10 March 2009

SJ Rules Committee meeting + Study Group

San Jose's Rules and Open Government Committee will have its weekly meeting on Wednesday, March 11, at 2 p.m. The meeting will be held in City Hall's wing, rooms W118/119. The A's portion of the agenda is as follows:
10.1a A’s Stadium in San Jose (Campos/Pyle/Herrera)
Recommendation: (1) Add an agenda item to the March 24, 2009 City Council meeting to discuss the City’s strategy for pursuing negotiations with the A’s and Major League Baseball. (2) Direct the City Manager and the Chief Development Officer to lead the discussions with the A’s organization and Mayor League Baseball. (3) Direct staff to return to the Community and Economic Development Committee every two months with updates on status of the discussion, providing ample opportunity for residents to receive regular reports on the project and express concerns as it develops.

10.1b A’s Stadium in San José. (Mayor Reed)
Recommendation: That the Rules and Open Government Committee place this matter on the agenda for the April 7, 2009 evening Council meeting to allow for maximum public participation in the discussion.
Approval of these items is expected to be little more than a formality, as it will pave the way for future discussions. Note the last date, April 7, which is just after Opening Day. I will be in attendance tomorrow and all subsequent City Council sessions.

Not coincidentally, a public/private consortium called the A's to San José Study Group "have convened to discuss the political feasibility of bringing the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team to San Jose." The group will be co-chaired by former mayor Susan Hammer and recent mayoral candidate Michael Mulcahy. Hammer presided over the construction and opening of the San Jose Arena (now HP Pavilion) during her anti-flamboyant tenure during the 90's. Mulcahy, who was came in a distant 5th in the 2006 primary, was a pro-baseball guy from the beginning. The list of participants reads like a Baseball San Jose reunion. Unlike the last Baseball San Jose effort, which was old school/pound-the-pavement, the new one is decidedly electronic, including an almost 500-person strong Facebook group (I am not in the group).


Jesse said...

Big Jess is the Baseball SanJose group.

gojohn10 said...

You may not be in the group, but Jason Winsor is.

Anonymous said...

like any ballpark project in any city....where will they get the money?

Anonymous said...

san jose athletic fans will SPEND some money...can you imagine the enormous sales on apparel. WOW!

Jeffrey said...

Anon 10:51... that question applies to all. The citizen of both Oakland and San Jose should make sure that the funding for any new stadium is structured something like what the Giants did in San Francisco, in my opinion.

Dan said...

In San Jose it will have to be or it will trigger a public vote automatically by law. So IF public money is used in San Jose the public will be the ones who approved it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts around funding in San Jose:

Establish special tax assessment district -- similiar to what is being done for convention center expansion which is expected to generate about $300M.(note Santa Clara looking to do the same for '49ers stadium)--no public vote required.

Charter seat license requirement--similiar to what the Giants did--not ideal but in a 32,000-34,000 seat stadium would most likely work well.

Ticket surcharge---once again--small stadium size would help this concept deliver predicatable cash flows.

Provide land at low lease rate---believe that the SF did this for the Giants--would require public vote in SJ assuming that the land is owned by SJ---if SJ and Santa Clara County do a land swap---ballpark site for some of Fairgrounds property--public vote would not be required since property is owned by SCC.

Building off previous concept, Fairgrounds property that becomes SJ's in swap has development rights for Wolff--similiar to what is being done to build soccer stadium.

I am sure that there are more under consideration--bottom line---now is the time to build---25% of construction union workers in SF are out of work right now--sure it is similiar here--which means unions are hungry to see this project go---material costs have gone down---and bottom line is you want to be prepared with opening a new stadium in 2013 when our economy should be back on a healthy track--

Dan said...

One correction to "similiar to what is being done to build soccer stadium."

Land swap was abandoned last year for the soccer stadium when the economy took a dump. Wolff is funding out of pocket now for the soccer stadium but he's also reduced how big it's going to be and the cost to compensate (it went from $80 mil to a $40-60 mil stadium).

Brian said...

/\ /\ /\ How are special tax assessment district funds not public moneys under 4.95.010 (“Tax dollars” for the purposes of this chapter include, without limitation, any commitment to fund wholly or in part said facility with general fund monies, redevelopment fund monies, bonds, loans, special assessments or any other indebtedness guaranteed by city property, taxing authority or revenues.), which would require a public vote?

