Art Spander today
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| By eyleenn on Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 03:06 pm:|
Oakland's ballpark vote plays into Selig's hands
Thursday, May 23, 2002 - OAKLAND -- Bud Selig, the patron saint of disenchantment, must be rubbing his hands together with enough excitement to create sparks.
He's going to get what he wants in our pathetic little corner of the world, meaning the Oakland Athletics are destined to become only a memory.
It has been the great hope and wish of Selig, the car salesman turned reluctant baseball commissioner, the A's would disappear like a billion dollars in the control of Enron. The Bay Area, according to Bud and too many of his cronies, is a one-team market, and that team plays in the city where you can't walk 50 feet without having some guy on the street ask you for money. Right, Treasure Island West, a.k.a., San Francisco.
When the Oakland City Council, co-conspirators right out of an Oliver Stone
movie, voted to build houses on the same Oakland downtown location that might have been used for a new ballpark, major league baseball as we knew it in the East Bay was finished.
There never will be a new stadium, a demand -- wink, wink -- Selig said must be met if the A's wanted to stay around. No stadium, no team. As we learned along the way, you can't fight city hall, or a commissioner bent on terminating your existence.
It was going to be hard enough to get a ballpark built at the most advantageous of sites, which was the one at Telegraph and San Pablo, but now that there is no site, well, to borrow a phrase made famous by the announcer Lon Simmons, you can tell it goodbye. Along with the Oakland A's.
"I think," said Jan Brunner, a city council member, "this may have killed the ballpark." You win the $250, Jan, and now what category would you like to try? How about the Decline and Fall of Oakland Sports?
Adios, A's, and after them the Warriors will zip over to San Francisco as soon as that burg builds an arena. So, we're down two teams out of three, and with the wandering eye of Al Davis, you are never certain where the Raiders might venture.
An empty Network Associates Coliseum. An empty New Arena. But, hey, apartment houses by the dozen.
Robert Bobb, the Oakland City Manager, and one of the few government officials who knows it's three strikes and you're out, vowed to keep seeking another venue for the ballpark. Which means bringing in the HOK design firm once again. Which means spending more money. Which means, no chance.
"I always like to have more locations in mind," Bobb said. "If they don't work out, at least we can say we've taken the game into the bottom of the ninth."
And major league baseball and the Oakland pols have combined to take us for a ride.
What we could use in all this as we prepare our farewell addresses to the A's is a little honesty, from Selig on down.
How many times have Bud and his committees destroyed any opportunity of an A's sale to a group that offered the team a better chance at survival, if not success? Do Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann really, truly want to keep the team and run it in penny-ante fashion or would they prefer to dispose of it?
The list of potential buyers the past three years stretches from here to eternity, names such as Joe Morgan, Andy Dolich, Bob Piccinini, Steve Stone, Jon Gruber. Supposedly a newspaper publisher wanted to step forward.
But Selig doesn't want the team sold. Selig wants the team to fold.
The baseball folk contend they have backed away from trying to contract the A's. But once that disgraceful little plan has entered their thoughts, you know it's never going to be eliminated entirely. With the anti-ballpark vote, in fact, contraction might be revived any second.
Not four months ago, we were feeling sorry for the people in Minnesota, because they were getting the sharp stick in the eye from Major League Baseball, which planned on stuffing the Twins down a drainpipe.
Now, the governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura himself, has approved a $300million bond to construct a new ballpark, while in Oakland it has become apparent that no new stadium ever will be erected.
You happy, Bud? We're not.
Art Spander, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, can be reached by fax at (510) 531-8068 or by mail at P.O. Box 10376, Pleasanton, CA 94588. He can be reached by e-mail: typoes@AOL.com .
| By ramjet1 on Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 04:09 pm:|
Dont let the article discourage you. Like I said in an earlier post there is no way Forest City will hammer down a development package with financing at that site in one year. July of 2003 Uptown is going to look like it does in July of 2002, vacant land and parking lots. Development in Downtown Oakland moves at a snails pace, always has.
The deal is far from dead and there is room for both the ballpark and the housing project.
The point is that the time has come for the A's owners to put all the chips on the table or get out of the way for new owners willing to put up the money necessary for the ballpark to become a reality.
