The adult conversation, at last

It’s been awhile. Today’s unusual joint meeting of the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors was the first such joint session in several years. It’s also been more than a couple of years since I wrote a post titled The adult conversation, which implored Oakland (and Alameda County) to start talking about what it will truly take to keep the pro sports franchises in town, and what it might mean to lose one or more of them. After watching today’s proceedings, I can say that we’ve had our first session, one of many to come.

If you were an unabashed supporter of Coliseum City, things didn’t get off on the right foot as AlCo District 5 Supervisor and Board President Keith Carson demanded to know the state of the Coliseum’s outstanding debt. Oakland City Council President Pat Kernighan tried to reel the discussion back in, but Carson insisted, and eventually he got what he wanted – a plain telling of debt for both the stadium ($113,790,000) and arena ($90,290,000) by County Auditor Pat O’Connell, who also happens to be the JPA’s auditor. That’s $200 million combined for the complex, though that figure goes down every year thanks to a $20 million annual debt and operating subsidy paid by City and County. Carson emphasized that there will be no future project if debt isn’t addressed first. The debt may prove to be a structural problem, since whatever public borrowing has to be made for infrastructure or other uses will be on top of or consolidated with the existing debt. The City and County want the teams or the private development group, BayIG, to cover that debt as part of the plan. Incidentally, Carson’s district covers Berkeley, Albany, and much of Oakland.

The debt talk lingered for 10 minutes, then Kernighan got the discussion back on the rails. Assistant City Administrator Fred Blackwell gave an overview of the current situation, with the renewed leases for the Raiders and A’s, their desires, and the Warriors’ plans. Blackwell said that the funding gap for the Raiders stadium, which he called a “sunken cost,” was $400-500 million after the Raiders’ contribution. AlCo Supe Scott Haggerty cast doubt on the viability of the three venue configuration of Coliseum City, noting that so far only the Raiders have been willing to listen. Haggerty suggested that the most effort should be put towards the Raiders’ venue because of that reality, and that the A’s, who don’t even have a set date for their Phase III ballpark, could easily show that information to MLB and say, “we’re not even on the radar.” CM Desley Brooks, a previous JPA Board member, expressed doubt in a different way, citing the need for multi-use venues instead of single-sport venues. Brooks was also concerned that the project wouldn’t pencil out, asking for a pro forma for that configuration (and others, presumably).

Next up in the presentation were two members of Oakland’s Office of Neighborhood Investment, Larry Gallegos and Gregory Hunter. Gallegos gave more detail about the project’s phases and master plan. Due to the photocopied quality of the images, I skipped over this slide initially. Upon closer inspection, something needs to be explained further.

View of Coliseum City development phases

View of Coliseum City development phases

The top image, Phase I, shows an outdoor football stadium, some ancillary development, and outlines for the “spine” of the project and the ballpark. The next image shows a dome on top of the stadium and the spine in place. Hold the phone – is the dome part of Phase II? There’s no other mention of a dome anywhere else in the presentation, nor was it brought up during today’s session. That dome, assuming that it is part of Phase II, is no trivial matter at $300 million to construct. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has been pushing for a dome, and while the interest in holding conventions and other types of events is understandable, it seems like this rather important detail was merely snuck into the preso with no explanation whatsoever.

Discussion then centered on the phases and once again, the venue configuration. Blackwell admitted that if only the Raiders’ stadium were built, ancillary development potential may be limited as few examples of such a plan were found. The limited number of football game dates contributes to this problem. CM Rebecca Kaplan, a staunch supporter of Coliseum City, talked up the need for more density within the project as that’s where the payoff is. Of course, that brings to mind the question of whether Coliseum City is even feasible if it never goes past Phase I. In addition, how dependent is the project on Phases II and III to provide enough funding for everything? Those questions won’t be answered until the spring.

Mayor Quan repeated her usual hackneyed sports metaphor and pushed for more information. If that’s the case, why did this meeting occur because of a letter from Carson to the City of Oakland? Quan, who hastily made her remarks before heading to the airport, is supposed to be the champion of this project. Yet Kaplan is clearly the more informed, more passionate advocate. Someone desperately needs to grab this thing by the reins and control it, as it’s considerably late for all this confusion given the very tight timeline imposed on the City and County. CM Libby Schaaf was silent during the session, just hours after she filed papers to run against Quan for mayor in 2014.

Hunter talked about the goals and key elements of the project, one of which is the property transfer element. It’s unclear what that means. City has indicated in the past that it’s not willing to give away land, and may not even be interested in selling land. Unfortunately for them, the only valuable resource the JPA has at its disposal is land. Discussion of this topic was deferred to the DDA, though it will clearly become a hot topic before then.

Members of the public spoke, followed by questions and remarks by members of the City Council and Board of Supervisors. General bewilderment gave way to soapbox speeches. CM Larry Reid, already on the outs with the JPA, claimed that Quan took credit for his concept while calling Coliseum City “insane.” Supe and JPA board president Nate Miley asked if there had been an appraisal on land the JPA owns. Hunter said it wasn’t. Miley expressed frustration that developer BayIG hasn’t put down earnest money to kickstart some of these studies. Blackwell said that only recently the agreement was finalized in which BayIG (Colony Capital & HayaH Holdings) replaced Forest City as the investor group. Miley then dropped a mini bombshell when he asked if the City could buy out the County’s half of the JPA. Blackwell laughed it off, replying that the City didn’t have the resources to pull off such a move. Nevertheless, it’s quite telling that Miley could even suggest that the Coliseum is such an albatross that the County would be fine divesting its share. There’s also a situation in which the County could buy the City’s half. Judging from the across-the-board sentiments from the Supes, that seems even less likely.

