown settings and not centered in a big parking lot in a terrible neighborhood.

    Those days are long gone and MLB knows full well Oakland back stabbed the A’s years ago when an agreement had been reach to remodel the Coliseum for baseball only in favor of the Raiders.

    Like the Kings in Sacramento, the clock on the A’s had long expired in Oakland……It just is not official yet.

  34. @ML & JGMJ: I think JGMJ’s point isn’t that the outcome of the meeting would be for a renewed effort focused on Oakland, or a warm and fuzzy hug between Wolff and Knauss. I think what he’s saying is that we simply don’t know what might come out of that meeting, so its presumptive to so strongly give a prediction. Obviously we can all make guesses and have our own gut take on what we think would happen in this or any other meeting, but the fact is we don’t know, the meeting hasn’t happened yet. And its one thing to say “here’s what I think will happen…”, vs. saying “Quan and Miley want people to believe that putting in a new ballpark is as easy as adding a bedroom onto a house. It’s all part of the disjointed narrative that the Oakland lobby continues to push…”. Say what you will, but that’s clearly editorializing the situation to discount anything Oakland is trying to do right now. Obviously you hold the keys, so thats your right, and we don’t dispute that. Just don’t expect those of us loyal to Oakland to read your future posts as unbiased in where you’d like a new stadium built.

  35. @JH510 – Don’t expect me not to challenge B.S. when I see it. I’m not sorry if it makes you uncomfortable. The great thing about this site is that it its combination of news and commentary. We don’t give news the short shrift – we had the ad text up before anyone else did and I refrained from commenting on it within the original post. Many Oakland partisans come back here repeatedly to read the site because it’s the only place to get the regular news. Here’s a good question: Why hasn’t anyone from Oakland put together a site like this, but with a pro-Oakland slant? Baseball Oakland is lucky if they get a post a week up. LGO is entirely dependent on Facebook, and we have more readers per month than they have total followers (many of whom don’t come back regularly). I’m going to keep trying to get the real story and cut through the B.S. Because you need it.

  36. Okay, here’s an “out of left field” hypothetical question.
    Given Selig’s comments in the past regarding the A’s being in Oakland, would MLB be okay with the A’s staying in Oakland, if a financially sound deal could be worked out? I know this sounds like a silly question, given that they currently play in Oakland, but most outside observers believe that it would be in the best interest of baseball if the A’s were to move to San Jose. It also appear that the BRC has recommended that the A’s look to the South Bay for a new home. Will a new ballpark in Oakland be the long term answer to the long standing attendance problem, or are there other issues at play which can’t be solved with a new ballpark?

  37. @JH510: Are you really speaking on behalf of Oakland-only supporters? Unless we’re a spokesperson for an organized, public group, everyone is speaking as an individual. Further, this entire situation is too complicated for the “you’re either for us or against us” mentality. You’re missing out on a lot of the nuance of this whole saga if you take that approach.

  38. @Briggs – i find your use of “troupes” instead of “troops” “entertaining” 😉
    I will wait to judge the business community until their meeting is concluded with Wolff. There certainly has been a lot of development in Oakland the past 6 years and I was flabbergasted when our fair city was tapped #5 on the NYT Top places to visit in 2012. New restaurants and bars downtown, the Fox Theater coming back, it gives me hope – not a factual economic study – just street sense.
    I’m in agreement (as is Knauss) that Coliseum City is a bad location for the A’s. Oakland spent a pretty penny with the Uptown area and adding a stadium could be the catalyst in a full-on revival. This is what I think the businesses see: tiny sprouts are showing and if properly cared for, could be something special downtown. I think it will also help the corps with selling their location in corporate recruiting.
    I believe that’s what the local corps see, but it doesn’t help Wolff & Fisher make enough money from the team. I wish i had an econ degree to put to personal use, but i don’t. All I can say is that, I think doing a PSL program for the lower level could work. I’m not talking the $30K the 49ers are looking at, but, as demonstrated by this site, the East Bay is home to a lot of medium sized businesses, just not the big corporations that take the lux boxes and big sponsorships. If you put a $2K PSL on the lower bowl around the diamond, say 15,000 seats – that’s $30M right there (b/c it’s Oakland, i’m thinking a little less than 1/2 what the Giants did). I think the east bay has a healthy number of fans who could afford that kind of PSL ($100K plus earners) who would be happy to take their family to a nice ball park, but who look to AT&T Park instead of the Coliseum.
    I know those numbers pale in comparison to the money of Santa Clara County. I know that SJ is chomping at the bit with a real plan and land reserved. And I’m happy the ownership wants to keep the A’s in the Bay Area. But I, like everyone here dies every day the “blue ribbon panel” doesn’t produce a plan the A’s can move forward with.
    I don’t know why there’s so much indignation over the local businesses putting together an effort to keep the A’s here. It’s not their fault MLB hasn’t resolved the T-Rights issue. It’s not their fault Oakland has terrible political management. They finally decided to make a push, and maybe having someone like Knauss rallying the business community will draw enough influence over the politicians to get a deal done (which is where I think Knauss’ could make a positive impact).
    Hell, if anything if Wolff has plenty of time on his hands (3 years and counting) to let Knauss try and wrangle him a sweet deal in downtown somewhere while he waits for MLB.

