21 May 2007

Noll: A's Study "More honest than most"

(See? I can create completely distorted headlines, too.)

Argus scribe Chris De Benedetti got Stanford sports economist Roger Noll's take on the ERA economic impact report. The assessment:

The A's economic report on the proposed ballpark village in Fremont is "far better" than the 49ers' report presented to Santa Clara, said Roger Noll, an esteemed Bay Area sports economist.

However, Noll gives the report mixed reviews overall, knocking the study because its "analysis of fiscal impacts is about revenues only, and excludes costs."

The costs issue hinges on two important details:
  • What additional infrastructure (schools, transit) will be required?
  • What are the mechanisms to pay for it?
When a developer puts up a new neighborhood somewhere, a deal is often made where the developer donates some amount of land for a school, and the new residents pay for the school's construction over time through school bonds or other public means. In Fremont's case, there's a large gray area in that the construction of a school is not mandated in the city's municipal code. Yet there will be such a large influx of students that not building a school could, over time, severely strain FUSD's current school infrastructure. Last week, I covered some creative ways to make this work, even within the framework of the existing redevelopment plan. But they'll still need the land somewhere either within or right next to the village, and that'll take some additional planning - and give-and-take. The report projects $10.7 million coming to the district in the form of development fees. $10.7 million alone won't build a school, but it's a good start.

As for ongoing services such as police and fire, I've given my two cents. I'm of the belief that the project tax revenues will pay for itself. I don't believe that the city will be flush with cash - at least it won't be if the TIF district continues indefinitely. The best way to make this work is to use TIF (if it has to be used at all) only for the school and transit hub. When both of those projects are completed - and the redevelopment agency has reached its tax increment cap - the mechanism should cease to exist. As a result, money would flow back to the city's and county's general funds, and FUSD as well. Only when the tax increment district expires will those groups really start to see serious money roll in.


Jeffrey said...

I don't know if it is just me but I find the former cochair of the OAFC writing about the potential move of the A's to Fremont amazing. Can't ANG find someone who can be objective?

I read such a negative tone into all the reporting, and while that may just be me (after all there is no tone in written word for the most part), I wish the Argus would find a real journalist to cover the news story.

The quote from the field of schemes site owner is very enlghtening. The guy has no idea what the financial plan is, as much as anyone, and he writes a story about how Wolff is looking for 250 million dollars from the city and I am expected to read his quotes as if they have some kind of objective weight?

You have the least speculative economic imact report of any stadium in the country, you have an owner that agrees to not touch the general fund, you have city leaders that are making it clear that they wouldn't let him touch it if he asked, and I still have to read DeMause's skepticism based on nothing and it should mean something to me.

The A's consultants are drawing a rosy picture for the team? No crap. Is it less rosy than the tripe that all the publicly funded stadium seekers put out? Hell yes. I am shocked that the A's didn't put out report saying that the stadium would be a giant goose crapping platinum pellets. I mean Wolff is an unreasonable liar and a thief after all. He would expect us to believe something like that wouldn't he?

I still haven't seen anyone who has given a legitimate reason for how the Ballpark Village screws the city or county. I mean other than that it isn't in an urban core, and that traffic will be so bad it will kill babies, oh and that there will need to be more police because the City of fremont's population will finally grow a little bit after all these years of stagnation.

Please. I can't wait to watch a game at Cisco Field. Go, Lew, Go!

Jimmy Jam said...


anon-a-mouse said...

Hear, hear, Jeffrey. Very well said.

Anonymous said...

Anyone drive through the Central Valley sprawl recently ? Wall to wall big box store " power centers "and tract house with schools and services unable to keep up. No nosey reporters there , though. Just lots of local " farmers " and connected politicians getting rich with the developers .
Lew and his typr make tons more money doing that stuff uner the radar - they didn't need to go through all this media attention . They could have grown their money better elsewher with zero hassle , so give them a break. They are trying to improve things in Fremont, which is currently a bland faceless " 4th largest bedroom " in the Bay Area.

Zonis said...

I wonder if the A's will put Fremont "on the map".

I still believe that the name will ultimately be either San Jose or Silicon Valley A's, of Fremont. The Angles opened precident. And no one will throw in the Fremont when talking about the A's.

BleacherDave said...

Platinum goose crap. That is certainly one way to characterize the report.

What do you find biased about DeBennedeti's piece?


why do i have to re-register to post?

Marine Layer said...

Don't know why anyone would have to re-register. I don't have any control over blogger's system.

FWIW I don't think De Benedetti's article is slanted or biased. The questions are fair, and there are substantial quotes from all sides.

Georob said...

Off topic, but I just read that 1260 AM,(which had been simulcasting KOIT FM and was the old KYA 100 years ago) has been sold to a Catholic radio group.

Why didn't Lew Wolff jump on this? Granted, it's strength is not much better than 1550, but it would have been HIS station. And I have to think the price was affordable.

For those that say that Wolff is waiting for a more powerful station to buy, it's going to be a long wait. There's just not that many strong stations for sale.

Again I say that a partnership is the best solution and that KTRB 860 is the best candidate right now.

Jeffrey said...

I think quoting a speculative, leftist and including it as one of the legitimate viewpoints is crap.

It's psuedojournalism, in my opinion, to throw a bunch of quotes out from folks and say "I represented all sides." I have followed Field of Schemes for a long time and I find the site to be flat out less than objective. It's similar to the OAFC in that they have a preconceived notion of what is acceptable and they are there to push that point of view.