Other notes:

  • District 2 Supe Richard Valle: “Gifting of public funds to any franchise is not part of my political framework.”
  • There was continued confusion over Howard Terminal. Blackwell mentioned that the Port of Oakland has to explore all possible maritime uses before moving to non-maritime uses like a ballpark. That would explain why a recent RFP for Howard Terminal makes no mention of a ballpark.
  • There was no discussion about how long the teams would be displaced or where they would play if Coliseum City came to fruition.
  • Blackwell mentioned that the market study, which is key to determining the project’s feasibility, would be delayed 30 days.
  • I tweeted that the football stadium deal could come by the end of the 2014 NFL season, but that seems like a long ways away considering the amount of work that has to be done.
  • Brooks got in a shot when she said that leverage had “walked out the door” when the new lease extensions were approved.

As the first substantive meeting of this kind for Coliseum City, it was bound to be at times painful and awkward, and it sure delivered. That’s part of the process and a welcome one, because there’s no way in hell this thing moves forward without much greater detail. Everyone on the dais was keenly aware of the political fallout that could occur with a bad deal. The Board of Supervisors felt that Oakland was leading and dragging them into the deal, which brought about Carson’s letter and this session. There was a general consensus that communication about the project has been poor. Right now there’s a lot of skepticism to go around, most of it healthy. Project proponents have every opportunity to whip up sentiment and numbers to back their claims of renaissance and jobs. As long as the numbers are there, Coliseum City has a fighting chance. If it doesn’t pencil out, that information and the new short-term leases will conspire to make MLB’s and NFL’s decisions easy. And they’ll make today’s recriminations look like a civil dinner party.

86 thoughts on “The adult conversation, at last

  1. I’m sure MLB has already made their decision re the A’s, and this Dog and Pony Show will have no bearing on that. As a Raiders fan, again…depressing. $400-500 million funding gap!? BTW RM, like the new term; “AlCo.”

  2. Well Mark Davis if u truly have L.A as an option. I call ur bluff…. if not…the best u can do is demand the A’s get kicked out and control all coliseum and parking revenue even own a lil bit of coliseum land. Then use whatever to upgrade a Raider only coliseum

    Great news for A”s as it shows that Oakland can’t do anything for them and will expect the hated Wolff do everything. San Francisco (temp)-San Jose A’s is on its way…

    Joe Lacob plan b if S.F waterfront doesn’t make it. …San Jose…I can’t imagine Warriors back in Oakland at Oracle for these inept politicans…..sigh

  3. Ml. U are familiar with San Jose area…is there any area in the south bay if the Warriors don’t get S.F, and avoid Oakland? ??

  4. A “Dog and Pony” show is a perfect choice of words. One more point. Is this Project so unimportant that the Mayor can only make a cameo appearance? It reminds me of when she came in late for a Raiders meeting talking on the cellphone. From what I have been hearing, and now reading ( “Gifting of public funds to any franchise is not part of my political framework.”), strikes me as movement straight to Los Angeles. If I am Davis and the NFL I cannot be happy ( getting closer to the feelings of Wolff and MLB).

  5. One thing I can say for sure is this is not the era of multi-use facilities, as much as Brooks might be hoping for one. The sports leagues are promoting single-use only and, perhaps, rightfully so. They want facilities that have one primary use, which is to be the best place it can be for that specific sport.

    On the other hand, if multi-use does ever become popular again – and you and I briefly talked about this, RM – people can and should look to what a couple stadiums in Japan have done to make it work.

  6. @OM86,
    Don’t think it will happen, but IF the Warriors were to ever consider SJ it would most likely entail a completely revamped/upgraded SAP Center to call home. Like Diridon site, easy access via train station to Peninsula, SF and East Bay. That said, if UFO on pier can’t happen i’d expect Warriors to revisit parking lot south of AT&T Park, not stay in Oakland.

  7. $400-$500 million funding gap; $200 million debt on the current facilities. Yikes.

  8. re: “Gifting of public funds to any franchise is not part of my political framework.”

    …in other words, teams have to pay for their own facilities. Which they don’t want to do in Oakland

    re: multipurpose facilities:

    …the mere suggestion of this (which as I’ve said would be Dead on Arrival immediately with both the NFL and MLB) indicates Coliseum City is probably Pie in the Sky. The 1960s 1970s are over.

  9. Seems to me the only way JPA pays off existing debt is to sell the 120 acres hoping they can get $200M+ to eliminate the debt. Of course then they would have to get money for infrastructure improvements from the entitlements on this land. Given the location it is going to be a challenge to make this part work on so many levels. Next is how to come up with $400M to close the funding gap on stadium construction for the Raiders. If the Raiders are putting in $300M they will expect to take a large portion of PSL, Naming Rights, and concessions revenue streams to pay off their portion. Not much left for the city to work with to pay off their portion which would run $30-$35M a year. And all of this assumes that NFL kicks in $200M which needs to be paid back with luxury suite revenues.