  39. @ML – The “minority” always has to make “more noise” to get attention. There are several (pro-Oakland stadium) blogs that discuss A’s Baseball on the field, as well as the off-field stuff. The fact that AN has endorsed this site as the place to talk about the stadium issue, while leaving their site mostly clear of this stuff is helpful for you. This is pretty much the only pro-SJ Stadium for the A’s, that I have heard of that has a forum for commentary.
    Your a good journalist ML. I just don’t agree with your opinion of what’s best for the A’s, or what Lew Wolff’s true intentions have been since he popped up in 1998.

  40. @ML – thanks for the follow up. More power to you when challenging BS when you see it, I applaud you in that and don’t think enough people do it. I think we probably disagree on what our definition of BS is when it comes to what Oakland is trying to do to keep the A’s, but that’s the beauty of debate. And not to worry, it wasn’t that you were making me uncomfortable with your anti-Oakland arguments, it was simply that I was frustrated that unbiased readers may approach your site thinking you too were unbiased. I agree with your point (in bold) about creating a pro-Oakland website, but nobody can discount the time and energy you’ve devoted in summarizing this issue and staying on top of the latest news, which I believe is what originally attracted the large number of regular readers you have. My frustration comes from the realization that I can no longer simply come to this site for the latest news on this issue without the pro-San Jose slant included.

  41. @JH510 – I’m not anti-Oakland. I’m realistic about Oakland. I lobbied hard for Oakland sites and the Coliseum North plan years ago. Then I found out how incompetent the City of Oakland was. That frames my perspective.

  42. So to clarify Marine Layer, when you write : “Why hasn’t anyone from Oakland put together a site like this, but with a pro-Oakland slant?” – You are openly admitting that this site is pro-San Jose?

    Now if that’s what you are saying, and it definitely sounds that way from the way you stated the above question, that’s perfectly fine. Just want to get things out in the open so that we know where the editorialized posts are coming from.

  43. What’s funny is your guys attacking the guy who runs the site. The figurative door to his figurative house is right over there if you don’t like what you read. Don’t let it hit your ass on the way out.

  44. Dan – not sure why you are taking this so personal. Not attacking, just trying to see where he is coming from. And as he stated, there is no pro-oakland site that provides this kind of updated information.

  45. @JGMJ – No. I just assumed that from the usual suspects on these sites that an alternative would have a pro-Oakland slant. They can’t even pull that off. Should I say that speaks to how much the Oakland community actually cares about the issue? Of course not, because that would be a bad assumption to make. I get a lot of personal emails and tweets thanking me for the impartiality of the site. I’ll take those over a couple of bitter critiques.

  46. Marine Layer – Even that remark shows a disdain for Oakland supporters.

    I have been reading this site on a regular basis for years. I never saw any need to comment because the posts seem like straightforward news, which readers could interpret on their own. I have to say that that it no longer feels that way. It is still an informative and entertaining site which I will continue to come to, but more like in the way Fox News or MSNBC are informative and entertaining.

  47. @Jefferey I’m not an Oakland resident anymore, I’ve moved out to Contra Costa. However, my family goes back three generations in Oakland and would love to move back at some point. I would totally agree with your reasoning for a referendum. I think people have a desire to keep the East Bay teams here, but giving free reign to politicians is almost always a bad idea.

