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Feast your eyes on this folks!

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Feast your eyes on this folks!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 - 09:11 pm:

This was just posted on our ballpark watch site
linked below:


http://www.oaklandfans.com/ballpark/revitalization/

Jerry Brown can't gag us!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jace on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 - 09:25 pm:

Beautiful!!! I'll take a condo, please.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 - 10:31 pm:

Just incredible! The night time images are really exciting. Is there some way to get these pictures out to the public?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ronc on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 - 10:35 pm:

Beautiful !

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bubba69 on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 10:11 am:

Thinking about Brown makes me want to gag!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 10:15 am:

Dittos, Bubba. You said it all.

The concept pictures are beautiful. Only a visionless mayor would not be impressed.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 11:37 am:

I posted the above link on both topics just to yesterday and now will more it to offfield topics.
Just for the sake of making room for A's baseball talk.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 11:56 am:

...and sorry about the typo on the link...we'll fix it later. We were in a hurry to post those last night and you know what happens when you rush things.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By milo on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 12:30 pm:

>Thinking about Brown makes me want to gag!

- i wish he would show more support, too, but i also understand his reluctance -- oakland has had many development snafus in the past 20 yrs, most recently/notably by al davis and the raiders.

so i don't think it's unreasonable for brown to wait for schott to speak up and put up before he gets behind a proposal.


"I haven't seen one penny from the A's yet," Brown said in a recent interview, explaining why he believes the downtown-ballpark plan should remain on the shelf. "Let's hear from the A's first. Otherwise, we're negotiating with ourselves."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 12:45 pm:

Milo, that argument has some merit. But if he prevents his staff from showing the plan and negotiating with the A's, then we have a status quo and an impass don't you agree?

The point is that the only way you can get the city to have any interest in a ballpark is if it can be tied into a downtown invigorating plan. If Brown quashes this plan now and gets the City Council to vote for another year of exclusive negotiating rights to Forest City, then the ballpark plan is dead on arrival.

So the Mayor is being very obstructive to the chances of negotiating with the A's.
At least lets put the ball on their court and see if they will run with it or not.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet1 on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 01:07 pm:

What citizens need to do is flood the Mayors office with letters and phone calls stating how ludicrous his gag order is on the city staff and how limited and boring his subsidized Forest City housing proposal is. Popular support on ideas is important to a politician, keep the pressure on him. Nobody is exicited about his boring ass proposal except the people who might make money from it. Also the Chron, Tribune and Montclarion need to print the images. Also yell at the City Council during the open mic forums its hard to yell at the Mayor during City Council meetings because the City charter doesnt require him to attend.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 02:26 pm:

I normally don't do this. But here's an exchange of posts I copied and posted from FanHome BB.

Its priceless.

"Just to be fair and balanced, shouldn't you also post some pictures of people playing Trivial Pursuit in the living rooms of their gated apartments? "

>>I heard they plan to replace the living room >>with a bedroom. It's a gated bedroom community.


Saturday Night at Forest Gate ... I think Jerry Brown is the one on the right

http://members.iinet.net.au/~grover/Ghost.gif

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By milo on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 03:17 pm:

Lil, i see yer point, and i don't like that gag order bullsnatch at all.

If you wanna talk to jerry, just head over to Club One across the street from city hall..he works out there almost every nite (you can get a guest pass no problemo). I shoot hoops with him sometimes, he's got a decent shot. Maybe i'll do some lobbying next time i'm over there.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet1 on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 03:44 pm:

Right now the City Council and A's need to hammer out the existing lease extension. Once that process is completed you might see the A's ownership start to make some type of verbal commitment towards putting some money towards the proposal. Once the A's mention putting up some money I'm certain more of the pols will jump on the bandwagon and start looking for money. Figure it out if the A's say okay will invest 100 million towards this location thats going to be 100 million more than Forest City is willing to put up. A lot of people out side of OAFC membership have been bending the mayors ear on this issue and want to see it become reality. Keep up the good fight. PS dont forget to send these latest pics to all the online ballpark sites.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 03:44 pm:

Milo, I did exchange a series of e-mails with Jerry Brown. He does respond and seems like a person who listens. But I must say from his e-mails that he really doesn't think a ballpark in
Oakland is a good idea and has any chance at all.