    Repeat this scenario for an A’s ballpark at HT yet take away any land to sell to offset $150M+ of clean up and infrastructure work with no revenue streams to pay this back. Seems to me that both the NFL and MLB are giving Oakland enough rope to finally hang themselves. Quan may be right about the A’s not moving to SJ but they won’t be playing in Oakland much longer.

  10. Combine the Phase II dome with Desley Brooks’ desire for multi-use venue, and you get…The Metrodome. I hear you can still get a deal on The Baggie.

  11. So why the hesitation by the city council president to reveal the amount of Coliseum debt? Carson had to “demand” to know the amount? C’mon folks! What’s there to hide..

  12. $90m still due on the Oracle? Have they just been paying interest on that thing all these years?

    • @Briggs – No, that’s just the payment schedule. I haven’t mentioned the arena debt much in the past because the W’s lease pays for much of it while concerts and ice shows pay for the rest. If the W’s leave after 2017, they’ll be forced to buyout the lease, which should pay off the debt. So in that case Oakland/Alameda County are far more insulated than they are with the stadium.

  13. After all this time, this Coliseum City project is coming across for what it truly is, a pipe dream. This meeting has shown that neither Oakland nor Alameda County officials are anywhere even close to getting any answers on the most preliminary points to getting this project started. As for the A’s, this should finalize MLB’s decision to approve their move to San Jose. The A’s will likely abandon the Coliseum when the recently renewed lease terminates upon the conclusion of the 2015 season. I also believe that as part of a compensation package to the Giants, the A’s will become tenants at AT&T Park for two or three seasons, until Cisco Field is completed.
    As for the Raiders, the new Santa Clara stadium gives both the NFL and the Raiders another option to allow more time to decide on a permanent future home, including a return to a new stadium on the Coliseum site or a return to Los Angeles. It could come to be for the Raiders to have to ultimately decide on whether they prefer to share a stadium with another NFL team in the Bay Area or in Los Angeles.

  14. So Quan doesn’t think the A’s will ever play in San Jose? Interesting. Don’t feel like going into solitary confinement, so I won’t state how I truly feel about such utter nonsense. I’ll just say this; the A’s will be playing in a new ballpark in DIWNTOWN SAN JOSE WAAAAY before they play in a new Oakland ballpark…

  15. Meant DOWNTOWN above (spell check didn’t catch that?)

  16. Not much to really say is there. The JPA just did more for the A’s to San Jose, Warriors to SF and Raiders to LA movements than anyone else could have. They’re still floundering about with the idea of multisport venues, magically appearing domes, privately funded venues, and how to deal with a $500 million dollar shortfall (and their own $200 million in debt) all while the clock is quickly running out on them and they have no leverage left.

    We really do just need to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. All 3 teams are gone. Even if they put all their effort behind the Raiders stadium, which seems the most likely of the 3 to happen, they still won’t be able to get this done. They don’t have unity of purpose, anywhere near enough funding, or even a unified plan (the fact Coliseum City doesn’t pencil out without the ballpark and/or arena while they’re still even talking about Howard Terminal belies that fact).

    Two more seasons and the A’s are gone, possibly as few as one and the Raiders are gone, and the Warriors will leave at their leisure as soon as their SF arena is built (either south of AT&T or at the Pier).

  17. Couple things to consider….

    1. If or when all the teams are in position to leave , could Malik/Colony pull out…what would that mean for a empty coliseum land??? I think some of those Oakland pols should fall back because not putting the Raiders and the other teams a priority would also chase out the same investor trying to make something work.

    2. I know mayor quan wants to get re elected…but she has to choose a side….pro sports or no pro sports….if she is pro sports she tells Carson, Brooks and Miley of the council that ” we are putting Coliseum City Raiders/Colony a Priority”… that is how Kevin johnson battled all the anti sports council members and citizens…and he won!!! Quan needs to pick a side…

    3. COLISEUM CITT CAN WORK…but Quan/Kaplan will have to use their power to push to give thr coliseum land a portion to the Raiders and the rest to Malik/Colony….

    4.thanks tony d. I forgot the Warriors should re look at sf giants parking lot south….its at thr corner of downtown…but it can work. Happy the A’s could finally be out the coliseum in a couple years….

  18. The Solution to the entire Mount Davis debt issue was very obvious, which was giving the area to the Raiders in exchange for assuming that debt, building a a Stadium and stating in town, while the A’s leave to San Jose. But when you have people like Quan and Company running things, while “Living In Denial” (that becomes difficult. By the way, I really hope she does not believe the A’s will never play in San Jose? If so, it will show just how much Giant Kool-Aid she is drinking ( hey Ms. Mayor I hate to bring you a jolt of reality which is it is more likely the A’s will leave the Bay Area than spend 2014 at the Coliseum ( I wonder how much in Campaign Contributions are being sent to you from AT&T?)).

  19. DB: It looks like Oakland’s battle plan for the A’s is still believing the team has no place to go and eventually will be forced to build with their own money in Oakland.

  20. @Oakmetro86 :

    CC can’t work unless Quan show she can raise 1B . So far, it is just a fantasy.

