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When it Hits the Fan
by Jennifer Medeiros
Previous Columns

SF Chron Editorial Unbalanced and Misinformed -

SF Chronicle Editorial Regarding New A's Ballpark Location is Unbalanced and Misinformed

I was astonished to read the recent editorial in the Chronicle condemning the Coliseum location as a poor choice for a new ballpark. The author of the piece seems determined to circumvent the plans for the location before they have a chance to develop. While it is true that the Uptown location was the best possible site, it was clearly not the best *available* site, as Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown had alternate plans for that location. HOK Sport, a renowned architecture and venue development firm that has designed such ballparks as SBC, Petco, Coors, and PNC, completed a site evaluation in late 2001 commissioned by the Joint Powers Authority of Alameda County and the city of Oakland. HOK favored the Uptown site as their first choice, however the Coliseum site was selected as the second best location in all of Alameda County. Other sites in contention were the Howard Terminal site that the Chronicle editorial staff seems to favor, as well as the Oak to 9th Street and Laney College areas in Oakland, and Fremont and Pleasanton for more suburban sites. The Coliseum site was a close second in the traffic, parking and transit criteria as well as from a cost and schedule standpoint, and was second overall in the site rankings. This from a company that does this kind of evaluation and development exclusively.

Moreover, the writer of the editorial seems oblivious to the fact that there are large-scale redevelopment plans for the Coliseum area. Not only is the construction of a new Amtrak station already in progress, but there will be a Coliseum Transit Village with retail, services and restaurants, as well as new housing construction. These developments are not just on paper - money has already been allocated for these projects and plans are moving forward. With the addition of the Amtrak station the location will be an even more significant transportation hub than it is now. There has even been talk of an airport connector to the Coliseum BART location. Now imagine a brand new baseball-only ballpark for the A's in the midst of all this new development. A new A's ballpark would draw fans to the area, who would in turn patronize the new transit village, new transportation options, and even the newly built housing. It would be a major boost to redevelopment.

In short, I am left wondering whether the Chronicle did not have all the facts before publishing this editorial, or knew the facts and chose to ignore them intentionally as it undercuts their viewpoint. Either way, the paper has a responsibility to present all the facts when making such a damaging argument, an obligation that was not met by their editorial.

Jennifer Medeiros is Co-Chair of the Oakland A's Fan Coalition

by Jennifer Medeiros

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