11 January 2007

Lew takes calls

I wasn't able to give Lew's appearance on Ronn Owens' show my full attention, but it sounded like good radio. It even got testy, as Lew got into a heated debate with a Fremont resident about the ballpark village development. Owens played moderator while jabbing Wolff about the "____ A's of/at Fremont" name. I'm blocked from getting the streamed archive at work, but I'll definitely listen to it when I get home and transcribe some of the Q&A.

Until then, comment away!


Kevin said...

Pretty good stuff. Not all cream puff questions. After hearing that one caller from Fremont it will be interesting to see what other residents have to say. That caller left the impression that a significant number of residents don't want the A's in their city. Wolff may have been holding back until he had a chance to discuss things with the city, but he really didn't provide any firm answers to the caller's concerns.

John said...

Off the top of my head...

Regarding the transportation issue, Lew just reiterated what he has said before... they are developing a plan that he will not comment on until it has been presented to the city first. However, he did seem to stress that there are other modes of public transportation besides BART. A surly Fremont resident called that said 70% of Fremont resisdents do not want the A's (he didn't explain where that number came from). He seemed to be involved in some group with organized opposition to the move. His main critisism was the lack of infastructure needed to support the team and fans. Like the transportation issue, Lew said the A's were addressing these issues and want to present a plan to the city before commenting publicly.

He also said the venue capacity is planned to be about 32K. One thing about the venue capacity that struck me was when he said said the A's could make the same profit whether the stadium has 32 or 42K seats.

Anonymous said...

I thinks that the guy who called from fremont was exagerrating. I don't think that 80% of the residents are against this move. It's probably just a small group of people who are up in arms about this situation.

Living in neighboring Union City, I know of some of the problems that the city is facing in terms of resources. This is mostly due to the fact that Fremont's downtown is more like a ghosttown. The target store has probably added to the revenue, but most folks still prefer to go to either Newark or Union City malls, to spend their dollars.

This is exactly why I think that the ballpark village is a good idea for fremont. I would assume that a lot of tax revenue would be generated by sales at the village. Also, Wolf seemed willing to listen to the issues and take action.

I also think that the comment about condos on that side of the city was dumb. It seems to me that the housing at the village would be costly and attract folks who are relatively wealthy. Wolf will have to provide good infrastructure to attract these clients.

As a resident of Union City, I think that the deal will be good and will help Union City attract more people. Also, Union City could become a transit hub, assuming that the dumbarton capital corridor issue works out.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't this " caller from Fremont " in reality be an Oakland resident ?

Anonymous said...

Not much new from Lew.

Only the caller from Fremont for drama.

The problem I have with the caller from Fremont is that you could tell by not only his tone, but the manner in which he responded that his mind was made up and there was no changing it.

His chief complaint was about Fremont not having resources was rebutted by Lew and Ron when they said, "what about them generating revenue for the city to pay for things". His response was something to the effect of "it doesn't matter, Fremont doesn't have the resources."

He has made up his mind and there are no other possibilities.

Meh. As a Fremont resident, the people I talk to are divided. And for the most part it appears by zip code. The closer to the intended location of the park, the more likely to be opposed.

Also, his 70-80% number seems a bit exaggerated.

Anyways, it made for entertaining radio.

Georob said...

KGO archives everything for 24 hours, so you all can go to their website and listen to it until tomorrow morning at 11, I guess.

Wolff told Owens that he really likes the "Angels Of Anaheim" name and has no problem with copying it in Fremont, except that he used the phrase "AT Fremont" Maybe he's going to use the @ symbol as a Silicon Valley tie-in.

As for what the rest of the name will be, he said that they're going to look at it over the next two years. This tells me that they're going to be awfully careful about how they handle it. My money still says that he goes with "Silicon Valley", as it speaks to a much broader constituency than Oakland or San Jose would.

He did say repeatedly that the A's are staying within their "territory"and that discussions with the Giants over San Jose never reached the compensation stage; as the Giants were just not going to give up Santa Clara County. Wolff also said that were he in the Giants' place, he'd probably feel the same way.

One thing that really struck me is how Wolff tries to take the middle ground and not offend anyone. From a business standpoint that's a smart thing to do but may also be why so many don't trust him.