  48. JGMJ, I also write for the site (not in a while) and I can tell you 100% we are not pro San Jose or Pro Oakland. We are realistic about what has to happen for a stadium to be built. I am, ML is and we both always have been pro anywhere in the Bay Area. There is a difference between being critical of Oakland’s efforts, and honestly if you don’t see them as disjointed (Quan is pushing Coliseum City/Knauss is talking Downtown as an example) to this point I can’t help you, and being anti Oakland. For crying out loud we both go to games in Oakland on a regular basis.
    ru155 above is a pro Oakland guy, read what he just wrote… He thinks $30M is a good target for PSL’s in Okaland… I honestly don’t disagree. Let’s say Clorox matches Cisco’s $130M naming rights… You are now at $160M towards a $500M project. Say the A’s take a loan for another $150-$200M (that is the max per the current MLB debt load rules) they get all the other general corporate sponsorships from consumer based companies like pouring rights and signs in the stadium… That still leaves a HUGE funding gap of about $100M. That isn’t anti Oakland, that is pro reality… Looking at facts like this is not Fox News, it’s NPR.
    Now, consider that the $100M gap is just for the construction of the stadium… For a downtown park at Victory Court the City mentioned the number $250M for site acquisition, business relocation, site preparation, infrastructure and all with no redevelopment to pay for it… That puts the gap at $350M. It is incumbent upon OAKLAND to tell us all where this is going to come from. Something they have yet to do.
    Now, this isn’t deep analysis in this comment, but ML and I have run through countless scenarios based on facts. There are volumes of this sort of analysis contained on this very site.
    And if you think we are the only people who believe that the Oakland City Government is a barrier to actually making anything happen… I invite you to read this editorial from the Oakland Tribune today.
    Nothing important has changed in the past two days. Just a whole hell of a lot of PR.

  49. @ru155: Thanks, man. I have a tough time resisting pun opportunities. I struggle with it daily.


    I don’t know why there’s so much indignation over the local businesses putting together an effort to keep the A’s here. It’s not their fault MLB hasn’t resolved the T-Rights issue. It’s not their fault Oakland has terrible political management.


    Good point. Speaking for myself, in a perfect world I’d prefer an Oakland ballpark because it’d be much more convenient for me. A San Jose ballpark likely means I’m only going to 6 or so games per season. Whatever. The problem I have with the Oakland business leaders showing up now is that they’re making a bunch of noise without having a whole lot to say. The end result is even more toying with the emotions of A’s fans. If this group wants to take responsibility for retaining the team in Oakland, it’s their duty to have a solid idea or two before going public. But it is what it is. At the view from 30,000 feet, it’s good to have multiple groups invested in keeping the team in the Bay Area. However, taking into account real-world factors, them throwing their hat into the ring without a solid plan just serves to irresponsibly complicate an already complicated situation.

  50. @JGMJ – I’ve been making commentary from the beginning. If you didn’t see it, perhaps it was your own prejudice at work.

  51. If Chuck Reed were up for election this November, would it be a landslide again? Every time i read ‘San Jose Inside’ someone is tearing Reed a new one…

  52. @David – Those commenters have been anti-Reed since he was on the City Council.

  53. Ru155 and Briggs- I am not put off by Oakland business people stepping up. I am bothered by the perception that they have, indeed, stepped up. Those folks have been listed as supporters on LGO’s website for almost 3 years. What is substantially different about stating it in a press conference?
    I am not bothered by fans writing letters. I am bothered by their ridiculous assertions that are contrary to actual fact. Consider that 2 M in attendance would have placed the team in the bottom third of MLB attendance last year. And really, the only reason attendance is important to me is because it is a gauge for how likely privately financing a stadium will be in Oakland (not the only gauge, but an important one).
    Of they combine to make it happen, I will be rooting for the A’s in the same new stadium they will be. Happily, I should add.
    I am annoyed that 17 years later, these guys are still playing PR games instead of making something happen.

  54. @Jeffro – why have you been so heated of late? I thought you were good cop, to ML’s bad cop. 😉

  55. Reed would win again in a walk.

  56. @jeffrey, I know, I was just being sarcastic.

