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A’s now eye 2014

By Matt Artz
Friday, February 13th, 2009 at 11:01 am in Uncategorized.

When the A’s first announced plans for Cisco Field they wanted to move into the new stadium in 2011. Then it was 2012. Now, according to its second notice of preparation for an environmental impact report, the move-in date is 2014 — the same year BART is expected to open the Warm Springs station.

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  • Anon

    I.E., Lot’s of time for a law suite.

  • Annie

    Could they be saying this now because they don’t want to hear anymore of the previous complaints of people stating that the stadium will be done a whole year or 2 before Bart which would bring more traffic? Could this make passage of the EIR report easier? What do they up their sleeves?

  • Doug

    Annie asks, “Could this make passage of the EIR report easier?”

    Annie there are many things that make this location problematic. High on the list is traffic congestion. The only two intersections that lead to the site are already heavily impacted because they are both I-880/I-680 traffic corridors. And, they are No. 1 and 3 intersections in the city for the highest traffic counts. The second busiest, Grimmer/Automall, is also directly associated with the route to the site. The surface streets within a two-mile area will need major upgrades not to mention the possible need for a new stadium off ramp from I-680. Who is going to pay for that?

  • Old Timer Tom

    I echo Annie’s comments on passage of the EIR report.

    HE WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE. Even though the City of Fremont will select the company to do the EIR, with the City Council so openly supportive of the A’s stadium, I doubt the EIR will be fair and balance.

    The Oakland A’s will pay for the EIR study since the A’s stadium is supposed to have zero cost to Fremont.

  • Annie

    Doug,
    I agree 100%. Traffic is a mess and will only get worse. I was pointing out that the A’s can now say that they have a Bart station to be completed at the same time as the completion of the stadium making it better for the EIR report. But, I guess it doesn’t matter anyway because Old Timer says they’re all connected. Unbelievable how this all works.

  • http://noasws.blogspot.com NoAsWS

    2014 is still 5 years away. So the city doesn’t need to rush to approve their proposal.

    Also, the extension to San Jose won’t be completed at least until 2018-2020 time frame, and could very likely be delayed again. Assuming half of the fans will come from South Bay, it should have much less BART ridership than the Oakland Coliseum?

    To BART officials, a Warm Springs stadium won’t increase BART ridership. It will even have less ridership than Oakland Coliseum BART.

  • irvington

    Two things come immediately to mind:

    The longer they wait, the better the chance that the stimulus will kick in and the economy will improve.

    There is a possibility that this gives us a chance to get anti-stadium candidates on the Council for the seats which are up in 2010 – Harrison and Natarajian. Chan, Wieckowski and Wasserman’s terms don’t expire until 2012.

  • Anon

    What ever happened to the Irvington BART station?

  • Doug

    Anon, the way I understand it, the Irvington BART Station is a gleam in the eye of city leaders. The city has to find the $100 million it will cost to build, BART won’t fund it. The city is attempting to raise the cap on the Redevelopment Agency funds. Since a majority of the money they would take in from a Wolff & Co. ballpark will go into the Redevelopment Agency coffers, not the city’s General Fund, they could fund the Irvington station.

    Anybody care to elaborate on this or correct my take on it?

  • Gus Morrison

    Doug is essentially right about redevelopment funds. The Redevelopment Agency (City Council wearing a different hat) collects the new taxes generated in the redevelopment areas (tax increment) and uses it to make the areas less blighted (blight is defined as property not being utilized to its highest and best use), with 20% of the increment required to be spent on housig for low and moderate income people by state law.

    There are four areas in Fremont in Redevelopment areas – downtown Irvington, Centerville, and Niles and the industrial area on the bay side of I880. At one time, there were four separate areas, but they were merged into one primarily to take advantage of the huge tax incement from the industrial area.

    There is a maximum amount which the city can take during the life of the redevelopment plan. This is an amount negotiated with the county, primarily, but other agencies which receive property tax must agree. We will reach that maximum in a few years, maybe by 2012 (I could be off a bit.)

    It has been the plan for a long time to extend that cap to use the funds for the Irvington BART station and for other improvements in the redevelopment areas, mostly dealing with transportation improvements. We tried to deal with raising the cap sometime around 2002-2003, but the uncertainty of the state budget about the time of the recall made the county ask to delay it until things were more clear. It doesn’t look like the state budget is more clear now than it was then, though.

    Raising the cap is a good thing because it provides a good source of funding for things we need badly, without forcing bond or other tax elections. The key is that the public needs to pay attention to what is in the Redevelopment Plan. There is an old saying “The price of democracy is eternal vigilance.” We all need to pay attention to everything, not just stadiums and planning commissioners.

  • irvington

    Gus -

    Aye, and there’s the rub.

    How many people have the time in their lives, much less the inclination, to devote the small sliver of time that is not already committed to work, home maintenance, school, kids, parents, commuting, reading blogs, etc. to researching the minutae of the Redevelopment Plan or the backgrounds of Planning Commission candidates?