For example, an Oakland supporter called in to complain about not building a downtown stadium and said that it was an issue of "respect". Frankly, I can't think of anything farther from the truth and were I Wolff I would have told the caller he was full of horse crap. Face it, the OAFC crowd hates Wolff no matter what, but a lot of people "on the fence" might just respect that type of candor even if they might not agree with him.

Anonymous said...

As a Warm Springs resident who lives very close to the planned Cisco Field, I can tell you the 80 percent is a falsehood even for my nearby neighborhood. Am I in favor it? As long as there is no 'pay this extra tax right now but you'll get it back down the line' type thing. Police, fire etc etc costs need to be offset with clear increased tax revenue numbers. Now, do I have reservations? Sure. Traffic is first. I live between 880 and 680 off Mission. I routinely have to take 880 to mission to get home. It's a little worrisome, however, continuing improvements to the 880 corridor should help some. Further, traffic is traffic, to an extent, when you live in a densely populated area, I also worry about crime (it's a relatively good neighborhood here) but don't think it will be affected greatly. That said, this is , once again, a densely populated area (the Bay Area). Pacific commons will eventually be something that has many, many people going to and from it. That's a fact. So the way I see it, why not have a state of the art ball park (place for baseball and other entertainment things), top of the line residential dwellings and good retail. I am not an A's fan per se (I am a Red Sox fan - actually more a Patriots fan) but I do attend 2 or 3 A's games a year. Likely I will attend more if it is in Fremont. My Dad and several of his friends are season ticket holders though. They can't wait for this. Biggest complaint is the Coliseum has no retail close by that appeals to them. Second complaint is the Coliseum is not what it was due to Mt Davis. Third, they believe a park close to silicon valley will attract more corporate spenders that will get more coin into the payroll. Bottom line, 1 Warm Springs Resident here who is 85% in favor of it! Biggest worry about the new park? No bart/ how will they get there without having to drive into the park?
One other thing I'd like to add, I've heard the against argument in three forms: cost, city impact, and the Oakland A's belong in Oakland. First, the A's belong in the Bay area not Oakland specifically. Check the fan location attendance to debunk that argument. Second, cost. I'm ok with the cost argument if it is Raiders type deal where we pay and get a cookie 10 years down the line. I'll hold out my 15% against the Ballpark until I hear the finance plan. Lastly, city impact as in traffic, overcrowding etc etc. To me this argument is a silly exercise ultimately. For the third time, we live in a densely populated area. There will be more traffic and more people regardless of whether a ball park is here or not. If you don;t like the thought of a lot of people on the roads etc etc, I think you should not be living here in the first place. Just my very long winded 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if Cisco had gone ahead with building it's approved 3.5 million sq foot office complex instead , with it's DAILY thousands of cars commuting to the same area , then leaving it yet another deserted Silicon Valley office park wasteland by 6pm. It's not as if this prime piece of land were to stay empty anyway.
I'll take a nice " Santana Row " or " Irvine Spectrum Center " type shopping/leisure area that gathers people year round from a wide area with smartly designed housing over more cheap knock-up office buildings any day. ( See the empty wasteland of McCarthy Ranch buildings a few exits south on 880 to see what I'm talking about ) .

Jeff P. said...

Those are very lucid arguments anonymous. It's true that PC will eventually be infilled with some sort of development. Why not a ballpark? Traffic from the site will only be an issue a few days every other week. Some of those days will be mitigated by the traffic occurring on the weekends.

Question for ML. Will the proposed development result in a significant appreciation of the properties already in place? It seems like the ballpark and the attendent commercial development would lend an upscale flair.

The crime issue is a red herring. There is not much attendent crime with middle/upper class consumers found at sporting events. Really, the only crime aside from PC647f will be DUI's. The CHP will deal with the majority of the DUI's, while the drunk in public will be handled by local police. As I've stated before, Alameda county will probably be tapped for law enforcement within the ballpark. The costs will be passed on to team ownership and will ultimately be funded by those attending the sporting events via concessions and ticket prices. The only real crime problem will be those who show up to prey on the patrons. Vigorous police presensce will surely deter those types from even showing up.

Another question ML. If Lew builds a parking structure with direct freeway access adjacent to the freeway, shouldn't that alleviate or eliminate traffic on the surface streets of Fremont? I am thinking along the lines of the I5 off ramps in Disneyland. Guests patronizing the park exit directly off the Freeway and into the parking structure. Egress is handled in the same manner. Once you park you are shuttled on a tram to the park entrance. Do you think Lew is thinking along these lines?

