Newhouse Article on Latest Poll
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| By jenmed on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 10:50 am:|
Surprise: Oakland majority favors building park for A's
IT IS THE MOST positive sign yet for a new ballpark in Oakland, even though it comes from left field. But it reveals how the public feels about the Oakland A's. More chummy than anyone could have imagined.
In a random poll of Oakland registered voters, 51 percent say they'd support a ballpark if it's part of a downtown revitalization plan. Results of the poll, commissioned by Oakland, were released late last week.
Talk about a surprise, city politicians were caught completely off guard by this unexpected show of affection for the A's. Mayor Jerry Brown reportedly gagged on his tofu shake when he heard the news.
Obviously Oakland has its own silent majority.
Oakland keeps hearing how it doesn't care a hoot about the A's, who, critics contend, either should join a traveling gypsy caravan or be exterminated by a roach-killing service. But disappear, please.
Yet no one knows what's in the heads of fans until you tap their minds. And Oakland voters, it was discovered, would even approve of spending public funds on a quaint ballyard and a jazzed-up downtown.
Forty-five percent of 400 voters polled even said yes to spending $180 million in public funds on this dual concept. Forty-eight percent said no way. But 45 percent is probably 15 percent higher than local politicos would have anticipated, given the lingering stench from the Oakland Raiders' homecoming contract, the Hindenburg of financial disasters.
The public money for the downtown project wouldn't come from new taxes or other city funds, but from taxes and other revenue generated by this joint effort. Those polled were told that A's owners would pony up $30 million to build the ballpark, which is estimated at $385 million.
But why did 51 percent of voters give the project the go-ahead?
"I think a lot of people have embraced this club and this organization," A's president Mike Crowley speculated.
That's it, but not entirely. I can't poll the minds of the 51 percenters, but let's see if I can read them.
This silent majority, I sense, feels sorry for the A's, recognizing that the Coliseum was torn up and enlarged to please Al Davis -- if that's humanly possible -- regardless of what A's management might have thought about the Raiders being jammed down their throats.
The Coliseum lacked baseball charm to begin with; it had a football look all along. But it was easier to renovate the Coliseum in six months than to build a new stadium or ballpark in that time span.
Oakland and Alameda County compensated the A's royally for having upended their world. Still there is public sentiment that the A's got the raw end of this deal. After all, they were the tenant that stayed home, even with a similar opportunity to relocate.
This silent majority also likes the A's much better than the Raiders. Why? A's players comport themselves with more dignity in public. Ever hear about A's players getting in trouble? Jason Giambi lived the good life, but he was seen as Oakland's Babe Ruth. Brother Jeremy had a problem with marijuana. The A's eventually packed him off to Philadelphia.
Now look at the Raiders with self-destructing Darrell Russell and perennial problem child Sebastian Janikowski. The Raider Nation accepts any kind of behavior because, well, look at the Raider Nation. But A's fans, somewhat older and less demonstrative, don't take kindly to the Raiders. A's fans prefer the Donny Osmond image that fits their team.
This silent majority also prefers the A's to the Golden State Warriors, whose players aren't social misfits either, not since Chris Porter left. But it's the Warriors front office that turns off people in general.
There's an aura of good feeling about the A's. And the poll showed that a ballpark makes financial sense as well as common sense, which can't be said of the housing project that could kill the ballpark.
Oakland's mayor and City Council members are considering paying Forest City $51 million to build rickety housing where the ballpark would sit when there are other downtown lots available where a contractor would pay the city to build upon.
The first option is not only dumb, it smells of a scam. The only sensible solution is the downtown ballpark. It's what the A's need, and it's what the voters want.
So do the right thing, Oakland.
Dave Newhouse can be reached at (510) 208-6466 or by e-mail at
| By dorrit on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 10:56 am:|
Saw that this morning-gotta thank Newhouse for that article.
A great article by Newhouse, other than the Donny Osmond comparison, next time try the Everly Brothers who at least can play (guitar). We'll see if this poll helps make this ballpark a reality, but at least the political naysayers (NADEL) will have too come up with a logical arguements rather than coming off with cute quotes "this ballpark is pie in the sky with our city deficits blah, blah blah", and abstract economic studies on the financial drain of city coffers for public ballparks. My advice for the Nadel/DLF/Wan clan; SHOW SOME VISION! Also interesting that Newhouse pointed at a possible scam regarding the housing project Brown is trying to ram into the uptown location. Even though Bobb was upset after Brown's housing plan passed 5-3, I hold out hope that Brown-Bobb will find a way. Unfortunately, as fans we only get information in tidbits and don't know what's going on behind the scenes, obviously the next few months should be very interesting as this unfolds.....Go A's!!!
| By eyleenn on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 01:40 pm:|
It's a known fact that Forest City threw a fund-raiser for Brown last January during his mayoral campaign. There's your scam, right there. Political payoff.
| By dorrit on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 02:34 pm:|
oakland4ever-yea, I try my best to forget ALL of the Osmonds-ugh-how about Simon and Garfunkel?
dorrit, yea I dig them too and I'll 2nd your thoughts on the Osmond family....hey, another win tonight, can Lidle get his act together tomorrow?