  57. @Briggs: I agree, I’m not in favor of a lot of “noise” coming from groups who are not truly there to put concrete effort down. But if MLB isn’t willing to push the Giants out of the way and allow Wolff & Co. into SJ, it would be a missed opportunity for the Oakland business community NOT to voice their support for a local stadium development. They may not offer enough, but at least they will have given ownership the chance to look at a partnership.
    The disjointed mess of Coliseum City vs Downtown, I think Knauss would be favored to win that fight. That business alliance employs a hefty amount of taxpayers in Oakland – I think they would have far more clout than Wolff does w/ the city.
    @Jeffrey: just for the record – yes, i’m pro Oakland, but I know all the data favors SJ and Oakland has big money & political hurdles.
    But if MLB doesn’t give Wolff SJ, and we need a stadium yesterday, I think getting an alliance of the business community with Wolff, could overcome the political hurdles. Funding, as i said, i’m not very well versed in. MLB franchise valuations are jumping up, live sports media rights valuations are jumping up, and Oakland downtown could be on the way up.

  58. Sure seems like the inability of Quan and Knauss to get on point with respect to the ballpark site is purposeful subterfuge meant to confuse the public.

  59. @Jeffrey: I’m with you on being frustrated w/ the constant sniping. But a PR push is necessary to build grassroots and get the political will to move an agenda. Politics is devoid of rational action, and the only way to expedite anything is to put their toes to the fire or shine a light on the corruption in a big flashy way that draws constituent’s attention.
    Whether or not Knauss has any teeth to his press release remains to be seen, but usually if there’s a big business roll out, they’ve done some homework. Probably internal meetings revealed some trends that say if a ballpark were added, the business community would see a noticable benefit. For no other reason could I see Knauss sticking his neck out like this, as it’s a distraction from his executive duties. I also bet they’re tired of the failed efforts of 3rd party organizers like LGO or baseball oakland who have no real power to wield.

  60. @ Ru155 – you act like this PR push is somehow a kickofff to finally addressing the A’s need for a new stadium, but VC is still fresh in people’s memory. What’s the diffference between then and now? Why didn’t Knauss endorse VC?

  61. @ ru155 – I agree on your comment regarding trends showing a ballpark would benefit the area’s businesses. Even though there is a disconnect between Quan and Knauss (CC vs JLS), a downtown ballpark would be an anchor for the area, which is already growing rapidly and could potentially propel it to new heights in terms of business development, an obvious benefit to someone like Knauss as well as many other businesses. I also agree that Knauss had to have done homework on this for him to actually enter into this spotlight. I’m not diminishing this disconnect about ballpark location because I am perplexed by it as well.

  62. @Anon – that’s what I’m trying to figure out. If it’s not part of a substantive push that has been prompted by something Knauss sees, then why do it? I’m just giving him the benefit of the doubt that he has better things to do than parade around yelling like an Occupy Protester that the A’s should stay. We’ll see where things head after the proposed meeting with Wolff.
    But if I were to speculate, it could be one of the failed Dodger bidders wants a franchise b/c they see an MLB club as a very profitable investment. They met w/ oakland businesses and found that they would provide enough corporate funding to be worth the expenditure (and make up that $100M gap Jeffrey identified in his best-case for Oakland), and a high enough pool of $100K+ earners with disposable income.

  63. @ pjk – the reason Reed would win in a walk is that the opposition (read: Labor) would put up somebody like Cindy Chavez again. Perhaps even Cindy Chavez…again.

    Q: “When was the last time the City of Oakland accomplished a major project that didn’t turn out to be a budget-busting mess marked by political infighting and legal drama?”

    A: Probably the last time the cops busted up the Occupy encampment in Ogawa Plaza.

