123 thoughts on “
Open Thread

  1. dto510

    Press release from City Council Pres Jane Bunner:

    Oakland City Council Confirms Dan Lindheim as New City Administrator

    OAKLAND, CA –The Oakland City Council unanimously confirmed the appointment of Dan Lindheim as City Administrator today subject to the understanding that the new City Administrator will have all of the power and duties granted to him under Article V of the City Charter, specifically:

    Per section 504 (a): To execute and enforce all laws and ordinances and policies of the Council and to administer the affairs of the City.

    Per section 503: Powers of Appointment and Removal. The City Administrator shall be responsible to the Council for the proper and efficient administration of all affairs of the City under his jurisdiction, and shall, subject to the provisions of Article IX of this Charter and except as otherwise provided in this Charter, have the power to appoint, assign, reassign, discipline and remove all directors or heads of departments and all employees under his jurisdiction. He may delegate to directors or other department heads responsible to him/her the authority to appoint, discipline and remove subordinate employees…

    Additionally, the Council supported adding an assistant position within the City Administrator’s office to support Mr. Lindheim in his position.

    Further, the desire of the City Council is that all employment contracts offered to directors and heads of departments be authorized and approved by the City Council prior to execution.

    Larry Reid was absent from today’s committee meeting due to illness.

  2. Max Allstadt

    Is that a request to confirm department heads or a legally binding demand? I appreciate the sentiment, but what a mess!

    Charter reform anyone?

    The City Charter specifies that all personnel matters before the council must be held in closed session. The confirmation of a City Administrator is regarded as a personnel matter.

    So what happened today? The Council just spent two hours in closed session discussing the confirmation of the most powerful non-elected position in city government. There was no other item on the agenda. And the Councilmembers are not allowed to discuss what was said in this meeting because the Charter forbids them.

    I’m sure this two hours was a lively and well considered discussion. But because our City Charter is flawed, for all we know, the reason this took two hours was because they decided to hire him based the decree of whichever Councilmember was victorious in a round-robin beer pong tournament.

    Didn’t we just go through months of seeing good government reforms on the agenda? Weren’t we cleaning up this town? Well guess what guys, you missed a spot.

    The charter should mandate public confirmation interviews for any employee or commissioner who must be confirmed by a council vote. Why the hell doesn’t this rule already exist? As long as the council is voting for reform, they need to fix this problem by putting it on a Charter Reform ballot measure at the next election.

  3. VivekB

    There was a round-robin beer pong tournament? Damn, I didn’t get my invite. I totally rock at beer pong.

    I suppose I could post a serious response, but Max already took care of that, and laughing about it is the only way I can make it through these days. I don’t think you could create a more screwed up government structure if you tried.

  4. Patrick

    How do we go about placing a Charter Reform ballot measure? If this is what we can expect from our Council, I’d just as soon get rid of them altogether, and go with a Mayor/City Manager form of government. It would cost less and it certainly couldn’t be any worse.

  5. Patrick

    COMPLETELY OFF ANY TOPIC ALERT!

    I am generally not much of a moviegoer (I have a pretty nice set up at home). HOWEVER, I really want to see Coraline in the theater. Any suggestions for best theaters in the East Bay (I’d like to stay in Oakland if I can)? Audio/Video quality is most important – I’m big on comfy seats as well.

  6. jarichmond

    I’ve also been wanting to see Coraline in the theater, but I think I actually want to see the 3D version, and it looks like the closest option for that is the AMC in Emeryville. I know the Regal at Jack London is showing the movie, but I don’t think it’s in 3D. If I remember correctly, that’s your only option this weekend for seeing it in Oakland.

  7. Max Allstadt

    FYI,

    Downtown is quiet apart from four rubbernecking news choppers. A quick bike ride past city hall, and I saw hundreds of police, and a few dozen peacefully departing protesters.

    Get out and enjoy the evening! Art Murmur, music performances all over the place!

  8. Navigator

    Those helicopters are there to take shots of the Art Murmur and of the people going to the concerts at the Paramount and the Fox.

  9. Tony

    I was at Art Murmur when a chopper shined its spotlight right over us. Nice to be the center of attention.

  10. MarleenLee

    For those of you who might be interested in my lawsuit against the City on Measure Y….Assuming the judge sticks with his tentative ruling on the money refund issue, the City has already said they will recommend to the council that the matter be appealed. Of course a lot of money is at stake (not to mention political embarrassment) so this is not surprising. But to those of you who are concerned that I am biting off my nose to spite my face, I need to say my hope is to ultimately reach some sort of settlement with the City where the City’s concerns about having to make dramatic cuts to pay the debt to Measure Y could be addressed, as well as my concerns about the City’s failure to comply with the measure in the past, present and future. If City officials are at all open to this I would welcome this.

  11. Ralph

    I am going to fall in the camp of you are biting off your nose to spite your face. It seems to me that you are effectively saying I want the greenest individuals to solve problems in the most troubled spots. The fundamental problem I have with most citizen actions and ballot box budgeting initiatives is people forget that we operate in the real world. If we continue to micro manage how government operates we will have a government that accomplishes nothing. In many industries , it is not uncommon to throw people into the fire. Most industries don’t involve individuals dealing with life and death situations on a daily basis.

    We discourage throwing new teachers into the fire and should be doing the same for public safety officers. Allow them the time to gain the experience and training needed to be successful. Do not ask them to perform some herculean task without training all this does is set the stage for early burnout.

  12. Patrick

    I disagree. The citizens approved a self-imposed tax increase to fund a very specific augmentation to the Oakland Police Department. Had the measure contained a clause at the end that stated “the City Council can use the funds derived from this measure in any way they see fit, and no accountability is necessary” that would be something else altogether.

    In addition, Measure Y was for Problem Solving officers, who work with the community members to solve neighborhood issues, not “public safety” officers. Making new recruits go out on patrol while the veterans are retrained for problem solving positions is not only a waste of money (and is not what Y intended), but it also puts the new hires in the position of doing the herculean task of general patrol (with fewer veterans to support them). It seems to me that getting to know neighborhoods is the first thing a newly hired officer should do.

  13. Ralph

    i see the fundamental problem, OPD is still in the 19th century. in the big city from which i hail, we actually have investigators who have similar responsibilities. still i would argue if you have investigators within the regular ranks then you should use them as such. if one thinks that you are going to get a class of all investigators one is simply delusional.

  14. Patrick

    They are NOT investigators, they are problem solvers! As in “we have a problem with drug dealing on the corner, can you help us?” Not “there are 7 unsolved murders in this neighborhood since last Tuesday, can you investigate?”

  15. Ralph

    patrick, i will say the following and get out… so what the problem solving officer is suppose to roll up on Mr Drug Dealer and say “yo, could you move to another neighborhood. you are bothering these good people.” it seems to me that a better more effective solution would to remove him from the streets permanent. And tell me how do you intend to do this without doing some investigation.

    From Measure OO, to ballot box budgeting to this lawsuit, I think most Californians think they are doing good but are actually making it harder for our elected officials to do their job. We are never going to agree so I am going to exit stage left now.

  16. len raphael

    M, thank you for filing the lawsuit. Regardless of what one believes is the most effective way to staff the Measure Y mandates, Dellums, Russo, and the entire council violated the contract with the voters who approved Measure Y. Maybe the Measure has to redrafted, maybe not.

    Oakland will have to raise taxes in addition to massive cuts. There wb very well organized opposition to new taxes if Mayor and council continue to play shell games like they did on Y.

    Ralph, my ill informed understanding is that OPD tried to make PSO’s do everything but nothing well, thus ending up with messes like the illegal search warrant mass firing. Any more info or corrections on what PSO’s actually do and how many investigators OPD has active wb useful.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  17. MarleenLee

    Just to clarify, my lawsuit involved multiple abuses of Measure Y, including the City’s failure to staff the PSO positions as promised, assigning PSOs to respond to 911 calls outside their beats, forcing PSOs to double up because a lack of vehicles, and using MY funds for illegal purposes (i.e. funding training and recruitment of brand new officers, who were never placed into Measure Y positions). The City only now wants to get around the ruling by saying it can place rookie cops into PSO positions. This is a terrible idea. Oakland has a 12 year old policy of only allowing veteran officers to apply for PSO positions, and this is logical, given the types of tasks PSOs are supposed to be performing. You should be able to find the actual job description on the internet, but they are not rookies and they are not investigators. They are supposed to work on specific issues affecting crime in their neighborhoods, like blighted properties, drug havens, prostitution, crime waves, meeting with community groups etc. I’m not saying they are that effective at it, but that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.

  18. Ralph

    Marleen, thanks for the clarification of your suit. So it is not all nose cutting and face spiting. What I have seen posted re Measure Y, there should be 1 officer who acts as a liaison and 6 who do real work. The Measure does make reference to performing investigations so I am at a loss to understand why people think PSOs won’t do investigation. The way it has been explained is officers in patrol cars respond to incidents while the PSO types deal with deep-rooted neighborhood issues such as removing ‘hood prostitutes and drug dealers who aren’t actually committing crime at the time but are running game. How can you possibly do any of this w/o doing any investigation.

  19. Steve Carney

    City Council pay cuts — I’ve heard that the CC voted to give themselves the ability to volunteer for a 5% pay cut, but have not actually taken that pay cut. Does anyone know if that’s true?