  21. re: “Gifting of public funds to any franchise is not part of my political framework.”

    …the teams and leagues would prefer to look at this as cities investing in their local economies by investing in pro sports facilities. In Oakland, spending money on sports facilities is viewed as a “gift” to the franchises – a one-sided deal where only the franchises benefit.

  22. @pjk. I’m worried about Oakland…possible transit strikes, pro teams leaving and no brroklyn basin and or malik investing in site….seems like montclair and rock ridge corners of Oakland will stay a float while the rest of the city struggles….brings those rich asses down with us…..

    Is it me. Or do ppl from San francisco act like the “Capitol” from the “Hunger Games”? Lol

  23. As an Oakland-only supporter, this is embarrassingly pie in the sky.

  24. Spending money on pro sports facilities is of course a “gift” to owners. Every study ever done on the subject concludes that it doesn’t pencil out financially for cities. There are plenty of better things for Oakland to spend money on (police officers, for starters)

  25. Tim, at what point as an Oakland-Only supporter do you stop and say, “this isn’t going to work?”

    Obviously Coliseum City is even more smoke and mirrors than its creators thought (no plan, no money, not even a unified idea of what to do going forward). Howard Terminal remains an even more expensive and unlikely alternative that we now know would simultaneously make the already pie-in-the-sky Coliseum City even more unfeasible. I mean what’s left? Oakland has been dragging this out for nearly 2 deacdes now…

    At what point do even the most ardent Oakland only supporters stop and say, “at least San Jose is in the Bay Area.” Because despite what Quan would like to believe, the Coliseum isn’t the only option for the A’s. Not when there are cities and counties like Cobb County out there who are willing to fall over themselves to build ballparks for teams.

  26. TIm: The way the A’s have been placed in a big parking lot, yes, they don’t bring in much money to the local economy. While the downtown-based San Jose Sharks are known to bring in lots of $$ to downtown San Jose’s restaurants, etc, the A’s big parking lot setup is a drive- or BART-in and get-right-out-after-the-game operation. A downtown A’s ballpark would have been different – bringing in people to the downtown and giving Oakland some big time exposure. But it looks like the ship has sailed as far as a downtown Oakland ballpark. No feasible site available and no money. A downtown A’s ballpark would have brought in more money and revenues, to be spent on things such as police officers…Like I’ve said before, the “Let the owners build their own damn stadium” policy can work in places where teams have lots of fans and rake in lots of money. But this is not the case in Oakland. The A’s don’t have a lot of fans and require big-time MLB subsidies every year. What’s the incentive for an owner to build in Oakland with his own money?

  27. It doesn’t look likely to pan out for the city, but I’m hopeful that changes. My concern is that the city, scared of losing all three teams, spends more than it should on the Raiders, clearly the team that least benefits the city economically. There’s no ancillary development (or convention center-type use) that’s going to pencil out for that area with a football stadium used 10 days a year (plus one or two monster truck rallies or concerts). It’ll be a complete waste of money for the city.

  28. I think there’s a case to be made for spending city money on a baseball stadium in an area where it will complement existing development potential. Where there is a plausible future where people will want to live and work and play in an area. Coliseum is clearly not that area. Uptown could have been that site and maybe HT could be, but it seems doubtful at this point.

  29. And yet that seems to be the way they’re leaning despite the fact their own Phased plan seems to point to disaster if Phase II and III don’t happen. And they can’t even find half the money to make Phase I work. Even if they sell the farm to make Phase I a reality, Phase II and III will never be seen on more than poorly copied paperwork. I know some people have this notion that the A’s can only play in Oakland despite belonging to the entire region. But frankly given the alternatives and the obviousness of Oakland’s inability to get anything done for the A’s even in the location of least resistance at the Coliseum site… it really is time to throw in the towel and let the A’s move into the future. Even if it means they’re a half hour down 880.

    That’s the real reason I’ve always supported the SJ move. It’s not that I want the A’s out of Oakland, it’s that I’ve always seen SJ as the only viable and realistic option in the Bay Area. And Oakland continues to prove me right, but never more so that after that meeting. Oakland doesn’t have the will or the $$$ to make it happen.

  30. @ML

    I eavesdropped on a twitter discussion you had yesterday and you suggested that Oakland would do better to knock down the stadium, move away from trying to build another one, sell the land to developers, and let them build up development. Do you think that’s Oakland’s best move? I ask because I suggested in a conversation that perhaps Oakland should think about halting their pursuit of sports, and maybe investing in another industry, perhaps a music a Nashville or an Austin of the west (obviously not that demographic). Others can chime in on this. I am just throwing that out there, and really don’t know the nuances of these type of things. But it sure looks to me like Oakland is simply priced out when it comes to the costs of having pro-sports teams in this day and age. And in the end, I’m just not sure how much having pro sports will benefit the community. I’m sure losing all three sports teams will be a kick in the gut and a dent to civic pride for all of us here. I sure as hell would love for them all to stay. But given the current predicament, I’m really starting to wonder if Oakland can create a less risky, less costly, just as vibrant and more serviceable to the public type of scene there without pro sports.

