City Council's Closed Session Last Night
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| By kevink on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 02:15 pm:|
tekgraf, where did you here that about Hoffman wanting the waterfront ballpark?
Where did those consultants come up with $146M? Why don't the A's do exactly what the Giants did to get the funding for Pac Bell?
| By eyleenn on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 02:34 pm:|
I've read in several different publications (none of which I can remember specifically) that Hofmann has said he favors a waterfront site.
Peter Magowan is a San Francisco bigwig with lots of connections to people with deep pockets. When he was soliciting for partners, the economy was booming. Times are different now. This is not to say S&H couldn't *try* to attract other businesses to invest in a park, though.
Public funding for a Giants ballpark was put to at least 3 votes and rejected each time. Private funding was a "last resort." I don't think the voters of Oakland/Alameda County would be any more willing to fund a ballpark with public money than those in SF were. Besides, I'm sure MLB would frown on another park built completely with private funds.
Until someone -- owners, City of Oakland officials (I mean the ones who actually can vote to decide things, not city staff) -- steps forward and shows some tangible sign that gives hope that a new ballpark is going to be built, there is reason to be suspicious of both (owners, and city officials).
Lil, granted, you are closer to the situation than the rest of us, but it's hard to accept your perspective of things when all the obvious indications are that a new Oakland ballpark is going nowhere. Granted, it may still be under serious consideration, but from what we see above the water of city politics, things don't look very good.
What I'm saying is that unless something tangible can be offered other than "Have hope," or "We know more than you do," or "Believe me...", Darth's comments are justified.
Is it time for everyone to stop playing their political games and come forward with a real plan? Or do the parties still have the luxury of this absurd dance they've been doing?
| By me_94501 on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 02:53 pm:|
New housing is NOT going to guarantee business Downtown. All it means it that they live there, and STILL go to the Suburbs to shop. The economic impact is fairly insignificant. A new park means 40,000+ people in Downtown 81 times a year, and also for any concerts or other events at the park. Look what Pac Bell has done for the South of Market--the area around the park is full of restaurants and businesses.
Oakland has the dumbest politicians this side of anywhere.
| By chris_d on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 05:48 pm:|
Some of the politicians are definitely making mistakes. Huge mistakes. But, I think what some of us are saying is that the owners could be doing more, as well. No one here is blaming everything on Schott and Hofmann, nor should they. But, as KevinK asked rhetorically, "Why aren't they just following the what the Giants did for their park?" Good question. And to be fair, it should be posed to the politicians who are letting ego get in the way and yes, to the owners who, like it or not, are part of this very flawed equation.
Again, no one is blaming "everything" on the owners. In fact, the last 4 or 5 months on this discussion board have been the most kind toward them that I've ever seen. And for good reason, given their recent attempts to commit more to the East Bay (albeit not real definitively). But, still, they can and must do better if this ballpark is going to happen.
God, this has been an atrocious week for the A's, on and off the field.
| By rono on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 10:54 pm:|
It is the owners who need to act. It is they who want or need a new stadium. The politicians don't need a new stadium and frankly neither do most A's fans. The city and county have the the committment to study possible sites. The A's have done nothing. A 5-year lease with a 90-day out is meaningless. The A's need to make a firm 5-year committment and put their comments on the table along with some hard dollars. Otherwise dump all the studies in their lap and tell them to come up with a proposal. Schott and Hofman are big time developers who can put this project together a lot quicker and more efficiently than any group of politicians.
| By tekgraf on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 11:55 pm:|
KevinK, Jerry Brown has said that Hoffman would prefer the waterfront on many occasions. In newspaper and tv interviews. Whether they're true is something else. I can't imagine Brown, Bobb or any member of the city council letting the A's get away. If you're following any of the antics with other ball clubs you'll see that they're not any different from Oakland. Pittsburg didn't vote for a new park, and San Diego is having problems getting their act together as well. I believe that the A's, Oakland and you and me will be cheering on OUR team here in the biggity O.
| By jeffreyb on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 09:05 pm:|
yes, De La Fuente is a jerk...
but that doesn't make him completely wrong either. The JPA recently hired a competent executive director, whose JOB (not Scott Haggerty's...) is to negotiate such things as leases. Presenting a fait acompli thru Haggerty at the least gives rise to suspicions that the newly proposed lease is too sweetheart a deal for the A's.