  20. V Smoothe Post author

    The City Council all agreed to the 5% pay cut, but it was voluntary for other elected officials, and my understanding was that the City Attorney, City Auditor, and the Mayor were not interested in taking the cut. Although the Council approved the 5% pay cut for themselves, as of mid-December, the staff had not implemented the reduction.

  21. Joanna/ShopGirl

    Oh happy day! I just read Chip Johnson’s column and read the wonderful news that Francine Lakrith-Thompson has been fired! This is the best news that I have been waiting six plus years to see. She has never cared about parking in this City and in finding ways to work with residents and merchants. She only cared about the power she held over “her people”. I quit the parking task force because it was a waste of time as long as she was allowed to stay in her position.

    Along with Lakrith-Thompson – Bill Noland, Ace Tago, and Marcia Meyers were also let go.

    Wow, finally, a move that Dellums makes that actually impresses me. A few years late, but better late than never, right?

  22. Ralph

    I think it grossly irresponsible for city councilmembers and other elected officials not to take the 5% pay cut. I am sure some will argue that they are not earning that much and the 5% will represent a hardship, but the family who know has 100% unemployment rate is not going to be moved by that argument.

    I have worked for a couple of employers who implemented mandatory temporary salary cuts of senior officers before trickling it down to other employees. Government officials always look for the oppty to knock private industry but here is a case where government needs to take its lead from private industry because right now public employers are all wrong.

  23. Max Allstadt

    I think we should mandate a 100%+ pay HIKE at the next council election, along with a requirement that they have no outside earned income during their term. If it paid $140k in the middle of a recession perhaps we’d have a sudden surge of competition in the races.

  24. len raphael

    MA, i follow your logic re getting the full time unentangled attention of councilmember by raising salary and requiring no outside occupation (which is different from making it a f/t position). Don’t think it would improve the quality of the the candidates who have the bucks avail to run a successful campaign. it’s actually a pretty cush deal the way it is now, where council members have (except maybe desley) staffs to do the heavy lifting, and put in say 10 hours a week (maybe?), in return get 40k, excellent health benefits, and a pension.

    -len

  25. Navigator

    Changing the subject for a minute. Now that Tesla Motors has secured the 450 million dollar loan from the government and can’t find a suitable site in San Jose, has there been any feedback from Tesla regarding the City of Oakland’s latest overture?

    Also, anything from American Apparel on a possible location in Oakland. The former Baby Gap store on Lake Shore has been vacant for quite some time.l

  26. len raphael

    it’s a good thing that the city is broke, otherwise dlf and the rest of the council (well, maybe not rk and pk ) wb throwing money at the raiders and 49ners to build a sports complex. but where there’s a will to waste money, there’s always a way. maybe some of that stimulous money?

  27. oaklandhappenings

    Here’s some interesting news from the Trib, regarding the A’s putting Fremont plans “on hold”.
    http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_11726342
    I don’t know if readers here love the A’s, hate ‘em (or at least Lew Wolff), or–as I do–boycott their games, ever since Wolff’s “never-in-Oakland” vow. However, perhaps someone could convince Oakland officials that keeping the A’s in Oakland long term (beyond 2013) is not impossible. Maybe there will be new ownership by the time plan-b San Jose says no to Wolff for the x’th time, which is the only thing that gives Oakland a glimmer of hope to keep the team…despite all other financial issues.

  28. MarleenLee

    I just finished reading Robert Gammon’s article in the East Bay Express regarding my Measure Y lawsuit, and I am livid. The guy never bothered to talk to me, and he has no idea who I am or why I filed the lawsuit in the first place. My lawsuit raised numerous issues and was factually and legally complicated. I realize this makes it difficult to get people interested, and for the media to cover, but I am feeling very misunderstood. To try to remedy the situation I spent some time over the weekend creating my own blog, which you can find at http://defendingmeasurey.blogspot.com.

  29. Navigator

    Oaklandhappenings,

    I too have boycotted the A’s since Wolff decided that he was going to abandon Oakland. Wolff never gave Oakland a shot at retaining the A’s. Wolff has been a disaster for the Oakland A’s. Attendance has plummeted since he announced that he was leaving Oakland. Attendance has gone from 2.2 million fans when Wolff took ownership to 1.5 million fans last year. He’s destroying one of the proudest and most successful franchises in MLB with his policies. Turning his back on Oakland was no. 1 in my book. Putting a tarp on the third deck was another huge mistake.

    Wolff played games with the City of Oakland by implying that he was interested in building the ballpark in Oakland. Wolff made a a farce of a presentation relating to turning the acreage between 66th Ave. and High Street into a baseball village with housing, shopping, and even its own BART station. He also nixed a plan for the Coliseum parking lot. Now that the Fremont deal appears to be falling apart Wolff better repair the bridges he burned in Oakland or attendance will continue to fall.

  30. Max Allstadt

    Marleen,

    Don’t feel bad about poor journalism at the East Bay Express. It looks like Gammon didn’t call anybody involved in that story. The only direct quotes are taken from public record.

    Gammon is such a recluse that you will find no personal information about him what-so-ever online. Not even a photo. I don’t think anyone that matters in Oakland has been face to face with him in a long long time.

    It’s amazing and depressing… An article by Gammon seemingly written with no direct contact with the people involved. Add to that the fact that the East Bay Express’ Chris Thompson lives in New York and writes his articles and blog posts by regurgitating other outlets stories (and stories on blogs.)

    What the hell kind of operation are they trying to run? How is it that I have more direct contact with city hall than a couple of professional journalists? I’m a carpenter for fucks sake. Crazy.

  31. oaklandhappenings

    Navigator, regarding the A’s, good reminders. Now that the Raiders time at the Coliseum may be limited (2010) depending what papa Al wants to do, here’s what I think:
    if the Raiders leave, whether it be sharing a stadium with the 49ers in the south Bay, back to LA (yeah right) or down in the desert somewhere, that will give the A’s–hoping that there is a new owner–an opportunity to go back to the coliseum parking lot plan. If I recall, that was opposed by the Raiders, because the loss of parking revenue, or something like that. The A’s could fit a 30,000+ capacity stadium on either side of the current one, after which the old stadium is obviously demolished and replaced with retail development, a hotel, or whatever is suitable. It would be a very long term plan, but not impossible if Wolff becomes too frustrated and sells the team. At his age, it could happen sometime soon.
    So, Oakland leaders who have screwed this team too many times already: wake up…this could be the last chance, albeit a hairline-thin one.
    Oh, and also Nav, you may have desire to chime in on this article in the chron of a different topic:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/18/BA0R160BEI.DTL

  32. Navigator

    Oaklandhappenings, I did my chiming.

    As far as a solution to the A’s ballpark issue, the only way I see any of the pro franchises in the Bay Area playing in new venues in the near future, is if they work together. The Raiders seem willing to think about sharing a new stadium on the existing Coliseum site with the Forty Niners. The Raiders were talking about building a huge new entertainment, shopping and housing development, on the existing Coliseum parking lot site along with the adjacent acreage near the old Malibu Grand Prix site. The A’s and Warriors could join in as investors. If the auxiliary parking lots just west of 880 were used, there would be enough room for a ballpark for the A’s in this huge development.

    Having said that, I’ve always felt that the best place for a ballpark for the Oakland A’s would be on the former Broadway Ford site at 27th & Broadway. A ballpark in this area would be a linchpin linking Oakland’s dense downtown and Lake Merritt neighborhoods to the new proposed upper Broadway retail center. Can you imagine the foot traffic from 34,000 fans walking to the ballpark from the 19th Street BART station, along with fans walking from Adams Point, Lake Shore, Gold Coast, Uptown, and Piedmont Avenue neighborhoods? We could run that trolley from the AMTRAK station near Oak to 9th through Chinatown, Old Oakland passed the Fox and Paramount all the way to the ballpark and through the new retail center on upper Broadway.

  33. oaklandhappenings

    Nav, I haven’t thought about the trolley idea, but it’s possible. I suppose that 27th is close enough to 19th St BART (what, a little under half a mile?) that it could work out, although a BART station closer, as 19th St. station is to The Uptown housing project (the turned-down site by Jerry Brown) could help avoid constant shuttle service. You mentioned the Gold Coast neighborhood, where I live. Maybe I will googlemap that former Ford site to see how big (or small?) it is. Along with the fans walking north and west to our “fantasy” stadium, what about the ones walking south and east? Those neighborhoods are dense of residencies also. Too bad no one else had this kind of vision.
    I read and responded to your SFgate feedback, btw.

  34. oaklandhappenings

    Rebecca K., it is good to see the city council do their part unselfishly (the pay cuts) to help solve Oakland’s budget woes. Every little bit can help. Thank you for being the first city council member in–what seems like Oakland history–to be so open to citizens’ inquiries. That to me, is what being a city council person is all about.

  35. Max Allstadt

    Nav,

    There is absolutely no way you could shoehorn a ballpark in at 27th and Broadway. You’d have to buy up an insane amount of property, and deal with the neighbors on the hills on the east side of Broadway, who’d fight it tooth and nail.

    Plus, you’d have to provide great hods of parking because that shuttle service your talking about won’t cover everybody. I think the problem ultimately boils down to the fact that the neighborhood you suggest has a ribbon of developable space. What you need is a big fat square.