    Activities like that fall into that big grab-bag of stuff that you know that you should be paying attention to but you just don’t have the time and, Oh Boy, is it boring (unless you’re a total local government wonk).

    By the way – I’ve heard over and over that Redevelopment Funds cannot be used to pay for public safety (police and fire). Can you tell me if this is true?

  • Gus Morrison

    Irvington – True. RDA tax increment can only be used for things that make the redevelopment districts better. They cannot be used for everyday operations of the city, like police and fire (which use 65% of the general fund.

  • irvington

    Thanks a bunch – I knew you’d know.

    So if all of the stadium taxes go into the Redevelopment Fund, we’ll get the Center Theater renovated? Maybe a new senior center? Hey, we still don’t have a real City Hall, do we? I’m assuming that we still own the lot where the old Nob Hill was.

  • Doug

    Irvington, talk about a rub. You make mention of the Center Theater, new Senior Center, etc. Read on.

    City A: (city pop. 57,000, co. pop. 417,000) has
    - Performing arts center (2,100 seats)
    - Events center (15,000 seats)
    - Business exposition hall
    - Art museum
    - Zoo
    - Downtown ballpark (5,000 seats)
    - Symphony orchestra
    - Ballet theater
    - Thriving downtown with 60 restaurants, art galleries, hotels and park with three free music performances each week April thru Sept. and a free trolley that runs shuttles downtown visitors around the downtown area.

    City B: (pop. 210,000, co. pop. 1,417,000) has
    - Symphony orchestra

    Can you guess which one is Fremont, California and which is Greenville, South Carolina?

    Greenville got smart. They attracted Michelin Tires, BMW, and many other corporations to their city. The corporations created jobs, year round jobs. Jobs are the life blood of a community.

  • Doug

    Irvington, an addendum to my previous post. Check out this web site and notice the “Target Markets” listed on the right column. This is what the city of Fremont should be focused on rather than a ballpark.

    http://www.millenniumcampus.com/index2.html

  • http://newballpark.blogspot.com Marine Layer

    That’s a terribly misleading comparison, Doug.

    Greenville is the commercial, social and cultural heart of an entire region with little around it. Fremont still struggles with being a bedroom community. Greenville was founded over 150 years ago and has a rich history to show for it. Fremont, barely 50.

    Are Fremont citizens really complaining that there aren’t enough high tech jobs in the city? You know how many other cities would kill for the company portfolio Fremont has within its city limits?

    As for attracting some kind of research campus, the region already has one of those planned. It’s the new NASA/Ames campus with Google, UCSC, and CMU.

    If Fremont wants to have something like this, they ought to wait until the fate of NUMMI is determined. Then it can go through the expected brownfield conversion process so that it’ll attract new green businesses. Tesla Motors recently backed out of a San Jose manufacturing plant in search of that type of opportunity.

  • Doug

    Marine Layer, yes, we are the small fish in the big pond. But, we need to actively compete for full-time employment opportunities, not the part-time jobs a ballpark creates.

    Greenville began reviving their city center in 1970, which had been abandoned. They had the vision that has created a vibrant, family-oriented community.

    Fremont continues to be pulled in five directions with each business district competing for city dollars and redevelopment. Our city, even after 50 years, does not have a center. It has five competing centers.

  • http://newballpark.blogspot.com Marine Layer

    I agree with that, Doug. Fremont has this sort of multiple personality disorder that can’t really be fixed. It’s not an entirely bad thing as the districts have their own character. It’s just that it’s deep in the city’s culture. I don’t think it can be developed away, and as you said, there are many that have no interest in doing so.

    I went to UCSC. The campus was designed partly in response to the civil unrest happening at Berkeley and UCLA. Instead of a campus center and commons, students organized into numerous “colleges” that were more a social construct than an academic one. Over 40 years later, there’s still no campus center, just as Fremont has no identifiable city center. If it’s in the genes, it’s in the genes.

  • Gus Morrison

    So much to comment on – where to start?

    “So if all of the stadium taxes go into the Redevelopment Fund, we’ll get the Center Theater renovated? Maybe a new senior center? Hey, we still don’t have a real City Hall, do we? I’m assuming that we still own the lot where the old Nob Hill was.”

    Center Theater is a possibility because it is in the RD area. City Hall on the old Nob Hill site is a no because it isn’t in a RD area and RD money cannot be spent on it.

    As to the discussion between Doug and Marine Layer – Fremont was always intended to be an amalgam of the small towns with a vibrant downtown. The plan was to retain the distinctive character of the five towns and build a new central business district, equidistant between 880 (then 17) and the new state route 238 which would come down from Hayward along the hills and what became the BART right of way until it tied to 680 at Blacow Road. 238 got cancelled in the early 70′s because they couldn’t get through Union City without displacing large numbers of low income people and they couldn’t find replacement housing.

    No 238 essentially killed the original concept of the downtown and then Newpark came along and drove a stake into it. We now have a plan for a “lifestyle center” as a downtown, but the inability to subsidize the plan to help it develop. It needs parking to make it work, most likely structured parking, and that cost drives away developers.