    • @Marq – It’s only the best move if both the Raiders and A’s move away. There aren’t that many examples of redevelopment after teams leave “suburban” stadia. Often the stadia just sit there or they get demolished and replaced with malls, housing, or both. That seems the most likely scenario. If an enterprising developer can come up with a creative plan for the Coliseum land that takes care of the stadium debt and invites new tax revenue, it would make sense. A few years ago Oakland was in talks with the Wayans brothers to build a film studio at the Oakland Army Base. That deal fell apart. It sounds like what you’re suggesting is akin to a theme park, which given the debt doesn’t seem likely. Yet they have to consider the possibility that the complex will be left with one or zero teams, so that could be within the range of possibilities.

      The developer role is curious. Blackwell said yesterday that Forest City had no interest in the stadium construction plans, which indicates to me that they only wanted in at the late stages after venues were built. BayIG signed on because they had confidence that at least the Raiders part can be done. But what if it can’t? Are they still in as lead developer? Do they want to be first in line to scavenge what’s remaining at the Coliseum (land)? Surely they’ve considered the possibility.

  31. I still call Mark Davis and Lew Wolfd bluff to move out to temporary areas to avoid the Coliseum…Raiders to Santa Clara or L.A, and A”s to Sacramento and or Las Vegas….


    Oakland cops have been using the media to spin things. They are fully paid with a strong union. Theu should stop beating on miniorities and college protestors and homeless and go after some “tough” dudes instead of sitting on their lazy asses. Seen toomuch dirt from OPD. As for teachers . ..fine…but Oakland can make sports a prpriority and the best solution without using public money is to offer a portion of land to the Raiders as incentive

  32. It will not happen, but I would love to see the “Oakland Only” folks realize it is now ” San Jose Only” and “Raiders Only.” Because unless Quan is voted out of office ( and the JPA is replaced), or she wakes up to reality ( I think option one is more likely), Oakland will be without ANY sports franchises, and Quan’s ” friend’s” the Giants will win if and when the A’s leave the Bay Area. Bad day in Oakland.

  33. re: But it sure looks to me like Oakland is simply priced out when it comes to the costs of having pro-sports teams in this day and age.

    …That says it all. Oakland got into major pro sports on the cheap in the 1960s. Now, it needs $2 billion to pay for new facilities and it doesn’t have that kind of money.

  34. “At some point we come to a point where either this is real or we lose our sports teams.” CM Reid

    Pretty much. That ‘point’ is rapidly approaching.

  35. @ML Appreciate the answer. I’m just looking for a soft spot for the city to fall on should the worst happen.

  36. re: The city and county incur combined costs of about $2.5 million to host the Raiders’ 10 home games per year. That is more than double the $925,000 that the team is slated to pay in rent next season.

    …Ouch. And few to none of those Raider fans are visiting any bars, restaurants etc in Oakland before or after the game. Just sit in the parking or take BART and then go home.

  37. Pjk, there is an intrinsic value with sports teams that is important to the City that is seldom discussed (particularly concerning the Raiders). Every time the name “Oakland” is mentioned on TV it is free Advertising that Businesses pay hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions for. Basically without the Raiders (and to a lesser extent the A’s), the City will disappear from the public conscious and be below such hot spots as Fresno (Fresno State), and Winnipeg, Alberta (Winnipeg Jets). Paying about $1.5m for 10 Raider Games instead of falling into a different kind of “Black Hole” (that of irrelevance) should be worth it. But doing something to prevent that, is why people are paid to “Lead” and “Make Decisions” but sadly when it comes to the A’s & Raiders, the “Leaders” in the 4th Quarter, down by three, on 4th and one, decided to punt.

  38. DB: Mayor Jerry Brown didn’t seem to think the teams were worth much to the city. Didn’t he view them as a “cost center?” He dismissed the city manager for – gasp! – trying to get a downtown ballpark for the A’s. And as soon as Brown became governor, he dumps redevelopment, and with it, probably Oakland’s last chance to save any of the teams.

  39. @pjk: Bingo. It really makes you wonder why the JPA hasn’t stuck a pilot business in the Coliseum parking lot during the last 20 years. It could’ve supplied them with some baseline data on how to approach this.

    Think of the thousands of A’s fans that gather outside the entry gates drinking beer, getting their nicotine fix, etc. They just stand there for an hour+ drinking warm beer. $20 for a cold 6-pack is a good deal compared to $10 for a watered down Coliseum beer. A snack shack in the parking lot would have thousands of eager customers 100+ times per year.

  40. I think DB is Jean Quan

  41. The adult conversation combined with the problems at the Coliseum and Howard Terminal, make my concept for a ballpark on the air-rights of the 980 freeway the leading contender.

  42. As kids, my brother racked up a $200 bill from calling a 976 number to have “adult conversations.”

  43. Tim: Hell no I am not Jean Quan. I would not want to be Quan or any woman for that matter (Straight guy).
    PJK: The Governor who shares my last name (this is my real name by the way, and proud of it), does not give a damn about most business, anymore than he cared about the A’s as Mayor (read my comments on Hollywood and how Film and TV Production is being shifted out of LA, as another example of this). But that said, its funny that Stadiums have been built at Stanford, and Berkeley (Berkeley of all places), and one is being built at Santa Clara, and likely a NEW Arena in Sacramento, so its not like its Mission Impossible. It about the fact that people like the JPA Membership, The City Council, Kaplan, and Quan have their heads so far up their you know what, and are so used to fooling everyone (like those who blame Wolff for everything), they are oblivious to what is happening on the ground (including the basics like working toilets at the Coliseum). Maybe they day that all three leave, they might accept some blame for what happened? But that will be wishful thinking: They will probably give Wolff 50% of the blame, Davis 25%, and the Warrior Ownership Group 25%, while they are as pure as virgin snow (at least in their minds).