  36. V Smoothe

    Where are people getting this idea that anyone wants to build a ballpark in Oakland? True, Fremont plans are officially on hold. But as far as I can tell, San Jose is the next step.They’ve got a site ready with an already certified EIR, the remaining question is simply how the territorial rights issue will be resolved. But I think it will be resolved eventually. I would be very surprised if the A’s ended up anywhere other than San Jose.

  37. das88

    The New Ballpark blog had a post on the Broadway and 27th site
    http://newballpark.blogspot.com/2005/10/exit-car-dealerships-enter-ballpark.html

    It could fit, but I think all the politics would keep it out.

    I do not know if San Jose is such the likely choice. I think that view relies on Lew Wolff staying in the picture. I do not know if that is such a certainty — he must be getting pretty frustrated at some point.

    For people other than Wolff, I think the parking lot of the current complex might be preferable to San Jose.

  38. V Smoothe Post author

    Actually, I think that post really hammers home Max’s point about how there really is no room for a ballpark there. Look at how much space it takes up! The neighbors would throw a freaking fit, the preservationists would never let you tear down the beautiful historic structures over there, and I think the owners of Mua might have some objections to being replaced with a baseball stadium.

  39. Kevin Cook

    But the A’s could just give ponies to all the neighbors and then everything would be ok. And people would come from miles around to go to A’s games and then go right to the Fox for show and then go eat at a fabulous new restaurant and everything in Oakland will be world class and all this will happen as soon Phil Tagami puts his mind to it and the city gets better press from the chron. the end.

  40. Joanna/ShopGirl

    Street cleaning, GPS on City Vehicles, and Trash in Oakland.

    I feel the need to vent about this and since my Council rep is NN, I’m not even going to bother… (sorry to bother you all instead!)

    I live in the Jack London District. We have street cleaning – in theory, anyway – every other night. Or every night, but switching from one side of the street to the other each night. In some ways it’s good that you have to move your car every night, but it can also be a complete PITA. (especially if you’re sick or have to go out of town)

    The hours of street cleaning are 3am-6am. And of course you’ll get a ticket if you park on the wrong side of the street ($52 when I last received one) whether or not they actually clean the street. Fair enough. Luckily we now have indoor parking for both cars. (not that either of them get driven very often because I walk to work and Simon takes BART or the ferry)

    So here’s my confusion. Two times this week I’ve seen the street cleaner out at 11am, and worst of all, running with no water, so it’s just dust kicking up dust – not like we have enough black grime in the air with the freeway, the Port, and the train! So what’s the point? And why during the day when the streets are full of cars and double parked trucks (mixed use area), so the curbs where most of the debris ends up aren’t even getting touched. I just had to get that off my chest. It bugged me when I saw it happen earlier this week – and realized that I hadn’t heard the street cleaning at night anytime recently. Now, just seeing it happen again, annoyed me.

    GPS’s on City cars and trucks also seems a waste. I can’t provide details, but I had a customer in here for an hour the other day doing personal business, and at 4:28pm she says, “I get off at 4:30, so I’ve got to go.” I then see her drive off in a city truck. I have no idea what her job is, but that explained why she had to drive around the block every five minutes or so while she was in my store for the hour. She came back the next day, but it was a quick visit. I need the business, but I don’t need my tax dollars wasted. To tattle tail or not? I’m compromising by telling vague details.

    Another incident that has been bugging me is the guy that goes around putting up the signs saying that you will be fined if you put trash on the ground. I spend the first ten minutes every single day cleaning up dog poop and other trash in front of my store. BUT, I do occasionally put cardboard out by the trash can for the recylcer to pick up between 9am and 10am. The trash guy comes around and keeps threatening to fine me ($1000!) for putting the cardboard out. I don’t put it out on windy or rainy days and I know it will be picked up within the hour. I feel like it’s a waste of City money to pay this guy to go around threatening people and having him put up what I consider to be tacky signs. They seem trashy. And if it was such a big deal, why can’t he pick up the trash and throw it into the back of his pick-up? And sometimes it’s not even me that puts it there, but I get the blame regardless because it’s in front of my store. I almost wish he would give me a ticket because I’d sue the City, not that I think that’s really the right way to go either. And what about the produce area that constantly looks disgusting? I so miss the days of Al DelMasso when he would send out a crew to clean.

    Vent over.

  41. Doug Boxer

    The Giants will never give up territorial rights to San Jose. Never. In a perfect world, to the Giants, the A’s would pack up and leave the Bay Area, leaving them w/ a baseball monopoly. So no way, no how will the Giants sell or otherwise waive rights to San Jose (Santa Clara County).

  42. V Smoothe Post author

    If it were up to them, of course not. But they don’t get a say. The decision about territorial rights isn’t up to the Giants, it’s up to the Commissioner.

    We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I’d be willing to put quite a bit of money on the A’s ending up at Diridon.

  43. Doug Boxer

    V, who do you think Selig works for?

    Selig isn’t going to grant rights to one MLB team, when another franchise vehemently opposes it, even if one of the owners of the first team is Selig’s college fraternity brother. Thus, granting the A’s the San Jose rights would be a suicide mission for Selig.

  44. V Smoothe Post author

    We’ll see. I stand by my prediction. I don’t think that decision would be nearly as harmful to Selig as you seem to think it would be. Most owners, I’m sure, would not side with the Giants. Why would they? There’s no threat of the same thing happening to them.

  45. Doug Boxer

    If it’s going to be so easy, then why would Wolff have even tried Fremont in the first place — he’s already spent a ton of $$ and wasted three years. Let’s agree to disagree about the A’s in San Jose.

  46. Joanna/ShopGirl

    I retract the street cleaning complaint.

    It turns out that the parking garage contractors were sending the street cleaner around to mitigate for another mess they are making. Unfortunately, the street sweeper needs water to actually clean the streets. After 20 or so trips around the block(s), they have finally stopped and the dust is starting to settle (literally, as well as figuratively). Next, they’ll hopefully address their lighting issues… but that’s another story. ;)

  47. OaklandSpaceAcademy

    The ballpark would ABSOLUTELY fit the 27th and Broadway site. It would be 6 blocks from BART, no parking lots needed.

    Anyone interested in ballparks and cities (especially cities) would do well to read _City Baseball Magic_ by Chicago-based architect Philip Bess. In it he shows how even the best of the newer urban ballparks (think Baltimore’s Camden Yards) are vastly over-scaled both because of an insistence on having no seats with interrupted sight lines (setting upper decks back) and by incorporating additional program (restaurants, shops, etc.) within the envelope of the building rather than the surrounding neighborhood blocks, where they would do more good for the city, if not the team owner. Both of these result in ballparks significantly larger than they need to be – Wrigley Field takes up 8 acres, while Coors field uses 13 acres and is 25′ taller.

    The problem is Lew Wolff doesn’t want to build a ballpark, he wants to build a real estate development.

    Max, V, and das88 are probably right about the politics though, which is too bad, because it really is an excellent site for a ballpark. And if the city were to help Mua find another space nearby, they’d be loving it – 81 days a year with another 10-20K people nearby on foot, that’s a restauranteurs wet dream.

    No matter your take, check out Bess’s book. You can get a taste of his thinking on ballparks and cities at:

    http://www.thursdayassociates.net/Texts/oldballparks.html

  48. Eric Fischer

    Hey, you could just rebuild the old Oaks ballpark at Park and San Pablo in Emeryville! It’s been a vacant lot for the past 50 years, so who would complain?

  49. Navigator

    Guys, The 27th & Broadway site would be perfect. First of all, there is a direct connection to all the freeways via that six lane thoroughfare called 27th Street. Secondly, much of the area surrounding the former Broadway Ford dealership is surface parking lots. By using those lots, and reconfiguring the streets around 26th & Broadway a ballpark could fit on the site with minimal disruption to existing businesses. All it would take is the demolition of a few old auto related businesses and parking garages. Also, the former Biff’s restaurant could be incorporated into the project as an Oakland A’s Hall of Fame.

    The San Jose thing wont fly because Lew Wolff can not afford to alienate the fan base any longer. Attendance has declined from 2.2 million fans when Wolff took over, to 1.5 million fans last year. The Fremont announcement killed attendance. Keep in mind that Fremont was still in Alameda County and the A’s could have still retained their “Oakland” moniker. Even with that, the fans voted overwhelmingly with their feet. Three to four more years as a lame duck franchise in Oakland would kill this franchise.

    Also, why would the Joint Powers Authority agree to keep the A’s on a sweetheart deal in Oakland as Wolff prepares and works with San Jose? They be better off asking Wolff to pack his bags and go play in San Jose Municipal Stadium while he’s negotiating with San Jose. Oakland has gone through enough with this man. Oakland doesn’t need to be the door man while Wolff plans things with San Jose. Enough is enough. Either commit to Oakland, or get the hell out!

  50. Max Allstadt

    How ’bout this: somebody look up that site on google earth, take a screenshot, and overlay exactly where you think you can find 8 acres of space for a 12 story ball park development. Then I’ll point out the unholy orgy of traffic issues, as well as the locations of thousands of well organized and irate neighbors.

    The turf you want to step on is Westlake (aka HarriOak) and Adams Point. It’s not directly adjacent to Adam’s point, but close enough that you can expect them to get involved. These are relatively affluent areas and pretty densely populated, and fairly anti-development in their political dispositions. Also, I don’t care how close the BART is. You’ll need parking.