Here are some of his answers. I will eventually put together the entire email exchange:

"The implied question is: will a new ball park get the fans out, given the
turn-out history in Oakland, the Giants in a new stadium 20-25 minutes away
and the city challenged by low incomes and few corporate sponsors?

Hey I like baseball as much as the next guy. I am just trying to do my job
and make common sense decisions."


he again answered in a more defensive way and not totally accurate when I protested the gag order which has been documented by quotes from city council members.

""Two points:

The council--with no involvement from me--decided to defer the presentation
on the ballpark. In fact, that session was so overloaded that all the items
could not have been heard adequately in the time scheduled.

The fact of the Giants so close is not something I applaud but merely note
as a factor which distinguishes our situation from Denver which does not
face such competition for fans and sponsors.

Blinding oneself to the facts at hand is precisely what I am worried about."

here's more after another e-mail from me:

"I think you misunderstand my obligation as Mayor. My job is to protect the
financial integrity of the city. In that regard, I must insist that those
who would place a burden of two to three hundred million dollars on this
highly taxed and highly leveraged city do so with complete candor.

To date, I have not been told where the money for the new stadium money
would come from. Yet, widespread excitement has been created for a specific
site in a way similar to the mood which brought the Raiders back to Oakland.
Then the council voted without fully understanding the enormous liability
which it was imposing on the people of this city. This time, all facts will
be laid out for everyone to examine and debate. That is not too much to ask
those who would obligate the citizenry for the next two generations.

A new stadium would be an exciting prospect. But it must meet the test of
fiscal disclosure and honest economic analysis."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bleacherdave on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 04:05 pm:

much more informative than the form e-mail reply i got in response to e-mail i sent to officeofthemayor@oakland.net !

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 04:13 pm:

bleacherdave,

I once also got a form letter from his office when I sent it to the address on the website. perhaps his staff just responds and we can't be sure he even gets to read it.

Try re-sending your very good letter to his direct address and you may get a response such as I did.

Brown, Jerry [jb@jerrybrown.org]

Let us know if you get a response.

lil

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By linusalf on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 06:53 pm:

OMG OMGOMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

mikey likes it!!!

screw brown and his gag order (i already sent some emails)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By wbell on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 09:48 pm:

Good job with the images. Congratulations to everyone involved.

This may be a bit premature, but I am not that familiar with the neighborhood. What is the plan for stadium parking? Are there garages already in the area? Are parking garages part of the construction plan? Is on-street parking available? Thanks in advance.

Warren

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By tekgraf on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 12:20 am:

All I can say is, gorgeous!!! I like the little details like, Old Navy in the Oakland floral depot and the Blues club sharing space with Sears. Man, this is beautifull, can't wait to take BART to the 20th St. station, walk up the escalator, down the street, past the turnstiles, grab a hot dog and beer and then find my seat behind 3rd base. Gosh, I'm giving myself goose bumbs. Whoppee!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 08:03 am:

Warren,
There are plans for a parking garage and HOK mentioned in their presentation the inumerous city parking lots and garages which have spaces available to all the weekend and night games.

And of course, two Bart stations very close which would allow people to park further away from the area which is always a more economical and more convenient idea.

There are also plans for a trolley which would move pedestrians a few blocks up and down that area like they have in Denver.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jeffreyb on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 08:33 am:

Lil, when i read of Brown's gag order in the paper, I never saw anything that said it extended to an order not to talk to the A's. where did you read or hear that?

my understanding of the gag order is not to make public comment. an order not to talk to the A's would be a whole 'nother kettle of fish. it seems to me that Brown's public comments amount to an invitation to the A's to talk to him.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 09:01 am:

No Jeff, the gag order prevented his staff from making a public presentation and to City Council AND to show the master ballpark plan to the A's.

It appears that the Mayor doesn't want any talks about the Uptown area. He keeps wishy washing about the waterfront when he knows damn well there isn't a prayer for the city nor the A's to pay for such an expensive and very problematic site.

However, the gag order is not extended to council members who have been participating in the ballpark drive and are proponents of the downtown master ballpark plan. They can talk and promote and do what they want because the Mayor can't gag them. Like he can't gag us.

Evidently the cat was out of the bag when the press got a hold of the pictures and to the short version simplified version of the plan. The full presentation has not been made public or given to the press.

BUT!!!! Nothing prevents the Oakland A's owners from stepping forward now and request to view and consider the plan. They have been informed that if they don't step forward until July 23rd they may not have the opportunity to view anything.