  44. Bryan, your persistence is amusing if nothing else. Your plan however isn’t happening except on paper.

  45. And they finally figured this out after DT, HT, and VC? We complain about “baseball” time….but after 2 decades of procrastination and ineptitude, Oaklands seems to trumpet all in the waiting game….

  46. If Oakland doesn’t get some smart people running it’s city soon it might be making headlines like Detroit….Bankruptcy headlines featured on CNBC today….

    The Oakland City and Alameda County pols who just learned the amount of debt still existing on the Coli and the Oracle should be voted out of office for being dumb, ignorant, or dishonest or all of the above.

  47. @Dan–There is no other venue to discuss ballpark alternatives. I don’t see the City or County sponsoring any community participation. I did write a letter to the editor at the East Bay Express commenting on Coliseum City and Howard Terminal as well as expanding my concept to deck over the freeway from 12th to 14th Streets for a Warriors venue. I don’t think the Warriors will go to the Giants parking lot (future development) because the can’t control their on destiny as they will incur much of the same transportation impacts that there current site generates. HOWEVER THE MAIN THEME OF MY ARTICLE IS THAT NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IN OAKLAND EXCEPT GATED COMMUNITIES LIKE BROOKLYN WHARF UNLESS CRIME IS CURTAILED.

  48. Bryan, difference with the Giants parking lot is that the traffic is down where current traffic exists closer to the freeway where people don’t seem to mind it as much. It’s traffic on their precious Embarcadero that folks like Art Agnos seem to have an issue with. That and the view obstruction. Giants parking lot would have neither. And while a downtown Oakland arena might be good for the city, and would definitely be the best use of money when compared to a ballpark or a football stadium, it’s also the least likely the happen. Lacob is an SF guy, the money is in SF and he wants his team in SF. The team is practically based in SF already other than where they play on gameday. If it’s not the Pier they’ll find another SF based alternative that the city will work with. Of all 3 teams the Warriors are actually the most certain to be out of town IMO. Unlike the A’s there’s no ATE and territorial rights to overcome to force the issue. The Warriors aren’t seen as “just an east bay team” by anyone, they belong to the entire Bay. And their plan has the support of both their league and SF pols (and citizens depending on who you ask). Any plan that can unify the SF Board of Stupidvisors has a damn good chance of happening.

  49. @Dan–retaining the Warriors is a long shot. And I agree with your assessment of the traffic issue. The only benefit I see for them is with the 980 site they would control their destiny and not dependent on the Giants. However, an Arena can have 240 or more events a year, some of which many conflict with the Giants schedule. With the Giants being their landlord a problem may occur. An Arena on the 980 site may work well with the existing convention center/hotel complex. Seems worth considering if the SF flying saucer doesn’t pan out.

  50. What if Oakland were to drop the MLB baseball stadium and instead build a minor league AAA stadium? It looks like one of those could be built with 10%-20% of the cost of a major league park, about $50M to $100M, and would host 72ish games.
    The top five attended PCL teams average about 7.8k per game, over a half million people a year.

    Forbes has an article about how profitable minor league franchises are, and perhaps Oakland can convince a team owner that the Bay Area needs a minor-league AAA priced attraction and work a deal that would pay off the stadium in a reasonable amount of time. The team would have access to an area that is probably better suited for high-end AAA prices than MLB prices, but also with a larger population to draw from than you may find elsewhere. Could that counter two MLB and a Single-A team also in the area? Maybe, if you look at entertainment pricing tiers.

    If the city could work out a deal with the Raiders, then there would still be two teams to anchor the CC development.

  51. @Bryan Grunwald – When your biggest problem is scheduling two opposite season sports and concerts, it’s not really a big problem at all.

    It’s also quite possible that having the arena in SF and not completely controlling their destiny is still more desirable than having their arena in Oakland and not pulling in as much revenue.

  52. If the Giants could find a way to resurrect the Oakland Oaks it would be PR gold. Some of the A’s fan base have made it clear they won’t follow the team south (if it happens). The Giants could make the East Bay solidly theirs if they could pull off such a move. It would help bring in the foot traffic necessary to make Coliseum City financial feasible – something that might not be feasible with a major league stadium cost compared to a minor league cost. The fact the baseball portion of Coliseum City doesn’t take place until phase 3 (many years away) might make the minor league scenario possible, even if it remains unlikely. But I hope the powers that be consider it.

  53. The Giants putting together a AAA ballpark deal in Oakland would be extremely bad form, considering their current AAA team owes the City of Fresno $745,000 in back rent at Chukchansi Park. After all, the Giants orchestrated the move out of Arizona to the Central Valley, with Fresno building the ballpark for them. There can only be 30 AAA clubs, so some other team somewhere else has to move.

