10 April 2009

Oh Happy Charade!

Tonight was the first Opening Night I've missed since college, going back 15 years. Instead, I was with family and friends across the plaza at the Roaracle, watching a surprisingly entertaining game between the W's and the Yao-less, T-Mac-less Rockets. Thanks to all who offered a drink tonight at the A's game, I most assuredly would've taken you up on the offer if I was there. I'll take a rain check.

To beat the traffic on 880 tonight, I missed the Friday episode of Chronicle Live, which had an interview with Lew Wolff and other guests. Greg Papa had Scott Ostler and SacBee columnist Paul Gutierrez in studio, more on that later.

Papa, who's done a bangup job as host so far in the show's brief history, did his level best to corner Wolff on several quotes and tough questions to get the A's managing partner to make admissions about San Jose. Wolff wasn't biting, however, and Papa realized this perhaps halfway through the interview. Hopefully there'll be a rematch in the future and we can see Wolff dodge Papa's thrusts again.

Papa's best questions involved Wolff's motivation for abandoning the Fremont plan so quickly. Here's the exchange:
Papa: We were at a luncheon, if you recall, in late February... and I asked you about Fremont and where that was, and at the time you gave me some encouraging feedback that the Fremont ballpark option was there. In less than a week later I read in the paper that the Fremont option is no longer there. So what happened in a week's time, what happened to Fremont?

Wolff: The only two sites that were available - we were hoping that at least one would work out - in one case we had adjacent property owners, retailers, who had a liability clause that we couldn't accept. In the other case we had really well organized homeowners - we weren't trying to hurt their neighborhood - but they were indicating that they were prepared, under CA law, to file a CEQA lawsuit which could go on a couple of years. We just didn't want to continue under that circumstance. The City was fine, as was the staff.

Papa: Was the financing in place to get the ballpark built?

Wolff: We're not as concerned about the financing as getting a place to build it. Because of certain income streams we have including your organization (CSN), I think we can do what we can do - our great ballpark. Remember we're only talking about 32,000 seats. We're not trying to emulate Yankee Stadium or the Mets.
CSN's Chronicle Live site currently has truncated video segments. Here's one of four:

Jumping forward a bit during the in-studio followup:
Papa: Listening to Mr. Wolff talk, I'm a little surprised why they gave up so early on Fremont. Because people were protesting outside? ... if the financing is there, and you've got land to go ahead and do it, are you gonna back off? Anytime you build anything in this world you're gonna have protesters. I think baseball would say, "Let's go back and look at this Fremont deal a little closer."

Ostler: Somebody on the Giants told me - I think they're within their rights - when we were planning our ballpark if we had given up every time 50 neighbors got together to complain we would have never...

Papa: I can't build a fence up in my yard without my neighbors protesting!

Gutierrez: The thing with Fremont to me, it never made sense because it was 5 miles from the nearest BART station.

Papa: You want them to go to Sacramento.

Gutierrez: I said it was a 10,000-seat stadium, it's actually a 15,000-seat stadium that's easily expandable.
Well, Gutierrez is right about Raley Field being expandable. Easy? Not so much. Can't blame the guy for trying. It's a civic duty of some sort, I suppose.

The most anticipated segment was to have San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Doug Boxer, head of the committee to keep the A's in Oakland and recently part of Oakland's Planning Commission. Boxer happens to be the son of Stuart Boxer, longtime Oakland attorney, and Senator Barbara Boxer, she of the lovely letter to Selig from last week. Selig and the A's stepped in to put the kibosh on that segment, probably in light of the recent tragedies. As noted by Papa, it would've been inappropriate to debate this now. It's also an indicator that Selig is indeed tightening the leash and controlling the narrative.

Elsewhere, a commenter purporting to be Doug Boxer went on V Smoothe's A Better Oakland blog to press the case for keeping the A's in town. A comment that he might want to take back no matter how true it may be is this:
Have you watched Bud Selig as the Commissioner. He’s a dolt who doesn’t get it. I doubt he did any homework. He’s a college frat brother of Lew’s and I’m sure it has more to do w/ that than anything else.
I'm guessing that if you want to keep the A's in Oakland, it'd be a good idea not to refer to the guy who holds the team's fate in his hands as a dolt who doesn't get it. Otherwise, the exchange between Boxer and V Smoothe is a good one. Definitely worth reading.


Anonymous said...

