Category Archives: Athletics

What's Your Stance on the A's and Patterson Ranch?

Patterson Ranch and the Oakland Athletics possible move to Fremont are arguably the two biggest issues facing the Fremont City Council of late. The incumbents have nothing on their web site about either of these important issues.

On both of these issues, it’s not surprising that the incumbents don’t want to discuss these. For Patterson Ranch, they’ve both taken campaign contributions from the land owners. On the A’s, they spent a lot of money and staff time investigating the issue in secret knowing there would be significant opposition.

My opinions on these matters are made clear by the following:

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Has the San Jose Arena (HP Pavilion) "Rebuilt San Jose"? No.

I got lucky and was able to go to the Sharks game on Saturday night. It reminded me of an email I received from someone saying that the Sharks Arena (HP Pavilion) has ‘rebuilt San Jose’. I’ve heard this argument before from others trying to argue that sports arenas can be catalysts for economic growth. Based on numerous economic studies that I’ve read, I don’t believe that to be true in general. In any event, the San Jose Arena does not provide evidence of this.

The Arena was built in 1993, seventeen years ago. The area immediately around the arena was rather depressed. It is largely industrial with some housing nearby on St. John. The area was hit with flooding of the Guadalupe River in the nineties. Many of the homes on St. John, within a couple of blocks of the arena, are still boarded up. Below is a shot of Autumn St. from Google Maps looking towards the Arena (seen in the background to the left). This is typical of this industrial land uses in this area.

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Will the New Ballpark Plan Include Rezoning to Allow Over 3,000 Homes?

On the Tri-City Beat blog Matt Artz created a post noting that the original agreement to bring the A’s to Fremont included allowing them to develop over 3,000 homes. Mayor Wasserman noted that he would reconsider doing this if a ballpark were back on the table. Below is my post on this.

Of all of the huge issues that were glossed over in last week’s Council meeting, this was arguably the biggest. Why in the world would Wolff and the A’s be willing to spend the $400-500 million needed to build a ballpark? I guess establishing the rationale for a developer actually wanting to pay for the ballpark is not necessary if you’re just doing a ‘conceptual analysis’.

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Position Paper on the A's Locating on the NUMMI Site

My position paper on the recent ‘conceptual approach’ of building a stadium on NUMMI property.

I spoke at the most recent Council meeting discussing this issue.  Below is what I had to say in the one minute the Council allowed each speaker.

Much economic research has been done on the effect of sports stadiums on local economies.  The results have consistently shown that ballparks are simply NOT good economic generators.

You can not provide us with any examples of an instance where a ballpark, on its own, has served as a catalyst for economic development.  It simply has not happened.

You are suggesting that, in these difficult economic times, that we gamble with a large amount of money on a completely unproven economic model.  This is clearly an irresponsible use of our taxpayers’ money.

We know for sure that NUMMI did not want to operate right next to a ballpark.  If NUMMI had a problem with it, I imagine that any large manufacturer, or any large employer for that matter, would feel the same way.  We also know for sure that some of our largest retailers did not want a ballpark right next to their stores.

I understand that these are difficult economic times.  It will probably be quite a while before we can hope to win back the employment that we lost with NUMMI.  The last thing we should do is put something on that site that will actually be a deterrent to a new manufacturer.