A’s lat­est ball­park pitch fails to score at City Hall

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA -

The Oak­land A’s plan for a new “walk­a­ble” down­town ball­park ad­ja­cent to Laney Col­lege may be a hit with the pub­lic — but it was not met with hugs or high-fives in City Hall.

“Traf­fic is go­ing to be a night­mare,” said long­time sports booster and Coun­cil­man Larry

Reid, whose East Oak­land district in­cludes the team’s cur­rent home at the Coli­seum.

Oak­land Mayor Libby Schaaf wasn’t turn­ing cart­wheels ei­ther, hav­ing pre­ferred that the ball­park go to Howard Ter­mi­nal at the Port of Oak­land.

But “I re­spect that they are pri­vately fi­nanc­ing their ball­park — and this is the site that they feel is most fi­nance-able,” Schaaf said.

Coun­cil­man Abel Guil­lén, whose district in­cludes the A’s cho­sen site, was re­served as well, say­ing that his first step will be to work with the city at­tor­ney to put the brakes on real es­tate spec­u­la­tion “that we are al­ready see­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion of this de­ci­sion.”

“It’s very im­por­tant that we see no net loss in af­ford­able hous­ing,” Guil­lén said Fri­day.

City Hall is also wait­ing to see whether the A’s ball­park plan in­cludes nearby Vic­tory Court at Em­bar­cadero and Oak Street, site of the city’s fire train­ing fa­cil­ity. Word is the team is eye­ing it for pos­si­ble park­ing.

And while the A’s sta­dium is the news­maker, it is just one of sev­eral devel­op­ments, in­clud­ing the huge Brook­lyn Basin project on the other side of In­ter­state 880 — 3,100 units of hous­ing are be­ing built there — that will im­pact the area.

Team pres­i­dent Dave Kaval says he’s ready for the task of mak­ing it work, and al­ready is in ne­go­ti­a­tions to win sup­port from the unions rep­re­sent­ing the Coli­seum’s work­force — in­clud­ing the Team­sters, Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees Union and the ho­tel and restau­rant work­ers.

Kaval is also meet­ing with neigh­bor­hood groups.

Plus, un­like the Raiders — who al­ways car­ried a tick­ing clock — the A’s are play­ing the long game, say­ing it could take a year or more be­fore a fi­nal agree­ment is reached with the Per­alta Com­mu­nity Col­lege District, which owns the prop­erty and has its head­quar­ters there.

The A’s slow-pitch ap­proach could help both Schaaf and Guil­lén as well, be­cause they both face re-elec­tion next year.

The A’s also have a strong fol­low­ing city­wide. Ac­cord­ing to a poll of 800 Oak­land vot­ers com­mis­sioned by the team, 72 per­cent sup­port a ball­park near down­town. And though no spe­cific lo­ca­tion was given, the FM3 poll found 74 per­cent sup­port among those liv­ing within a three-quar­ter-mile ra­dius of the pro­posed ball­park site.

And those are good num­bers by any score.

For whom the bridge tolls:

Bay Area vot­ers will be asked next year to raise tolls by as much as $3 on all bay bridges, ex­cept for the Golden Gate, un­der a mea­sure the Leg­is­la­ture just ap­proved.

And more in­creases could fol­low, with no cap, based on a cost of liv­ing in­dex.

Re­gional Mea­sure 3 was put to­gether by Bay Area law­mak­ers with the goal of help­ing to fi­nance 30 trans­porta­tion projects through­out the re­gion. It was ap­proved by both the state Senate and Assem­bly af­ter weeks of be­hindthe-scenes wran­gling over who would get what.

The mea­sure will go be­fore vot­ers in the nine Bay Area coun­ties ei­ther in June or Novem­ber next year, and will need a sim­ple ma­jor­ity to pass.

“Our res­i­dents al­ready spend an av­er­age of 82 hours stuck in traf­fic, and our tran­sit sys­tems are strug­gling to keep over­crowded buses and trains mov­ing,” said Assem­bly­man

David Chiu, D-San Fran­cisco. The projects in­clude ev­ery­thing from im­proved bridge ap­proaches and in­creased ferry ser­vice across the bay to bring­ing BART to San Jose and Santa Clara. The wish list even in­cludes money to start build­ing an un­der­ground tun­nel for Cal­train to come di­rectly into down­town San Fran­cisco.

One of the big­gest re­cip­i­ents will be BART, which is on track for just over $1 bil­lion.

Get­ting the pack­age through the Leg­is­la­ture, how­ever, took a lot of back-room deal­ing, in­clud­ing an ex­tra $200 mil­lion apiece for Alameda and Con­tra Costa coun­ties, where most of the peo­ple who would pay the higher tolls live.

State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, would vote for the deal only if it in­cluded the cre­ation of an in­spec­tor gen­eral to mon­i­tor BART spend­ing.

Even with the sweet­en­ers, there was op­po­si­tion from Con­tra Costa County, with Assem­bly mem­bers Jim Fra­zier, D-Brent­wood, Tim Grayson, D-Con­cord, and

Catharine Baker, R-San Ra­mon, all vot­ing no.

Fra­zier, who chairs the Assem­bly Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee, said that though there is a need for trans­porta­tion im­prove­ments, “adding an­other tax on com­muters is not the an­swer.” He likened an $8 toll to “high­way rob­bery.”

Once in place, Baker said, the tolls could keep go­ing up with­out ad­di­tional voter ap­proval.

“And that takes away all ac­count­abil­ity on how these dol­lars are spent,” she said.

The mea­sure’s au­thor, state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, praised the out­come, say­ing the mea­sure will give the Bay Area “the bold plan it needs for the fu­ture” and that with the “ex­pan­sion of tech firms, such as Google and Ap­ple” traf­fic will only get worse.

Which may ex­plain why tech com­pa­nies are big sup­port­ers of the mea­sure.

San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle colum­nists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross ap­pear Sun­days, Mon­days and Wed­nes­days. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morn­ing and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS ra­dio Mon­day through Fri­day at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or email matieran­dross@sfchron­i­cle.com. Twit­ter: @matieran­dross

MATIER & ROSS

Noah Berger / Spe­cial to The Chron­i­cle

The A’s have cho­sen a lo­ca­tion near the Per­alta Com­mu­nity Col­lege District of­fices to con­struct a new ball­park. The pub­lic backs the down­town site, but of­fi­cials have con­cerns.

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