What the person purporting to be Doug Boxer said at "a Better Oakland" about Selig is true. The fate of the A's in Oakland has already been decided via collusion and conspiracy by Selig, Wolff, and possibly the San Francisco Giants.

Once the conspiracy to get the A's out of Oakland, which prevented the Dolich/Piccinini group from acquiring the team is exposed via a lawsuit or congressional hearing, Selig and his co-conspirators will have a lot to answer for.

Also, any discussion by V smooth is pointless because she doesn't understand the history of the Oakland A's and what they mean to the community. She's a transplant from Houston whose main goal is to denigrate the city of Oakland at the same time as bashing city government. V smooth wants to seed the A's to San Jose and bring the Rivercats to Oakland.

Anonymous said...

Time for a correction, vis a vis the "conspiracy" that "prevented" the Dolich/Piccinini group from purchasing the A's - FACT - that group was woefully underfinanced.

They did NOT have the capital to purchase and run the Oakland A's. If you like small market AND a triple A team out on the field, that was your ownership group.

Jeffrey said...

"fabric of the community" and "conspiracy" arguments are not strong arguments. At some point can we please just be logical and use fact based arguments?

If I was V Smoothe I'd be happy to have someone that out of touch with reality question my motivations. An ad homenim attack from someone who likely believes the moon landing never happened would be a feather in my cap.

Max said...

The "person perporting to be Doug Boxer" is Doug Boxer.

Anonymous said...

No, Lew Wolff posted as Doug Boxer to defame the man and discredit the Oakland cause. He planned that post since before he even bought the A's. Bud Selig actually runs A Better Oakland, much like cigarette companies fund anti-smoknig ads. It's all a conspiracy. Carpetbagger carpetbagger carpetbagger. Fabric fabric fabric.

Anonymous said...

Fabric of the community and conspiracy arguments are very strong arguments.

The basis of sports franchises taking the monikers of communities is to engender loyalties and civic pride. They can not have it both ways. Lew Wolff shouldn't be using Oakland via a sweetheart deal, negotiated under the false pretenses that he was staying in Alameda County, to NOW use Oakland as a cheap stepping stone to his ultimate goal of San Jose.

Also, I believe in the moon landing, and, unlike V Smoothe, I believe that the A's remaining in Oakland makes for a "Better Oakland." Who in the world, who has Oakland's best interests at heart, proposes giving up on the Oakland A's, handing them over to San Jose, and then attempt to get a minor league team from Sacramento? That's a ludicrous idea, and it just goes to show the lack of understanding of the history of the A's in Oakland.

It also goes to the heart of the matter that some people in Oakland have a very low opinion of their own city and believe that Oakland is indeed a minor league town. I don't happen to feel that way. Oakland is a city which continues to improve and definitely deserves to keep the Oakland A's.

V Smoothe said...

Just curious, Navigator. How many A's games did you attend last season?

Anonymous said...

A majority of the Bay Area and Northern California do not live in a city whose name would be carried by a major pro team. You say fabric of the community, but many say fabric of the region. One is at risk and now it seems like Oaklanders want to make them both at risk. All or nothing, a bit selfish.

gojohn10 said...

You know you're fighting an uphill battle when your argument is that the author of a blog entitled "A Better Oakland" doesn't have Oakland's best interests at heart.

Jeffrey said...

I have no desire to see the A's leave Oakland. I just want the A's to play in a new stadium.

That said... If that new stadium is in San Jose, I will be just as excited as if it is Oakland.

Oakland is a "major league" city because of the Chabot Space and Science Center, the Oakland Zoo, Lake Merritt, Rockridge, etc. None of that changes with the A's playing in San Jose, San Leandro, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Lafayette, Dublin, Fremont, Union City or anywhere else in the Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

The person who said Dolich/Piccinini group is completely wrong. That group had more than enough money to purchase and run the A's. Piccinini is a billionaire from his Sav-Mart stores. The group also had Alameda's George Zimmer from the Men's Wearhouse, Jeff Goodby from the powerhouse SF ad agency Goodby Silverstein, and the Boston-based Mugar Family, who have donated tens of millions of dollars to East Coast museums, theaters and universities.

Any talk that that group lacked the money to run a MLB team is completely false.

Anonymous said...

