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FCN

Hello again. Sorry I’ve been MIA. March Madness and all. Did I ever mention I’m a big Tar Heels fan?

Let me address the NIMBY issue. I wrote in the blog after the first anti-A’s protest that you couldn’t really call the Weibel folks NIMBY and then I wrote Sunday that they were fueled in part by NIMBY rage. What gives?

Different definitions of the same word.

I wrote for an anti-development paper in Berkeley. The word NIMBY got thrown around all the time, and to me it was used to describe an overreaction by local residents or preservationists to developments that really wouldn’t have impacted their lives. A good example would be people opposing a new five-story affordable housing apartment building on a main drag, three blocks from their single family homes.

That’s very different from a 32,000 seat baseball stadium, which would have meant lots of traffic and other potential problems. So, as I wrote in the blog earlier this year, I didn’t see FCN as being NIMBY because their concerns were obviously valid, although it’s possible that time would have proven that they didn’t have much to fear. This wasn’t a dozen section 8 tenants coming to town; this was up to 32,000 baseball fans, 81 days a year. That’s a big neighborhood changing development.

But there’s another definition for NIMBY – the literal one “Not In My Backyard,” which is how the Argus newspaper defines it. In a purely literal sense, Weibel did have a NIMBY reaction. The ballpark came to their backyard, and they fought it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I wouldn’t want to share a freeway exit with a baseball stadium either. If you called me a NIMBY for that, I’d say most people are NIMBYs.

I don’t see how the Weibel movement that launched FCN can be seen as anything other than a reaction to putting the stadium on the outskirts of their neighborhood. There was no such reaction when the stadium was going to Pacific Commons. If the A’s had proposed building a stadium at the Mission Adobe Nursery site in Niles, we might have something very similar to FCN, but I doubt that Deepak Alur would have started the web site or that Kathy McDonald would be the president.

I went back and forth about using the NIMBY word in the story, because I know some would see it as editorializing, which I wasn’t trying to do. I put it in there because it was the most succinct way of describing what happened. All of a sudden the ballpark location had changed to the outskirts of a very affluent and tech savvy neighborhood, and residents of that neighborhood – along with others – fought it.

Matt Artz