07 April 2009

Liveblog from City Council Session

Media is present. Local movers and shakers present. Lots of people wearing A's gear in the house. There will be many comments made. I will only cover notable comments, positive, negative, and in between. Mayor Reed takes care of a ceremonial item, and we're off.

7:20 - Reed prefaces this by going over the circumstances that got San Jose to this point, repeats the mantra that San Jose is in MLB's hands re: T-rights. "Let's get to work again," he says.

Harry Mavrogenes (Redevelopment) does short presentation. "With proper management a project like this could be an asset to the area." He brings out map. Need revision: AT&T parcels include San Fernando parking lot next to old Stevens plant.

EIR indicated improved access necessary by connecting Autumn Street between Coleman and Julian. Engineering plans are 35% complete. Acquisition process of property for Autumn Street/Parkway has begun.

7:28 - Comments start now. Michael Mulcahy starts (Baseball San Jose/Pro Baseball for San Jose, Inc.) off. Cites Cisco as even more motivated. Thanks the mayor.

Former mayor Janet Gray Hayes chimes in. Notes that she was originally opposed to the Arena, now says she was wrong and that the situation was managed beautifully. Supports ballpark. Representatives of the San Jose Arena Authority, Soccer Silicon Valley, and County Assessor Larry Stone come out in support.

First child speaks in favor about 10 speakers in, Matt Ross of Los Gatos. So far, two residents of the site-adjacent Georgetown neighborhood have spoken in favor.

First different viewpoint, a family including a small child. Is mostly concerned about the San Jose Giants' future and the family friendly nature of Single-A baseball.

First opposing viewpoint, slams Mulcahy for coming in 5th in mayoral election.

Transit planning advocate wants ballpark to be designed with HSR in mind. Wants City to do a comprehensive EIR update that includes all public facilities including transit and parks.

7:54 - Senior VP of McAfee (yes, that McAfee) represents the Chamber. Supports ballpark.

A partner at Deloitte & Touche (which has an office downtown) supports ballpark as a quality of life/recruitment plus.

Member of the Market-Almaden neighborhood (Convention Center) support a ballpark, but want City to give area residents a strong vote. One of them showed my 2-D model on the projector.

John Pastier, former architectural critic for LA Times speaks and ballpark historian (lives in Naglee Park neighborhood). Notes how horrible the Coliseum was for the World Series. Supports ballpark.

Parks & Rec commissioner or District 6 asks for partnerships to build/maintain sports fields.

8:09 - Someone finally talks about T-rights!

Shasta/Hanchett resident speaks out about fiscal responsibility. Two other area residents say that Diridon South is needed for transit facilities, not a ballpark. Both would like to see The Alameda transformed into a pedestrian friendly, tree lined boulevard. The back end of the comments period has more cautionary commenters, most of whom are asking for a full rewrite of the EIR.

Ross Signorino has a sign saying "Be a good neighbor dume (sic) stadium." Every city has at least one of him. He's wearing a Baseball San Jose shirt, given out at the famous rally at which former council member Forrest Williams cried, "San Jose has a constitutional right to have a baseball team!" Or something to that effect.

Marc Morris, who challenged the traffic study in the EIR, also feels that the land would be better used for development of the transit hub.

Carl Guardino (SVLG) speaks second to last. Talks survey. 285 members were sent survey. 120 responses were received in a week. Survey consists of 3 questions with 2 sub-questions.
  • Do you agree that the CIty of San Jose should be the home a MLB team? - 70% Yes, 10% No, 19% No opinion
  • Companies currently sponsoring/advertising with the Giants who would support the A's - 68% Yes
  • Companies hold season tickets or luxury boxes - 70% Yes, 13% No, 17% No opinion
SVLG will post results shortly on its website. SVLG will take issue to board before taking a formal position.

Former mayor Susan Hammer speaks last. Thinks the ballpark can be done, unlike 1992. Supports ballpark.

8:49 - Comments ended. Council members speak before a motion on the floor. Ash Kaira defends the previous EIR process, saying that it was thorough. Nancy Pyle mentions that the Arena has brought $1.28 billion to San Jose since its opening. Reed wants guidelines for a public/private partnership, and emphasizes a net positive impact to the general fund. (I wonder what that means?)

9:14 - Motion approved, on to the next step.

Survey: 70% of South Bay corporations support move to SJ

A survey done by tech industry lobbying firm SVLG shows that of its constituent members, 70% would support the A's in San Jose. Surprisingly, many of those companies already support the Giants yet would support both the Giants and A's if the A's relocated south. The timing makes it almost certain that the survey's results will be mentioned in tonight's City Council session. It's quite reassuring for San Jose partisans, who appear to be building a case for the move, the first tenet being the South Bay's "independence" from T-rights.

A list of SVLG's 293 members can be found here. Note that it isn't restricted to Silicon Valley, though most of the roster is based there.

San Jose and Santa Clara County actions tonight

In the wake of media reports about San Jose and Santa Clara County looking to free themselves from the Giants' territorial clutches, both will take up the matter tonight at their respective governing body sessions.

I will be attending the San Jose session, which is scheduled to start at 7 PM, in the Council Chambers inside San Jose City Hall. The agenda item is as follows:
9.1 A’s Stadium in San José.
Attachment – Memo from Mayor Reed
Recommendation: As referred by the Rules and Open Government Committee on March 11, 2009, consider the following actions:
(a) 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
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
[Rules Committee referral 3/11/09 – Item 10.1(b)]
You'll be able to find the stream here. On a related note, San Jose approved chopping 30% off last year's sale price of the Airport West land. That's a cool $40 million. Airport West is going to be used for the Quakes' 15,000-seat stadium, plus future office/retail development.

Santa Clara County's involvement is less direct, and their issue is more a matter of supporting San Jose than anything else.

Consider recommendations relating to Major League Baseball's Territorial Rights for Santa Clara County.

Possible action:

1. Adopt Resolution requesting that Major League Baseball act on the territorial rights in the County of Santa Clara. (Roll Call Vote)

2. Approve letter regarding Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Santa Clara County Territorial Rights and direct Clerk of the Board to forward letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Transmittal BOSD308 040709
Resolution (Resolution)
Letter to Commissioner Bud Selig (A - Multiple Recommendations)
Baseball San Jose is scheduled to have a pre-session event at Billy Berks, a few blocks away from City Hall on 1st and San Fernando.

New post on SJ City Council session later tonight. I may liveblog again.