    Oh and you’ll also need somebody who wants to build a boondoggle of this magnitude in the middle of an economic sinkhole.

  51. Max Allstadt

    Nevermind. I did it myself, sorta. The current ballpark is 250 yards in diameter, not counting parking. In order to fit that at 27th and Broadway, you’d have to take over everything from 27th to 29th, There are a dozen businesses lining broadway at that point. You would also get over to Valdez St. and Richmond St. or even close to Fairmount Street to the west. You’d be putting a stadium in people’s back yards, and you’d also be contending with building it over the top of a deep gully and a steep hill.

    All of them are sitting on a “Community Commercial” general plan designation, and therefore likely to be entitled to redevelop at anywhere from 40 to 55 feet in height as of right. Thats some expensive real estate to try and grab.

    In short, freaking impossible. Even IF there was someone who wanted to do it.

  52. FreeSeatUpgrade

    Three ballpark points:

    1. Doug, I don’t think you’ve been following the news on territorial rights. Selig made it pretty clear a couple months back that the South Bay was open for consideration if Fremont failed. V’s right, T-rights can be awarded or withdrawn with a 3/4′s vote of the owners. And Selig wouldn’t have even offered if he wasn’t sure he already had the votes.

    BTW, the reason the Giants have Santa Clara rights in the first place is because the A’s gave them away, for nothing, as a goodwill gesture under the Haas ownership while the Giants were considering a South Bay ballpark. They are hardly an iron clad obstacle.

    2. V, calling the Fremont effort simple due diligence is unreasonable. Fisher and Wolff actually bought quite a lot of land and secured options on more. They struck a big deal with Cisco. And they started an EIR process. The A’s sought to break new ground for MLB franchises, by leveraging a team’s presence with a housing and retail development. No one’s ever done that.

    While I do believe they’d prefer San Jose all along, there’s little doubt that until quite recently Fremont was a serious effort which they hoped would succeed.

    3. Oakland’s starting a Specific Plan process for the retail dreams on Broadway. I can’t help but think that a ballpark might fit in really nicely with those plans. I also observe that the City is also in early Specific Planning for the Estuary area. Interesting.

  53. V Smoothe Post author

    FreeSeatUpgrade, thanks. I wrote that comment quickly and it didn’t come out quite as I intended. I can see looking at it now that it implies I thought Wolff was never serious about Fremont, which I don’t believe at all. What I meant was that, responding to Doug’s question, it was important to make an honest attempt at building in Fremont before moving onto San Jose. But it was a poor choice of phrasing.

  54. Max Allstadt

    FreeSeatUpgrade:

    here’s the problem with your point 3:
    A ballpark is 250 yards across. you would have to straddle broadway to make it fit anywhere along autorow without demolishing private homes of upper middle class people. Homeland Security would stop you if you tried to straddle broadway with a tunnel that could accomodate a semi and 20000 potential bombing victims above it.

  55. Navigator

    Max,

    The current ballpark has a much larger footprint than a 32,000 seat baseball park. The Coliseum is a huge multi purpose stadium which holds 62,000 fans. A small urban ballpark could fit bordered by 27th on the north, Webster on the west, 24th on the south, and Waverly on the east.

    Also, in Chicago they have a ballpark in a neighborhood similar to the upper Broadway area. The ballpark is called Wrigley Field and the neighborhood is very popular because of it.

    As far as San Jose, why would Wolff want to go through another nightmare? He has a sweetheart deal in Oakland. Wolff plays virtually rent free. Does anyone actually believe that Oakland and Alameda County will sit by and allow Wolff to use them again while he makes plans to build a ballpark in San Jose? No, it’s not going to happen again. Either Wolff renegotiates a nice profitable deal with Oakland and Alameda County for playing in the Coliseum as a lame duck tenant, or, Oakland shows him the way to San Jose via the 5,000 seat San Jose Municipal ballpark.

    It’s a losing proposition for Wolff. The best thing to do is to reconcile with the thousands of Oakland fans he’s alienated with his misguided policies.

  56. Eric Fischer

    Wrigley Field is 600 feet on a side, which is conveniently the size of a block in Chicago’s grid. There are plenty of vacant sites in Oakland that are *almost* big enough for something that size, but not many that I can see that are actually quite big enough, so I think you would end up having to buy out and demolish some existing buildings no matter what.

    I’ve also got to disagree that Wrigleyville is a neighborhood like upper Broadway. Wrigleyville has probably ten times as much pedestrian activity, for reasons that on most days have nothing to do with baseball.

  57. Navigator

    Also, I’m flabbergasted as to why the viewpoints of a pro Fremont and pro San Jose site get so much support from a Better Oakland site. Is it better for Oakland if the A’s relocate to San Jose? Where are the links and viewpoints from the pro Oakland ballpark sites? It’s clear from reading the San Francisco Chronicle’s comment section regarding this latest story, that people overwhelmingly want the Oakland A’s to remain in Oakland.

  58. Max Allstadt

    Nav,

    The real estate you’re talking about now is worth more than what’s north of it.
    Plus, Waverly doesn’t exist north of 24th. Do you mean Valdez? That would accommodate the field but no seats. You’d need to kill the whole triangle bounded by Broadway, 24th and 27th to fit a stadium. At that point you’re across from whole foods and all their uphill neighbors. They’d go apeshit.

    How many private homeowners are you willing to offend or displace? What makes you think you can get anybody to invest in a small park when the last move Al made was to add to a huge one?

    This conversation is ludicrous. So not happening.

  59. Navigator

    Eric, I’ve been to the neighborhood. The main drag was a nondescript street with fast food joints. There was even a car wash right behind the third base line where a homeless guy offered to wash my car. I was there while no game was being played and the area was pretty deserted. That was just my personal experience on a non game day. I know that during games the place is packed and the apartments across the outfield wall are packed with people on the roof decks trying to get a view of the game.

  60. OaklandSpaceAcademy

    Actually the fact that Wrigley is 600′ a side is not “convenient” at all, it was designed that way – to fit withing the existing streets and blocks of the neighborhood. This is part of the reason why old ballparks are better; the idiosyncrasies of their neighborhoods forced odd field configurations and unique designs. It was only in the 1960s, when ballparks became divorced from urban culture, that you began to see them unconstrained by their sites and made more homogeneous and huge because, well, they could be.

    Certainly Wrigleyville does have significantly more pedestrian activity than Uptown Oakland, because it is more densely inhabited. But I don’t see why this would be a reason we shouldn’t build a ballpark there. Isn’t greater density entirely appropriate for Uptown?

    I just don’t see this as displacing very many residents. And Max, since when did you start caring about offending people…?

  61. len raphael

    nav, audacious,borderline nutty, thinking outside the box, but i’d give it a higher chance of success than the high powered plan council paid for retail shopping proposed for upper broadway auto row. which is saying not likely in the next 10 years.

    ignoring the cost of eminent domaining quite a few properties, how would transport all those fans in and out of that section?

  62. Ralph

    max,
    a small nit, is this a different issue: “What makes you think you can get anybody to invest in a small park when the last move Al made was to add to a huge one?”

    as to parking, yes the ballpark would need to include parking, but not like you must accomodate all 30K+

    as long as we can accomodate media, some season ticket holders, and disabled we are good to go provided we have an additional 30K spots within the surrounding community

  63. Navigator

    OaklandSpaceAcademy,

    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the idiosyncrasies and charm of the older ballparks. Another very successful small old urban ballpark, is Fenway Park. A ballpark like Wrigley or Fenway would be a tremendous success at 27th & Broadway. The ballpark would be a draw for the current developments struggling to find tenants. Can you imagine that brand new 23 story residential high-rise on Grand & Webster with a view of the playing field of a new ballpark directly across 24th Street? Signature Properties has plans for another 400 condos across Broadway. By making those into high-rise housing, they could also incorporate the ballpark into their plans.

    Also, Adams Point is a very short walk from the 27th & Broadway site. Adam’s Point is the densest residential neighborhood in all of Oakland and the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood is not too far behind. If we combine the density of these neighborhoods with the current 75,000 office workers in downtown Oakland on a daily basis, we can see that this location already has a great built in possible fan base.

    Max, brought up the parking issues along with some NIMBY issues. Fair enough. However, the ballpark is convenient to the 19th Street BART station and it would basically be a walking ballpark. For people that would rather drive, multi story garages could be the answer. The Kaiser Center has a huge garage which is empty during night games. The YMCA has a garage on Webster. Garages could be built on the other side of 27th Street were some vacant and underutilized businesses currently stand.

    This site is far enough away from the residential areas and close enough to downtown proper to make the NIMBY issue workable. We would have to weigh their concerns with what’s best for the over all economic health of upper Broadway and the entire city of Oakland. A ballpark at that site would be a tremendous jolt to everything which has ever been proposed for downtown Oakland. This would solidify the downtown housing market, create new excitement and energy, thereby creating more demand for housing. The ballpark at 27th & Broadway would provide enough customers for a retail destination on upper Broadway. Didn’t Wolff want to build retail in Fremont? This could be the perfect marriage.

  64. Joanna/ShopGirl

    Nav, I’d bet that the reason there are so few comments on SFGate against keeping the A’s here in Oakland is that there are many of us that don’t care. You’re much more likely to post a comment if you actually care.