ML--headed down the same tired path of Oakland v. SJ---but gotta say--you set it up with what your choosing to post about Wolff---rather than question Wolff's motives I would ask Pappa and Gutierrez and Ostler why they are ok with the A's moving to Fremont but moving another 15 miles down the road makes Wolff a villian---they should also be questioning the purpose of territorial rights that would allow the Fremont move and subsequent name change to San Jose A's---but prohibit moving another 15 miles--didn't see any of this in the questioning--

Time to start focusing on how ridiculous the T-rights issue is (Fremont is ok but SJ isn't) and move away from constantly trying to find soundbites to hold up and label Wolff a horrible owner because he is trying to build a new stadium with his own money--

Jesse said...

The Oakland A's history of unfortunate attendance is due in large part to an unfortunate string of events, including the fire sale in 76 combined with poor ownership, the strike in 94 which dovetails with a decline of on field talent in Oakland. Before the A's can rebuild the deal to build Mt Davis the same year as Pac Bell is announced. Finally two consecutive owners who have ZERO confidence in the hometown and played to break even rather invest in the fans. Put those circumstances in San Jose and you got the same situation.

On another note, I'm extremely happy to hear that the A's have revenue streams to build a ballpark.

Marine Layer said...

Sometimes I look at the comments and it reads like a transcript from the old CNN show Crossfire.

2:38 - There were reports that once the Piccinini group bought the team, they'd have ~$40 million in working capital to run the team. The group was trying to get in on the cheap and run it cheap. When the other team owners grumbled about this, Piccinini said "We'll pay whatever it takes" and brought in more minority partners. If you're going to join the club, you better take the process seriously, just as the other owners did. Piccinini erred there and lost out as a result. If he actually did gain ownership, he would've gone to public officials within a few years with hands out for a publicly financed stadium. In the shadow of the Raiders deal, such an effort would've failed miserably. That'd set the stage for a move.

2:39 - You're mischaracterizing the exchange among Papa/Ostler/Gutierrez. None of them were for or against Fremont. Gutierrez even put his conspiracy hat on to say that Fremont was just a ruse to move the A's to SJ.

Anonymous said...

Class in session for 2:38

Jesse said...

Wolff said in 2006 that his Pac Commons plan was a "win win for everybody". But he balks at a liability clause, I dont get it.

Max said...


What are you, nuts? Abetteroakland is widely read by folks at city hall.

Two days ago, the Daily Kos said, "the best Oakland coverage anywhere, bar none, comes from the muckrakers at A Better Oakland. It truly beats the shit out of anything the Oakland Tribune or local TV stations are doing. It's a model I fully expect to organically emerge in cities and towns all over the country."

And lastly, prominent Oaklanders routinely post comments on abetteroakland. That includes Planning Commissioner Doug Boxer, More than one City Councilmember, major developers and philanthropists, as well as a variety of activists. There are also anonymous posts from police, fire fighters, Council Aides and staffers.

So stop making stuff up just because you're mad that the A's are leaving. If other people in this town cared as much about Oakland as Vsmoothe does, maybe it wouldn't be falling apart at the seams... which is the REASON the A's are leaving.

Anonymous said...

oakland has a world-wide rep for being ghetto and ALWAYS will....when you think of oakland, you think HOOD....just the way it is....the killings of the 4 officers doesnt help...maybe the A's attendace has been horrible because families are afraid to set foot in oakland proper...cant blame lew for wanting to move the team to sj...its safer, cleaner, bigger and richer....the A's great history and tradition in "Tha O" isnt enough to keep them there.... im sorry, but at the end of the day SJ>oak (BIG BANK Takes little bank)

Anonymous said...

Oakland is a much better place than it was just ten years ago. Unfortunately, the conversation regarding Oakland many times is dominated by negativity.

For the poster who says Oakland is a ghetto, you don't know what you're talking about. Also, emplying that the A's are justified in moving says a lot about how people who purport to have Oakland's best interst at heart are constantly running thier city down.

As far as the argument that the A's don't draw because Oakland has crime like every major league city in the Country , that's plain silly. Your argument is completely debunked by the fact that the Golden State Warriors get 19,000 fans at the next door Oracle Arena on a regulsr basis. The Oakland Raiders had six sellouts last year, with 62,000 fans for each game,in the same exact stadium in which Lew Wolff cant draw flies.

Now, do you uunderstand that this is about a horrible ownership which has run this franchise with a one foot out the door mentality? That's the problem. Don't lay this at the foot of Oakland. Oakland was there for Walter Haas.

Anonymous said...