Some of these media folks love to write the doom and gloom and should not be taken so seriously...
Besides, Spander has always favored the San Jose/Santa Clara pipe dream.
Like Robert Bobb said...he will not quit until he gets to the last out at the bottom of the ninth.
I'm putting my faith on him and not on Art Spander.
| By eyleenn on Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 09:14 pm:|
I would like to be more optimistic, but this article really brought me down:
Oakland, A's discussions at financial impasse
By Robert Gammon
Thursday, May 23, 2002 - OAKLAND -- A day after the city of Oakland dealt a near-fatal blow to a downtown ballpark plan, it became increasingly evident that a new Oakland A's stadium hinges on the city and the team breaking through a financial logjam.
But the chances of that happening anytime soon appeared remote Wednesday as both sides dug in their heels.
City officials said the ball is in the A's hands. They said they cannot take seriously any proposal for a new stadium, whether it's on the waterfront or at another downtown site, until the team steps forward with a substantial offer to help pay for a new ballpark, estimated to cost at least $400 million.
But the A's say the ball is in the city's hands. A's President Mike Crowley reiterated the team's stance Wednesday that it will not discuss ballpark fi-
nances until the city agrees to a five-year lease extension at Network Associates Coliseum. The A's currently are on a year-to-year lease through 2004.
"If we can't get a lease extension, how are we going to negotiate a multimillion-dollar ballpark deal?" Crowley said. "We should be able to get that done."
The Oakland City Council is scheduled to take up the lease extension proposal Tuesday during its regular public meeting. But City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente warned again Wednesday that the council likely will reject the lease deal unless the team sweetens its offer.
So far, the A's have been reluctant to do so. Thaxter Trafton, negotiator and chief administrative officer of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, said talks with the A's have failed to produce significant changes to the original lease extension proposal, which De La Fuente and other city representatives on the Authority turned down earlier this month.
"I don't know what it's going to take to break this logjam," Trafton said Wednesday. Trafton said he and the A's plan to have more discussions either today or Friday.
De La Fuente, who has come under fire for his opposition to the lease extension proposal, said the A's created the logjam by originally negotiating in secret with county Board of Supervisors President Scott Haggerty and excluding anyone from the city.
"We didn't have a chance to talk to the A's face-to-face, to negotiate with them," De La Fuente said. "It was a setup."
The lease proposal calls for the A's to pay at least$450,000 in rent annually.
The team also would get a 90-day escape clause and the ability to black out eight days a year at the next-door Arena. City officials want a one-year escape clause, no blackout dates and more rent from the A's.
But even if the two sides manage somehow to reach a lease extension deal, people close to the A's said Wednesday they don't believe team co-owner Steve Schott will commit the amount of private funds a city consultant said is needed to build a ballpark.
A consultant's report commissioned by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and released Tuesday estimates the A's would have to pony up at least $146 million toward a $400 million baseball-only stadium. An estimated $80 million would come from stadium naming, concession rights and seat license sales.
The consultant, McKinsey & Company of San Francisco, also says Oakland would have to use $174 million in public funds -- by no means a sure thing in a city faced with steep budget cuts and still reeling from the Oakland Raiders financial debacle.
"I don't mean to speak for Steve Schott, but I know Steve Schott is not going to put up $146 million. If so, he would have done it in San Jose and Santa Clara," said Larry Stone, a longtime friend of Schott and leader of a South Bay booster club that attempted unsuccessfully to bring the A's to San Jose a few years ago and to Santa Clara last year.
Stone, who is also the Santa Clara County assessor, noted that the Santa Clara stadium proposal called for the A's to contribute $80 million through rent payments to the city of Santa Clara -- far less than what would be needed in Oakland. Moreover, Schott lives and works in the South Bay and has expressed a greater interest in moving the A's to Silicon Valley than in staying in Oakland.
Plus, if the A's are unwilling to spend $146 million, it further puts in doubt plans for a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. A's co-owner Ken Hofmann is said to be interested in a new A's ballpark near Jack London Square. But HOK Sports, the nation's leading stadium designer, estimated a new stadium on the city's waterfront would cost $130 million more than in downtown.
Meanwhile, city officials who want to keep alive a plan for a new A's ballpark in downtown said the decision Tuesday to go forward with a housing project instead may have sunk any shot the team and the city had of working out their financial differences.