I can't completely fault those suspicions. If they Authority really made $250,000 from one night of Paul McCartney, less than half a mill a year for 81 dates, control of parking and concessions, easy escape clause...yada yada...seems damn generous to the A's. maybe such generosity is appropriate, on balance... but if ya want such a sweet deal, at least try and bring all the players along, rather than springing a deal on them.
| By eyleenn on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 09:39 pm:|
Maybe Haggerty is playing both ends against the middle in hopes of ending up with the A's in Fremont.
| By rono on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 05:53 pm:|
You are right, Some thing is going on. Instead of jumping on one another as has been done on other posts, we need to find out why the A's have never responded to the consultants reports except to say they are encouraged, why they negotiated with Haggerty alone in relative secrecy and why they never really reponded the city officials when there was some movement on the downtown site.Does anyone have contact with Sam Spear, the new PR guy for the owners, He may have some insight.
Haggerty in my opinion was wrong in going through this lease negotiation alone and not including the appointed commissioners in on the talks with the A's.
I believe one of the major problems here is the antagonism which exist between Schott and De la Fuente. They have a complete breakdown in communication and a clash of egos which prevents them to negotiate any deal.
So Haggerty went ahead and decided to negotiate in private and I believe that was a big mistake and a bad move since his proposed lease came to an impasse because of his secrecy and isolated talks.
Now the negotiations have been assigned to Thaxter Trafton and Robert Brown, the two consultants which should have participated in the negotiations from the start. We don't know yet what changes they have made to the rent amount, the out clause or the black-out dates. I suppose we will find out tomorrow night at the City Council meeting.
But having said all of the above, I have to tell you that there is no way in hell the A's will ever sign a 5 year lease with no escape clause.
It is very simple. They don't want to stay at the Coliseum one minute more than they have to and the only way they will sign any lease extension, paying or not paying rent will be if they have an out clause.
And I think a team just doesn't pick up and leave in 60 or 90 days...it takes a lot longer than that to move a team, so year to year or 60 days in my view is pretty much the same.
| By rono on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 09:17 pm:|
I agree that DLF needs to be kept out of the process as much as possible. He is a labor organizer by profession so the owners can't stand him and he jumps to conclusions too fast.
I understand the comment that the owner's don't want a five year committment but I do not see how the city and county can make a long term committement without it. I certainly would not. I repeat why are they against it if they have no intention of leaving the East Bay . No stadium will be ready here or elsewhere for 5 years. Going year to year just gives them the opportunity to renegotiate and ask for more each year. Again I would not agree to it.
| By bubba69 on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 09:31 pm:|
Here is my question. If the A's do go south to
Fremont ( not likely to happen)will that take Ignorant De La Moron out of the picture? Is he just JPA and Oakland or is he County too?
| By eyleenn on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 09:53 pm:|
IDLF does not hold any county office.
I think if the A's go anywhere other than the Coliseum, it would take the JPA out of the picture and DLF is a member of the JPA.
DLF is also a City Councilmember and
President of the Council. So he would still be involved as a Councilmember in decisions re a ballpark in other sites in Oakland other than the Coli.
But Fremont is District 1 of Alameda and Haggerty is the Supervisor for District 1 and a ballpark there would be under Alameda County control and DLF would not have say there other than being a district of the county.
Please somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
Rono, these owners sued Oakland/Alameda 48 million dollars just to break the 10 year lease they signed in 1995. They settled the lawsuit and got the present year to year lease playing rent free and concessions etc...which expires in 2004.
Do you think they are going to sign a 5 year lease now without an out clause when they have no deal on a ballpark? They don't want to stay at the Coliseum and don't want to stay in Oakland if they don't get a viable deal on a ballpark.
That is the reality.
| By bubba69 on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 06:13 am:|
Thanks, I wonder how much that will play in to all this....B69
| By eyleenn on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 08:52 am:|
BE THERE TONIGHT.
Future of A's may ride on lease debate
Team offering $450,000 a year -- official says it can pay more
Rick DelVecchio, Janine DeFao, Chronicle Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle
The future of the Oakland Athletics in the East Bay is on the line as the team and its public landlords debate their current stadium deal and the possibility of joining hands to build a new ballpark.
The baseball team is offering $450,000 a year in rent to play at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland for at least five years after its year-to-year lease expires in 2004. The proposal, which goes before the City Council tonight, has emerged as something of a loyalty oath for both sides and a needed step before serious talks on any new ballpark.
"I don't think it's a fair deal," council President Ignacio De La Fuente said. "I think the A's have the ability to improve this proposal."
Ballpark revenues are substantial even in mediocre seasons, and the A's can afford to share more, De La Fuente said. The A's now pay no rent and share no revenues -- a lopsided deal that reflects the squeeze of a low-budget club sharing a home with the Raiders.
