The A’s

I talked briefly with A’s co-owner Keith Wolff and his consultant, former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen before last night’s protest. I was on my way to visit a member of the World Champion United States Foosball Team, so it was short conversation.

They gave me the same pitch they’ve been making in Warm Springs and it goes like this:

  • Cisco field is half the size of the Coliseum and won’t dominate the surrounding area. Team offices will be inside the stadium, so there will be a year round presence there.
  • Home prices near the Ranger’s ballpark in Arlington, Texas rose 80 percent from 1990 to 2006.
  • The ballpark would only be used 22 percent of the days in a year, and the team would be happy to exclude other events there. They’ll also try to reduce the number of weekday day games from 13 to 4 so there are fewer traffic conflicts with Weibel Elementary School
  • The A’s will pay for all game-day expenses including police.
  • The team will patrol every entrance point to the surrounding residential neighborhood before and after games and make sure that fan parks or drives through residential streets.
  • The A’s are nice folks who contributed $650k to local charities last year and whose $1.8 billion project in Fremont, which includes a new school, would generate $10 million a year for the city, although a lot of that would go to the city’s redevelopment fund, and the city would still have to service the residents of the 3,150 new homes near pacific commons. The city’s redevelopment agency would also probably end up building the less profitable affordable housing units required by city law on land donated by the A’s.
  • No real traffic program yet other than a pledge for highway signs. BART estimates that by the time service is extended to San Jose 33 percent of fans will take public transit to the games. That’s hard to believe considering only 18 percent of fans currently take public transit to the games in Oakland, which has less of a car culture than Fremont and the South Bay.

A few thoughts:

  • I don’t think the Weibel residents are being NIMBY. NIMBY is when you oppose a nearby affordable housing project or want a proposed four-story building knocked down to two stories even though it’s on a major street. You can’t expect people to support a baseball stadium when the fans heading to the stadium are going to use the same freeway exits that they take to get to their houses.
  • Right now if the stadium was put on the ballot in Fremont it would probably lose. There still might be a majority of residents who support it, but the anti-stadium people have a lot more energy and passion than the pro-stadium forces. They would have hundreds of volunteers going door-to-door and standing outside of supermarkets. And they would all vote.
  • When I asked Keith Wolff about San Jose, he said the team wasn’t allowed to consider it yet. If the Fremont ballpark dies, last night’s protest would be good ammo to make the case to baseball owners that the A’s gave it a decent shot in Fremont and they should get the territorial rights to San Jose.
  • The reason most of the anti-stadium folks in Warm Springs have it in for the mayor (who unlike at least one council member actually prefers the Pac Commons site) is that they think he duped them. A lot of them probably voted for him thinking there might be a stadium at Pacific Commons and three weeks later they find out it’s probably going to be much closer to their homes.

They should be mad at The Argus. We (by which I mean I) should have found out about this before the election. I knew the big three at Pacific Commons opposed the stadium, but I didn’t grasp that their opposition would probably be an insurmountable hurdle. And, I didn’t pick up on the momentum for the Warm Springs alternative, which gained further traction after election day when Santa Clara voters ended up approving the money for the BART extension.

If the Warm Springs alternative had been made public before the mayoral election, it’s possible that Steve Cho would have gotten off the fence and opposed the A’s plan. If that had happened, he might have picked up enough votes in Warm Springs to win.

If anyone’s pissed at me, take solace in knowing that while 600, 800, 1,000 or 4,000 protestors, depending on the emails I’ve been getting, lined up outside of Weibel, I was getting my ass handed to me by the best foosball player ever to come out of the Tri-City area.

I’m the one who looks like he just ate Lew Wolff’s shoe.

Matt Artz


  1. Jon Simon Says:

    “Surely a stadium with shopping is preferable to more and denser condos and apartments, especially in our housing rich and retail poor city.”

    Jon, do you understand that this project is contingent on the Wolff’s getting to develop 3,200 homes by Pacific Commons? This housing will be about as dense as the Tri-City development in Irvington. By your logic, this is what we DON’T need.

    As for retail, none has yet been proposed by the BART station. This project, and its huge parking lot, will REDUCE the opportunity to do other development near Warm Springs BART.

    bbox and others have it right – there is no sound economic data to back up this being a good idea for Fremont. The evidence and the experts indicate the contrary. Ballparks are simply not economic generators. We need sound economic development, not wild hopes of fame and fortune. This project will take one of the largest locations where we could locate new businesses and re-zone to accommodate more housing.