It isn't just this article, it is his approach to the whole thing. It seems obvious to me that he wants to find something wrong with the plan and not just cover the story. Like I wrote originally, it could be that it is my own bias knowing his background, but shouldn't someone who doesn't have an ax to grind be covering the story?

As for this report being characterized as platinum goose crap, where the heck do you get that? It certainly doesn't predict the financial windfall that say, Cleveland or Denver were promised only to fall way short.

Marine Layer said...

Rob, I think you were on target a while back when you said that the team has to get the ballpark done before they can concentrate on a radio station. They're closer now than they were this time last year, but there's still a ways to go. Besides, I don't think they've fully formulated the business plan and programming behind the radio station.

Then again, it would have been nice to get a station ahead of time to allow for the year or more it would take for the FCC to approve a signal boost or transmitter site change.

I spoke to De Benedetti briefly at the November Cisco Field press conference. He asked me if I was going to be available at some point for quick quotes or an interview. I said yes, but so far have been too busy to hook up with him on that. Professionalism has to override a perceived "ax to grind." And I doubt the Argus or ANG have a prejudicial view of the project either.

Anonymous said... time I bring my kids down from Eureka for a game I want to hook up with you and buy you a beer...

justpaul, booted by diamond shril for daring to question her oakland only views...

(and born / raised in the east bay area)

Anonymous said...

Some writers will use developments like this one in order " stir the pot " and hopefully save the string of articles to boost their resume and to move up from writing for a suburban rag. They probably couldn't care less one way or another what happens to the project or the town , but " happy news " gets you no where in that biz.

Anonymous said...

Marine Layer SI just had a story posted 10 mins ago about wolff and an mls team coming in 08. I don't really care for soccer but I'm intrested to hear you take.

James Rowen said...

Hey, I have linked your blog site on my blog


which is covering the Niners stadium in Santa Clara

Jeffrey said...

So this morning I was reading the Mercury News version of the A's/Fremont guidelines story and then the Argus version and it shows what I believe to be the OAFC bias of DeBenedetti.

The majority of the end of the story from the Argus is all about how one council member is not excited and details an exchange between the council member and the City Manager. It really seems as if that was the highlight of the meeting from what I read there.

Barry Witt's article is completely different. There is one quote from the council member and a paragraph summarizing her concern. Makes it seem far less contentious.

So my bias, admittedly, knowing Debenedetti's background with the OAFC makes me believe that he made it sound more contentious than it was on purpose. I wasn't there so I don't really know if that is the case.

I don't believe the ANG or Argus has a bias towards this project one way or the other. I do believe their writer does based on the fact that he was a key member of an organization that aggressively argued against the idea that the A's should, could or would play in any other city than Oakland.

Maybe someone else who read the two summary's can point out how I am wrong here? I am open to that.

Jeffrey said...

Links to the articles

Zonis said...


BleacherDave said...


I'll bite. Alternate spin:

The Mercury News is biased towards Wolff's project - the economic activity will increase advertising revenues - and are downplaying the Council person's concerns.

James said...

I watched the webcast of the meeting and there were absolutely no major concerns aired by anyone about anything.

No animosity at all! It was just discussion and one (or possibly two) councilmembers wanted some of the language expanded upon in the guidelines document. City Manager Fred Diaz explained that this document is just a set of working guidelines moving forward in the negotiating process. Mayor Wasserman indicated that the City Manager will come back with a lengthy (200 pages or more) DRAFT agreement which the council will then review and discuss. He told the councilmembers that this is the same process the City and Catellus went through when Cisco was planning to build its headquarters campus on the site.

One councilmember indicated that she would like (city staff) to explore the possibility of including an office component in the village plan. That possibility was not foreclosed by the City Manager.

I know how this process works... there will be countless rounds of draft agreements going back and forth between Diaz and Wolff before the Council is given its draft agreement. Then the councilmembers will study it, give its feedback, and there will be a few more drafts before the Wolff, Diaz, and Wasserman sign it.

There was one concern by a citizen wanting assurances that Wolff wouldn't come in, build the housing and retail, and leave without building the ballpark. Again, the City Manager (or the Mayor, I can't remember) explained that these are just GUIDELINES for negotiating purposes. The citizen said he supports the ballpark and most Fremont residents want the ballpark, but he would like to see the language expanded upon. The reply (I think by the Mayor) was that there will be clear language in the final contract to that effect; that's where the language belongs, in the Development Agreement. Such language means nothing in the guidelines because it's not a legally binding document. The Development Agreement will be the controlling document.

A few people seemed to be making more of the guidelines document that was necessary. That document has no legal force or effect; it does not determine the language in the Development Agreement, it just sets the framework of what the City feels are important points to cover in the Development Agreement. It is no different than your boss sending you an email assigning a project to you and telling you how s/he wants it completed.

What stood out to me was that there was a BART representative there indicating that BART wants to be a major part of the process. I think that is a positive sign; that BART is wanting to work with the City and Wolff from beginning to end to work on the transit issues.

Jeffrey said...


Always the contrarian :) I knwo you frequent the OAFC (or at elast did when I sued to go read thats ite to find information). You can't beleive that the Mercury News is mroe biased about this then the former co-chair of the OAFC? Seriously?


Thanks for the description. I appreciate it.


That missioncitylanter blog is a waste of time if you are looking for analysis on par with this blog.

BleacherDave said...


As others have said in this thread, I don't see the bias you find in the article. I look for bias in the writing, not in the background. Background gives me clues about what type of spin to look for, but if it's not there, it's not there.

Professionals can carry out their responsibilities without letting their personal bias overrule their professional standards. And if not ...well, that's why they have editors.