There will be a request for a 60 day contingency
before the one year ENA kicks in, but the City Council might vote down the contingency, which the Mayor is against and probably will pressure them again.

What worries me is the fact that the A's owners are using the lease extension as a stumbling block to do any kind of ballpark negotiation. Its the old pressure cooker posturing way they do business...even if it explodes in their faces!!!!

Stay tuned for news of upcoming developments on this...both on the lease and on the ballpark drive.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 09:19 am:

Here's another recent e-mail exchange which shows how much he is against the 20th/Telegraph ballpark plan.


Thank you for responding Mayor Brown.

But I never suggested that the city of Oakland should foot the bill
for building the ballpark. There are options for financing this ballpark
which would not involve hurting the taxpayers.

I was hoping that at least you would not stifle the process which had
been initiated with the hiring of HOK and Horrow to explore the
viability of the 20th and Telegraph site.

By not allowing the presentation and the negotiation of that site with
the owners...by not exploring the option of incorporating the housing
project
with the ballpark, you are derailing any possibility of success.

I would hope that since no action was taken by the city when MLB tabled a
sale of
team to local owners who were more than willing to keep the team in
Oakland, you would at least consider giving this new and perhaps last
chance to keep the team a fair chance.

Thank you for your time,

lil


He responded:


"What are those financing options? I have never seen them.

The housing project has been going forward for over two years. Out of the
blue, this consultant is hired and picks out five spots, one of which was
uptown. If I am right that the financing is not there, why would you kill
one more time a chance to develop uptown after 25 years of trying?

The polls show clearly that the voters are not going to vote to approve a
large subsidy. Wrapping the ball park into a larger housing project and
adding fixing up of the Fox merely compounds the financial hurdle. The Fox
needs $50 million. Where would the housing go?

If the ball park vote were to be put on the November 2004 ballot, then we
have all that delay, during which the housing project dies.

The key question is: who will pay how much to build the stadium?

The implied question is: will a new ball park get the fans out, given the
turn-out history in Oakland, the Giants in a new stadium 20-25 minutes away
and the city challenged by low incomes and few corporate sponsors?

Hey I like baseball as much as the next guy. I am just trying to do my job
and make common sense decisions.

Jerry Brown "


***********************************************
Note that I had a portion of that email posted up above.

Our sources have told us that the financial package and proposal is ready and tested and ready to be presented. But they are holding back until the damn lease extension is settled because of the pandora box which will be opened once the financing plan is made public.

One very bright consultant we met with at the ballpark tour told us something that has stuck to my mind. This guy is now a hero and considered a visionaire because he now lives right in town in a penthouse near the ballpark and helped build a shopping mall and a huge parking garage in the center of the business district next to the ballpark in Seattle.

I'm paraphrasing here:

"The political process of the ballpark in Seattle was like watching a bunch of pinguings all standing and posturing at the edge of the iceberg...all getting ready to jump in but not wanting to be the first one to jump...but then one takes the dive and all the others quickly jump in after it..."

So I thought out loud...What we need then is one big fat pinguin with big cojones to take the first jump! Where is this pinguin I have no clue but he must exist!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakland4ever on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 03:01 pm:

The penguin is sadly not Jerry Brown. I thought when he was elected Mayor it was the best thing to happen to Oakland in years! Alas, he appears to have as much vision as Robert E Lee, before he ordered General George Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. What a defeatist he is turning out to be, doesn't he know about our attendance record vs the GiAnts pre-Bigfone? Also, there is NO WAY one can compare this to the Raider mess, because downtown is infrastructure, not the Net surrounded by nothing. I'll try to make the July 9, committee hearing. How much time are we allowed to speak?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 03:14 pm:

I did send Mayor Jerry Brown information re our attendance recors, including the fact that the A's outdrew the Giants 18 to 10 season until 1995.

It is evident that the Mayor is in agreement with Bud Selig and the Magowan camp and thinks this market is a one team market.

I still think that it is better to know our enemies than to live in ignorance of who they are.
Jerry Brown is NOT going to lift a finger to help keep the A's and we just have to deal with that fact. But it also doesn't mean he will get his way and there are other civic leaders who are willing to go the extra mile to keep this team in Oakland.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kbailey3131 on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 04:33 pm:

I'm not sensing that Brown necessarily agrees with Selig and Magowan, what I read him saying is that the projections and samples he's seeing is for one team markets who do not have a team a half an hour away from them.

