24 September 2005

AP article - little new

An AP article that appears in Saturday's Chronicle provides another recap of the ballpark situation. Most of it is available in other reports and on this blog as well. There was one new piece of info that I found telling:

Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said the city is committed to evaluating the potential of the area where the A's want to build and will dedicate someone to the job but there are many hurdles.

"More than money, there are definitely going to be other issues. You have a lot of challenges in that site but that doesn't mean that that cannot be done," De La Fuente said. "We're going to be working with them and hopefully we'll arrive to some great solution."

"Committed to evaluating the potential" and "will dedicate someone to the job" do not sound promising. I understand that both the city and the county are in a budget crunch, but someone should have been steering this in City Hall two weeks ago.


Maury Brown said...

Marine Layer, I think it's time that anonymous postings go out the window.

Kill these posts, please.

Georob said...

Come on, Maury. haven't you ever wanted to launch your own atomic bomb? We could aim it at all the whiners and conspiracy theorists
over at AthleticsNation. Especially the ones who don't think we need a new stadium


Georob said...

But back to business....

I didn't see as bleak a picture in the article, but I may be too optimistic. In my opinion, about two-thirds of Oakland's population could care less about the A's. Jerry Brown and DeLafuente know this and have "cast their lot" accordingly.

Brown is the champion of the poor and disenfranchised, so it's no surprise that he chooses to ignore the A's entirely. DeLafuente is trying to walk both sides of the fence, and is showing restraint in his public comments. Once(and IF) he's elected mayor, hopefully that will change.

With all his years negotiating in Washington, it makes me wonder if Ron Dellums is the better guy for us. My fear though,is that his ideologies are closer to that of Brown.

Your thoughts??

Marine Layer said...

I go out for a few hours and all hell breaks loose. Oh well.

Judging from where Dellums stands on many domestic issues, he's probably less inclined to support a ballpark than Brown. If this is going to happen, IDLF is the guy to make it happen on the inside.

Georob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Georob said...

Okay, you've sold me on IDLF. But if he can't get the job done, will the City Of Oakland cooperate with any attempt to move outside the city limits? My fear is that they'll try to paint the A's as "bad guys", file lawsuits, and possibly play the race card before it's over.

As for the East Bay suburbs, do you see ANY city with the land, money, and political will to do this? Even rich Contra Costa cities like San Ramon and Walnut Creek would need to forge a coalition of neighboring towns, the county, and regional agencies to make things happen. And if Pleasanton or Fremont expect any help from Alameda County, they'll still need to go through Oakland interests to some degree.

So one way or another, Oakland needs to be kept happy whether the A's play there or not.

Marine Layer said...

The City of Oakland (IDLF included) bared its teeth when Fremont-area politicians threw their hat in the ring. It's safe to say that they'll take the same stance until their deadline (whenever that is) passes. Wolff has been upfront about how he'll progress in his efforts: first Oakland, then elsewhere in the East Bay, then beyond.

No city or municipality in the East Bay has money to spend on a stadium, and few even have money to spend on the infrastructure piece that Wolff would most certainly want if it's privately built. Oakland's biggest advantage is that it has a redevelopment agency that can raise funds for a big infrastructure project. Most other cities in the East Bay don't have such an agency, or the agency isn't geared towards large projects like a stadium. Take Concord, for instance. The Naval Weapons Station is going to be sold at some point in the future, but city leaders want it sold to a private developer that will pay for much, if not all of the remediation and infrastructure work there because Concord doesn't have the funds to do it. Since the NWS is owned by the Pentagon, Concord won't see any immediate benefit for the sale.

Going back to Oakland, I've said this before and I'll say it again: There needs to be someone to do the dirty work on the inside, someone who is NOT an elected official. Robert Bobb, like him or not, was that guy until he left for DC, which, not coincidentally, has a ballpark deal in the works. I see little evidence of a person in the Oakland Civic Center carrying that torch.

Georob said...

Thank you for answering my questions. Let me throw some more at you.

There have been threats of the A's leaving for as long as they've been in Oakland. Hence, not enough people in my mind take the current situation seriously enough.
What concerns me most Marine Layer, is the possibility of contraction.

Bud Selig, I think sincerely believes that MLB has too many teams. And if it hadn't been for the players union, he'd have shut down the Expos instead of moving them to DC. My understanding is that he can re-visit the issue when the current labor contract is up in 2007? And isn't that when the A's lease in Oakland is up?

The A's would appear to be a perfect contraction candidate: No stadium deal, current lease expiring, mediocre attendance at best, and because it's in a two-team area it wouldn't be considered as abandoning a market.

That's what scares me more than anything. And I'm certain that Lew Wolff walks away with a profit should the team be liquidated.

As far as I'm concerned, moving the A's to San Jose becomes a last resort measure only if contraction can't be done.

Most people I talk to think my fears are unfounded. What do you think?

Marine Layer said...

I get the question about contraction every so often, and it strikes me that MLB got what it wanted when it pulled out the possibility of contraction: FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). If you look below the surface, you'll see it for what it really was, a simple negotiating ploy.

The thing is that the ploy nearly backfired. The lawsuit and injunction from the state of Minnesota and the congressional hearing got MLB closer to the threat of having its antitrust exemption challenged than almost any other time in the last 30 years. They really don't want to go there. In fact, Selig has been going around touting baseball's financial stability, as exemplified by his recent speech in San Jose. He got much of what he wanted except for the cap, and that's only necessary when MLB can't control costs. Judging by salary growth the last 3 years, they've got that problem licked. MLB will only get richer when the new Busch Stadium and the renovated Fenway, Wrigley, and Dodger Stadium are unveiled, not to mention the new Yankee Stadium.

Then there's the issue of if contraction is going to happen, it has to happen for TWO teams, not one. So how's that going to work? They can't show hardship because that will be a lie, so what will the argument be? That the two teams don't work in those markets? The automatic reaction will be, "Let them move." The influx of foreign players has helped shore up the talent pool especially in pitching. KC owner David Glass doesn't want a downtown ballpark. Wolff has plenty of suitors at his feet if Oakland fails. Florida may just have a solution, albeit a twisted one, with the "evacuation center" idea. Minnesota's got the legal horses behind them, and Tampa Bay is stuck with a long term lease and new ownership is coming in. If contraction comes up prior to the 2006 CBA negotiations, Selig won't have much to stand on. Everything he's said recently has been to the contrary of virtually any argument he could use.