Also, Bud Selig himself has already made admissions that the sale to the Dolich/Piccinnini group was purposely delayed when hhe formed his comission in oder to run out the clock on the contract with Oakland. Selig said that Steve Schott didn't want to sell the team to a local buyer at a discount per the agreement with the City of Oakland. Selig has already incriminated himself. It's on record.

Those of you who think Oakland is going to sit back and get rolled by these crooks better think again. I for one will not offer the Oakland A's to San Jose on a silver platter like some members of the Oakland communitty are eager to do.

Anonymous said...

"Oakland was there for Walter Haas."

Oakland was there for Walter Hass to lose millions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:55 and 5:05,

The best two comments I've read!! Couldn't have said it better my self.

Marine Layer said...

"Those of you who think Oakland is going to sit back and get rolled by these crooks better think again."

Okay, so how's this going to work? Instead of Oakland being "rolled" by allowing the team to move elsewhere, they'll instead push for what will probably be a publicly funded ballpark plan? The Oakland task force is already talking about it, advocating for it. You're changing one type of being rolled for another.

I would love to see a banner in LF or RF that says "We support a publicly funded ballpark" instead of the ineffectual "Keep the A's in Oakland" banner. Let me know how the public reacts to that.

dbackman said...

This conversation makes me laugh to think that just a few weeks ago I really cared that the A's stayed in Oakland. What an incredibly sad situation for everyone involved. Long live Oakland but go Red Sox!

Anonymous said...

Marinelayer, Lew Wolff has already told the Mayor of San Jose that he will pay for the ballpark himself. So, there's no need for public financing. Or, are you telling me that Lew Wolff will only use his own money in San Jose?

That doesn't seem quite right to me. Ask for public financing from a city which has hosted your franchise for 40 years, but offer to pay for the ballpark for the neighbor 40 miles down the road which hasn't done a thing to support this franchise.

Marine Layer said...

If an investment of $500 million is going to be made, there needs to be some assurance that the revenue streams will be there to pay it off. In either Oakland or San Jose, any tax increase will be highly unpopular. PSL's still carry a stigma in Oakland, not so much down south. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are greater in SJ. So are premium seat sales opportunities.

The choice, if it is a choice at all, becomes a matter of whether Oakland really is strong enough in those measures to support that kind of investment. Any gap would have to be shored up with some other revenue source such as tax increment.

It's never as simple as "here's a site, now you can start building." It all needs to pencil out. Tradition and history are wonderful things, but they don't pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:28---when your investing your own money its about ROI--and a when real estate is involved its location, location, location---so lets put it this way--if you were building a $500M house would you put it on the freeway in Oakland or in downtown SJ---so at the end of the day--no different than you or I, LW is willing to invest in SJ but just like you and me if you want me to build a house on a freeway in Oakland don't expect me to make a business decision to do it but if you want to do it for me--go right ahead---

Jesse said...

Anon 10:28PM makes a good point. Wolff already said he'll pay for the ballpark with his Comcast money. Infrastructure upgrades with stimulus funds around the park would help either town because you're creating jobs and building a lasting stimulus to either city. Doesnt matter if its related to a ballpark, unless you're some uptight Republican looking for ammunition to attack stimulus.

Marine Layer said...

Stimulus dollars aren't infinite. Some projects merit being prioritized, and some have little merit at all. Oakland submitted $2.6 billion in stimulus funds requests, San Jose $473 million. Of Oakland's massive amount, only $5 million is going to the Coliseum area for a seismic retrofit of the BART bridge. Even if the sizable amount of pork being requested by City Hall is removed, there are over $1 billion of projects that are far more worthy of limited stimulus funds than a Coliseum redevelopment project.

I doubt the new Comcast deal will pay for the ballpark, unless the A's ratings suddenly jumped to Giants-like levels.

Navigator said...

The San Jose partisans are always comparing a ballpark on an "Oakland freeway" to a ballpark in downtown San Jose.

The comparison should be between a ballpark in downtown Oakland/Jack London Square, to a ballpark in downtown San Jose.

If Lew Wolff decided to put those 500 million which he intends to invest in San Jose into a ballpark in Jack London Square, it would be a tremendous success. The problem with Lew Wolff is that he has never given Oakland serious consideration because of his South Bay mindset. Jack London Square is going through a 400 million dollar expansion. There are plans for 15 additional restaurants along with a Pike's Place/Ferry Building style market. Jack London Square has access via Ferry, BART, AMTRAK, and Highway 880. There are also thousands of parking spaces in various garages. However, Jack London Square needs a major draw like a ballpark for the Oakland A's which would make it a tremendous regional draw on the par with San Francisco's waterfront.