Politically it is not worth his while to support a ballpark and won't be until Silent Steve and Co. step up to the plate and start acting like they want it and whatever the holdup is with the lease extension gets worked out. We've known where the mayor has stood on this and at least he steps up and says so. Greg Papa mentioned on his last show that in his dealings with Brown, that the local sports franchises are the least of the things on his plate and that he doesn't think Brown gets it. Schott continues to play this coy cat and mouse game. Which will go a long way in coaxing the taxpayers to your corner...not!

I'll be interested to see the numbers and how the financing is addressed too.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 04:56 pm:

Interesting. Schott plays the coy "cat and mouse" game, and yet he seems to have no one to play it with. Mayor Brown isn't playing. It seems that Schott needs to change his tactics -- unless he's intent on letting a new ballpark plan die an early death, in which case, his tactics are just right.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By athleticsfan on Wednesday, July 03, 2002 - 12:52 pm:

Great Pics, Diamond! Have the owners seen these pics? No way are the owners going to get something like this in Fremont or anywhere else.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bleacherdave on Monday, July 08, 2002 - 09:16 pm:

Good stuff, Lil. Thank you for engaging the Mayor so eloquently. That fat penguin may be Perata. If he would come out for a ballpark, everyone else would fall in line.....

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaktownfan on Monday, July 08, 2002 - 10:49 pm:

I emailed mayor Brown about a week ago explaining as a resident of the city of Oakland why a downtown ballpark is a much better option than his condo idea. Haven't received a response yet.

The images of how the new ballpark would look like are amazing. I would love these images to be placed on the front page of Bay Area newspapers, well at least the east bay ones. No way would either San Francisco newspaper whether it's the chronicle or examiner print these great pictures and help the A's in anyway in promoting a new downtown ballpark in Oakland. The A's, fans, and the resident and city officials of Oakland have to build this park together and without fanfare because the Bay Area media will probably be mute on the entire issue. Except for a few sports columnist like Newhouse and Dickey who'll write updates in their columns, the majority of the media especially on the television side are Giants fans and they would love to see the A's plan for a new park fail. They love the idea that they have a new park and the A's still play in one of the few multi-purpose facilities. If the A's get a new park that competes with Pac Bell, they wouldn't have anything to hoot and holler about anymore since they have no championships on their side of the bay.

If this park plan falls through, many city officials will be kicking themselves for their entire political careers. Not only could they lose the A's if a park doesn't get built, they would lose the best plan the city has had in a while in revitalizing downtown. If Perata is the man who can step up in help building the A's a new park, he has to do it now before it's too late. A's ownership also has to get off their ass and agree on a lease deal with the city. If they're serious about wanting to keep the A's here, they need to step up to the table.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Tuesday, July 09, 2002 - 11:53 am:

Has Mayor Brown been to the ballpark? It seems to me he's only made one or two appearences. He should at LEAST connect with the fans, get their imput,etc. Who knows? It may even get him votes in the future...
I think he worries too, because he feels that the organizations dealing with the homeless will bad mouth him even more, if he agrees to the ballpark, you think?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Tuesday, July 09, 2002 - 05:30 pm:

oaktownfan, I guess you missed the series of 3 articles in the Oakland Tribune near the end of June that had pictures of the proposed uptown ballpark. So, many East Bay fans HAVE been able to see the possibilities.

As for Jerry Brown, I think he doesn't see any votes for himself in a new ballpark. He has no concept of what it's like to be a fan (check his suggestion in his e-mail exchange with Lil that "the Giants are only 20 minutes away," as if that makes any difference at all to A's fans). He doesn't even see the A's as an asset to Oakland. He just doesn't get it.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Tuesday, July 09, 2002 - 07:14 pm:

That's pathetic. So much for the Mayor who always claims he has a vision..

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaktownfan on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 - 02:00 am:

Eyeleenn, I didn't see or read that particular Trib edition so if they indeed pictured all 3 pictures in the link above; it should've received a positive reaction from the east bay and in particular Oakland residents. If there was ever an election to approve public money for a new ballpark in Oakland, those and other pictures of what a revitalized downtown could look like would in my mind, help win the election. Oaklanders want to see the city placed back on the map and if they see how the downtown area could look like if a park is built there, they would approve the use of public funds in a second.