Marine Layer said...

Significant appreciation wouldn't occur in neighboring properties unless the owners got the same kind of zoning changes that Wolff is looking for. If not, they'll still be light industrial/commercial, which is not where the money is. In that sense it's like an infill redevelopment situation, except that the area is not blighted.

The area won't accommodate a new freeway exit. Any new offramp from 880-S would be too close to the onramp coming from Auto Mall. Further down 880 are truck weigh stations on both sides of the freeway, plus a CHP facility on the east side. There's simply too much in the way. The ingress/egress situation shouldn't be much different from the existing situation at the Coliseum, except that the route is a little longer.

Anonymous said...

>>Those are very lucid arguments anonymous<<

Lucid? maybe. Well written? Not very. Oh well, I wrote it quick and dirty (now I understand why my teachers always stressed proof reading). Thanks just the same. Your point is well taken too. Traffic might be worse on selected days but less so on others. Not counting weekends, I am thinking baseball days will impact traffic approx. 55 days. I think you would have to throw in another 10 to 15 days for other events that might take place. So 70 days of very, very bad traffic versus about 220 days of very bad traffic (if PC was filled to the brim with corporate/industrial) versus 220 days of bad traffic (if PC stays empty - which will ultimately NEVER happen). So again, your point is well taken.

To me, the opponent's traffic argument is silly when I look at again. As I stated before, this is a densely populated area. We are already impacted and it is going to get incrementally worse ballpark or no ballpark. An analogy might be arguing against a 30 story building that will be built between two existing 30 story buildings. As I said in my last post, I live in warm springs. I understand the deal I have here. I have major interstates (880 and 680) close by. I have cars coming out my ears at rush hour around here. There isn't forests or fields or the like just buildings. But you get the conveniences of the city too (like close to airports, shopping, entertainment, large event venues?). I have always assumed one day I'd sell my place at a fairly sizable profit and move to an area that doesn't have the masses (when the positives become outweighed by the rat race as I'd put it). Fremont has 220,000 people in it, and is about 10 miles north of a city with almost a million, and about 20 miles south of a city with 400,000, and about 30 miles southeast of a city with 750,000, and people crowded in in between all four of those points that isn't covered by water. It's rat race here. The new ball park will keep it a rat race. Industrial/commercial will keep it a rat race. An empty PC will keep it a rat race. Don't like the rat race? Try Patterson, Lodi, Grass Valley, Idaho etc. That's just the way it is..........

Anonymous said...

Lew Wolff was originally against Santana Row in San Jose because it severely hurt downtown San Jose's chances of being a retail/destination place. Now Mr. Wolff wants to build ANOTHER VERSION of Santana Row at Pacific Commons, with a 30K seat ballpark to boot! Won't this further erode downtown San Jose's chances of ever being a destination place? He appears to be killing off his own cause (in downtown San Jose) I correct?

Jeff August said...

Living in neither Fremont, Union City, Milpitas or Newark I can't really speak for the populace.

That said... judging from what I hear on talk radio on a daily basis, only someone who is naive or completely unobjective would beleive that Lew Wolff has done no research while "Bill" the caller has all his facts straight.

Be it sports talk, or political callers frequently are full of it and speak from emotion more than any factual basis.

How else do you explain anyone listening to Rush Limbaugh, for example, and taking him as an authority on science?

It is beacuse Rush appeals to their emotion on topics like Creationism, Global Warming, etc. Not because facts back either (Rush or his caller on the topic) of their positions.

I do know people who live in Fremont and the surrounding area. Of those that I have talked to about the subject, most are somewhat in favor and 2 are wildly in favor.

The wildly in favor have 2 reasons. One is an A's fan who lives in Fremont. The other, lives in Milpitas and doesn't know a baseball from a walnut, is excited about having a quasi downton to shop and eat in a few miles from his apartment.

Those that are somewhat in favor are most concerened about infrastructure and not traffic. Which is suprising to me.

The underlying theme in all my discussions with people is that they are generally infavor but really want to understand more of the details. I think of it as similar to the ideas expressed by anon 12:36 only to say that they are not 85% in favor at this point, more like 65% but willing to be 100%.

bartleby said...

Santana Row is three miles from downtown SJ. Pacific Commons is fifteen miles of congested freeway from downtown San Jose, in a city of 200,000 people which currently lacks retail. The two situations are not comparable.