From Matier and Ross - 7/15 - Monday
OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: From Matier and Ross - 7/15 - Monday
Although we can't expect Matier&Ross to say anything close to encouraging about the A's, nobody can argue with their negativity either.
There's not question right now that if the A's owners don't show an interest in the Uptown site, at least to look more closely at the possibilities
the ENA will go to Forest City on July 23rd.
*A'S-GO-AROUND: Despite the Oakland A's new lease extension, the push for a new downtown ballpark for the team is looking more and more like a "who's on first" comedy routine.
Or maybe a "can anyone even get to first" comedy routine.
Because at this point, no one can seem to agree on anything.
Take, for example, Oakland City Hall.
On the one hand, you have City Manager Robert Bobb pulling for the downtown ballpark, taking boosters on trips to stadiums around the country and even sitting down just this week with consultants in San Francisco to put the finishing touches on a possible financing scheme.
But just a few feet across the hall, Mayor Jerry Brown -- without whose support nothing is going to happen -- appears to be a virtual no-show on the issue.
Privately, Brown doesn't see the ballpark happening, and while he isn't about to stick his neck out to say "no" in public, he also isn't interested in investing any political or financial capital in the project either.
Let alone any public money.
Across town, the A's also appear to be taking a "wait and see" attitude -- leaving everyone waiting to see what the other guys are going to do.
That was evident the other day when, after weeks of public and private wrangling, Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente showed up at the A's press conference to announce the team's new five-year lease extension.
Unbeknownst to De La Fuente (who has had a number of tiffs with the team in the past), while he was smiling for the cameras, fellow Councilman Dick Spees was at that very hour winning a council committee's approval for an amendment to a negotiating agreement with developer Forest City, which is eyeing housing for one possible stadium site downtown. That amendment would leave the door open for a ballpark.
De La Fuente -- who felt Spees was moving behind his back -- was caught off guard, and quickly went public with his opposition.
From what we hear, the ballpark add-on at the downtown site looks unlikely to get support from a majority of the council when it comes up for consideration in two weeks -- unless, that is, the A's step up to the plate and say they want the site studied.
But like we said -- so far, no one is making a move.
At least not one that matters.
| By eyleenn on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 10:50 am:|
I think it's time to bombard the A's front office with e-mails, phone calls, etc. on this issue.
Their silence makes me believe they are thinking Fremont. Otherwise, they are going to lose this game of "chicken" with the city of Oakland.
I sent an e-mail to Steve Schott and got immediately returned. So I sent it to two front office people with request to forward to Steve Schott.
| By jesse on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 11:50 am:|
I have a question.
According to Mattier and Ross, Bobb is just finishing the finance plan for the stadium this week.
Do you think it would be smart for the A's to wait until there is a finance plan presented to them before they show interest in anything?
| By ramjet1 on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 11:51 am:|
There is obvioulsy a game of chicken going on between the A's front office and Mayor Brown etc. Da Mayor wants to see the team take more of a lead on the ballpark matter and at least verbally commit to putting up some money before he begins to give any sort of support. But quietly you have to realize Mayor Brown would love to see the park built but at as little cost to the city as possible to minimize his political risk. This is the same mayor that wanted a privately financed casino at the Oakland Army base and a museum for Native American history designed by the architect Frank Gehry.
Yes, but this is the same mayor that issued a gag order and didn't allow Robert Bobb's presentation to the A's owners to at least attract their interest.
One thing is to play chicken to see if the owners have interest and commit...
another thing is to stop any chance of negotiation by trying to give exclusive rights to his chosen developer ( Forest City ) due to his prior political commitments and interest.
I think Mayor Brown is not taking a back seat here at all. He is taking a front seat and driving the A's out of Oakland.
It is time to bombard the A's front office. Who's got e-mail addresses?
| By ramjet1 on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 03:06 pm:|
Mayor Brown is not so much excluding the ballpark from consideration as giving Forest City complete control over the development. But be aware if the A's agreed to put money towards a ballpark even at a percentage of the cost. That would be more money than Forest City has now and they wouldn't hesitate to come up with a suitable housing plan to include a ballpark. What Forest city is being granted is the exclusive rights to develop the property so that another developer (with deeper pockets and more local experience) like say Catellus could not be considered in negotiation for the site until a year has passed and nothing by Forest city has been approved. Like I said in a previous post it is highly unlikely that Forest city will be able to privately develop housing at that location in this economy. The only thing we are likely to see from them in the next year is more pretty reanderings of housing projects.
| By eyleenn on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 03:15 pm:|
All A's e-mail addresses are like this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
That is, first initial and last name @oaklandathletics.com.
| By kenarneson on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 04:16 pm:|
If Mayor Brown wants a Frank Gehry building, let's get Gehry to design the ballpark! Now that would be something! We'd have the funkiest outfield walls in the history of baseball...
Didn't Forest City already have ENA's on that site for the past 3 years? They sure did time the real estate cycle poorly on that one....
I think they've had the ENA for the last 2 years and this would be the third year.
Accorging to their presentation last week, they already changed a lot of the project and are willing to change it even more. They dropped the gated idea and reduced some of the retail business concept of the place.
The big financial issue I gathered which was pointed out by Jane Brunner was the high percentage of subsidy they were asking for construction of the low income units. Brunner complained they were much higher than any other developer ever charged as subsidy in Oakland.
The impression I got was that they were scrambling for approval for something which was not really put together as a plan. What have they been doing for the last two years?
uh, no. The A's shouldn't be promising a set sum of money to the project until they see what the financing picture looks like. They have yet to buy into the uptown site. Everytime I hear Schott talk (as rare an occasion as that is) he talks in plural about finding appropriate "sites". If he's interested in being part of the process that's going on uptown he should have said so at the get go. Who was going to put a gun to his head and say "oooops, you used up your one and only choice and that site is taken, you lose?" I don't get the A's strategy here at all.
Dang, gates don't play well in Oakland. That would have been an easy attack on Forest City.
| By jerryo1 on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 03:08 pm:|
He "didn't play well in Oakland" either.