    If Wolff wants to keep the A’s here, great. If not, that’s fine too. I stopped going to A’s games a few years ago because of all the nonsense talk of moving south, be if Fremont or wherever. Just go if you’re going and stay if you’re staying. What I really don’t want is for taxpayers to foot the bill to entice the A’s to stay, much less to pay for anything at all related to a new ballpark, etc. Put the focus back on the fun of the game instead of all the threats on “we’re moving to _____”. So go already! I’m more likely to head across the Bay to SF to see a Giant’s game than I am likely to head to Fremont or San Jose. But maybe there are many folks in that neck of the woods that would go – more so than from here. If so, then it makes sense for him to move. But how funny it would be to call them the San Jose A’s or Fremont A’s.

    And regardless of what Selig hints at regarding having the votes to change the franchise areas, I just can’t actually see it happening without some SERIOUS cash being exchanged. And that would create a lawsuit heaven that would stop any San Jose deals from happening in the next ten years. I’m no huge sprots fan, so I’m sure what I think is all bs. ;)

  65. Max Allstadt

    OakSpace, Nav, everybody:

    I live within walking distance of this proposed sight. I have at least one friend who’d get evicted by your idea. I actually stopped by on my way back from breakfast this morning and took a look. The scale your talking about developing there is just preposterous. You might squeeze in a Fenway sized park, but all the amenities would take up great hods of additional space. Seriously, go stand over on corner by God’s Gym and look east and try to envision this. It’s a non-starter. You need:

    A franchise owner who’s interested.

    Legislation that allows for eminent domain seizure of at least 40 properties. These include multiple highly developable single story in-fill lots There are also five residential victorians that are one to three family dwellings.

    EIRs up the ying yang.

    Time. And that’s the kicker. By the time you’d get this through, the value of all that property will be back where it was 4 years ago, and in the mean time, people will likely build at least one or two 5 story apartments in the site. That means unbelievable hods of money to compensate everyone there…

    And you don’t even have an owner who’s expressed any interest whatsoever yet.

    And that’s without the NIMBY factor considered at all. Fremont had more people show up to protest the Stadium than Oakland saw at all but one of the Oscar Grant protests. Nav said it himself, Adam’s point is the most densely populated residential area in the East Bay. The Majority of Adam’s Pointers aren’t going to like this one bit. There are thousands of them.

    OK. I’m done. Seriously, while we’re pontificating the impossible, who wants to join my army and come raze and loot Piedmont? Field Marshal Allstadt will let you put a ball park on top of Piedmont’s city hall…

  66. Joanna/ShopGirl

    The residents of Piedmont have seriously more money than the folks in Oakland, so that rules that out.

    Hey Patrick, they could always move Fenton’s to JLS… Ben & Jerry’s wouldn’t like it, but I would. :)

    How about Middle Harbor Park? It’s cold and windy there, but a beautiful park and a fair amount of space. They could take out one of the shipping terminals if need be. (hahahahaha, as if)

    So what was so wrong with building on the existing colisium site? Or in the parking lot? It seems that there was a guy on the planning, land use, and zoning task force that had some land in that area and was all for building a new ballpark in the area.

  67. Robert

    Max, whats your problem with Piedmont? Just becuase they had the prescience a hundred years ago to realize that Oakland was going to end up corrupt and/or dysfunctional shouldn’t be a reason for you to agitate against the city. You should have respect for the foresight of the Piedmont town founders.

  68. Navigator

    Max,

    You’re right, maybe this will never come to fruition, but we can dream cant we? I’ll agree with you that the biggest obstacle that we face is an interested owner. Joanna, I agree with you. I feel that Lew Wolff has played too many games with the emotions of long-time Oakland A’s fans. If he wants attendance to improve he needs to repair the bridges he burned with Oakland.

    However, I still think that a ballpark could be built in that area. The ballpark doesn’t need to be symmetrical. Some of those structures could be incorporated into the ballpark itself. San Diego uses a historic hotel as the left field facade.

    Also, there are some mid-rise retirement homes near the 27th & Broadway site. If anyone were to complain it would be the residents of those buildings. However, I can tell you from working at the Satellite Senior Center on Hawthorne at 24th Street when I was 16 years old, that elderly folks loved the Oakland A’s. They would sit by their radios and listen to Bill King and Lon Simmons. They lived for the Oakland A’s. It was one of the things they looked forward to. Having a ballpark within walking distance of those retirement facilities like Saint Paul”s Towers or the buildings around 28th Street, might be an asset for many of those baseball crazy senior citizens. It might not generate the opposition that you envision.

    As far as parking, I can already count a substantial number of parking spaces in various garages around the area. We have the Kaiser Garage, the new underground garage with 200 spaces at Christ the Light Cathedral, the YMCA garage, the Cal Trans Building garage, etc. We also have an empty surface parking lot across from the Ordway Building. These spaces would all be available for 7:00 PM games.

    There is also another site in Oakland near Jack London Square and near the Lake Merritt BART Station which might work. I’m talking about the acreage between the Lake Merritt Channel and Oak Street. This is the area between 880 and the Embarcadero where the Oakland Fire Department has its training facility. I’m sure everyone’s seen that blighted tower standing next to the Lake Merritt Channel used for training. There is an empty parking area along with a number of old warehouses which could hold a small ballpark. This site would bring 32,000 people to Jack London Square via BART, Amtrak, and Ferry. There’s already a brand new 1100 parking garage sitting there. What do you think about that site?

  69. Ralph

    I’m with Nav – we need to make this work in the Upper Broadway corridor. If a few people lose their homes for the good of the many so be it.

    I like baseball but no longer have a desire to see a game at the Coliseum. The place is simply not suited for baseball. You build me either an OPACY (Camden Yards) or a Jacobs Field, I will enthusiastically attend an A’s game.

    We gotta solve the parking problem.

  70. len raphael

    Piedmont envy taking the form of resentment :)

    MA, will revisit your dislike of Piedmont when the day comes that you have school age kids. Then you’rll try to get a piedmont address somehow. I know very modest income family who rent in Piedmont just because of vastly superior school resources for their special needs child. An fair amount of brainpower has been devoted to wiggling into Piedmont school district from Oakland.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  71. dbackman

    The OFD training sight is a great idea, Navigator. I have long been fascinated with that tower, but would not be sad to see it go if it would bring the A’s to my neighborhood. The accessibility to BART, rail, and the freeway is unbeatable. There are few residential neighbors in the immediate area. There is existing adjacent parking. And it would tie in really nicely with the Oak to 9th development.

    But, The site definitely looks a little small. There is the Laney baseball field right next to this site, so you can judge pretty easily how another field would fit there. You would have to eliminate some of those warehouses next door in order for stands and amenities to fit. But all in all it is a pretty cool idea that would probably be a lot easier to pull off than an Uptown site.

  72. dto510

    Why does nobody seem interested in the ACTUAL Oakland proposal for keeping the A’s: building a new ballpark in the Coliseum parking lot, probably along with a hotel, a conference center to replace our outdated and tiny one, and transforming the nearby underutilized industrial parcels into housing and retail? That site has the space, the public ownership of land, the freeway and transit access, and the lack of other options, that could make it very successful. Upper Broadway has none of those things.

    The city is moving forward on a Specific Plan for Upper Broadway, to transform it into a mixed-use retail destination. The area has already been rezoned for this, and it would generate a ton of desperately-needed sales taxes as well as provide Oaklanders with the retail we currently have to leave town to patronize. The city is not going to give up on its (popular) plan in progress for some pipe dream. If you want to keep the A’s in Oakland, i suggest you get behind the real plan rather than scaring neighbors and everybody else with an absurd fantasy in an inappropriate location that would preclude our last best hope for Macy’s.

  73. dbackman

    DTO,
    Ultimately I imagine most folks here will get behind whatever plan Oakland has to keep the A’s within city limits. And as much as I would like to see a new Uptown or waterfront stadium, I do feel like it would be a bad thing for Oakland sports to abandon East Oakland. But folks can dream right?
    The original Uptown site really stimulated people’s hopes and imaginations and you can’t blame us too much for wanting to keep that hope alive, whether that is totally delusional or not. At the root of it is rather commonly held belief that giant parking lot sports complexes like we have here in Oakland, or in South Philly, are bad for fans and bad for cities and that highly urban ballpark sites, like Fenway, Wrigley, Camden or PacBell are great success stories. We can perpetuate the planning mistakes of the 60′s and 70′s because its the easy way to go or we can exercise our creativity a little bit by envisioning something better.

  74. dbackman

    Its kind of like sports isn’t it? People hold on to hopes that their team can make it, even when they are all but mathematically eliminated from contention. Look at the Warriors. Its been pretty clear all season that they weren’t making the playoffs, but when they were up big in the 3rd against the Lakers the other night, you know a lot of folks were thinking about some 26-4 run coupled with a Suns implosion and a Jazz fall from grace to sneak into that 8th spot.
    People are just not ready to give up on Uptown baseball, even if the window for that proposition closed years ago.

  75. Navigator

    DTO,

    It’s all about the bang you get for your buck. A ballpark in Uptown at the 27th & Broadway site takes nothing away from the Upper Broadway Retail Corridor proposed by the City. In fact, it enhances and compliments the project with an infusion of a tremendous amount of foot traffic.

