As noted previously, San Jose has most (but not all) of the likely targeted Diridon South site acquired. An environmental impact report has already been certified. MLB's territorial rights to Santa Clara County, which are owned by the Giants, would have to be acquired by hook or crook. Theriault also brings up the possibility of a referendum, to which as we all know by now Lew Wolff is allergic.
So then, leaving aside the T-rights for a moment (no one on the outside knows if/how it can be resolved, including me), how could the A's and San Jose ensure that a vote would not be required? I'll go back to the handy snippet of the city's municipal code that addresses stadium construction:
4.95.010 Prohibition of the use of tax dollars to build a sports facilityTo add to that, City Attorney John Doyle put out a legal opinion about how the City should proceed with its land acquisitions and other ballpark-related work. This has to do with the code above, as the words "participate in the building of a sports facility" could mean many different things depending on interpretation. He laid out three rules:
The city of San José may participate in the building of a sports facility using tax dollars only after obtaining a majority vote of the voters of the city of San José approving such expenditure.
A “sports facility” for the purpose of this chapter is to be any structure designed to seat more than five thousand people at any one time for the purpose of viewing a sporting or recreational event.
“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.
Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the city from allowing the construction of a sports facility funded by private investment.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, then the remainder of this chapter and application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
- The City can pay for enviromental impact reports without needing a referendum.
- The City can acquire land from willing sellers without needing a referendum, as long it could be used for purposes other than a ballpark.
- Any eminent domain actions would require a referendum.
Theriault also mentions the height of the stadium. The SJ ballpark EIR was for a 45,000-seat ballpark with three decks and tall light standards. Cisco Field is only two decks and 32-35,000 seats. It can be 150 feet tall with light standards, or significantly less if the lights are incorporated into a roof structure.