05 November 2008

Fremont: Wasserman, Wieckowski re-elected

12:06 a.m.: Three issues potentially have some effect on the A's future in the Bay Area. They are the Fremont mayoral and city council races, as well as Santa Clara County's Measure B, which would finance operating costs for the county's BART extension.

1:24 a.m.: Mayor Wasserman is keeping his job, along with Councilman Wieckowski. There is no runoff in Fremont elections, so the candidate(s) with respective plurality win their seats. That makes the second council member Suzanne Chan, who will replace the outgoing Steve Cho (who placed second in the mayoral race).
  • Fremont Mayor (96 of 96 precincts reporting)
    Robert "Bob" Wasserman - 20406 votes, 42.67%
    Steve Cho - 15429, 32.26%
    Gus Morrison - 9875, 20.65%
    Paul Reeder - 1953, 4.08%
    Write-in - 165, 0.34%
  • Fremont City Council (2 seats, 96 of 96 precincts reporting)
    Bob Wieckowski - 22223, 27.47%
    Suzanne Chan - 16709, 20.81%
    Vinnie Bacon - 12735, 15.86%
    Trisha Tahmasbi - 11773, 14.66%
    Larry Montgomery - 3922, 4.88%
    Hou Leong - 3873, 4.82%
    Linda Susoev - 2934, 3.65%
    Charles Bartlett - 2256, 2.81%
    Alan Stirling - 1815, 2.26%
    Fazlur Khan - 1813, 2.26%
    Write-in - 248, 0.31%
  • Santa Clara County Measure B (Two-thirds majority required to pass, 1142 of 1142 precincts reporting)
    Yes - 305729, 66.27%
    No - 155582, 33.73%
The Measure B tally went deep into the wee hours and based on the numbers has fallen short by about 5000 votes so far. Absentee and provisional ballots are still being counted. If the count holds up, BART proponents would once again have to go back to the drawing board to figure out the length of the extension and its construction schedule. The tax was necessary in order for the extension to be eligible to receive federal matching funds. It's possible that the extension would have to be pulled back, perhaps stopping at Berryessa instead of downtown San Jose.

Incredibly, the results paint a rather favorable picture for the A's and their hopes to get the baseball village built. Several potential obstacles in Fremont have been removed. Incumbent mayor Wasserman, who has been the staunchest public proponent of the project, will stick around to see it through the EIR process at the very least. Wieckowski, also a supporter, will be there as well. They'll be joined by Chan, who is also a project supporter. Neither of the project's biggest critics, former mayor Gus Morrison and Sierra Club chapter leader Vinnie Bacon, placed higher than third in their races.

Is it smooth sailing from here on out? Not quite. Wasserman may have violated election laws in recuiting students from local high schools to campaign on his behalf. The fallout from that is unknown. The EIR still has to pass muster. The council has lobbied hard for concessions and so far the city and the A's have been able to find common ground. There remain issues to work out with private parties such as nearby businesses and landowners, but those are very doable. The upshot from tonight is that there won't be obstructionists making the decisions. That's not to say that the council are yes-men - far from it, in fact. Instead, the governing body should be of an open-minded view to make a deal that works for Fremont's residents, not one that derails it in service of a narrow agenda.


James said...

Well this is certainly great news for Lew and all but guarantees that the project will go forward. We should see the EIR completed any time now and negotiations can continue in earnest once it arrives. ML, what are your thoughts on the timing issues (i.e., final approval, groundbreaking, etc.)

Marine Layer said...

The draft EIR should be available in January. There will be a 45-day review period following its release. Once comments are recorded and responded to, the final EIR will be released. The city council and mayor will vote to certify it shortly thereafter. That might happen in the summer, maybe later.

That could put groundbreaking around this time next year barring any unforeseen problems.

Jesse said...

That sounds great!!! I cant remember if I have asked this before here. Any chance the A's could open the park after the all star break in 2011, like the Mariners in 1999? Considering how small the ballpark will be and the good weather all year round.

Anonymous said...

I'm still a bit concerned over the financing ... with the economy and real estate market in the doldrums, I don't see how this plan can fly ... especially if wolff does not want to do PSL's. I know the patented answer is wait a few years, the real estate market will pick up. But I don't see lenders taking a wait and see attitude and therefore I don't see how any groundbreaking can occur until a sound financing plan is in place. Also, with the apparent defeat of the BART proposal, I don't think transportation issues have been addressed. Way too many issues to get excited just yet, I think.

Ralph the Mouth

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the BART extension to Warm Springs was dependent on the Santa Clara measure. I too am concerned over construction financing. I assume Wolfe will need a construction loan and those just aren't being handed out these days. Things might be different a year from now, but everything I read says it should be at least 2 years before money starts flowing into developers' hands again. I'm pulling for him, though.

Giants Fan living in Fremont said...

Lending has loosened up recently with all the money the government has pumped into the system in October. I believe with all the capitol Wolfe has, he will do whatever it takes to not let financing get in the way of this monumental ballpark village project in Fremont.

If it does go through I hope it benefits all the property owners in Fremont with increased property values...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wolff has indicated he has alternate means of financing the project that are not dependent on the health of the real estate market. Given the very deep pockets of his partner, Mr. Fisher, this seems a credible statement.

Anonymous said...

1) Release of the draft environmental impact report has been pushed back to February or March

2) The team has scrapped plans for 2,600 space parking lot that would have been north of Auto Mall and west of I-880. Apparently the traffic consultants said it wouldn’t work out. It’s not set in stone where those parking spaces will be placed, but the odds are that they would go east of the freeway and the team will build a pedestrian overpass linking the lot with the ballpark.

3) About 30 percent of the environmental analysis is complete. The traffic model has been created, but the consultants need data from the A’s to plug into the model.

4) The final project description was supposed to be in this past spring, but now is expected sometime next month. When that is submitted, the public and outside agencies will have a chance to comment on it. Usually this happens before one-third of the environmental analysis has been completed.

Anonymous said...

Nothing but silence from the anti-Fremont folks who wanted a vote on the project. Perhaps they recognize that Gus Morrison's poor showing in the election was, in fact, a referendum on the project...

Marine Layer said...

I had heard about the parking east of 880, and to me it sounds like a very expensive concept. They could build an overpass over Auto Mall for $8 million, or an overpass over 880 for perhaps double. I don't get it, except that they might be planning some sort of pedestrian route from the Warm Springs BART station to the other side of the freeway.

Over the weekend I'll have a post on the financing situation. In the near term it's quite grim.