    Beyond that, AAA ballparks aren’t exactly cheap these days. El Paso’s park will cost over $60 million on free land. You can bet that citizen groups will push hard to convert a sizable amount of the Coliseum into open space or parkland, something that hasn’t been considered at all yet. Oakland’s flatlands are severely underparked.

  54. Interesting discussion(s). Thanks. As to Richard Valle’s comment — the man is a nonviolent Buddhist, and a fairly interesting one. Jerry Brown’s attitude, as mayor, toward an uptown ballpark was somewhat similar. (Although Brown seemed perfectly willing to duke it out with Robert Bobb, at the time. 😉 )

  55. @ML–I haven’t traced all of the minor-league speculation on this thread about the Giants and a minor league club in Oakland, but I’ve always imaginged the San Jose A team moving to Oakland if the A’s move to San Jose. The perfect venue would be a small park either at the old Navy Yard end of Alameda or the Oakland Army Base site near the the foot of the Bay Bridge. I’d attend, when the Giants were out of town.

  56. xoot you beat me to it. If any minor league team were to move to Oakland the SJ Giants would make the most sense. They could even resurrect the Oaks name. And CA League ballparks are a much more affordable alternative compared to even a AAA park, take up less room, are easier to fill, etc…

    Plus when you consider the region in this scenario would still have two MLB teams, a AAA team seems a stretch. They’re not generally “affordable family fun” like Single A games. I mean look at the Rivercats. Their tickets prices are almost identical to what the A’s ticket prices are despite being a lower level. It would essentially be an attendance and money loser. A Single A team though would offer a fun, low priced alternative for both the city and fans just like the SJ Giants do today. And they could even play off being the Giants MiLB team filling the void left by the A’s.

  57. @muppet151/@ML – I wasn’t talking necessarily the Grizzlies moving there. I don’t know what the other AAA clubs’ stadium situations are, but someone might be willing to talk.

    @xoot/@dan – I picked a AAA club over an A club mainly because of the foot traffic difference between the two. Pages 27 and 33 for PCL and CAL.

    But you two are right, the SJ Giants make the most sense as they are already in the region, stand to lose some attendance due to A’s in SJ, and could therefore fill a void left by the A’s in the East Bay. And as mentioned, it also wouldn’t be adding a new team to the region to further saturate the sports options.

    As far as the ticket prices go, if Sacramento prices are near the A’s prices, isn’t that an indication of a problem with the A’s struggling in the East Bay more than an overprice of AAA tickets? Anyway, I imagine that they couldn’t get away with them being as high in the Bay Area because of the options that don’t exist in Sacramento.

  58. I think the SJ Giants would have to move if the A’s ended up in San Jose. The only case I know of where a major and minor league club occupies the same city is NY and those are in different boroughs, sort of like Bay Area cities.

  59. Bay Native, The LA area has a couple of teams out in the Inland Empire as well despite proximity to the Angels and Dodgers.

    LS, I’m sure it’s a little of both. The RiverCats do have some of the highest ticket prices in MiLB with their $11-$45 range. By comparison their PCL competitors in Las Vegas and New Orleans have tickets that run from $9-$16 and the now moved Tucson Padres had similar prices before they moved to El Paso. Frenso’s prices are close to Sacramento’s but they’re still cheaper.

  60. I don’t see the Giants leaving Fresno to the Dodgers. They have worked hard to cultivate Fresno and the surrounding suburbs and farm-community as Giants territory for sometime. And I just don’t see Oakland being a place where minor league would take off.

    • There’s certainly a place in the Bay Area for a Cal League team. I always thought it was the North Bay, and different groups have to tried to get a team there only to be shut down by the Giants. If the T-rights issue is resolved and the A’s move to San Jose, the North Bay is the first place I’d expect the A-Giants to go. I know of a group in the Tri-Valley area that has also shown interest. It could turn into its own little bidding war. Now that the big Giants own the club, the matter is entirely in their hands. That said, the team doesn’t have to move. Wolff has indicated in the past the he’d let the A-Giants stay at SJ Muni, so it’s just a consent/compensation issue in the end.

  61. @ML- any thoughts on SJ recently agreeing to a new 5 year lease for the little gints? Seems they had some leverage here that they might have given up or is it more of an indication of something already in the works in terms of A’s/SJ?

    • @GoA’s – In the end SJ was in a similar position as the Oakland was re: the A’s. Bad PR to allow it to drag on longer than it should. Lease terms are similar to last lease, fairly cheap for Giants. Maybe this is part of a back room deal. I’m not aware of anything happening behind the scenes.

  62. As part of a settlement, I can see the A’s allowing for the Giants to move their single A San Jose minor league franchise to Oakland, or anyplace else within the East Bay. In effect, giving the Giants the opportunity to re-establish ties to their East Bay fan base part of the market. A lower level minor league ballpark is much less costlier to build than building a AAA level minor league facility. Also, attending lower level minor league ballgames is relatively inexpensive, especially if it involves taking ones family to the games, kids and all. One other advantage to having a lower level minor league team playing near or within the same market of the parent club is that it provides both fans and team management a good opportunity to see some of the future players of the big league team.