With all due respect the site in downtown San Jose doesn't measure up to the possibilities that a ballpark in Jack London Square offers the Oakland A's and their current and future fan base.

If Lew Wolff was really interested in a tremendous location with great aesthetics and great possibilities in a central location to ALL Bay Area fans of the Oakland A's, he would build this ballpark in Jack London Square in Oakland.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great Navigator--the city of Oakland has the site selected and has acquired all the property and is ready to go...right? I mean they've only had 15 years to take care of this one item...

Anonymous said...

Ann Killion's take on opening night:

Contributing to the general gloom was tension over the A's stadium situation. Banners hung in the right-field bleachers read "Don't Take Our A's Away," and "Keep the A's in Oakland." Wolff had an awkward live interview on Comcast's new talk show "Chronicle Live," in which host Greg Papa asked him about moving to San Jose. While the interview was taking place on the field, some fans in the bleachers aimed a profane chant Wolff's way.

Marine Layer said...

Any JLS/Estuary ballpark plan would have to include a massive upgrade in freeway on/off-ramps in the area. Such enhancements aren't in any significant planning stage yet. Good luck fast tracking that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:46-- whats your point? Not sure what AK's was either---trying to mix the sentiments for a solemn ceremony for fallen officers with a few fans hanging banners and chanting profanity doesn't add up to anything---nor does it constitute a majority of how the A's fans feel overall about a move to SJ---we want a new stadium and we don't want to wait another 15 years--

Navigator said...

Anon 9:03

Unfortunately, Oakland has never had a willing partner interested in making a ballpark in Downtown or Jack London Square a reality.

Also, I guarantee you that if an impartial poll of current Oakland A's fans were taken today, and the question posed was, "Where do you want the Oakland A's to build a new ballpark? Downtown Oakland, Jack London Square or San Jose?" the vast majority would say downtown Oakland or Jack London Square.

The vast majority of Oakland A's fans come from Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties. The vast majority of Oakland A's fans feel that the history, tradition, and linkage to Oakland, is important.

As evidence of the unpopularity of his efforts to abandon Oakland, is the fact that Lew Wolff, and his PR representatives, skirt the question of relocating out of Oakland and into San Jose whenever the question is posed.

Ownership realizes that what they are proposing is not popular among the fan base. Mr. Wolff is a very unpopular owner at this time because of his proposals, his policies, and his dismissive attitude towards Oakland as a viable location for a new ballpark for the Oakland A's.

V Smoothe said...

Navigator, can you please share with us the source for you information on what the "vast majority" of A's fans think?

With respect to Wolff, if you honestly think he routinely "skirts the question" of relocating out of Oakland, you're either delusional or simply not paying attention. It's difficult for me to imagine how Wolff could make it more clear that he wants out of Oakland.

As ballpark in Jack London Square is not viable, and it is totally unclear to me how Oakland could manage to publicly finance a new stadium, even if we wanted to and the ownership was interested in staying. Between political hangover from the ongoing Coliseum subsidy, extremely limited bonding capacity, and State pressures on RDA funds, it seems impossible.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Navigator,
Anon 10:20 hit the nail on the head. I'm an A's fan who wants to see our team get a new yard, and SJ offers the only realistic choice at this time. The O has had 15 years to get its act together; enough is enough. By the way, when did one sign hanging from the bleachers all of a sudden constitute the opinion of all A's fans?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:09- and I would like to live in Palo Alto and have a Porsche...if your going to poll fans and ask them their preference than it has to be based upon reality---hold your city leaders accountable for Oakland having no viable land/location after 15 years but don't hold LW accountable. San Jose was able to not only identify a site but also acquire the land and conduct an EIR--not LW--

I find it humourous that you say LW "skirts the question of relocating out of Oakland and into San Jose..." where there is a site and a completed EIR---as I recall he could not have been anymore specific in his intentions which he stated publically and which caused a great outcry from the so called Oakland fans on this blog.

Last, when you say the vast majority of Oakland fans come from Alameda, Contra Costa and SF Counties you must be referring to the 10,000 season ticket holders? If this was 25,000+ I could accept your argument but claiming loyalties on a weak fan base doesn't prove anything...other than they need to be in a place where the season ticket base can be much stronger.

