10 May 2006

Newhouse: Oakland needs to step up

The Trib's Dave Newhouse presents the City of Oakland with a challenge in today's column: Show us the site. And by "us" he doesn't just mean the A's or the media - he means all of A's fandom. Unlike his colleague Art Spander, Newhouse finds Wolff relatively trustworthy:
Lew Wolff's at the plate, and he wants your best pitch, Oakland. Or any pitch. Perhaps a mystery pitch, because he's plenty mystified. Anyway, it's up to you, Oakland. Wolff hasn't changed his stance.
Newhouse then starts to turn the screws:
Oakland talks, but like Loaiza so far, it doesn't deliver consistently or accurately. And Wolff, unlike his predecessor in the owners' box, is willing to foot the entire bill for a new park, which is a $450 million check minus the tip. He just wants some help with, say, environmental issues. And a good price on the land would help, too.
But if it can be done in Fremont, why can't it be done in Oakland? It can if Oakland would stop hurling junk and come in with a high heater that would not only brush back Fremont but also drive it out of the box.
Funny how Loaiza keeps coming up (my fault there). Credit goes to Newhouse for asking the question. There's an air of resignation in the East Bay, yet there are Oakland proponents that insist that there's a solution out there that for whatever reason isn't being publicized (Wolff's supposed reluctance to deal with Oakland is often cited). Rumors are floating around about two or three sites being considered at City Hall. And Ron Dellums may know of others that are working on their own plan. It's time to publicize. You can't get the public to rally behind something they know nothing about. If Wolff is challenging the city, then the city should challenge him right back.


Georob said...

Rhamesis, awhile back you accused me of engaging in a "pissing match". Well, what I said is nothing compared to what we'll see from Oakland and others as the Fremont ballpark continues to evolve. I have felt all long that the politicans in Oakland have never taken the moving threats seriously, perhaps now that is changing. But will it be too late? Only time(and the new mayor) will tell.

One thing's certain: Fremont(and Lew Wolff) had better be ready to address the transportation issues before the Bay Area media, Sierra Club, and other interest groups turn it into a major problem. And frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if KNBR ended up getting involved...that's scary.

Meanwhile, Oakland can choose to either be a part of the problem, or part of the solution. And dispatching their delegates to remind everyone what's wrong with Fremont is not part of the solution.

So yes, if Oakland has sites, let's see them. But no matter what, we're going to see a beauty of a "pissing match" before this is over.

Michael said...

I was born in Oakland but I have very little sympathy for the city of my birth at this point. Newhouse is right. Oakland politicians are great at standing around and talking about theoretical solutions to problems but rarely do they do the work that's needed to make things happen.

This is another case. While Oakland points at the sky and talks about what might be possible, foundations are going to get put down in Fremont.

Marine Layer said...

I can't control whether or not pols and activists stir it up. I'd prefer to have a fairly civil, less snarky discussion here.

Without transportation solutions, any proposal would be incomplete and would invite criticism. I doubt anything is publicized until multiple options are prepared, the detail of which would be part of an EIR.

Anonymous said...

Newhouse is a Quisling at best, a moron at worst. Among the inanities in his article:

"(Wolff) stated clearly in the winter of 2005 he would give (Oakland) a year to find him a ballpark site before he looked elsewhere" And here it is 6 months later, and Wolff's looking elsewhere. Does Newhouse not have a calendar?

"(Wolff) increased the A's payroll to $62.3 million from $55.8 million..." His revenue from MLB sources increased $14-18 million at the same time, so he's now profiting more. Save us the good guy spending more rap.

"(Wolff) is willing to foot the entire bill for a new park, which is a $450 million check..." That's simply not true, it's never been true, Wolff even says it's not true (see AN Interview). Wolff is insisting on development rights valued at $300 million plus as part of his park plan. That's a subsidy pure and simple. If Oakland offered free land (say, North Coli parking lot) for a ballpark, but not for a village, Wolff would say no.

"BART (and) the freeway (are) two conditions Wolff has stressed all along as being mandatory...'There are solutions,' Wolff said Tuesday, altering his stance somewhat." So for Oakland proposals BART was a dealbreaker...Wolff even had the chutzpah to seek a new BART station (for what, $300 million? $500? Someone else's dime, not Lew's) at the Swap Meet site. And now in Fremont "there are solutions." Incredible.

I also want Oakland to make its pitch, but Newhouse is either breathtakingly ignorant or willingfully blind when he paints Wolff as the patient fellow just waiting for Oakland to work with him. Wolff wants nothing to do with Oakland, not because he's mean, but because the money's better to the south. Every Wolff step since August, including his negotiations in the media (like...ummm...this piece) has telegraphed a vision in which Oakland is not a part. I'm not saying that's wrong or evil (though his aw shucks "honesty" grows tiresome). But I am saying it ain't right.

FrStUp said...

BTW, previous post by me, sorry.

Georob said...

Look, I'm not buying the argument that Wolff wants nothing to do with Oakland, and never has.

Whether he gave Oakland six months or six YEARS to find a site, the fact remains that the city would be PO'd when the time came to leave. This nonsense about "going through the motions" is just that.

If Wolff had determined early on that Oakland was an unviable market, he would have communicated that to Bud Selig and started the negotiating process for Fremont, San Jose, or wherever much sooner. (Remember, Steve Schott hired him TWO YEARS AGO to look for sites) And if MLB continued to insist that he focus his efforts on "Oakland", I doubt if he would have taken over the franchise.

Still, the conspiracy theories live on. It's reasonable for Wolff to not "burn any bridges" and keep his options open. But for him to outright lie and put on a whole "dog and pony show" about staying in Oakland when he has no intention of following through is just bad business and would come back to haunt Wolff in his other ventures.

As for Wolff not following the timelines, I think you're splitting hairs Frstup. While Wolff DID start looking out of Oakland sooner than expected, he's also made it clear that he hasn't ruled them out, either. There was never any formal agreement to do otherwise.

Keith Salmine said...

You people that think Lew has never wanted to have anything to do with Oakland are stupid for thinking that.

Trust me, he knows if he has to go to Fremont, he'll lose half the fan base. And while he would gain new fans for a short time, 3/4 of the die hards that are up here that show up regardless how bad the team is doing won't go.

He knows $$$ wise that it is really better for him to keep the team in Oakland. A deal will be worked out before he has to go with what Fermont has always been, the back up plan.

James said...


What color is the sky in your world?

Georob said...

I just want to know where "FERmont" is

JALittau said...

I think it's about 20 miles south of OKAland!