26 April 2006

Election time

The June election is less than 6 weeks away, and some major things will be decided that could have an impact (direct or indirect) on the A's future in the Bay Area. Among the issues:
  • Oakland's mayoral race could extinguish or revive any hope of retaining the A's within city limits. Frontrunner Ron Dellums appears to be convinced that the A's already have one foot out the door, while Ignacio De La Fuente has said he's willing to fight to keep the team.
  • San Jose's mayoral race is wide open, and that means it's getting ugly. Yesterday, a Merc report linked Vice Mayor/mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez to the 11th hour, backroom deal for the Grand Prix race. Opponents Chuck Reed, Dave Cortese, and Michael Mulcahy seized upon the story, with Mulcahy calling for the Santa Clara County DA to investigate the matter further.
  • Santa Clara County Measure A proposes a 1/2-cent sales tax hike that would fund hospitals, emergency services, and transportation - chiefly BART. At 8.75%, the County would tie Alameda County for the highest sales tax in the Bay Area. This tax is expected to be the deciding factor in the push for BART to San Jose, as its revenue stream is designed to make up for a federal funding component that hasn't materialized. Should BART not come to San Jose, the Warm Springs extension could be delayed indefinitely, even though they are technically "de-coupled."
I haven't been able to attend any Oakland forums/debates so far, but I'm going to try to make May 15th's forum sponsored by Oakland Community Organizations (location TBD). For Oakland residents I have a request: If you have the opportunity to pose A's or ballpark-related questions at any of the house parties or other events, please send me any feedback you get. I'll be happy to devote a new post (and attribute you) on the subject matter. As a San Jose resident, I'll be attending Saturday's Public Policy Forum (at City Hall Council Chambers, no mayoral candidates expected), the Monday and May 13 debates (also at City Hall Council Chambers). Living in downtown SJ makes it quite easy to attend such SJ-related events, Oakland's another story.


Anonymous said...

New York City Council approves Yankees, Mets stadium financing plans

April 26, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- New ballparks for the Yankees and Mets passed a financing hurdle on Wednesday when the New York City Council approved their payment plans.

The Yankees ballpark, planned to open in 2009 next to its current home in the Bronx, is expected to cost more than $1 billion, with the city and state providing more than $200 million. The Mets stadium, to be built on what is now part of the parking lot of Shea Stadium in Queens, is predicted to cost about $800 million, of which the city and state will contribute about $165 million.

The teams will pay the remainder of the costs, financed through both taxable and tax-exempt bonds. The Yankees and Mets plan to make "payments in lieu of taxes," or PILOTs, to pay off the tax-exempt bonds -- which is essentially what the council voted to allow Wednesday.

The taxable portion of the bonds will be paid in the form of lease or rental payments.

"It's a win-win for the city of New York and it's a win-win for the Mets and the Yankees," said City Councilman David Weprin, who is finance chairman.

Georob said...

I checked out both De La Fuente's and Dellums' websites, and there is no mention whatsoever of the A's or stadiums.

And that to be honest, isn't surprising. Despite what the "Stay In Oakland" folks would have us believe, most voters in the City Of Oakland simply do not care about the A's or this issue.

So instead of attacking suburbanites, perhaps the OAFC needs to get to work on friends and neighbors in their own backyard.

Just like Tony needs to do with his "visionless small town thinker" neighbors in San Jose. And don't think for a second that there aren't going to be people in Fremont who don't want any part of this.

NIMBY-ism is alive and well in 2006!

tony d. said...

The hell with NIMBY's and people without vision! Now that I got that out, did anyone catch yesterdays Indians/Red Sox game on ESPN HD? Such a beautiful ballpark is Jacobs Field...the immaculate field, retro architecture, and looming Cleveland skyline lend to an awesome environment for baseball. I got to wondering while watching the do the actual A's players feel about playing in the Coliseum? As a member of the Athletics, it must be something to go on the road, play ball in retro gems in front of constant 20-30K fan crowds...then only to return home to the Mt. Davis Mausoleum. It must suck even more towards the end of the season, when the annual eruption of seats from Mt. Davis destroys the outfield. Maybe as a professional ballplayer, the actual stadium outside the diamond/outfield doesn't matter at all. Any thoughts anyone? Go A's, Sharks, and Mulcahy!!

Jeff said...

Speaking of opposition movements, has there been any organized resistance to a ballpark in Fremont? While I'm sure Rob is right, and one will form eventually, I still haven't heard of a single naysayer in Fremont. That's sort of interesting, considering the effort to attain the ballpark is fairly well along in the process. Are folks in Fremont more in tune with property values and how they are accentuated?

Georob said...

One thing that may keep Fremont opponents at bay will be the relative lack of residential nearby. However, I'm sure that as they get closer to preparing the Environmental Impact Study, I'm sure we'll see the following:

1) A 90 year old woman in Niles Canyon with a deadly allergy to ballpark noise within a 20 mile radius.

2) A newly discovered(yet close to extinct) species of Spotted Owl indigenous ONLY to the marshlands of Southern San Francisco Bay.

3) And of course, there's always an ancient tribal burial ground ready to screw up any development project. That is unless said tribe wishes to build a casino there.

Need any more obstacles? I'm sure that the OAFC will be happy to lend any assistance they can to the "No "A" In Fremont" cause.

Anonymous said...

What's the OAFC? Oprah's Angry Fat people's Club?

Whining about the A's moving to Fremont strikes me as self-centered and shallow. It's one thing if the A's where moving out of the area but Fremont is in Alameda county.

Georob said...

I don't get up to the East Bay too often, but I did over the weekend. While zig-zagging around Berkeley and North Oakland(trying to avoid gridlock at the maze), I observed something I had forgotten.

Namely, people have an "attitude". I suppose that's to be expected(if not required) in a urban environment; but it's interesting to watch street people and just plain working class folk walk around like they're the most important creatures on the planet.

Again, maybe it's self-preservation as these people are used to being spat on, abused, and at best; marginalized. What's most striking is that when you overhear many of them talking(sometimes even with OTHER PEOPLE :)), it's obvious that they're quite intelligent while VERY protective of their surroundings.

Well, so much for my public radio commentary. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have a better understanding of what makes the "Oakland only" supporters tick. Not that I disagree with them any less, it's just that I can see why they'd feel that moving to a stadium just 10 miles away would be like moving to another world.

Because frankly, it IS another world in so many ways. And it highlights just how difficult the A's marketing issues are.

If supporting and watching an exciting team is our commonality, we should be fine. But if, as some have suggested, the "urban experience" plays a big role; then the A's indeed may lose a chunk of the current fan base by moving to Fremont.

Now, before the OAFC declares that I have "seen the light", let me also say that I just don't think that there are enough of those "urban fans" to make that case. Otherwise, we'd see much higher attendance numbers at the Coliseum than we do now.

But that doesn't mean that I don't sympathize with them, either.