  63. Larry reid did say if coliseum city is dead…we have to hear from Malik/Colony first. So coliseum city does have a hearbeat….to pjk and tony d

  64. @GoA’s and RM,
    Just my opinion of course, but if the “big” Giants were adamant on playing hard ball with the city of SJ re the A’s, I say NO WAY we see a new 5-year lease at Muni for “Lil” Giants. So while slightly similar to Oakland’s position with the A’s, Single A no comparison to MLB. SJ would have been fine to see Single A go on its merry way. Part of back room deal? I say good chance..

  65. The SJ Giants have pointed out that SJ Muni is not exactly state of the art. Boo hoo for them. San Jose Giants: Striving to Keep the Nation’s 10th-largest City Minor League Forever

  66. pjk, to be fair the SJ Giants are right. SJ Muni is one of the worst stadiums in the CAL League. And I say that as a fan of Muni and its charm. Only Sam Lynn and Recreation Park come close to muni’s condition. And Recreation Park just underwent a multimillion dollar renovation and Sam Lynn Ballpark is slated to be replaced, either in Bakersfield or by the Blaze moving elsewhere (there have been discussions of the CAL league losing 2 teams to the Carolina League where cities are more willing to pony up for ballparks).

    There really is a big North/South divide in the CAL League. The southern teams all have newer nicer stadiums that have most of the modern amentities and designs while the northern teams other than Stockton all play in 1955 or older vintage ballparks that are not in the best shape (other than renovated Visalia).

  67. Bottom line,Oakland just does not care for its sports franchises,a little league team is run far better than this

  68. Do we really care what the Frisco Giants-owned San Jose Giants, with their big “Professional Baseball in San Jose!” banners, think? I don’t.

  69. pjk, some of us do actually. Despite recently becoming majority owned by the SF Giants the SJ Giants have always been a well run outfit who do a great job with what they have despite playing in an old run down public venue (Wolff could actually learn a few things from them).

    And what is wrong with them highlighting the fact that they’re professional baseball in San Jose? Nothing is incorrect about their statement at the moment. And frankly it’s not an unfair jab at Baseball San Jose whose slogan is “Professional Baseball for San Jose” which ignores that technically San Jose has had a professional baseball team pretty much continuously since the late 40’s (and continuously since 1988 in the guise of the SJ Giants).

  70. The “Professional Baseball in San Jose” banner masked the fact that this organization was active in preventing San Jose from getting Major League Baseball. Did they think we were stupid enough to not see what was going on with that? The banner perhaps should have said “Hurry! You have single-A baseball in San Jose (and you’ll NEVER get Major League Baseball as long as we have anything to say about it”.

  71. When/where did they display this banner that has raised your ire so much?

  72. They have had a “Pro Baseball in San Jose!” banner hanging right outside of Muni stadium.

  73. So wait, you object to them advertising that they have pro baseball in San Jose Municipal Stadium? You do realize that they have every right to market that fact, particularly at their own venue. They’d be stupid not to.

  74. I’m with ya, pjk. Damn those San Jose Giants for spreading all those lies. The world must know the truth! It’s time everyone know that the San Jose Giants have oppressed the citizen of San Jose for too long! More cities should stand up to their Class A teams. Viva la revolucion!

  75. If you prefer minor league baseball in San Jose to major league baseball, then the San Jose Giants are perfect for you. The SJ Giants have definitely been involved in the Frisco Giants’ efforts to keep San Jose from getting the A’s. If you’re OK with that, so be it.

  76. from the initial Stand for San Jose lawsuit against San Jose (you know, the SJ Giants’ landlords and host city): “Petitioner and Plaintiff SFSJ is an unincorporated coalition of entities and individuals, including residents and taxpayers in San Jose and the County of Santa Clara, and the San Jose Giants, formed and dedicated to addressing the risks to the environment and financial issues posed by the Ballpark Project.”

  77. There’s a difference between objecting to what their ownership has done being part of the S4SJ lawsuit against the city (and acting as an astroturf group for the SF Giants) and marketing the fact there is in fact pro baseball in San Jose for folks to enjoy now (as the team has been doing for a quarter of a century now). I think you’re ascribing a malicious intent to a banner that quite frankly is a simple marketing tool that ANY team would use in the SJ Giants position. It’s not some evil furthering of the SF Giants territorial stranglehold.

  78. ML, good to know, somewhere I had the impression that a Minor League club had to leave a city is an MLB came in (obviously not the region). Now, I suppose most would for purely economic reasons and I could see the Tri-Valley hosting a club. Good freeway access to the East Bay and valley and perhaps they’ll get it close to BART too.

  79. @Dan: The A’s dominated the giants on the field and with attendance when the gnats played at the ‘Stick. The giants owners group sold the team to the Tampa Bay owners and gave up on SF and the bay area MLB fanbase because the A’s dominated them so badly.

    Also, the SJ giants are no more than a propaganda tool used by the giants to stall the A’s move to San Jose. The SJ giants are a non-factor in SJ sports. They draw very poorly (the minor league average attendance is 4,400 per game – the SJ giants attendence is an actual 2,000 per game since the team moved to SJ – lately the figures have been artificially inflated because the giants mgt. gives away many freebee tickets to artificially boost the giants attendance – the giants are a b.s. organization.

  80. Pingback: | Alameda County meets with group selling Coliseum City alternative

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