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Why the mayor wants or wanted the A’s

By Matt Artz
Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 12:39 pm in A's, Uncategorized.

My sense covering Fremont for 18 months was that the passion of the A’s was just an outgrowth of the passion of the sales tax dollars, which, given the way California  cities are funded, has understandably been priority numero uno.

It seemed the A’s represented a chance to turn the tables. After years seeing Fremont residents spending their money in NewPark Mall and buying lots of cars at the auto dealerships down the road, the ballpark village, in the eyes of its supporters, would bring thousands of people from the East and South Bay to spend their money in Fremont. A dream come true for city folks who have been dealing with tight budgets for decades. (I know there are also costs that go with hosting a major league team; maybe it would have been a bust?)

But when I asked the mayor last week why he supported the A’s, he said it was more than dollars and cents.

“It establishes you as a city. As an important city,” he said. “It makes your city a city that’s known nationwide. It makes your city one that a lot of people desire.”

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  • Fremont Lifer

    Do you see the basic differnce in vision here?

    Our Mayor wants us to be an “important city”.

    A large segment of our electorate already feels that Fremont is “important”, by virtue of the fact that we have chosen to live here, purchase property here, operate businesses here, educate our children here, even die here.

    Now, if we could just get ourselves a Mayor who actually behaved as if the city and it’s residents were already important to him, a Mayor who did not refer to those who disagreed with him as a “mob”, maybe we’d have a shot at getting the appropriate policing, well-maintained streets, and functional schools that we deserve.

    The ballpark will not provide us with any of these advantages. It will be a drain on our economy and reduce our quiet, suburban town to the blighted landscape that you see flanking the Coliseum in Oakland.

    Keep talking, Bob. The Emperor has no clothes.

  • Fremont Resident 200001

    Wow. I guess that means I should want to move to Arlington because they have a baseball stadium. NOT

    Anyhow, according to the City Budget Quiz from 2004, only 1% of every dollar spent in Fremont is returned in the form of sales taxes revenues to the city. http://www.ci.fremont.ca.us/CurrentNews/news040304budgetquiz.htm

    The A’s rosy economic report from 2007 predicts $31M is stadium food/merchandise sales. That translates into $310k in sales tax dollars for the city. That covers what it costs for one police officer given their salary, overtime, equipment etc.

    If Fremont also received sales tax revenues for ticket sales (not sure about that since the report did not cover that), those ticket sale figures are about $42M, so another $420k in sales tax revenues. Less than $750k in sales tax revenues. That is not a lot of money, with an unknown amount representing substitution funds (ie sales $$ that people would have spent in Fremont anyway, but at other retailers if not for the stadium).

    So a stadium by itself is not a money making project for the City. And FCN has posted all about how stadiums do not bring in new positive economic benefits to the localities where they reside.

    What are the actual economic benefits the Mayor has been touting the stadium would bring?

  • papa bear

    Matt,

    Thank for asking that question to the mayor..

    I wish he was in Washington DC last week instead, when all the city mayors met the President.

    I am sure our city name would have gotten more recognition, in a positive way…

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

    Ha, finally, the Mayerr admits he has no real vision but a fantasy. If only getting a ballpark would make a city important, there would be a lot of towns ready to welcome them.

    This clearly shows that the Mayor is not thinking about Fremont, but is thinking of his own legacy. Surprise surprise!

  • Ten Story Stadium

    Wasserman said
    “It establishes you as a city. As an important city,” he said. “It makes your city a city that’s known nationwide. It makes your city one that a lot of people desire.”

    Wow, Just Like Oakland is an “Important City”.

    Commuters driving along 680 after a game lets out will think “what a great important City Fremont is with this gridlock I am stuck in”

    What’s to “desire” about gridlock, traffic accidents, noise,crime, declining property values, increased taxes, etc. Wasserman is out to lunch. Wasserman and his Wassermanville fantasy must go.

  • Doug

    New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta are recognized for soooooo much more than just having a ball club.

    And yes, that is vague, but I think you’re all capable of filling in the details without my help.

  • Fremont Lifer

    It just occurred to me to wonder, Matt, now come I didn’t see anything in the Argus to promote the anti-stadium protests before they occurred, but you had an article in Friday’s Argus letting everybody know about the pro-stadium “rally” that is planned for the Saddlerack the following Wednesday?

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/localnews/ci_11752861

    Our protests were only covered after the fact. One might be tempted to think that you’re working for the dark side, Matt.

    If you did cover the protests in advance, apologies in advance, and if you could send me the URL’s for the articles, please?

  • Fremont Lifer

    “At this time we have decided to no longer pursue the Fremont project,” an A’s spokeman told MLB.com.