"I think the message the mayor and Ignacio (De La Fuente) sent is that they're not interested in an A's ballpark in Oakland," said City Councilmember Jane Brunner. "Why would the A's step forward now if the mayor and the president of the City Council are not welcoming them?"
The council -- at the request of the mayor -- voted 5-3 Tuesday in a closed session to move forward with a plan to build 800 housing units on the same site identified as the best spot in the East Bay for a new A's ballpark.
Brown, who has made bringing more residents into downtown a cornerstone of his administration, said it makes more sense to embrace a concrete plan for housing on the so-called uptown site than a ballpark proposal that may never materialize.
The council likely will vote on the housing plan in public in the next few weeks.
| By dorrit on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 08:17 am:|
This is all SO depressing. Why does our team get the shaft in so many ways?
| By rono on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 11:00 pm:|
The team is not getting a shaft. It needs to commit. A 5-year lease with a 90-day out is meaningless. Does anyone ask why they need a 90-day out?????? No one has asked and the A's are not saying. I can only assume that they want the flexibility of considering potential locations outside Alameda County. In that case tell them to forget it. Commit now or do the inevitable of relocation or extinction.
| By eyleenn on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 11:10 pm:|
The purpose of the 90-day out is in the event a new ballpark in Oakland is ready before the Coliseum lease is up. It wouldn't make sense to play a year in the old park while the new park sits empty.
| By rono on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 02:05 pm:|
Sorry you're wrong. There is a right to terminate the lease once a new park is ready. Separately, there is a right to terminate on 90 days notice for any other reason. They only have to pay the remaining rent owed at $450,000 per year which is peanuts. That's why their offer is bogus and their laments about the politicians not accepting their "5-year" very lame.
| By jeffreyb on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 09:09 pm:|
i agree. if the Twins stadium authority had agreed to such lease terms, there'd be 2 less MLB teams this year.
| By jeffreyb on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 09:13 pm:|
it's been a mystery to me how Lil and Chris D went from one day saying, "we gotta read the lease and consider the details of the 90 day out clause," to about a day later saying, "rally the troops in support of the lease."
...with no real explanation of their view of the out clause. maybe they could give it now?
| By chris_d on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 01:25 am:|
Quick, someone get out to the Oakland hills immediately. Little Jeff Berchenko needs some attention!
That's what's going on right, Jeff? That must be the only explanation why you're talking completely out of your ass. Again!
I've just re-read your post and I still don't know what the hell you're talking about. I've never posted or stated the quote above re: the out clause that you attribute to me. Never.
Don't believe me? Check out the link below to a previous thread where we first "rallied the troops" in support of the lease.
There is NO mention at all about the out clause until a day AFTER we asked people to show up at the meeting, which is a direct contradiction to your accusation. And when Lil addresses the out clause she DOES explain her view on the clause, which is wholly consistent with our request for people to support the extension. Also, my post to ask people to show up at the meeting appeared 25 DAYS AGO. Which makes your accusation not only totally inaccurate, but also so late after the fact that it's been rendered useless. So, again, what the hell are you talking about?
We can disagree all we want about the out clause. Or the new ballpark. Or whatever. Fine. That's what these boards are for and we have a million disagreements here. But, just don't make shit up 'cause you feel like it. It's reckless, divisive, obnoxious and unfair. In other words, it was a typical post from you.
What's most disappointing is the new ballpark may be headed for an early grave and so may our best chance to keep the A's, and instead of disagreeing to make me see a new angle on things, or instead of making suggestions or looking to problem-solve, all you can do is make some bizarre, fictional and vaguely insulting accusation that isn't even close to reality.
As much as you claim to care about the A's, it comes in a distant second to your true love: Stirring up shit just for the hell of it and to feed your ego. Which is destructive and really kind of sad. There have been two public meetings on this issue where you could have made your views on the out clause clear and tried to actually have had a positive or negative effect on things. Nah, why do that? Rather, NOW, after nearly a month has gone by, is the time you make an issue out of it -- and you have to stretch (or outright falsify) the truth to do it? Pathetic. Yeah you.