    Sure, the Coliseum site is convenient and has great public transportation. However, it doesn’t energize a city the way a downtown or waterfront ballpark would. But, if that’s all we can do to retain the A’s in Oakland, so be it. Although, I still think it would be a wasted opportunity to really inject an incredible amount of life in Uptown or in Jack London Square.

    Let’s face it, Jack London Square is undergoing a 400 million dollar expansion and they need to make sure those spaces are filled with restaurants and other successful businesses. Oakland needs to think big. Oakland needs people with a vision. People like Phil Tagami. How many people believed that the FOX would some day come back to life in such a glorious way? Oakland needs more people with a vision who are determined to make things happen. This can happen, and Oakland is too great a place to settle for less.

  76. FreeSeatUpgrade

    DTO:

    I agree that the new park on the old Coliseum lot plan is the most easily achieved option. I hope it happens, though I wouldn’t characterize it as an actual Oakland proposal; at least, not a current one.

    That said: you’re wrong about Broadway, nothing’s been permanently rezoned. That would be part of the action to be included when a Specific Plan was ready for adoption. And don’t you think Macy’s might find the neighborhood more attractive if there were 25-30,000 additional people visiting it 81 times a year? A Broadway ballpark wouldn’t replace retail, it would augment it, to the substantial benefit of both.

    Obviously any discussion of any Oakland ballpark site stipulates that A’s ownership is willing to participate. Their past proclamations aside, in light of the Fremont collapse and the dearth of municipal inducements in the current climate, I suspect Wolffish might be open to reconsideration.

  77. Patrick

    Sorry, sports fans. If retailers thought a ball park and its patrons were such an advantage, why did Target, Kohl’s, Borders etc. at Bayside Marketplace in Fremont fight tooth-and-nail to keep the A’s as far away from them as possible? You’re all delusional if you think a bunch of sweaty, chili dog-smelling sports fans are going to pop into Macy’s, or any other store, before or after a game. Although they may try to illegally park in store parking lots. And, anyone who does want to shop would most certainly drive to Emeryville – or Walnut Creek – before they would put up with the heinous traffic that game days bring. Retailers (and residents!) know that – which is why they don’t want a ball park near them. Putting a ball park in the upper Broadway area is absolutely the worst possible thing to do if you want to attract retail – and you’re all kidding yourselves if you don’t see that.

  78. Robert

    I don’t know how much a Coliseum site really benefits the city – although estimates should be available from the current site. The simple reason is that the Coliseum site is arranged for cars. Folks drive to the game and then drive right back home. The existing connection between BART and the Coliseum does the same thing. There is no benefit to the neighborhood.

    The Auto Row site would force people to walk from BART to the game, and then walk back to BART. With lots of opportunities to stop at restaurants and small shops along the way. I honestly don’t know why people on this blog are so worried about adequate parking. The site is perfectly sited for transit. And you can keep fans from parking the in neighborhoods nearby with a game dark parking permit system.

    And just as an FYI, Pac Bell park fits almost perfectly into the Broadway, 24th, 27th triangle.

    I suspect that this will not happen, because neither the As or the city really seem to have any interest in keeping the A’s in Oakland, or finding a downtown location for the As.

  79. Ralph

    You can throw the ballpark onto Broadway without the grand scale retail. Baltimore and Cleveland both made a ballpark work in a downtown community.

    Baltimore built into the existing fabric and dying neighborhoods started to breathe new life. Homes which sold for a $1 in 1979 are selling for substantially more today. If someone in Oakland would actually take the time to plan you could have a ballpark, a thriving arts center, nightlife, retail and people in your downtown core.

    Look at what Cleveland did with the ballpark it can be done.

    Does anyone know how many parking spaces are available in the downtown/uptown area. At a minimum, you would want 10K maybe a little more. But most indications that there should be around 30K in the vinicity – not so much for the ballpark but to accomodate the ballpark and all the other traffic.

  80. len raphael

    DTO, what would it take to persuade a higher end big retailer to open on upper Bway even after the economy recovers? the conway? study was somewhat vague on that. would think a macy’s type (assuming there are some of them still left standing in 5 years) would open downtown long before they’d take a chance on upper bway.

    my two bit hunch is that we’re entering a 20 year0 lull in consumer spending where bread and ball games will be much more popular then upscale retail in a mixed bag like uptown oakland.

  81. len raphael

    what are the odds for getting mugged at night at City Hall Plaza? while waiting for take out from Ichiro on 15th St, I wanted to enjoy the plaza, then remembered some guy got stabbed there recently? I went there anyway but didn’t see a single security guard walking around at 645pm sat night.

    About 7pm saw two private guard looking people ambling up bway wearing bright colored jackets with an oakland logo. They were too wrapped up in their conversation to do any observing. Off duty or merchant paid evening security?

  82. Navigator

    If retail isn’t conducive to a ballpark and vise a versa, then why did Wolff propose a Santana Row type of retail development for his ballpark village? Also, why is Al Davis proposing a huge entertainment, retail and housing center for the current Coliseum site? The idea is to generate foot traffic between the ballparks and the retail establishments by making sure they can’t park right next to the ballpark.

  83. oaklandhappenings

    well, well, what do we have here? Fremont flips Wolff the bird, and San Jose hopefully follows suite. Oakland City leaders have a 2nd chance to not f*ck up again with the A’s, and I think that in his heart, Dellums is still a supporter. He even spoke on that “choose or lose the A’s” thing
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mgWP2GawNQ
    that Pat K and others also supported the team with. Guess which city council member didn’t give a rat’s a** when running for mayor in ’06?.
    The Raider fiasco is in the past. As I mentioned on SFgate’s comment section, city officials need to focus on what they can possibly keep (A’s) and what they may lose after the 2010 season (Raiders). Wolff–assuming he doesn’t sell the team out of frustration when SJ says no–is best off seeing how the Raider thing plays out, which is alot less waiting than for SJ to give them a foot in the door. If the Raiders leave, I tentatively back up DTO regarding the current stadium site’s parking lot, which the Raiders banned the A’s hopes from with their hunger and selfishness of parking revenue.
    Raiders, do us a favor: do not renew your lease, and take your multi-year, losing record elsewhere.

  84. Patrick

    I don’t know Nav, why DID Lew and Al propose retail etc. as part of their developments? If shopping and ballgames worked so well together, don’t you think that retailers would be clamoring for space around the nation’s ball parks? Where has that happened? Where is all the thriving retail around (relatively recently developed) AT&T park? It’s kind of like shopping and BART stations such as Fruitvale; someone got the great idea that people on their way home from work (think of all that foot-traffic!) would pop into a a boutique or restaurant, but later found out that what they really want to do is go home.

    Lew and Al want to build shopping because they think they can make money on development and rents, but I contend they (and ball fans like you) are ignoring a very important fact: Americans like to shop far more than they like going to ball games. Why would retailers place themselves in a position to have their business interrupted 81 times a year by grid-locking traffic, parking nightmares and 10s of thousands of potentially rowdy fans who are on their way to spend their money somewhere else? And why would shoppers choose a shopping area -with so many local options available – that is routinely disrupted by ball games? Answer to both questions: they wouldn’t.

    Having a major league baseball franchise in Oakland is good for one thing only: the ability to say “Look at us! We’re a big, important city too!” But drive down Hegenberger and San Leandro Street with the open eyes as opposed to pie-in-the-sky dreams. Ball parks are not a driver of development – retail or otherwise. And a ball park in the upper Broadway area would not be any different, sorry.

  85. Navigator

    Patrick, Have you ever been to Camden Yards in Baltimore? Do you remember what China Basin in San Francisco looked like before the Giants built their park? Baltimore revitalized their entire waterfront which consisted mostly of rundown and abandoned warehouses strictly because they build a beautiful ballpark which attracted 48,000 fans per game to their downtown and to their waterfront. Jack London Square needs a similar jolt. They’re investing 400 million dollars into expanding the Square but there’s no huge attraction to bring the kind of foot traffic which will be required to make Jack London Square a truly vibrant and successful area.

    Also, I’m sure that all of the newer or refurbished hotels on Hegenberger, along with the restaurants, appreciate that the A’s, Raiders, and Warriors play down the street. Having said that, we can’t compare a ballpark in a suburban location surrounded by acres of parking, to what a ballpark in a downtown urban location would do as far as contributing to attracting businesses and retail to an area.

  86. Max Allstadt

    On Piedmont (Because everytime I bring it up it raises hackles).

    It is not Piedmont that I have a problem with per se. Piedmonters use their resources and their border for their own self-interest, which is simply how the world works.

    My real beef is with the way that California law makes municipal boundaries inalterable. The results of this can be seen in all sorts of problems, but Piedmont is a good way to highlight them.

    By exploiting a municipal boundary, the wealthy people in Piedmont have created a superior school system for their wealthy children. They add to state funds and maintain a better organization, because the border allows them to exclude themselves from the clusterfuck of poverty and crime in the City that surrounds them. The same thing goes for their police force and fire department. Well staffed and well paid because they can attract officers who don’t feel like getting shot at, and as a result they get the pick of the litter.

    I can’t blame them for doing this. Anyone who can do this does it. I expect you’d see the same kind of discrepancy between Anaheim and wealthier towns in Orange County. The problem isn’t the rich. The problem is the very structure of municipal, county and statewide government and resource allocation.

