15 November 2006

Reaction from around the Bay

Housekeeping note: I'm now moderating comments using the moderation feature. The signal-to-noise ratio has been generally poor, let's see if this helps. If you've come here to bash Fremont, Oakland, or Timbuktu, it's not showing up.
The Trib's Monte Poole, who I saw leaving Cisco HQ as I walked in (after the press conference, no less), has a good beat on the circumstances of the deal.

The Merc's Mark Purdy, who not surprisingly paints a rosier picture on things,
gets into how the deal started - a hunting trip. Purdy's colleague Mike Cassidy gets in a good San Jose jab:

The Merc’s story this morning said Wolff and the Cisco Kid, John Chambers, promise the new stadium “will be filled with Cisco networking equipment.'’ Sounds like San Jose City Hall, without the whiff of bid-rigging.
Chron writer Patrick Hoge reports that the Coliseum Authority is already looking at ways to make other money now that the A's have announced their departure. Included is this delicious quote from Ignacio De La Fuente:
"To be candid, we made more money in one Rolling Stones concert than the A's made (us) in a whole year. We will deal with it," De La Fuente said.

There's only one problem with this. When the A's leave, who's going to become the Coliseum's main East Bay competition for large outdoor concerts? Cisco Field, of course. The Coliseum will obviously be larger and have BART, but how many concerts require 50-60,000 seats anymore? It's the Rolling Stones and little else, and at some point all that cryogenics/formaldehyde won't be able to help the eventually septuagenarian Stones take a big stage. U2 no longer plays large stadia in the States, and most pop acts work the 15-20,000-seat market covered by outdoor amphitheaters and indoor arenas. International soccer friendlies are nice, but they don't come all that frequently. Plus there's the end of McAfee's naming rights deal with the Coliseum, coming in 2008. There's a good chance they won't renew since the A's won't be there, and that means the subsidy to pay for the Coliseum's renovations ($22 million this year alone) will only get higher. The bright side is that the name should revert back to "Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum."

John Shea thinks the writing is on the wall regarding the "___ A's of Fremont." After seeing former San Jose mayor and Wolff consigliere Tom McEnery leave shortly after Poole, it's hard to not think along those lines.

Union City is gearing up for its TOD (transit oriented development) surrounding the planned rail station next to its own BART station. 10-20 story residential towers will be built by San Jose builder Barry Swenson. To get MTC funds for the station, planners have to hit a minimum of 2,200 housing units within 1/2 mile of the station, perhaps fewer units if some are sold/leased at below market rate. For BART stations, the bar is raised to 3,850 units. Could this approach help with getting more transit infrastructure around the ballpark village? Not at first glance, since Capitol Corridor fits under the realm of intercity rail as opposed to commuter rail. There's WSX BART, but the village is on the wrong side of the freeway and isn't within the 1/2 mile range, plus no residential is planned immediately around the Warm Springs station. Still, it can't hurt to ask.