Navigator said...

V Smoothe, Frankly, I don't need your insults, I figured I left those behind on your blog. Your dismissive attitude to those who see anything positive happening in Oakland is appalling. I'm tired of fighting for Oakland against the writer of "A Better Oakland" blog.

I'll stand by what I said that Oakland, specifically Jack London Square, is the best place for a ballpark in the Bay Area for the current and future Oakland A's fan base. Also, V Smoothe, Lew Wolff has already told the Mayor of San Jose that he will pay for the ballpark. Lew Wolff told the Mayor of San Jose that no public money would be required.

The reality of the situation is that the fan base of the Oakland A's lives in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties. The reality of the situation is that most fans of the Oakland A's value the history and tradition of the A's in Oakland. Throwing this opportunity away when Oakland offers a perfect central location to accommodate the fan base, while at the same time infusing much needed capital in the city, is a horribly wasted opportunity.

Lew Wolff and the developers at Jack London Square need to come together to build this ballpark for the benefit of both the Oakland A's, and the City of Oakland. A five hundred million dollar infusion of private capital in Jack London Square would do wonders for Oakland's economy and would give the Oakland A's a beautiful ballpark in a magnificent setting.

Lew Wolff could bring CISCO to Oakland. After all, the Oakland A's always claim that this is a "region" when it's convenient in their argument to hightailed out of town. Oracle already invests in the Oracle Arena in the Coliseum Complex. This is indeed a region, and it definitely makes much more sense to recruit corporations to a central, convenient, and esthetically pleasing location which will maintain the history, tradition, and legacy of the Oakland A's.

V Smoothe, you're attitude really disappoints me.

Marine Layer said...

Nav, plenty of us are open to any kind of regional solution regardless of where it's located. If there is one in Oakland, whether at JLS or Coliseum, and it doesn't cost the public an arm and a leg, we'd love to hear about it. There's time right now to figure it out.

However, if in time no such solution arises, the A's should be allowed to move forward. Firing off blame in every direction, as you're wont to do, is a needless distraction. The sanctimonious, Pollyanna-ish rantings are better served somewhere else where the readers give a rat's ass.

jeepers said...

Jack London Square is a phenomenal idea, and I doubt the freeway on-ramps are really that big of a problem. It's not like Phone Company Park was especially accessible when it was built.

I just hope that some of the people involved in this 11th hour effort in Oakland are actually effective people, which is to say, antithetical to Ignacio de la Fuente.

V Smoothe said...

Where in Jack London Square?

dbackman said...

This whole 15 years meme is so weak. Its pretty amazing how often it gets repeated in these forums. When did 15 years become the measuring stick for success or failure of a baseball town?

Marine Layer said...

880 south from the maze is fine because of the post-quake rebuild, but fans will still have to drive a mile on surface streets to get to the ballpark. 980 narrows from 3 to 2 lanes plus an exit only lane which dumps fans again onto 5th. At least 880 north has 2 exits, neither of which were built to handle massive acute traffic loads. The area is much better equipped to handle postgame traffic. Any EIR will include a severe impact to 5th St at the very minimum.

jeepers said...

On the waterfront in between Webster and Alice, or Estuary Park. Or, right in the center of it all, building out onto the water.

Marine Layer said...

Isn't that right on top of the Webster and Posey tubes? Not sure that's the safest place to build for either the ballpark or tunnel users.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys--if Oakland JLS is the place than whats holding up the city of Oakland from acquiring the site? Quit talking and do something---and don't expect LW to find and pay for the site---thats in addition to the $500M price tag for the ballpark---and yes--you have had 15 years to try and figure this thing out---SJ was able to do it in 3---why can't you?

Time to quit whining and do something or get the heck out of the way--

Navigator said...

V, now we're getting somewhere. I like that question.

I would build it on the current Oakland Fire Department Training Center which is between the Embarcadero, the Lake Merritt Channel, Fallon St., and the 880 Freeway. The OFD site by itself is too small, however, there is an adjacent old surface parking lot next to 880. There are also several additional underutilized parcels in the area including a self-storage building. This site would require the acquisition of only a few private properties.