    If I was king, municipal boundaries would be redrawn every 10 or 20 years based on population density. A megalopolis the size of the San Francisco Bay Area would have multiple tiers of local government. Imagine a sort of Sub-Governor and Sub-Legislature responsible for everything from Santa Rosa to Richmond to San Jose. Imagine wiping out the county lines in the area and creating town and city governments based on real-world boundary lines like highways, rivers, bays, estuaries and hills. In a such a situation, with the smaller governing bodies subordinate to the forces that would govern the region, we could expect a fairer allocation of resources.

    So the reason I make cracks about Piedmont isn’t really about Piedmont. It’s about an entrenched set of laws and rules that make it easy for the parents of Piedmont to send their children to Yale, and make it hard for some parents of Oakland to keep their children out of San Quentin. I can’t blame the advantaged for using their advantage. But I absolutely blame the State and our society for perpetuating the gap in advantage.

    What to do? I’m not actually keen on burning anything. That’s just a hyperbole I spit out for fun some times.

    I don’t know exactly what to do. But Len’s right. People do try to game the Piedmont school system, and I absolutely support that until we can fix the unfair advantage. If you live in a studio apartment in Piedmont and have no kids, you should consider asking friends with kids if they’re interested in having their names on your utility bills. You might be able to provide proof of residence to three or more friends by getting different names on your phone, cable, PG&E bill, etc. Hell, if you live in Piedmont and have kids, you could still help sneak some poorer friends kids into their system. And you should.

    Fraud? You bet. But until wealthy towns lose their unfair advantage, I say that those who can’t afford membership to the club should crash the party at every possible opportunity, fair or foul.

  87. Navigator

    Crocker Highlands, Hillcrest, Joaquin Miller, Montclair, and Thornhill are all fine Oakland schools. You don’t need to go over the border to go to a great school. Also, the generalization that Piedmont is surrounded by poverty, crime and despair is inaccurate. Piedmont isn’t exactly surrounded by the avenues in deep East Oakland. You’re not any more likely to get robbed or mugged on the Oakland side of Moraga Avenue than you are on the Piedmont side of that same street.

    People in Piedmont have to patronize Oakland businesses and even use Oakland Libraries. Those borders mean nothing. It’s just something to reinforces the snootiness and racism in the Real Estate industry. The idea that if your kid starts out in a Piedmont school in kindergarten gives him an advantage over a child who started off at Joaquin Miller, or, Crocker Highlands is ridiculous. People are saps for dishing out an extra 100,000 to live on the Piedmont side of Moraga Avenue just so they can tell their elitist friends that they live in “Piedmont” rather than in scary “Oakland” even though they do most of their daily shopping in “Oakland.” Ridiculous! Oakland should annex the place and bring down those phony boundaries. What would Piedmont be without the eclectic atmosphere of Lake Shore in Oakland, or the charming Montclair Village which is also in Oakland?

  88. Max Allstadt

    Show me stats, Nav. Graduation percentage stats. College acceptance stats. Ivy League and Big Ten acceptance stats. Cal acceptance stats. I’m too accustomed to your cheerleading tendencies to buy into what your saying without numbers to back it up.

    As for racism. You bet. Piedmont is under 1% Black. Barely a mote more latinos. It’s essentially 20% Asian and 80% white. You’ll find similarly obscene discrepancies all over California, behind the city lines of affluent suburbs within otherwise cosmopolitan counties. Redlining has a very real legacy. Self interest will perpetuate it unless acted upon by outside forces.

    And as for the borders not being hard lines with barbed wire fences holding back barbarians… of course they’re not. No border is absolute because the chaos of humanity always chips away at government’s attempts to draw lines around it. Borders have an effect though, and it’s very real, and very harmful.

  89. PinoyOaklander

    As much as you would like the A’s to stay, and the Raiders to leave. That’s just a sad statement. Are you implying that you just want baseball to stay in Oakland, and not football? Why not keep both? Having both the A’s, and Raiders are what gives Oakland a good feel. They can turn the whole Coliseum into a thriving entertainment area with sports retail, entertainment venues, etc. Oh, and of course a football stadium, and a baseball stadium alongside with the Oracle Arena (Basketball). If one of the team leaves, either it be the Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders, or the Golden State Warriors would make Oakland a bit more normal. Oakland is one of few cities that have more than two professional sports team. I would like Oakland to keep that fact. Someone or a group of people must find a way to keep all of them in Oakland for a long term, and have all three not conflict with each other. The Warriors aren’t complaining, they seem to not have any conflict with the Coliseum, or perhaps any potential development in the Coliseum area. It’s just the matter of willing to share parking, and other things.

  90. KenO

    Spot.US Oakland Police Blues story update:

    I contributed to this community-funded journalist-investigated story and so get updates. Here’s the latest:

    http://spot.us/pitches/35

    ps: V Smoothe, are you going to add a ‘tip jar’ or not? guess that’s a can of worms…

  91. PinoyOaklander

    Fremont plans has been terminated by the Oakland A’s. Oakland gains a little more breathing room for a chance to retain the A’s in this wonderful city. As Wolff stated, he isn’t going to go ahead, and plan for a new location, but to focus on his team. During that time, I hope the City of Oakland residents can find a way to help retain the A’s.

  92. oaklandhappenings

    PinoyOaklander, thanks for posting your last one. Regarding “Oakland residents finding a way to help retain” [the team], they will have to have enough interest in the team–win or lose–to attend games. This year’s team, at least, seems to be one of promise, with Chavy and Giambi as the captains/leaders. A majority of those attending are not Oakland residents, which sucks. However, because of that, if more Oakland residents decided to (re)invest of their endangered team, to the point of nearly selling out every game, then it would at least tell the sleeping Oakland officials that there is interest, and the stadium could sell out more often (maybe even resulting in the upper deck becoming untarped one day). Would the cc and Dellums make a push? Hard to say, especially with Wolff still at the helm, and his f-ing Oakland over once already. Despite the economic woes, hopefully something can happen to save Oakland from the embarrassment of losing the team.

  93. Navigator

    I believe the A’s will still be in Oakland in ten years. There is no where better to go. No one is going to build a ballpark in these difficult economic times. The Oakland Coliseum was remodeled no too long ago. Wolff keeps saying the place is “40 years old,” but he conveniently forgets that the place was remodeled when the Raiders came back from LA. Sure, no one likes Mount Davis. However, as part of the addition of the new football section on the east side of the stadium, the A’s also now have two modern clubs with a restaurant included in the West Side Club. Also, 40,000 old seats were replaced, and luxury suites were built. The Coliseum is clean, centrally located, and convenient to public transportation. What more does Wolff want?

    The worst sports stadium in the entire Bay Area by far is Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, followed closely by Candlestick Park in San Francisco . Memorial Stadium has benches with no backs, no space between the rows of seats in case you need to get out for some reason, no cover from the elements, hardly any bathrooms in the stadium, no room for concession stands, AND, it straddles the Hayward Fault. Yet, all we hear about Memorial Stadium is how beautiful it is and what a great setting for college football it offers. Why is that? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Cal Bears, and it’s a great school. I just don’t understand why a much more modern and comfortable stadium like the Oakland Coliseum is so unfairly maligned.

    Nothing better than the Oakland Coliseum is going to be built any time soon in San Jose, or anywhere else for that matter. The same problems that plagued Fremont will plague San Jose and Wolff will be wasting his time as his lame duck status in Oakland will continue to erode attendance. Wolff, needs to commit to Oakland and stay at the Coliseum until a new Uptown or Jack London Square ballpark can be built .

  94. oaklandhappenings

    Nav, good points. I think in 10 years however, Wolff will be long gone as owner out of exhaustion and frustration. Of course, being an octogenarian by then, his health could start failing him. Hopefully this will not be the case seriously, regarding the latter, as we know he is a good person aside from his A’s doings. However, just being realistic. It is a shame that MLB kept people such as George Zimmer and the other guys from being owners. Selig kept saying “no” in a way to get someone who would (ultimately) take the A’s out of Oakland in carpetbagging fashion.

  95. PinoyOaklander

    I would attend, but I lack the transportation, and my schedules are always tight. I do not like to go home at night, but I’ve walked home many times before at night. Going home taking the AC Transit bus from Downtown Oakland all the way back to East Oakland, 35th. Truthfully no one is really around at night, it’s pretty empty. Anyways, I agree with you guys. No stadium will ever be built during this time of the economic downturn. I really hope the A’s can stay much longer, and consider potential sites for a stadium somewhere in Oakland. As well as keeping the other two professional teams of course, Oakland Raiders, and the Golden State Warriors. I am a sports fanatic :P

  96. Chris Kidd

    Heads up, everbody! The city is holding community input meetings for the citywide update of residential and commercial zoning. They’re having two meetings: one on Thursday (tonight) and one on Saturday morning. Here’s the link –

    http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/ceda/revised/planningzoning/ZoningUpdateProject/default.asp

    This is a big-time reworking of the city’s residential and commercial zoning codes, as some of them haven’t been updated since the original code was laid down in 1964. What’s going to be an especially hot topic is the zoning updates taking place on the transit corridors of Oakland (Broadway, Telegraph, San Pablo, Foothill, McArthur, International), since they have the furthest to go before they are in line with the general plan.