  64. Hey Guys, the heat is because of this meme that there has been a reboot. I am tired of perceived reboots, and honestly I don’t see one happening here. It’s the same stuff that Oakland has been putting forth for the last 3 years specifically, and in a general way the games they have played for the past 17. Anyone else remember when Steve Schott suggested a new stadium in the Coliseum Parking Lot and Ignacio de la Fuente said “They already have a place to play.” ? That was in 2001… We are back to that?
    Another thing that boils my blood is that guys like Mike Davie and Jorge Leon trot out ridiculously crappy arguments and expect me to buy them. I heard Mike on NPR say “we are a smarter fanbase.” Well then act like one. Keep your stupid spray painted sheets at home, quit touting numbers that are arbitrary and don’t back up your claims (and people wonder why MLB has ignored LGO for 2.5 years as Don Knauss said in all three of his recent interviews?) and start doing something that actually matters. I would join them if they were more about action and less about bullshit propagation.
    Here is what LGO SHOULD be doing in two simple steps:
    1. Every company on that list should have a luxury box at the coliseum for baseball season and they should be signing long term commitments. Everyone of them should be hosting events at the Coliseum for their clients and they should be making a public show of it. When I was on KQED talking about the lack of corporate events I have been invited to at the Coliseum and how I was invited to AT&T Park once a month only one company contacted me about events at the Coliseum… The Oakland A’s.
    2. Every one of the people in the LGO group on facebook should be season ticket holders in one form or another. If that means LGO needs to start pairing people up to cover a 22 game plan, then so be it. Buy as many full season ticket equivalents as possible and put that on your facebook page. Money talks, facebook statuses and article postings are tantamount to bullshit… And bullshit walks.
    These are the things that speak to MLB… Unfortunately MLB gives half a crap about how good a stadium in Downtown Oakland is for Downtown Oakland unless MLB is trying to sell Oakland on paying for it. Touting how good a stadium is for Oakland doesn’t do a damn thing for MLB. Writing letters that tout how good this is for Oakland, doesn’t do a damn thing. MLB needs to be shown “here is what is in it for you.”
    Now some will argue that this has already been done behind closed doors. For the Oakland Only guys, I certainly hope not… Because it wasn’t compelling if so.
    I have said from day one that it could work in Oakland. I still believe it could. I just think it is very unlikely after the way they have gone after it. If they looked in the mirror instead of painting bedsheets, things would be a whole hell of a lot closer to happening.

  65. @Jeffrey

    One might hope that Selig et al are smart enough to see what you’re seeing and realize that this is sincerely the best Oakland has to offer and any doubts he may have had about pushing/forcing the TR issue through the lodge have been absolved.

  66. @ Jeffrey – I think you make some exceptionally valid points. But, with the utmost respect, I wish to share something regarding your post. I cannot speak for all pro-Oak people, mind you. When reading your post and the suggestions regarding becoming season-ticket holders, I was fired up….for about 2 seconds. And then a little thing in the back of my mind said “you’ll get screwed in the end.” What do I mean by that? I could easily buy a 22-game package, if not a full-season but I choose not to. Why? Because I personally don’t want to contribute to this organization because of a lack of trust on my part. Call it baggage, paranoia, whatever. This doesn’t mean I don’t go to games, as I regularly go to at least 15-20 games per season even during Wolff’s ownership. However, I have not personally “committed” to seats for the simple reason stated above. I feel better knowing I’ll just go when I feel like I want to take the boys to a game. I love the A’s and have since I was a toddler. There is just something about the past 5 or so years that just makes me uneasy and nearly impossible to commit to anything. Once again, I’m certainly not speaking for pro-Oak people. This is my personal feeling and it resurfaced when I read your post. While it may sound a bit dumb, I kind of think of it like this: There’s a beautiful girl I like who continues to tell me she’ll hang out with me temporarily until she finds something better. O.k., my macho instinct is to try to prove that I’m the best (and maybe that’s what you’re referring to with Oakland’s “attempts.”) Let’s say, for instance, 3 years goes by and I’ve tried everything to show her that I’m the one and she still insists on greener pastures. Only a fool, in my mind, would continue playing that game. Again, maybe your point is that Oakland never fully showed that they were the best option and you may be right. I’m only speaking of my personal feelings about this and how I just can’t seem to commit to this ownership group. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but, oh well.

  67. this is what I said about the Brown – Business of Baseball piece in another thread:
    re: Maury Brown: “The bottom line is, Knauss provides those owners opposed to the relocation of the A’s with an added talking point on why the move shouldn’t happen.”

    …What has Knauss provided but the same old already-rejected sites (Victory Court, Coliseum, Howard Terminal) and a financing mechanism that won’t work (PSLs)? Pundits can write all they want. Will an outsider (Knauss) throwing his 2 cents in count more than what MLB’s A’s ballpark committee has found in more than 3 years? That committee obviously hasn’t found any sites or a way to get a ballpark done in Oakland, or we’d have heard about it already.

  68. how’s any “long commitment” contracts for season tickets going to happen without the A’s renewing their lease at the O.co?