Mayor Brown isn't a sports fan period. He couldn't tell apart Tim Brown from Tim Hudson if you gave him the oppurtunity. His mind is already set on what should be built at the uptown site, a bunch of cheap condos.

I watched on television parts of the news conference so maybe they didn't show what I wanted to hear but it worried me that both Schott and Haggerty kept mentioning they were looking forward to build a park in Alameda County or in the east bay. Not once did I heard them say that the city of Oakland or the uptown site was the primary area to build a park for the A's.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 - 07:38 pm:

Remember the new stadium is being built for the owners not the fans. The owners will also determine where it will be built. With their new 120 day lease they can use their leverage all they want. They will pound their chests about their $50 million contribution while demanding the site they want, Fremont, Jack London Square, Ninth Street Terminal or whatever. They are not building it so cost is not really an option. As for building housing downtown, if it was such a good deal Forest City would not need a subsidy.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 - 07:50 pm:

Rono, I really don't understand why you're insisting that the owners will determine where the ballpark will be built.

The only way they can determine where they will build it is if they are ready to fund it privately 100%. And even so they would have to purchase the land from the present owners, be it private or city owned.

>>They are not building it so cost is not really an option

I don't see and don't understand what and where you're coming from with this statement.

As for the subsidy Forest City is requesting, its for building the low income housing and they are
really going way out of the norm in asking for 4 times more than the usual developers charge for such housing.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 - 08:54 pm:

Lil,

If you don't build us a new stadium, we will sell/move.

If you don't build it where we want it ,we will sell/move.

If you don't pay almost all the cost, we will sell or move.

Please don't forget our 129 day committment.

Love,


Kenny,Stevie and Buddy

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 - 08:58 pm:

Frankly, I believe this City Council will let the A's go rather than cave in to unreasonable demands.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 12:08 pm:

Good editorial about the lease extension in Trib.Great article by Brenda Payton on a new ballpark. I think when a columnist writes a positive column on the team, we should thank them.Usually we hear from people who could care less for the A's, or the city of Oakland, for that matter.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bleacherdave on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 12:51 pm:

can you give us link to Payton article?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 01:06 pm:

I didn['t find the Payton article Dorrit mentioned but here's the editorial I found on the Opinion section of the Oakland Trib:

Article Last Updated:
Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 11:40:54 AM MST


Hope flickers for downtown ballpark concept

TUESDAY was an exceptionally good day for Oakland and its marriage to Major League Baseball.
As they say, "that first step is a big one," but also necessary if the Oakland A's and the city are to ever agree to build a new ballpark, especially in downtown Oakland.

A's co-owner Steve Schott, the city and Alameda County cleared a major hurdle when they announced a lease extension agreement for the team to continue playing at Network Associates Coliseum through at least 2007.

The A's will pay the city $2.65 billion over five seasons and $4.75 million if it exercises three one-year extensions to stay at the Coliseum through 2010.

What made the lease extension important was that the A's made it clear they would not participate in efforts to build a new stadium without a lease extension. Now that hurdle has been cleared.

Schott said, "I wouldn't be up here today if I wasn't willing to put up financing for a new stadium." His caveat was that the team won't pay the entire tab.

Equally encouraging was what came out of a meeting across town. It moved us another millimeter closer to the possibility of a new shrine to America's grand old game being located in downtown Oakland, as City Manager Robert Bobb and others prefer.

By a razor-thin 2-1 vote made possible by City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente's presence at the lease-agreement press conference, the city Community and Economic Development Agency committee kept alive, at least temporarily, hope for a ballpark-entertainment district between 18th and 20th streets.

If approved by the City Council July 23, it would allow the city and A's to talk about a new ballpark at the site while City Hall simultaneously works with Forest City Enterprises of Cleveland on an 807-unit housing complex it wants to build at 18th and 20th. Environmental impact reports for each project could go forward simultaneously.

The question is whether the council will approve this dual-track approach. Mayor Jerry Brown prefers the housing project.

He and De La Fuente, a key player in the lease agreement, consider the housing plan realistic and the ballpark a "fantasy."

That's the term Councilmember Nancy Nadel used to describe the downtown ballpark while casting the dissenting vote at Tuesday's meeting. De La Fuente vows, "I'll fight it when it gets to the council."

We wish he wouldn't, much preferring Councilmember Jane Brunner's approach to the still admittedly fuzzy ballpark concept when she said, "It may never happen. It may happen. But why take it off the table?" Why, indeed.