    As for what to do, I’ve been working with the Fremont Citizens Network. There is a lot of information on their web site (http://www.fremontcitizensnetwork.org) about future activities and ways to get involved.

  2. Wasserman, a vocal supporter of bringing the A’s to Fremont, has said that he preferred the team’s original plan for a ballpark near the Pacific Commons shopping center, west of Interstate 880.

  3. It’s hard to come up with numbers on a project that hasn’t been built. But anyways, perhaps people should look to altering the stadium to their liking instead of fighting it completely. There’s a strong chance it will be built in the face of opposition. Compromising may not lead to exactly what’s wanted, but it could lead to a better project. Then if they don’t compromise, you’ve got a much stronger case against them.

    As for the Pacific Commons project, my understanding is that it would be mixed, with retail and housing. I’d like to see offices in there too.

  4. BART riders who exit at the Warm Springs station in Fremont should be on their way to jobs at the new corporate, green technologies and medical sciences campus, not to an afternoon ball game.

    These individuals would be in the area on a daily basis, eight or more hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Lunchtimes would find them eating in local restaurants or shopping at surrounding stores. Ballgame attendees visit a maximum of 81 days in a baseball season, April-October. They arrive close to game time, eat at stadium concessions and then depart. Average time of stay in the area is approximately four hours and confined primarily to the ballpark.

    Let’s see, good paying, year-round jobs for thousands of people vs. low-paying, seasonal jobs for a couple hundred people. If our mayor, city council and city manager choose the latter we have a serious disconnect.

  5. Aren’t most ballparks built in areas to help develop them? Weibel is one of the best school districts in the Bay Area. Fremont is considered one of the safest cities per capita. This will all change for the worse.

    #54: Hit the nail on the head. In a depression (ie NOW) are you looking to add jobs or fill stadium seats? What do you want to spend money on? This is a horrible time to destroy an awesome communithy and disrupt the surrounding areas.

    Also the BART station stops at Warm Springs. What ABOUT SOUTH BAY RESIDENTS? They still have to drive. Good luck getting anywhere past north of 237 22% of the days you commute. Might as well pack a picnic blanket in your car on your evening ride home. From San Jose all the way to Oakland.

  6. I can’t believe how many of you so called Fremont residents are supporting this crazy stadium proposal! There will be consequences to ALL Fremont residents either now or later if the stadium is built here.

    Oh, and yes I am one of the residents who will have this monstrosity mere blocks from my home if this happens, so excuse me if I am concerned about the impact! I didn’t invest my hard earned money to live in a nice neighborhood with a good school to have it come to this! For those of you outside the proposed WS site, I can’t believe that if it was going to be in your backyard, you wouldn’t complain? If not, I guess you don’t give a rip whether you can sell your house ever if need be, cause guess what – good luck finding a buyer!

    Let me remind all of you that the City Council members are elected to represent the interests of not only the city but also the RESIDENTS! The fact that citizens are concerned about the impact of this stadium and the Council is taking a hard line (to them, its already a done deal and tough if the residents of the city don’t like it) is very disturbing. Sounds more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

    If anyone wants to think that this opposition is going away, think again. I think a lawsuit against the city is in order – bring it on!

    Wake up Fremont before its too late!

  7. No Stadium, re: 237 and surface streets (in case you missed my post on another story)

    Here are the Fremont intersections with the highest volume of traffic in a 24-hour period*

    1. Mission Blvd / Warm Springs Blvd. / I-680 – 75,800 vehicles
    2. Auto Mall Pkwy / Grimmer Blvd. / I-880 – 55,800 vehicles
    3. Auto Mall Pkwy / I-680 / Osgood Rd – 48,500 vehicles

    This is according to the city’s own numbers on the city’s web site http://www.fremont.gov/Community/Traffic/TrafficCounts.htm

    These are the intersections immediately surrounding the proposed site of the Warm Springs A’s stadium.

    Any EIR that is done will need to review the impact on these streets. Without doubt the report would be negative unless major upgrades were done to Automall/Osgood and Mission/Warm Springs. Since Fremont doesn’t have the money to repave our existing streets Mr. Wolff better be ready to come up with some big cash for this total road revamp.

    Developing a neighborhood next to a stadium is a plan. Developing a stadium next to a neighborhood is unconscionable.

    *One other thing, these are 2005 numbers.

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