  69. @pjk: and that same committee hasn’t found a way to overcome the Giants’ territorial rights over San Jose, or we’d have heard about it already and ground would have already been broken. The point isn’t that San Jose isn’t the ideal spot for a baseball team, because it likely is. The point is that there has been no traction in getting the Giants to give it and its market up, or for Bud or the owners to overrule them, and we’re left at an impasse while the A’s organization wastes away at the Coliseum. Because we’re at this impasse (while most A’s fans thought the team was as good as gone to SJ 2 years ago) there is renewed energy by fans and businesses in the East Bay that we can hold on to our team. Would you rather have SJ file an antitrust lawsuit and Lew keep his “anywhere but Oakland” stance, so this can drag out another 10 years and/or the A’s can leave California altogether? Or would you maybe give these Oakland businesses a chance to make their case (instead of simply writing it off out of the gate), decide if its going to work or not, and move on from there?

  70. I’ll be happy to give the Oakland business owners a chance. But a PR campaign won’t site and pay for a stadium. :Land and lots of money will. Have they come through on either count? Not so far.

  71. @JH510 the committee wasn’t tasked with that and Selig’s only been trying a few months. That’s not to say it’ll happen, but given most of the year so far as been spent dealing with the Dodgers, somehow I don’t think we’ve seen or heard the end of his attempts to come to an agreement (current traction or not).

  72. David and Columbo, respectfully you are missing the point.
    Columbo, the “we won’t pay this organization” reminds me of something from my own life. I used to go to church every Sunday. I stopped going because I started disagreeing with some of the other parishioners on their interpretation of things (the church was getting way to fire and brimstone for my tastes). I eventually missed some of the folks so I went on a random Sunday to say hello and everyone of the people I missed was gone, the pastor had been replaced and the church became a nuthouse. That happened because I let it by stepping away. It’s happening right now in MLB, because people who don’t agree are turning away rather than staying in and fighting in a meaningful way. If you don’t want to be replaced by folks in San Jose, I’d suggest you start by undermining their argument… Their argument isn’t that Lew Wolff doesn’t suck. It’s that not enough people come to the game… Painted bed sheets don’t fight that perception.
    David, If you sign a five year lease, all you have to do is include an opt out should the team move to a different facility. The argument is that Oakland doesn’t have corporate support. Press conferences and websites don’t fight that perception. Corporate support does.

  73. JH510… those businesses stated their case 2.5 years ago and it didn’t deter the committee from looking to San Jose. Did you listen to what Don Knauss said in his interviews? He talked about the escrow account that was highly touted by Oakland supporters, but pretty much ignored by MLB. He said he was “shouting outside the walls in hopes he is heard.”
    He said he was prompted by the fact the Lew Wolff was pressing for resolution (hmmm, why would he be worried about that if he thought MLB was going to say “no way, no how?”) and even though it wasn’t officially on the agenda, it wasn’t at the last owner’s meeting and it was discussed there in private anyway.
    It isn’t that Oakland business leaders haven’t been given a chance… It’s that they haven’t been convincing with whatever they have done and they are realizing it. Personally, knowing what I know about how MLB operates I wouldn’t be publicly talking about a different ownership group. The Lodge doesn’t like anyone from outside the Lodge telling them what to do, even gently suggesting it.

  74. @ Jeffrey – Great analogy. I was a churchgoer myself and became disenfranchised as I got older and wiser. That’s not to say I’m not a Christian but I have had personal experiences that have made me question everything I was taught from a very young age. For the A’s, I understand your point. Go to the games and that makes perfect sense. Again, call it paranoia, but what if I start buying season tickets, get emotionally involved like I used to be, only to find out that, in 2 years, the owners are basically saying “Thanks for the donations to the new SJ facility. See ya!” Jeffrey, I get it. You have made it clear that you are both pro-SJ and pro-Oak, yet you believe SJ is the only viable solution. I have no problem with your conclusions. I’m speaking as an individual and I’m saying that it’s difficult to commit to buying season tickets for an organization that says “It can’t be in Oakland. End of story.” I’m hoping you can at least put aside the “fighting” mentality and understand that I, personally, feel we are outgunned because this ownership wants nothing to do with Oakland. Again, if this beautiful girl that I’ve spent money, emotions, and time on tells me “It ain’t ever happening no matter what you do,” can you honestly blame me for not wanting to commit?

  75. columbo, fair enough.

  76. Columbo, let me add something real quick… San Jose isn’t the only viable solution. If there is one in Oakland (and I am open to the fact that there may be one) it certainly isn’t going to be found through the current process.
    At the end of the day, a strategy change is required for Oakland boosters. And it is required fast.