    For all you ABO’ers who consider yourselves bike/ped/public transit people or urbanists or dense, walkable neighborhood supporters – please consider attending these meetings. I’m not an opponent of STAND or CALM or the preservationist crowd (okay, maybe STAND…), but those groups are going to have a *STRONG* pressence at these meetings. If you want their viewpoints balanced out, you’ve gotta attend. I’ll be at the one in the Fruitvale on Saturday. If you come, maybe I’ll give you a cookie.

  97. John Klein

    Regarding the City-wide Rezoning, CALM is really only interested in the areas at Lake Merritt. CALM submitted a request/proposal for limiting building heights around the entire perimeter of the Lake. Right now, the entire length of Lakeshore Ave. is zoned R-80, high-rise apartment, i.e., unlimited heights. Lots of people think the heights there should be limited in the same way CALM wants them limited within 300 feet of Lakeside Drive downtown.

    But, there are big process issues in the city-wide rezoning. They include:

    1. The city-wide meetings as currently constituted are trying to cover too much in too few meetings. The General Plan lists six different planning areas of the city: -

    -West Oakland
    -Chinatown/Downtown
    -East Oakland
    -San Antonio-Fruitvale-Lower Hills
    -North and South Hills
    -North Oakland

    The city-wide rezoning should be targeting and meeting in each of these specific areas since the General Plan has specific goals and objectives for each one.
    Example, residents in West Oakland should not have to deal with zoning on steep hillsides. Or, put differently, hill dwellers don’t need to deal with the industrial issues in West Oakland. Similarly, residents in North Oakland, where the commercial corridors are mature, may not need to participate in planning for the underutilized or blighted corridors in other areas of the city.

    Trying to approach all areas of the City in two meetings is wasteful and superficial, to say the least.

    2. Clear explanations of The “Maintain and Enhance” and “Grow and Change” designations found in the General Plan need to be articulated, especially for “Maintain and Enhance.” There needs to be an understanding of how these designations are intended to operate on specific sites, projects, or on sub-areas or neighborhoods; that understanding then needs to be expressed in the rezoning regulations.

    3. The mitigations put forth in the Land Use and Transportation Element’s EIR need to be included in all discussions to ensure that they are carefully integrated into the rezoning proposals and throughout the entire rezoning process.

    4. The City’s “Guidelines for Determining Project Conformity with the General Plan and Zoning Regulations” will need to be updated and revised as part of the rezoning.

    Yeah, come on down…

  98. Chris Kidd

    John, as I understand it, the meetings themselves will be split up into sections to deal with the different issues facing the differently zoned areas of the city. Believe me, staff has already considered the issues facing a city-wide residential rezone. Don’t be so quick to condemn until you’ve actually, you know, gone to a meeting.

  99. Chris Kidd

    Also, Central Business District (downtown), the Central Estuary, Mixed-use zones, parks/institutional/open space, and industrial zones are not included in this meeting.

  100. John Klein

    Chris: the point is to make sure the General Plan is discussed and considered when designing the rezoning recommendations; this has not always been the case in the Downtown rezoning. This is somewhat ironic, I’d say, since the entire point of the rezoning is to bring it into conformity with the General Plan.

    How can the rezoning take place without a clear understanding of General Plan policies, goals, and objectives? Along with city-wide provisions, the General Plan also lists the six specific planning areas; it seems a rather elementary idea to approach the rezoning by at least acknowledging and considering these policies, goals, and objectives and how they are intended to operate. I’d also say that this approach will naturally lead to more accurate and true expressions of General Plan provisions in the rezoning recommendations, both city wide and in the six planning areas.

  101. Chris Kidd

    Well John, if you attend the meetings you’ll be able to communicate those concerns face to face with staff. Personally, I’ve got no qualms with how they’re going about the process. It’s been pretty clear to me since the beginning that staff has incorporated the policies goals and objectives of the general plan into the framework they’ve already created for the residential zoning update. I can only assume that because they didn’t take a regional approach, staff felt that they would be able to address the differences between regions through the various changes to the zoning code. And unless each planning area received its own zoning code, changing the zoning to cater to one planning area could adversely affect other areas of the city with the same zoning designations. Besides, that kind of intensive neighborhood by neighborhood focus would be better executed through a specific plan, not through the broad brush of zoning.

    So I’ll see you Saturday?

  102. oaklandhappenings

    Wow, it hard to believe what I saw today on one of my walks of Oakland: although I always knew of Trestle Glen, I had never walked it before today; I am happy that I did. The architecture makes me feel as if I am walking in different parts of the country every 300 feet or so, and it seems very peaceful (despite 580 being so close). On a day of better weather, during a season with leaves on the trees, it would have been even prettier. The only thing about it that bothers me is the lack of ethnic diversity, based on the people I passed walking or biking past me. Yes, it–and perhaps surrounding streets– may be one of the “whitest” parts of the Oakland flats, which gives it a bit too much of a Lafayette/Orinda/Moraga feel. Even as a white person myself, I feel this way. Does anyone here live there, and can tell me otherwise about the racial makeup? I am hoping it is actually more reflective of several neighborhoods in the flats, rather than some in the hills in which there almost seems to be a feeling of segregation.

  103. len raphael

    OH, isn’t trestle glen the neighborhood which was built on fill over a ralroad trestle. result is that one side of the street the houses are slowly sinking?

    as for racial diversity, at least one person of color famously lived there for several years, MC Hammer.

  104. Eric Fischer

    I think the trestle in Trestle Glen was over the canyon that is now Park Boulevard, so if the houses are sinking it’s not really the trestle’s fault.

    As for racial diversity or lack thereof:
    Census tract 4050 (from Lakeshore to Park, below Trestle Glen Rd) is 68% white, 13% black, 12% asian.
    Census tract 4051 (from Lakeshore to Park, above Trestle Glen Rd) is 70% white, 17% black, 9% asian.

  105. John Klein

    Hi Chris: I can only refer you back to the six planning areas set forth in the General Plan (GP) – these are not my “constructs” but rather are specific areas in the GP. Each planning area has goals and objectives related to each it. And, yes, they do differ from area to area but not necessarily that there are different zoning regulations in the planning area. Rather, the planning areas guide how and where the various land use classifications of the GP are to be applied and distributed around the city. Again, how can the rezoning occur or be said to conform with the GP if the specifics of the GP are not an intimate part of the rezoning meetings and discussions?

    If you are on the Residential TAG, I certainly hope you are familiarizing yourself with the GP and not simply accepting staff’s Issue Papers as final and authoritative on the rezoning. The papers represent only one approach to rezoning and they tend to “pick and choose” among GP concepts; there is more in the GP than what is represented in the papers.

    At the meeting on Thursday, there was no such GP discussion. Rather, the meeting was more of a workshop regarding design review, asking for community feedback about which elements of design review seemed most appropriate for specific design scenarios. I provided GP issues and comments in written submissions. Also, the meeting did not provide a forum for discussing the Lake Merritt area. As part of the written submission, a request was made that the City provide a time, place, and forum for a focused discussion of Lake Merritt area.

  106. Ralph

    OakHappenings,
    I had that same observation walking through West Oakland, 77% black, but only 9% white, 9% Asian – the lack of diveristy is appalling.

    Just curious why is the general course of action to reference predominately white area that lack color instead of the reverse? Hmm, does this mean white people are more comfortable going to where they are versus integrating where they ain’t?

  107. Eric Fischer

    Len Raphael: Those numbers came from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTGeoSearchByListServlet?ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U (Select geographic type: Census Tract, state: California, county: Alameda, whatever tracts you are interested in, Add, Next, Race, Add, Show Result)

    Somewhere there must be a better user interface to census data, but it’s all there even if the access is clunky. My map of Bay Area census tracts is http://www.pobox.com/~enf/bay-area-population.pdf if you need one.

  108. oaklandhappenings

    Thanks, Eric for the numbers, and others for your posts. I will mention that my walk also took me through Cleveland Heights, which I had never walked before either (west of Park Blvd south of 580). It is definitely not as pleasant as Trestle Glen, but still peaceful, with decent-looking housing. I eventually reached Haddon Hill, before walking down the Cleveland cascade back down to the Lake. it was there, where I watched the progress of measure DD walking south on Lakeshore. Does anyone have any idea when that work will be done so we don’t have to walk along that stupid fence any longer? Also, the fountain at the E18th St. pier was turned off, along with no circulation leading to a major algae buildup (or something not pleasant to look at) at the south end below the viaduct.
    Anyway, all I’m trying to say is, wuzzup?

  109. hella bike

    Has anyone heard about the Parkway Theater closing this Sunday? This is such a tragedy. I don’t know of anywhere else in the Bay Area that served beer and pizza with a movie. I loved that it was a 10 minute walk from my place. The speakeasy in El Cerrito is still open but I won’t be heading there very often. Such a shame.

  110. J

    So i was just thinking, this is my first time posting and i was woundering what would be the issue with putting a macy’s or nordstroms on upper broadway rather than target (much less upscale and kinda represented in oakland with the walmart by the airport, i know its not close but i mean it is in the city) im sorry if this doesnt fall into line with the current conversation it was trully just at the top of my head and i have been reading this sit religiously for over a few years now and have never voiced an opinion. so in conclusion i am sorry about my horrific spelling and punctuation.