    The Oakland A’s plan to relocate the francise ballpark to Fremont, a plan to which local opposition had been growing increasingly fierce, has now officially been cancelled and read it’s last rites.

    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/sports/baseball/As-Officially-Break-It-Off-With-Fremont.html

  • Fremont Resident 200001

    Fremont Lifer –

    That is not accurate news. They took the quote from sfgate.com, and Lew Wolff later said that if it did not come from him, then it was not necessarily true.

    sfgate.com with the quote: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/20/MNAK161PL7.DTL

    SJMN with Lew Wolff quote: http://www.marinij.com/sports/ci_11757852

  • bbox231

    The authors byline was a real chuckle -

    “Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is still holding his breath for them to build a Nordstrom’s in Bayview-Hunter’s Point.”

  • Fremont Lifer

    Fremont Resident – Thanks for the info. You can’t always believe everything you believe in the papers.

    Bbox – I thought that byline was great too – “because when you think Nordstroms, you think Hunter’s Point”

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

    FCN Press Release just out:
    Anti-Stadium Rally Gears up for Tuesday Evening
    http://fremontcitizensnetwork.org/pr-022309-01

    Picked up by Oakland A’s Examiner here:
    A’s stadium foes to rally Tuesday by Scott Sabatini:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-2887-Oakland-As-Examiner~y2009m2d23-As-stadium-foes-to-rally-Tuesday

  • Doug

    “Investigative reporting” in the age of the Internet and blogs – you read somebody else’s report and then post it on your own site. The rumor mill on steroids.

  • Perry Masonary

    “It establishes you as a city. As an important city,” he said. “It makes your city a city that’s known nationwide. It makes your city one that a lot of people desire.”

    Poor Bob, fated to be the Mayor of No-wheres-ville. That’s all he ever really wanted; to be important, to be desired, to be . . . loved? (sniffle)

    All his time I was hoping that we were already important to the Mayor. Why don’t you love us, Daddy?

  • Gus Morrison

    Post #2 – There is no sales tax charged on admission fees and it is illegal for a General Law city (us) to levy an admission tax, ergo the Charter City initiative floated and sunk last year. Also, to be really correct, while the city gets a 1% share of the sales tax, the county charges the city 5% of that for processing the distribution of the money. As a result, a city actually nets 0.95% of sales.

  • FremontResdiet200001

    Gus,

    Thank you for clarifying that only the concessions and merchandise is taxed.

    And I just looked at the 2008/09 Fremont Budget, and there they say they only get 0.75% of every taxable dollar spent because of this so-called “triple flip” (see page 62 of 2008/09 Adopted Budget). It is unclear if this is net of the County’s take, but regardless, that means the city’s take is at best $232.5k for concessions and merchandise!

  • http://www.alanstirlingforfremont.org Alan Stirling

    Mayor Wasserman who is a grown man and has been a polititian for a long time proudly violated the Open Meetings Act even after the city clerk hands every candidate before every election a handbook that clearly explains that is illegal, dont do it!
    Then to make it worse, he allows our city Attourney to hire outside council to try and justify the transgression and loses in all three court levels right up to the California State Supreme Court.
    It doesnt stop there. our City attorney Mr. Harvey Levine did not stop the violation of the Open Meetings Act by all 4 councilman and the Mayor Wasserman, he blessed the act. In fairness to the three councilpersons who were too ignorant to know the difference and followed their mentor blindly, the 4 th councilman Mr. Bob Weikowski, is an attorney and also recieved the handbook from the City Clerk. He proudly joined in the violation when he should have protected his colleges from their own ignorance. But he did not. This behavior is pathetic. Add to that the public demonstration of arrogance particulary by Mayor Wasserman toward the residents at council meetings and the reference to residents as a mob and clearly this is time to resign or be recalled. Enough is enough. Our city has been humiliated, and due to the bizarre policys of the Mayor, portrayed to the rest of California and the nation as buffoons. This is an open message to Mayor Wasserman and our childish council: “If you cant do better than this, please resign before you do more damage” “If you have this much disrespect for the residents that pay all the bills and live here in Fremont, move to a geographical area that you respect and stop shameing Fremont.”
    This is not about your personalitys it is about your behavior and performance as city officers.

  • Matt Zinger

    Well-said Alan Stirling. I wish a lot of Fremonters had known and voted you in the recent election. You should have been a wonderful choice for the Fremont community. Better late than-ever. Please run in 2010 and we will make sure to get rid of Bill Harrison and Anu Natarajan

  • Perry Masonary

    You’re right, Matt. We could have had Alan, Gus and Vinnie on our Council right now instead of the arrogant, condescending dopes that we’re stuck with.

    Learn about the candidates before you vote, people. Local elections matter.