  77. @ Columbo – respectfully, i think your parallel with trying to hookup with a hot chick is way off the mark. It’s more like having been engaged to said hot chick for over 50 years and neglecting her in one form or another year after year. Yes, the flames rekindled during the late 80’s and early 90’s, but after your last affair with Al Davis, she said she’s had enough and wants a real commitment not some half-assed promises. So instead of working with her directly, you’re reaching out to her friends, uncle, and the public and even proposing a labotomy to see the error of her way. Sorry to say, but i don’t know a guy alive that has been successful with that strategy by using force instead of actually addressing the original concern: commitment. Sure, you argue that she should show the same feelings as well instead flirting with Fremo and Jose, but that’s the point. What do you have to offer her in the way of actual commitment as opposed to fluff proposals and a list if why you’re still the one her…..it’s your choice because it’s your gurl now and there’s no else to blame for the outcome except yourself.

  78. @ Jeffrey – I agree wholeheartedly. Per an earlier thread (I think), I read that someone was astounded that there wasn’t a similar site with a pro-Oak slant (it might have been you or ML, I don’t recall). If you research the LGO sites there is a person who has made this very same observation. Oakland has a shot (however small) to come through on this whole thing and that time is now. Without sounding like I’m denigrating the pro-Oak blogs that are presently out there, I am completely baffled that there isn’t a complement to this blog, yet more on the Oakland side, with actual facts and figures. Maybe this is a function of having better data from certain sources, but I’m not completely sure about that. I’m an econ guy (Micro-Econ and Austrian-Econ to be exact) but I’m not a computer guy so, if I could start a blog I would but I would have no clue how to do it. If someone was willing to I could provide financial input free-of-charge. Any computer-savvy takers?

  79. @ Anon – I couldn’t stop laughing for at least 7 minutes. That was a great post. Kudos!

  80. Columbo, i gave you my email address. Email me.

  81. @ Jeffrey – That’s right you did and I do thank you for that. I will email you as soon as I am able. I’m going through a divorce at the moment and we have 2 little children. We aren’t agreeing on much so, between my occupation and going to court and attorneys, I have little time right now to devote 100% to this. However, I will be back in the East Bay within a month, probably living with a relative unfortunately, but that’s what happens when you’re the breadwinner in California. As my father-in-law told me years ago, “It’s cheaper to keep her.” I see that now and didn’t listen. Thank you Jeffrey and I would love to work with you on something like this. I actually fibbed a bit. I’m actually pretty good with computers but it’s mostly spreadsheets and databases, i.e. financial analysis. I haven’t a clue about websites though and maybe you could provide that missing link, although I have incertitude that I could add anything to your arsenal. We shall see.

  82. Columbo, I feel for you. That’s has to be hard. Email me, we will chat.

  83. You’ve got it. It definitely sucks so take my father-in-law’s advice if you can. Thank you and I will email you.

  84. @ Columbo My sympathies as well.

  85. @ bartleby – Thank you.

  86. @Columbo – Hang in there. Hope you bounce back soon.

  87. @Columbo – keep your head up and stay strong for the kids!

  88. @ ML & David – Thank you very much for the kind words.

  89. @ Columbo – oh man, sorry to hear about your situation. I’m very sorry that I may have touched upon something more personal with that post above. It wasn’t intentional and was only meant to provoke further thought on the situation and not attack you….again I apologize and God bless you and your family through this rough time….

  90. @ Anon – No worries. It is definitely a tough time, yes, and I’m not just saying this but my analogy between the A’s and the hypothetical beautiful woman was just that, an analogy. It didn’t pertain to my personal life in any way, hence why I said I laughed when I read it. In truth, we were married for awhile and, unfortunately, we didn’t see eye-to-eye, mostly on issues related to rearing the children and financial matters. Believe me, we come from two very different backgrounds, which was doomed to fail from the outset, in retrospect of course. We did counseling for nearly a year to no avail. It figures too because I was the only financial provider for the family during the entire marriage so it’s biting me in the family jewels right now, thanks to California divorce laws and these expensive attorneys. I should have become a divorce attorney! In all seriousness, thank you very much for the kind words. They are much appreciated.

  91. One other thing, which is ironic and a bit humorous. I was born and raised as an A’s, Raiders, Warriors fan. The soon-to-be ex was born and raised as a Giants and Niners fan. My family live in the East Bay, hers on the Peninsula. When we would go to family parties we would dress the boys up according to where we were going. If it was my family’s party, they would wear Raiders gear for example, and vice-versa. Those poor boys are confused!

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