My take on the out clause: Like the lease extension itself, it's not ideal. But, it's not a dealbreaker 'cause it's better than the current lease, and anything that gives money to the city where previously none would be given and gives a semblance of stability to the A's situation or the perception of stability (to the media, fans, and MLB) is an improvement and will likely lead to the REAL lease extension, the one for a new ballpark.
You remember the new ballpark. right, Jeff? You know, the one that will keep the A's in Oakland. You still care about that, right? I have to ask 'cause frankly I can't tell anymore.
I've been ignoring your openly disrespectful crap on this board for a year now 'cause I respected you and the work you've done in the past for keeping the A's in Oakland. But, enough's enough. It's bullshit.
I really really look forward to continuing this conversation next time I see you at the Coliseum. Trust me, I'll have plenty more to say.
Predicted Jeff response: "Geesh, buddy, can't fault a guy for just askin' a question. What's your problem?"
Yawn. That's as tired and transparent and predictable as your previous post(s).
They apparently taught you to be a pretty good lawyer. But, they forgot to teach you how to be a constructive human being. Or maybe you were just too self-centered to listen.
Next time you post something false about me, please try to make it at least a HALF-truth.
I have said from the beginning that this lease is not a deal breaker or maker of the ballpark in Oakland.
The straw who broke the camel's back was the total disinterest from the part of the A's owners, and Jerry Brown, who could care less about dealing with a new ballpark for a sport he doesn't give a damn...
Jerry just wants his housing development and period. These owners just want a ballpark paid for and handed to them on a silver platter.
This lease is just an olive branch extended to an ownership who is not willing to go out of their way other than change "The A's have no future in Oakland" to "we want to keep the A's in the Bay Area, preferably Oakland." Oh yeah!!!! Yeeepie!!!
Actually, this lease allows the A's owners to have and continue negotiations... looking into other sites and cities, WHEREVER AND WHENEVER THEY WANT!
Wherever they would want, except of course the best and most affordable site, the Uptown site. That site is now off the table and out of consideration for the next 12 months.
The owners made no move and showed no interest in letting the city officials and Jerry Brown, some who have met with them several times, know that they had any interest in the Uptown site. In fact, they kept saying that their interest was by the water...not even taking into consideration that the sites by the water would bring no revitalization or invigoration to the downtown area. Not considering that the Uptown site would be the most cost effective to the city and to ownership. Not looking into the reports which stated the waterfront sites were the worse in every aspect, from cost to transportation and city benefits.
So Jerry Brown decided that he 'couldn't kill something that never lived'...and gave the ENR of the Uptown site to the Forrest City project.
The ENR (exclusive negotiating rights) are for 12 months and during this period, the A's owners can't even look into or negotiate with the city, the most viable site for the ballpark, which is the Uptown site.
So the ballpark in Oakland has been put in life support...the pulse is hardly felt and it is being giving oxygen by a respirator called Robert Bobb.
Now to the lease!
Why would this lease help?
It would help in two ways in my view...
The A's owners would be able to negotiate with other locations or other ownerships, from a better starting point, because it would be a sweetheart lease deal, with an out clause and other goodies...
It would also send a PR message to the casual fans and the fans who must feel the owners are the good guys...What they don't know won't hurt them right? Just as long as they come to the ballpark and buy tickets.
What is the alternative?
No lease...stay with the year to year lease until the year 2004.
Take your pick and tell me what's all the mystery?
PS: Chris, hang in there my friend. The great contributors to our cause are only now lining up to getting ready to get out of the woodwork.
| By jeffreyb on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 10:27 am:|
i thought this board was designed to avoid personal attacks.
at least Lil addresses my substantive question substantively.
i believe there is an alternative to a year to year, and that an improvement of the Haggerty deal will emerge. i believe advocating giving the A's a 90 day out is a mistake, one that would be fatal if next year Oakland is in a Minneapolis position.
i believe i'm entitled to my opinion, even if i didn't attend 2 daytime meetings.
| By eyleenn on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 01:23 pm:|
Here's today's Matier & Ross. Granted, the A's ownership needed to step up, and a public showing from them might have changed the result. But it appears lay-in-the-weeds Jerry Brown had this plan in mind all along. Luckily for him, the A's owners cooperated and made it easy.