A's President Mike Crowley said last week that he hopes more discussions will take place between the two sides before the council votes on the proposal.
"I don't think we're that far off," he said. "It's unfortunate it's become more about politics than business and what's good for both parties and the fans."
Knotted at the heart of the issue are troubled economics of low-budget Major League Baseball clubs like the A's and a bid by Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb to see a baseball-only park built in downtown Oakland.
Bobb said the lease controversy is having "a negative impact on our ability to focus on the long term" and the prospects for a new stadium, which would cost at least $300 million and involve substantial public and private spending.
"I thought we were at least up to the plate and ready to enter the game, but it seems we are returning to the dugout," he said.
Last week, the council upset Bobb's plans when it voted 5-3 -- at the urging of Mayor Jerry Brown -- to renew talks with developer Forest City Enterprises to build 800 housing units on the downtown site a consultant had identified as the best spot for a baseball stadium.
Councilman Danny Wan said he is unwilling to kill the long-planned housing development "for a ballpark that's only in our city manager's imagination."
Wan, who, like De La Fuente, represents the city on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, said that not only have the A's been all but silent on a stadium, they have yet to make clear whether they intend to stay in Oakland.
"We need either a long-term commitment from the A's, in writing, or they need to give us better economics for a short-term lease," he said.
The authority approved the renewal in principle two weeks ago, sending its chief administrative officer, Thaxter Trafton, back to the A's to try to improve the terms.
"In sports, it's a good deal," Trafton said, adding that there are fewer professional sports teams than cities that want them.
Measured by operating costs, the proposed lease would be a net plus for the public. In addition to the proposed rent payments, the team already is paying more than $1 million a year for its share of maintenance and utility costs.
Trafton said revenue from the proposed lease compares favorably with those of the Royals' lease at Ewing Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. But that lease was struck with a 25-year term and minimal public investment.
By contrast, the Coliseum stadium expansion cost the city and county $200 million in 1995, not including interest. The public's annual subsidy for both the stadium and the Arena at Oakland is $20 million.
"It's fair for them to give us a fair rent based on the fact that they didn't finance anything," De La Fuente said of the A's.
As if the team's local troubles weren't enough, the industry is in turmoil. A players' strike is possible this summer. And baseball commissioner Bud Selig is saying that several financially weak clubs are in danger of being closed.
On the field, the A's are hurting from the loss of slugger Jason Giambi to the Yankees, a move that shows the difficulty low-budget clubs face in keeping top talent.
Given baseball's economic state, the A's owners are "highly unlikely" to get involved in a ballpark deal this year, Brown said in a letter to the council.
A downtown ballpark would cost the A's $146 million and the city $174 million, according to a consultant's financing outline worked up for Brown. A waterfront site would go higher. The city's borrowing costs would run at least $11 million a year.
Brown said he would meet with team owners Steve Schott and Ken Hoffman "and ask them directly what they are prepared to do."
"The political leadership needs the benefit of the A's proposal," Brown said in an interview. "So far, the A's have taken the position they will say nothing until the lease is done."
Harsh experience in dealing with sports team owners has taught politicians to demand that teams show their money first.
Since 1993, over $5 billion has been spent or committed on new or renovated ballparks. Of that amount, $1.7 billion has come from private sources.
In a typical deal, the team pays operating costs and about a third of construction costs, said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd. in Chicago.
The Giants built Pacific Bell Park almost exclusively with private money, but a model more applicable to Oakland is that of San Diego and the Padres.
The Padres' new park, opening in 2004, has a price tag of $349 million, of which the team's share is $146 million. The city, redevelopment agency and port are paying the rest, plus $100 million to prepare the 18-acre downtown site. San Diego voters approved the deal in 1998.
In St. Louis, a new ballpark for the Cardinals mixes state, county, city and private funds. Last year, state lawmakers refused to issue bonds until the team signed a commitment to donate $100 million and the land for the ballpark.
In Minnesota, Gov. Jesse Ventura has approved $330 million in state bonds for a new ballpark to save the Twins -- on the condition that the team put up $120 million at the outset.
"Oakland and other California cities have a major problem that other markets don't have: no expectations of assistance from the state," Ganis said. "That's the factor that puts them at a competitive disadvantage versus every other major market.'
He said a new ballpark for the A's would be "very challenging" but not impossible.
"It'd be a real shame to see the A's go," he said. "It may have to happen because of the economic realities of Major League Baseball and the state of California."
