A’s call timeout

fremont athleticsThe Oakland A’s  are canceling their scheduled Feb. 24 presentation before the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the City Council and putting a halt to an environmental study needed to move forward with a Fremont ballpark.

A’s co-owner Lew Wolff just told me he wants to take a week to think over his options, and he didn’t want to have MLB President Bob Dupuy fly in from New York for the meetings, as he was scheduled to do, and face a room full of stadium opponents.

“We didn’t want to run into a lot of people screaming and yelling at the president of Major League Baseball,” he said.

This is a clear sign that the A’s are reconsidering moving to Fremont after opponents to the new ballpark site, across the freeway from a wealthy residential neighborhood, staged two major anti-stadium rallies this month and threatened to hold up any stadium deal with lawsuits.

More to follow today and much more in tomorrow’s paper. Here are a few other things Wolff said:

What happens now?
Wolff: We’re looking at the whole process and taking to major league baseball … What we’re doing is trying to figure the best direction to go for ourselves and the community … I really want to have a little more time to think about our situation and discuss it with more people. There’s not much more I can say than that.

So does this mean the chances of the team moving to Fremont are diminished?
Wolff: I’m not a bookie, so I don’t quote odds.

Does this mean you’re looking for rights to San Jose?
Wolff: We can’t go anywhere. We’re contemplating our next move in Fremont.

Does this mean you’ve made progress at Pacific Commons (with the retailers)
Wolff: Nothing’s changed.

With this delay, what is the status of the Notice of Preparation (Key environmental impact study for stadium)?
Wolff: I guess it’s on hold.

Matt Artz



  2. Not a lot of progress, but baby steps, people, baby steps. It’s that constant drip-drip-drip that wears away the stone, and we’ve got some world-class drips in this town. Wait, that didn’t come out right.

    What shocking behavior to have residents show up at a public meeting and embarass the President of Major League Baseball!

    Imagine people taking an interest in the future of the town where they live.

    Imagine people wanting to actually have a say in what happens in their town. Questioning the wisdom of their betters on the City Council and the Planning Commission.

    What is this world coming to?

  3. Clearly the A’s are unwilling to engage the community, and are only interested in conducting deals behind closed doors where they can exert questionable practices and sales tactics without accountability.

  4. Since Pacific Commons is mentioned, I thought I’d offer their contact info (from their website http://iotacreation.com/presentation/pc/) in case anyone wants to contact them and let them know that we support them in their continued opposition to the stadium proposal:

    Corporate Management
    PC Retail Properties LLC
    43951 Boscell Road
    Fremont, CA 94538
    phone 510-824-0688
    fax 510-668-0367
    e-mail info@pacificcommons.com

    Retail Leasing
    office 408-383-9889
    fax 408-383-9887
    e-mail johnl@gdcommercial.com

    Mike Pan
    direct 408-205-8954
    office 408-955-9900
    fax 408-955-9905
    e-mail mikep@gdcommercial.com

    Every little bit helps, people. Do what you can.

  5. I actually onced liked the idea of a Pac Commons A’s stadium. …..BUT put the stadium next to my neighborhood and 800 yards from my kids Elementary school and Lew Wolff, Keith Wolff, Wasserman, Sue Chan, Nina Moore, the Dutra Gang, and the other council members supporting a stadium next to our community become my number one enemy.
    The above people do not respect the community and therefore do not deserve our respect. They have broken the trust. Its payback time.

  6. Tbone,
    I too was like you until I took a deeper look at this with other members of FCN (see http://www.fremontcitizensnetwork.org). The stadium is bad for Fremont no matter where they want to put it. All of these elected officials live in posh location in their houses far away from any of these proposed sites. Their commute to their work and home is not going to be affected in any sense. Besides, do they really work? The rest of us will be sitting in our cars on the parking lot called 880 or 680 trying to go to work or getting back home. More appalling is the fact that they want to provide so many different perks to the Stadium owners, that normal house owners and business owners do not get the same kind of treatment. Saying that they will build the stadium with private funding is a hypothesis that our City cannot afford to test. There has not been any stadium built without some form of public assistance in the whole country. The public assistance will be disguised in different forms including tax increments, land rezoning, loss of revenue from property tax, and so on.

    So please think about it, it is not a Warm Springs issue, it is a Fremont wide issue that will affect every citizen and tax payer in our city.

  7. Understand folks, in baseball vernacular, this is the seventh-inning stretch. The game isn’t over and won’t be until Mr. Wolff announces he has signed an agreement to build a downtown stadium in San Jose or that he’s moving the team to Las Vegas (which given that city’s economic woes doesn’t make sense).

    Mr. Wolff came to Fremont thinking he couldn’t lose. Fremont would be salivating at the chance to be home of the A’s. It was over before it was over, even if Yogi Berra said otherwise. He’d have the city eating out of his hand at this opportunity. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to have the A’s play in their city? Anyone with real estate holdings definitely bought in. They stand to make money and who can argue with that?

    But, the devil is in the details. The numbers don’t justify selling our city’s soul to possibly have its name mentioned by baseball sports writers.

    It’s time to put our focus on attracting talent, other than athletic talent, so the buck really does stop here.

    Get ready, the eighth inning is about to start.

  8. Tbone and Dalur “get it” –

    good job for doing your homework !

    Professional sports stadiums are routinely projected to provide little or no economic benefit to their surrounding community. If you haven’t yet accepted THIS point – keep reading and researching. The hard data by unbiased third parties makes this position pretty irrefutable.

    Once you do “get it” – it makes absolutely no difference WHERE, it just doesn’t belong – A stadium is a neat “big splash” in the headlines which might benefit a few restaraunts and other small businesses – but which, in the long run, likely costs the larger community.

    I’m still wondering what and how the community can prevent this. At one point, I remember asking Matt and Gus what it takes to prevent and I dont think I got a response. I do not believe that a few hundred vocal residents will ultimately prevent many millions of dollars from changing hands. It’s going to require something much more costly than a little bad P.R. to stop this train from rolling on down the track.

  9. Bbox,

    I thought I responded, but there are so many threads that it is hard to follow each of them.

    To kill this once and for all would require an initiative petition prohibiting sports stadiums in any zoning in the city. The language would have to be written carefully, but it would be fairly simple. Once it was drafted, citizens would have 6 months to collect the signatures of 10% of the registered voters and it would be placed on the next regularly scheduled municipal election (November 2010.) If the public votes to approve it, the only way it can be changed is by another vote of the people. Signatures of 15% would force the council to call a special election rather than waiting for the next regular election. This initiative process is the same one we used to preserve our hills forever.

    If, however, council approves a stadium at some point (assuming no initiative), citizens could launch a referendum petition effort asking the voters if they agreed with the council decision. The signature process is the same, but they must be gathered in 30 days from the adoption of the ordinance by the council. With 10% the ordinance is stayed until voters act at the next regular municipal election. If the voters turn down the council action, no similar action may be initiated for a year. This is not permanent like the initiative, but it usually kills the project because applicants don’t want the same thing to happen again.

    There isn’t anything else that comes close to being permanent. What one council does can always be undone by the same or another council. Only the inititative process is permanent, or as close to it as possible.

  10. Gus –

    As I read through your response . . . . I think you *did* indeed reply elsewhere. .. . my apology.

    That said – one aspect of this BLOG I have found true. It takes some repeating of the same point over and over again until some of us get it.

    Thanks again!

  11. Great – the only Mayor we currently have that actually answers questions, and we didn’t re-elect him.

    Think before you vote, people – local elections matter.

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