Brown's push for Oakland housing deal irks some
Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Sunday, May 26, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle
The iron hand of Jerry Brown came down hard in Oakland this past week for what some are calling a sweetheart housing deal that could soak up $51 million in city money and squelch any hope for a downtown ballpark.
We're talking about Tuesday night's closed-door City Council session where Mayor Brown -- with the help of council President Ignacio De La Fuente -- corralled the five votes needed to re-enter negotiations with developer Forest City Enterprises to build a gated, 807-unit apartment complex next to the Sears department store, between Telegraph and San Pablo avenues.
It's the same site where ballpark advocates were hoping to build a new home for the Oakland A's.
But in Brown's eyes, it was "now or never" time for his dream to bring 10, 000 people into the downtown, and "I want to get the ball rolling."
And roll he did -- although some say it was more like steam rolling.
"He made it clear that there was not to be any discussion from staff or anyone else about anything but Forest City," said one attendee.
"Although I did notice that there were some sharp words between Jerry and (City Manager) Robert Bobb as they went into the meeting," our source said.
That's because Bobb, who is one of the biggest backers of the stadium, has been pushing a plan to accommodate both projects. The mayor didn't want to hear it.
And Brown's damn-the-torpedoes attitude extends to questions about the Forest City deal itself -- even questions raised in a confidential evaluation of the plan that city staffers prepared with the help of outside consultants.
For example, ballpark aside, the memo says the Forest City complex is going to need $51 million in subsidies -- or about $60,000 per unit. City sources say that could soak up Oakland's downtown redevelopment funds for the next 15 years.
What's more, as it stands, the proposal guarantees Forest City a 12 percent rate of return, when the usual is 9 percent.
And the report says Forest City's construction estimates appear to be "at the low end of the industry standard range."
In other words, said one city official, they may wind up being "cheaply built."
The project also lacks any open space to speak of. The "proposed parks are leftover spaces, which are actually just light and air corridors between buildings," the report says.
Put it all together and you have a city staff concluding that "these units may not be desirable living spaces for the long term."
A very charged-up Brown dismissed the report as "loaded" and a "piece of s-- " put together by "people who just don't like this project."
As for the conclusion that the work may be cheap?
"We were the ones who told them to drop the construction costs," Brown says.
And the subsidies?
"Look, we know it's going to be expensive and it's going to take money, but this is the only group that has taken any interest in that site."
As usual with this kind of deal, a certain amount of connections are involved. Take Forest City's San Francisco lobbyist, Natalie Berg, who tossed a fund-raiser for Brown in his last election.
"That's just a bunch of crap -- pure crap," Brown said. "If you want a piece of dead dirt there for the next 10 years, then kill the project."
When it comes to the idea that politics is at work, Brown summons up a phrase that usually makes his city wince: "There is no there there."
The next stop for the deal is a public hearing before the City Council -- where Brown says "everything will be open for negotiation."
Maybe, but as they say, the train looks like it's already out of the station.
| By rono on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 05:43 pm:|
Being in commercial real estate, I prefer a one year lease to a 90-day lease. The owners can talk to anyone they want to now and have a very flexible situation. As far as PR, a 5-year lease with big holes doesn't do much. I think the politicians or preferably their consultants should sit down with the owners and get their viewpoints and preferences as to the sites and discuss financing in at least general terms (i.e . prequalify the buyer, or in this case the tenant.). The owners are big time developers who want to negotiate continuosly and change the deal as they go along even at the last minute. We need a solid 5-year deal in place before we proceed and a minimum dollar committment and a prioritization of the sites if not a specific site site selection.
Rono, I posted on the other thread the lease issue and I think we will have news regarding the changes to the lease at tomorrow's City Council meeting.
It is true the A's owners have been totally passive and dilly dalling along...
But Mayor Brown totally derailed any possibility to bring the owners to the table in respect to the Uptown site which appears to be the only affordable and viable site.
Robert Bobb and his staff prepared the report and financial package and was ready to make their presentation but Brown anticipated their action by calling the closed session City Council meeting taking the Uptown site off the table for negotiation with the A's ownership. They voted to give exclusive negotiating rights to Forrest City.
That is not to say the A's owners could not make a request for a provision which would allow them to see the proposal and give some kind of response re their interest to negotiate with the city for that site. They could even enter in negotiations with Forest City re incorporating the ballpark in their housing project.