Susan Smartt, a vice president for Forest City, says the firm has not ruled out building both housing and a ballpark in the area. "If the A's want to make us a serious proposal," she said, "we would be happy to listen to them."

That could be the seed for a solution. Schott, who hammered out the lease agreement with De La Fuente and Scott Haggerty, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, should work with the city to prepare such a proposal.

Meanwhile, the City Council should approve the joint or dual-track approach that keeps both Forest City and a new ballpark in play.

Given what the players said and did Tuesday, what have we got to lose?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 01:10 pm:

Here's Brenda Payton's column

Article Last Updated:
Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 11:41:12 AM MST


A's news unlocks field of dreamers

MAYBE IT IS JUST A pipe dream, but I have to admit there is something about the idea of a downtown baseball stadium that won't leave my imagination alone.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a baseball fan and an A's fan in particular, so maybe my judgment is clouded. Maybe you should keep that in mind as you read the rest of this column. Still.

The announcement of a five-year extension of the A's lease was the first encouraging news about the team's future in Oakland we've heard in years. Until this week, if you read a headline about the team's future, it was about overtures to some other town.

So now we can relax and look forward to cheering on our team for another five years. "Let's Go A's" doesn't sound so tentative anymore.

The lease extension also breathes some life back into the idea of the downtown stadium. At the press conference about the lease extension, team co-owner Steve Schott made the first public announcement that the team would invest private funds in a new baseball park.

Of course, it is the question of who would finance construction of the estimated $385 million stadium that has

some council members and city officials opposing it zealously. (Mayor Jerry Brown and City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente are so vehemently opposed to it they issued a gag order preventing city staff from making a presentation about the park.)

After our experiences with the renovations at the Coliseum for the Raiders, I understand their concerns. I oppose public subsidies for sports stadiums, but I don't see the harm in exploring the possibilities of a privately financed park.

Again, city officials who oppose the idea think the city could never get enough private investment behind the stadium. And maybe it's that old Oakland self-doubt that makes the dream of the ballpark appealing in contrast.

The biggest dreamer is City Manager Robert Bobb, not one frequently associated with that word. He has consistently championed the idea, almost since he arrived. I asked him why.

"I think it's the right thing. Oakland's downtown needs something large. The ballpark as part of the overall redevelopment of the area would be that. It would bring 3 million people into the downtown area. In addition, when the games are televised nationally and regionally, you put a positive spotlight on the city," Bobb explained.

The opponents of the park have tried to create an either-or scenario for the proposed uptown location for the park, saying the city must choose between the ballpark and a plan for a housing development by Forest City Enterprises.

Bobb doesn't think it has to be a choice.

"You can have a ballpark and housing. At Pac Bell, there are five or six cranes up now building new housing. I think the ballpark and Forest City's development can be co-existent. I have from day one. It doesn't have to be a choice," he said.

In the artists' drawings of the proposed stadium development, the ballpark sets off a newly renovated Fox Theater. The possibilities are thrilling. An area that has become a black hole in downtown Oakland could be vibrant and thriving.

By contrast, development experts say the housing complex alone will not have anywhere near the impact in revitalizing the surrounding area.

As far as being farfetched, a downtown baseball stadium doesn't compete with the mayor's plans for a casino at the old Army base. A stadium doesn't have to wait for the certification of an Indian tribe to host the casino or deal with the widespread opposition to urban gambling.

In the automatic opposition to the stadium, I hear a deep-seated insecurity, an inability to believe that anyone would invest in Oakland. The opponents have written off the idea before anyone has even asked Oakland's corporate leaders what they might be willing to invest. It's the same attitude that has undercut previous development efforts by the city and allowed a little upstart like Emeryville to sail past us in retail development.

Let the city officials put together a plan for a privately financed stadium, negotiate with the A's owners about their investment and approach other corporate leaders. Who says Oakland can't pull off a spectacular development that will turn around downtown with ripple effects throughout the city? We've got the team now. Let's dream.

Brenda Payton's column appears on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 02:24 pm:

Sorry for not giving this out-Brenda Payton's article is at the bottom of the "Cityside" section, front page, Oak Trib.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 02:26 pm:

Thanks Lil, just saw your message!How do you get an article in the paper, and transfer onto here?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 02:52 pm:

Dorrit, when I can't post the link of the story, I copy and paste.


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