    But Fremont isn’t alone. There are lots of new cities in the west and southwest which are classes as “boomburbs”, cities which have experienced double digit growth each census since they reached the category of “city.” Many of them are around Phoenix, Peoria, Gilbert, and others, and in Southern Calfornia, like Santa Ana. Most of them lack downtowns, just as we do, and they are built along freeways and have many exits (as we do.) They all experience similar problems of growth and trying to finish off their cities.

    And, in California, we have real problems trying to get business to relocate here because of high costs of living for employees, high costs for employers and high costs for lands. Experts say the best way to grow your business base is to have local people start bsinesses and help them grow and prosper. We’re never going to have a tire manufacturer locate in Fremont and we are lucky to have NUMMI for as long as they can stay. California cannot give breaks to companies to locate here as they did in the south to encourage manufacturers to locate there.

    That’s why Silicon Valley businesses are so important to us. They started here and will grow here.

  • Doug

    Sound input Marine Layer and Gus. I agree with your perspective.

    I often jokingly say Fremont is the only city I can think of has five “Old Towns”.

    Maybe we should rebrand our city and put a superscript 5 after the city’s name….Fremont5 and use the slogan, “The Five Faces of Fremont.”

    Gus, it appears that genetic testing is growing in the area.

    Marine Layer, Tesla got their $495 million from the government so that plant may be back on again. I hope so.

  • irvington

    Nobody’s as anti-growth as I am, but at this point it’s like holding back the tide, so we might as well hold out for the best possible, best managed, most beneficial growth that we can figure out how to get.

    That’s NOT the stadium project.

    I do believe that the Tesla project has promise however, and we’d probably be lucky to get it. So my question is, why aren’t our Council and City management trying to romance companies like Tesla?

    FYI – link to 2/11/09 Merc article re: Tesla

    http://www.mercurynews.com/personalfinance/ci_11681303

    The headline: “Tesla Motors said its long-awaited $450 million loan from the federal government could come as soon as this summer, a crucial factor in its plans to build an electric-car factory in California.

    . . . the Tesla factory now will likely end up in an existing building that can be retrofitted for electric-auto production. The company has said it’s looking at locations in both Northern and Southern California.”

  • Look Ahead

    As an Intel Corp. Exec. looking to invest Six-Billion dollars in high tech state of the Art Next Gen. chip fabrication plants which will be located in the U.S., Fremont was high on the list. However, after repeated attempts to open discussions with Mayor Wasserman, and no response on his part, we gave up and are moving efforts to Arizona, Oregon, and New Mexico. I guess Mayor Wasserman’s dream of tossing out the opening day pitch at an A’s game is more important to him.

  • Anon

    The post above by an Intel exec’s failed effort to locate in Fremont says it all!

  • Annie

    There you go. Wasserman has always said right from the start that he wants to put “Fremont on the Map” with his baseball stadium. His priorities are all messed up. Thanks Look Ahead for proving once again that our city is being run by a bunch of incompetent people!

  • Doug

    Folks, I support the opposition to the proposed ballpark, but how do we take what Look Ahead says as a fact? Especially when a pseudonym is used to post under. That’s just as believing the info the A’s put out.

  • Anon

    Good point Doug,

    Look Ahead, can you give us a contact at Intel to verify?

  • Californiaguy

    How long are Fremont Voters going to put up with small Town Politics, If there is a grain of truth to what “Look Ahead Says: February 16th, 2009 at 7:43 pm post says about Intel getting ignored by out petty politicians, it is time for a change.
    The Fremont Mayor and City Council Members should stop being whores to the Oakland A’s and start taking care of Fremont City business

  • Fremont Lifer

    Cal (and all) -

    Unfortunately, only one thing will get the attention of our City Council.

    Calls and e-mails are a good start, but they can be ignored or passed on to staffers. The Council members don’t read our blogs. But when we actually physically start to show up at their meetings, even if you don’t get up to speak, they can’t ignore you anymore.

    I know it’s cold out, and the kids have things you need to take them to, and you have work left over from the office, but just how pissed off are you?

    If you’re really tired of this BS (and it sounds like you are), get up, get your coat on, and go to their meetings. I wish there was an easier way, but taking the easy way is what got us stuck with these dopes in the first place.

    See you there?

  • http://www.fremontcitizensnetwork.org D Alur

    I agree with “Fremont Lifer”.
    See you there! This week and next week!

  • Paul

    I understand that we will get their attention by protesting. Although, based on response we received in Weibel and WS protests I don’t think it is enough to change their opinions or force them to vote against the stadium. Specially, when they have already made up their mind even before EIR and irrespective of which site is preferred.

    We do need a concrete action if we want to stop stadium being built in Fremont. In my opinion, we should start a formal recall process or a petition for a public vote.

  • worble

    RECALL W-ASS-ERMAN!!!!
    NO TO THE BALLPARK IN FREMONT!!!