E-mail the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
| By jeffreyb on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 10:20 am:|
IDLF is a Oakland appointee to the JPA, and defacto leader of half of the JPA vote. Note how the JPA paid the HOK bill to keep Bobb from making the new stadium an Oakland only deal. Thus i think the JPA will be involved in any new stadium deal, anywhere inside the county.
De La Fuente ain't going away. he has to be dealt with.
| By rono on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 10:46 am:|
I understand your point. We cannot proceed with a new stadium if they can pull out on 90 day notice. It doesn't make sense. Thet need to commit to 5 years in order to get a 30-40 year committment from us. I have dealt with guys like Schott and Hofmann before and its cost me a lot of money. DO NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL you have a written committment from them.
I will have to cut down to one minute what I intend to say to the City Council tonight. But I wanted to post it here so you could see where I stand on this. This is my personal opinion and I am not speaking for the entire group here:
At the beginning this lease extension was not a deal maker or a deal breaker for the Oakland ballpark…it was going to be a short bridge between a 5-year to a 30-year lease.
But you and the Mayor changed things with your closed session vote which derailed and put the best and perhaps only viable and beneficial site for both the City of Oakland and A’s ___ out of consideration and out of negotiations by granting the ENA to the housing project.
Suddenly you turned this lease extension with its out clause, into a looming threat and an important negotiating tool for the A’s. Now, it gives the A’s a chance to explore other options such as other cities, and even another ownership from an advantage point… Perhaps unfortunately, even playing right into Bud Selig’s Kevorkian’ hands if no ballpark deal comes about any time soon…
Please give the A’s this lease extension, but go one step further and extend to them an olive branch, by voting for a two or three month contingency period, prior to the 12 months ENA, so the A’s may have a chance to negotiate with you and with Forrest City the possibility of the ballpark at the Uptown site in conjunction with the housing project.
I am well aware of the efforts coming from some of our civic leaders and politicians to make this ballpark a reality. And I am well aware of how the A’s, perhaps dictated by their compliance with MLB labor problems, have dragged their feet.
Two or three months are such a short time… but FOREVER never ends. If the city of Oakland through you… become responsible for losing the A’s____killing the chance of keeping major league baseball for Oakland____ Mayor Jerry Brown and all of you who voted to derail and shut down the negotiations for this ballpark___ killing what you claim never existed_____will forever carry that as your political legacy.
I must add here that I spoke with Mike Crowley at the Coli last Sunday. I urged him to ask the A's owners to request a contingency to negotiate with the city prior to the ENA 12 month period. He seems to be very understanding of the process and told me that when the owners return from the owners meeting next week (June 3rd), he will talk to them about this new bump on the road and in urgence of the negotiations.
Of course, I have no influence on what Schotmann will do about this. I only hope they didn't come from the owners meeting with the A's future "Sellig-ed"...if you get my drift.
btw, because I will not have time to say all of the above in my one minute tonight...I am sending what I posted above to all the city council members via e-mail
| By jerryo1 on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 12:25 pm:|
you could easily say all of your speech in 1 minute if you didn't have so darn much punctuation in there.
| By jenmed on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 12:33 pm:|
Jerry - LOL!!!
ok, you just solved my problem jerry...
I'll just say it all in one run-in sentence
I just tried it with a stopwatch and was just over one minute...I have to practice without taking a breath but if I faint you can blame it on Jerry Brown.
| By jenmed on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 03:33 pm:|
Lil - If you faint perhaps IDLF will give you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
| By rono on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 03:59 pm:|
I would not go in blaming the politicians unless you really know the A's want the downtown site. I would be more concilliatory. Ask them and the A's to work together to select a site of mutual interest and to jointly work out a financing plan. Without a firm five year " no out" agreement the lease extension isn't.
Ron, you seem to forget that it was the city councilmembers who hired and chose the proposed sites for the studies and proposals. But when the reports are ready, now they state the most viable and beneficial site for Oakland is out of the negotiations. The other sites which they proposed are completely set up for failure and completely out of the question in price.
They paid for HOK to make the reports and recommendations but now Dany Wan and the Mayor/DLF state that its all in Robert Bobb's imagination?
The politicians made the bad deals of the past which resulted in a rent free lease which is now year to year and expires in 2004...but they want to turn down the lease with 450K and the possiblity of several millions if the A's leave...which they will if a ballpark deal is not done.
I think the no out agreement is non-negotiable.
Jen, if I faint...don't let DLF come near me...I want Dick Spees to be my saviour