11 March 2009

Mark it down: April 7th

San José's Rules Committee just passed a motion to have the A's on the April 7 Council meeting agenda. The timing, as pointed out here and by Michael Mulcahy just a few minutes ago, coincides with the start of the regular season. The preliminary steps will look like this:
The Agenda language for a joint City and Redevelopment Agency item should read as follows:
1. Discuss actions that San José can take to prepare for the possibility that Major League Baseball (MLB) makes a decision allowing the Athletics (A’s) to consider relocating to San José.
2. Direct staff to prepare and return to Council with a Resolution indicating the desire of the City of San José to support the A’s if MLB favors a relocation of the A’s to San José; and, indicating that the City is willing to accommodate the A’s on the site at Park Avenue and Autumn/Montgomery Streets.
3. Direct a team of City and Redevelopment Agency staff to assess what steps may need to be taken to prepare the site at Park Avenue and Autumn/Montgomery Streets for potential consideration, and develop an outreach program to neighboring residents and businesses.
4. Direct staff to provide a status report and recommendations for additional actions that may need Council authorization to the Community and Economic Development Committee within two months of the April 7th Council hearing followed by a discussion at the City Council.
So there's your site and your initial timetable, including a report from CEDC due within two months of the 4/7 session.

The possibility of a public poll has been raised to gauge interest. Vice Mayor Judy Chirco wants no part in the City paying for such a poll, saying that it would be funded with OPM (other people's money). It appears that the poll would be well within the scope of the A's to San Jose Study Group's mission. Mulcahy mentioned that the group has already raised money, though he did not say which specific activities the money would be used for.

I wonder if the Study Group would also fund an economic impact report of the type Mark Purdy wanted last week. After all, outside of MLB, the Study Group would be well equipped as it has access to dozens, if not hundreds, of Valley business leaders. Plus, noted sports economist Roger Noll is up the street at Stanford for consulting purposes - though they may not eventually like what he has to say.

Mayor Chuck Reed, who gave San Jose a better than 50/50 chance to land the A's (I really hate enumerating odds in this manner) re-emphasized the one voice mantra he's been giving, going so far as to say this about territorial rights:
It's up to Mr. Wolff because it's truly a case of "inside baseball." It requires him to take the lead. There may be a role for us to play. He'll happily let us know if there is.
Several speakers were on hand. Most were positive, saying that they fully support the effort as long as no public money is involved. One speaker felt a better deal could be had at the Fairgrounds. Two members of the Shasta/Hanchett neighborhood voiced their disapproval and trepidation, especially when considering the combined effects from construction of a ballpark, underground BART, and overhead HSR. A member of the San José Downtown Residents Association spoke in support of the ballpark. So we may have the Shasta/Hanchett folks on side and the Downtown Residents on the other.

I believe the quiet period starts now at lasts through Opening Day. I'll have posts every few days, probably nothing major.