The OFD training site next to Jack London Square is within walking distance of the Clay Street Ferry Terminal, a 1/4 of a mile from the Lake Merritt BART Station, and less than 1/2 a mile from the JLS AMTRAK station. Also, the brand new 1200 space parking garage on 2nd St. is less than a 1/4 of a mile from the site. Other accessible garages include the 1200 stall garage on Washington Street, along with the garage directly under Barnes & Nobles. Also, the Laney College parking lot across the Lake Merritt Channel, could be used for an additional multi story parking structure.

The Oakland Fire Department Training Center would allow for the use of the Lake Merritt Channel to be incorporated into the ballpark design. We could have our own "splash hits" if we wanted to be so tacky.

This site would be a tremendous success for the Oakland A's, along with invigorating the Oakland Waterfront to a dynamic level seen only in truly great waterfront cities like San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle.

The Jack London Square area is a dynamic and growing area with thousands of new residential units. There are plans for thousands more units in the adjacent Oak to 9th project. There is even talk of a trolley linking the waterfront to Broadway, and all the way up to Uptown. Also, the 5th Ave off ramps from 880 are scheduled to be redesigned.

A ballpark in Jack London Square would give the Oakland economy a tremendous jolt. Anyone want to talk about a "stimulus package?" Well, this would be the ultimate stimulus package for Oakland. This project would be transformational. Oakland's new image as a vibrant and beautiful waterfront city would be instantly ingrained across the United States.

What do you think Marinelayer? Will it fit on that site? Perhaps you could do an overview of what a ballpark on that site would look like. Thanks.

dbackman said...

On point Navigator. I also think this is the best site for a new Oakland A's ballpark.
ML, I sent you an image of this scenario a while back. Can you post it up please?

Marine Layer said...

I'll go one better than that and superimpose my ballpark model on the site. I'll include a short site overview. Look for it later today.

Anonymous said...

Navigator, I really like that idea between Fallon St. the Lake Merritt Channel and 880. Because that location is a bit closer and a much safer/easier walk to Lake Merritt BART, I actually prefer it over Estuary Park and 9th to Oak St.

I can't wait to see what ML does with the new 3-D modeling skills for Oakland sites. Very cool!!

Anonymous said...

I love that site too. Im glad to see people on here are supporting the good Oakland ideas.

V Smoothe said...

Major problems that come to mind immediately with that site. First, the PUC will never let that happen. They're already flipping out over the impacts of O29 on the Broadway & Embarcadero intersection, going so far as to try to fight certification of the EIR. I think they'll ultimately be able to be satisfied with respect to that project, although I expect they'll be making some extremely onerous demands of the transportation management plan. But after watching their public hissyfit over something that will have way less of an impact on immediate area circulation than a ballpark attracting thousands of people at a time, I can't imagine them ever consenting to such an intense use at that location. Second, on-site active railroad tracks present a serious problem (although I don't think that one is insurmountable).

Finally, and probably most importantly, there's simply no way to pay for it. The only financing mechanism even possible in Oakland at this point is through the RDA. The site isn't even entirely contained with a redevelopment area, and the part that is inside one is in the Central District, which expires for new projects in June 2012. (Central District also probably couldn't afford another large scale project anyway, but let's ignore that for the moment.) There is no way on God's green earth that the City of Oakland is going to get it together to create a development proposal for a freaking ballpark on the water adjacent to a bunch of whiny anti-development types inside the Estuary Policy Plan area that would require both zoning changes and General Plan amendments, prepare and certify an EIR, and issue final project approvals within 3 years. Even if every step of the process moved at light speed, you'd still be pushing the deadline just taking into account required timelines when it comes to noticing each part.

If you're serious about identifying ballpark space in Oakland, it has to be within Central City East or Coliseum RDAs.

Jeffrey said...

I was intrigued with that site when it was proposed in the comments section of the 'ol Marine Layer Oakland Challenge of '09.

From an aesthetic perspective, is it even really on the Waterfront? Looking on Google Earth it seems to be a bit away from the water and buttressed against a freeway off ramp... am I looking at the wrong place?

Anonymous said...

Way to be a buzz kill V Smoothe...

Navigator said...

V, I'll try to address some of your points. First of all, Lew Wolff has told Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose that this ballpark wont cost the City of San Jose anything. This will be a privately financed ballpark. I'm going to assume if this is indeed a "region" for the purposes of getting the existing Oakland A's fan base out to San Jose for ball games, then, this must also be a "region" when it comes to possibly getting CISCO or other South Bay corporations to invest in a ballpark in centrally located Oakland. If the South Bay corporations aren't interested than perhaps Clorox Field or Kaiser Yard will work.