  • La Boca

    Can somebody please bring a video camera to the Council meeting tonight?

  • Kyle from Pleasanton

    I live in Pleasanton and commute to Santa Clara where I work. I heard this past weekend in both the paper and TV news regarding the A’s proposed 32,000 seat Stadium near Warm Springs off of 680 (between the intersections of Mission/680 and Durham/680). If your ignorant Mayor Wasserman and developer’s pack Back Pocket Council Members approve the Warm Springs stadium it will ruin commutes along 680. A stadium near the Sunol Grade is not just a Fremont Issue but a Regional Issue. I moved out of Oakland due to the horrible commute that occurred along 880 before and after each ball game. Fremont’s Mayor and Council are selling out the community. Its time to force them out of office.
    Ps I will show up to your protest in Fremont tonight.

  • Perry Masonary

    KGO radio just reported that the A’s have formally withdrawn their request.

  • FremontResdiet200001

    http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20090224&content_id=3874732&vkey=pr_oak&fext=.jsp&c_id=oak

    “After much consideration, today we informed Mayor Wasserman and City Council members that the Oakland Athletics will cease efforts to relocate our franchise to the City of Fremont.

    “I expressed my regrets and gratitude, especially to those people who shared our vision and spent endless hours in support of our proposal. However, it became increasingly clear that our ballpark project faced significant delays ahead and I could not, in good conscience, continue to lead our team down this path.

    “My focus now is on baseball with Spring Training and the opening of the 2009 season. I am extremely excited about the team’s prospects this year.

    “My goal and desire for the organization is to determine a way to keep the team in Northern California. This goal has not changed.”

  • worble

    Na na na hey hey hey goodbye. NOW RECALL W-ASS-ERMAN!!!

  • tbone

    Wolff offically bails out of Fremont. 2/24/09

    What did I learn from this fiasco. I learned our City is run by a bunch of Bozo’s that live in the back pocket of every developer. Its time to take back our City for its residents. Mayor Wasserman, the City Council Members, and Planning Commissioners need to go.
    Recall elections, public pressure, or any means necessary is needed to oust those in the City that do not support or represent the community.

  • La Boca

    I agree Tbone: “time to take bake our City…” 7:00 pm tonight at Fremont City Council Chambers!

  • Andy

    I think some people oppose the stadium for *real* reasons. And there are *some* who will oppose everything Bob might put forward because of their *agenda*. I think thats regretful. Its easy to oppose but hard to propose something useful for the city? Anybody here has an idea on how to bring more money into Fremont ? :D

    Maybe stadium is wrong. But now what? downtown elsewhere? where? There are already many empty building with “for lease” signs. Who did the stupid PC project?

    If someone builds more commercial crap, its doomed. I think with all the in-fighting with incompetents incumbent and crazy leftist loonies has screwed fremont.

  • Fremont Lifer

    Andy, do believe that I feel your pain.

    With all of the taxes that we’ve paid to the City over the years, I guess it’s too much to expect that they would have hired and trained qualified people to seek out and cultivate businesses that will lift the City up, rather than drain it’s resources.

    And ol’ Bob isn’t the worst guy in the world. Sure, he calls people who hold opinions that are different from his bad names, but he’s just a “straight shooter” kind of guy. A Fremont McCain.

    Truly, it’s those damn lefties. If not for them, everything would be great. The streets would be paved, the schools would be well-funded, all of the commercial space would be occupied and paying taxes, the angels would sing, and all would be right in this town.

  • dknight01

    Lets hope the A’s are able to build their brand new home and ballpark in San Jose, since they are a city that is not afraid to do what it takes to stimulate true growth.

    The A’s and their loyal fans deserve more than what Fremont and their weak residents and leaders can give them.

    A true shame…

  • dknight01

    # Andy Says:
    February 24th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I think some people oppose the stadium for *real* reasons. And there are *some* who will oppose everything Bob might put forward because of their *agenda*. I think thats regretful. Its easy to oppose but hard to propose something useful for the city? Anybody here has an idea on how to bring more money into Fremont ? :D

    Maybe stadium is wrong. But now what? downtown elsewhere? where? There are already many empty building with “for lease” signs. Who did the stupid PC project?

    If someone builds more commercial crap, its doomed. I think with all the in-fighting with incompetents incumbent and crazy leftist loonies has screwed fremont.

    ^^^^Build an IMAX movie theater in AutoMall….

  • dknight01

    Hey all you short sighted Fremont residents who opposed the PC ballpark.

    Concentrate are trying to keep your city from becoming the next ghetto of the East Bay and try and improve your schools if you can!

    Niles and the Irvington area turning into the next ghetto!

  • dknight01

    There is so much useless commercial crap in Fremont it is freakin RIDICULOUS!