Anonymous said...


I may be wrong but I believe that the change in zoning and development rights are still a key part of the earthquakes stadium--timing of when residential units are built is what has changed--but Wolff wants and expects to get the development rights and zoning changes-


Groups can form together to tax themselves without having to get city-wide approval for these special tax districts. City of SJ voters don't get to weigh in since it is not a "special assessment" that affects the city at large.

From a SJ Business Journal article in October of 2004 "A community financing district can take several different forms, says Sam Sperry, a public financing attorney for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's San Francisco office.

Mello-Roos districts typically are started by property owners of undeveloped land slated for single-family homes. The tax is then entered as a line item on a homeowner's property taxes for the life of the bond. The revenues generated pay for schools, roads, lights, parks and other infrastructure. Mello-Roos payments are collected with property taxes and go toward paying off the bonds' lien on the property.

However, other districts can be formed by "land possessers," Mr. Sperry says. The tax surcharge is placed on the land user -- in this case a hotel owner -- and is collected separately from property taxes. There would be no lien, Mr. Sperry says."

This same concept could be applied to restuarants and other establishments that would benefit from a downtown ballpark but bottom line...they have to agree to tax themselves which is what the downtown hotels have done for the expansion of the convention center.

I am not saying that this what is going to happen but it is one component of the financing model to support the building of the ballpark in downtown SJ--

Jeffrey said...

I read this stuff and think, "Thank God I am not a lawyer or politician."

In my opinion, San Jose will require a vote regardless. Even if they use the exact same model as the Giants, there is 4-10% (depending on who you listen to deMause or bizofbaseball) in TIF.

In Oakland, there is no such ordinance. But I got to imagine that if the city of Oaktown wants to spend anything like what they spent on the Raiders debacle (how is anyone associated with that mess still in city government?) they would try and cover themselves with a referendum vote at least. I guess if it some "small" number like $15 million, as San Francisco put towards the Giants stadium via TIF, then they might be able to fly under the radar a bit. But honestly, I don't see it.

Public money in any form in either city will require some kind of vote, referendum or binding.

Which is probably how it should be. I know if it was my city of residence I would want to vote on any sort of public fund usage.

Dan said...

Sorry but your info is out of date on the Earthquakes stadium. If they rezoning for the soccer stadium was going to happen it was going to have to happen this month as the SJCC only votes on rezoning during March. It was pulled from the agenda last year because Wolff is no longer pursuing it as a funding mechanism for the stadium. And he's lowered the cost and size of the stadium accordingly to fit it within a budget consisting entirely of private money.

As for the A's a vote would likely be called for according to the council in any case just because of the size, price and scope of the baseball stadium. Whether it is binding or not would depend on the city lawyer's interpretations of what constitutes public money. Certain things are without a doubt public money and are specified as such in the city law, like direct payments from the redevelopment or general funds, and they've already specified certain things aren't like the rezoning Wolff had proposed in Fremont. But I'm not sure they have determined which side of the fence TIF's go.

Anonymous said...

City of San Jose has already indicated they will have a referendum--poll is already underway as part of the A's to San Jose study group being co-chaired by former Mayor Hammer--initial results from a Mercury News on-line poll showed 80+% support--provided the territorial rights issue was resolved.

Sure there will be a city investment in street improvements but that will occur whether or not this site is used for a baseball stadium, housing development or the expansion of Adobe or other headquarters. Last thing I want to see is the city placing infratstructure improvements for every major development on the ballot---talk about a waste of funds!! NOt to mention that not too many businesses would wait around for the end result--

Jeffrey said...

It isn't infrastructure that I am referring to as requiring public money and I agree with you that those sort of improvements, the kind that are required no matter what goes on the plot of land, should not be voted on. That's part of normal everyday city planning.

I was pretty certain that TIF was included in the San Jose city interpretation of "public funds." That doesn't mean my memory is 100% correct :)

Either way... the poll on is pretty useless. I think that the A's and city should be preparing for an election either way. It would be smart to try and avoid one, but dumb to plan as if they will be successful in their attempt at avoidance.