07 June 2006

Primary returns

So far, we're seeing resounding defeats for initiatives and candidates for the pro-San Jose and pro-Fremont groups, while Oakland appears to have a definitive winner (which may or may not portend well for future ballpark efforts):
  • Oakland mayoral race (99% of precincts reporting): Dellums - 50.2%, De La Fuente - 33%, Nadel - 13%.
    This race has been changing overnight. Dellums started out in the lead, but had 44% of the vote - well below the simple majority needed to avoid a runoff. Now, with virtually all but the absentee vote counted, Dellums may avoid the runoff after all. Rumors have swirled around a group close to Dellums working up a proposal for the A's to consider should Dellums win the primary in this manner. How far is Dellums willing to go to keep the A's? On the flipside, does he believe the A's want to stay?
  • San Jose mayoral race (100% of precincts reporting): Reed - 28.3%, Chavez - 23.5%, Pandori - 17.9%, Cortese - 16.4%, Mulcahy - 10.8%.
    Reed is known as the fiscally responsible Democrat and should not be expected to support any kind of major subsidy to a sports franchise. He has supported the ballpark study and the Diridon South site acquisition, but he won't blindly support a bad ballpark deal. Chavez is considered more friendly towards the prospects of the A's and Quakes, though with "sunshine" reform being proposed, she shouldn't be expected to rubber stamp a bad deal either, mystery of the Quakes subsidy in December notwithstanding.
  • Santa Clara County Measure A [1/2-cent general sales tax increase for health care facilities, transportation including BART] (99% of precincts reporting): Yes - 42.3%, No - 57.7%.
    Without the sales tax hike, BART extensions to both Warm Springs/South Fremont and San Jose would be doomed for the forseeable future, especially since the projects did not previously qualify for federal matching funds. Without BART to either Warm Springs or San Jose, arguments in favor of ballpark proposals in those areas would become significantly weaker.
The upshot: Oakland, which only a month ago appeared to be almost resigned to losing the A's, finds itself in a much better position because it has a clear winner. This is especially true if Dellums and his team can get a ballpark-based urban renewal proposal going and if Wolff is willing to talk. Even more interesting is what approach Dellums will take becoming mayor, especially because he's not known as a "small details" kind of pol that being a mayor usually calls for. How will he work with City Council Pres De La Fuente (who'll maintain his old job) and the rest of the ever-present Perata machine? What staff changes will he make when he takes office? Will he look to exert pressure on joint-powers groups such as the Coliseum Authority?


FrStUp said...

Couple of notes:

* Dellums doen't take office until Jan07. While he could theoretically discuss a pre-inaugeration deal (a la Reagan 1980), nothing will happen fast or publically for some months.

* It is by no means certain that Iggy will remain Council Prez. That job is selected by the 8 Councilmembers, who may feel a new day has dawned...especially if Kernighan loses her runoff.

* Since Fremont has gone this far without Warm Springs, they haven't lost anything...they just didn't gain anything either.

* Only Nixon could go to China. Perhaps only Dellums could swing a ballpark (imagine heretofore undreamed local/minority contract set asides as part of a park construction deal).

jrbh said...

"Only Nixon can go to China" -- I believe that's an old Klingon proverb, right?

There's no practical reason for the A's to rush through the new ballpark process *unless* Wolff feels like he has to cut a deal with Fremont before they figure out how disasterously bad the deal would be for the town.

At this point, I simply have no faith in Wolff's intentions, but if I'm wrong, there's no reason he and Dellums can't sit down well before next January and begin to work something out.

It's a huge break for fans of the *Oakland* A's that de la Fuente didn't win; he doesn't have the political weight to have gotten a deal done, because of his association with the Raiders deal, and he doesn't have the brains to get it done in a way that wouldn't screw Oakland.

One final note: I'd love to see much more serious discussion about the possibility of telling the Raiders to go to hell and rebuilding the Coliseum to suit the A's.

Anonymous said...


Amen on your last comment. If the Raiders were to somehow leave town, where would the A's play while the coliseum was torn down and a new stadium built up? What if they shared AT&T park with the Giants for a

jrbh said...

If the Yankees could spend a year in Shea Stadium at the "suggestion" of MLB, I'm pretty sure the Giants, who have huge bond payments to make, would be delighted to rake in some cash leasing their park to the A's for a year.

Georob said...

Dellums needs to get Al Davis and Lew Wolff together to work out a way to do something in the Coliseum parking lot.

As for "Nixon going to China", that line was used by Spock in "Star Trek VI", so it's a Vulcan proverb, and a half one at that.

Anonymous said...

I have long thought that the Raiders will move back to Los Angeles well before the end of the lease, with the NFL & Oakland/Alameda's blessing. The reason I think this a realistic possibility is the amount of debt that Alameda County taxpayers are on the hook for. I believe if the NFL came in and offered to help Alameda County a way to get out from under that debt load, they'd be foolish not to take a hard look at it. I say the Raiders will be back in southern california within three years.

peanut gallery said...

A little optimism creeps back in for keeping the A's in Oakland. I would love to see the Raiders take a hike and the A's redo the Coliseum for baseball. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Anon 9:31 about the Raiders going to LA. I'm sure Alameda County would love to help them pack (as a resident of said county, I can tell you I would) but I don't think LA is all that anxious to deal with Davis again. They learned their lesson the first time. Unlike us.

BART to SJ failing is a shame as that transit link needs to be made regardless of where the A's stadium may be located. But perhaps now someone will consider a cheaper alternative: some other rail from SJ to Fremont/UC/Hayward (anywhere near the southern end of the line) with a near-seemless transfer like CalTrain and BART have in Millbrae. Perhaps mostly along existing rail lines to keep costs down.

Georob said...

Rhamesis has touched on this before, and so have many others; but if Raiders had never returned to Oakland, the Coliseum would still have to be replaced.

Mount Davis took away the view of the hills and messes up the field for the final weeks of the season, but that's it. The majority of the Coliseum is the original facility we've had since 1968, and what was hailed as a model venue during the 80's.

No more. Not in today's market. Beginning with the huge foul areas, the narrow concourses, the age of the infrastructure itself, and an overcapacity that, even if you tore down Mt. Davis, would still be too high for Oakland.

Now, Angel Stadium was renovated back to baseball only, but the big difference there is that it was baseball only to begin with. Still, that isn't stopping plans to replace Dodger and Yankee Stadiums.

At least HALF the current Coliseum is well suited and up to date for football, and I'd predict that if the A's move out, that the original Coliseum bowl will be demolished and a matching "Mt Davis" structure built facing the existing one.

But other than that, you can't gut the inside of a stadium and bring it up to date. In fact, it would probably cost less to build a whole new one.