Secondly, assuming that the ballpark fits within the parameters of the train tracks, that shouldn't be an issue. Safeco Field in Seattle has the same train that runs through Jack London Square running right behind their outfield wall.

Third, the PUC will get out of the way when it's made perfectly clear to them that they are obstructing growth and prosperity in Oakland. You can also make a case that the viability of the current expansion of Jack London Square depends on bringing in 30,000 people to that area 81 times a year.

Also, much of the area in question is already controlled by the City of Oakland. If it takes three years, so be it. If it takes five year, it's well worth the wait to transform Oakland into a truly vibrant waterfront city and to keep the history and legacy of the Oakland A's in a stunning ballpark which will be the envy of the Country.

Marine Layer said...

Let's wait until I get those post up this afternoon, please.

hamachi said...

Can't wait to see the mock-up, but I don't think Oakland will get anything together before the T-rights are dealt with.

I live in JLS, so I'd love to see something happen here, but I have no idea how they'd pay for all the infrastructure changes needed to absorb all the traffic.

Anonymous said...

Non-resident A's fan here. A few years ago I thought a JLS ballpark would be perfect. Last year I went to a ballgame and went out to dinner at JLS with my wife and I couldn't believe how empty JLS was. Is it me or has the area lost businesses and appeal over the last 10 years?

Hamachi said...

Yup. Jls is dead. There is hope the new market will help but I have supreme doubts. The port sold all the development rights away and that group has closed most of the tennants and done the bare minimum building. It's sad how dead it is

Anonymous said...

Hamachi, There are 5 new restaurants signed for Jack London Square. Eventually the plan is to have fifteen additional restaurants along with the Market Hall. The place is still under construction. Also, if you go on Sunday for the Farmer's Market, it's pretty lively.

hamachi said...

actually, JLS has gotten worse and worse every year I've lived here. most of the chain restaurants have left, barclays closed up, and the only draws are a mediocre movie theater, barnes & noble or yoshi's. woo? and yoshi's is only still around because it's heavily subsidized by the oakland city govt. most of the other night clubs attracted gang violence and after a few deaths were closed.

the farmer's market has been steadily shrinking over the years, almost every other one has more stands and a larger variety. the one in downtown oakland on friday morning is at least twice as big. and is packed with people.

yes. I know about the proposed new restaurants that are earmarked for the new hall. announcements are nice. but until I see a door open and people actually coming there I'm not very excited. and how are they going to fill the other floors? the developer was trying to charge rents (a few years ago anyway) that were equal to downtown SF! the new miss pearl's jam house is really nice though, I'd recommend a visit there, but I've heard the hotel itself isn't doing very well.

I WANT to it to succeed. and a great ballpark COULD be an amazing thing. but the lack of the current city govt to actually plan and follow through with anything does not inspire confidence. there are too many hurdles to jump through and not enough people care. and the dollars for high end suites and such just aren't here.

meh. I'd love for oakland to pull it together. but I just don't see it happening unless wolffe and them throw in the towel and quit.

Anonymous said...

How is Yoshi's subsidized by the Oakland city government?

The chain restaurants left because they were kicked out because of construction and the developers desire for a new clientèle. Barclay's closed and another restaurant took its place.

The place gets plenty of people on Sundays when the weather is nice.

Also, the boat shows pack people in. Let's not make it like Jack London is an undesirable place. You know that there are more people living in the area then ever before. People enjoy being near the water. The problem is that the place is still under construction and the developers have taken too long to complete the project. It has nothing to do with the desirability of the area. The place would be great for a ballpark

hamachi said...

I of course can't find the link anymore: but I read a bit ago how yoshi's was a part of oakland's budget for the arts. could be wrong of course, but I seem to remember that.

I would love JLS to actually get some use and become a destination. but I just don't trust anyone involved to get something done (the port, local developers, etc..). If they couldn't get things built and filled when the economy was booming I don't think they'll be able to do it now.

back to the ball park: don't most fans come to the Oakland games via car at this point? even with bart attached to the stadium? won't this stadium need a ton more parking? I guess they could try and use the college lot as an overfill station, but I'm not sure where else they could put all the cars. but since we are playing make-believe at this point: the idea of a double header at pacbell and then here via ferry would be sweet.