Regardless of Metropolis Council approval, A’s and Oakland Far Aside on stadium plan – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (CBS SF) – City council voted 6-1 on Tuesday for an amended term sheet for the much-discussed Howard Terminal Stadium project, but Oakland Athletics said the plan just doesn’t work for them.
Six councilors voted in favor of the city’s proposal, while councilor Noel Gallo voted “no” and councilor Carroll Fife abstained.
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The vote came after hours of heated debate as stadium union leaders opposed housing advocates and Chinatown community leaders.
While the vote does not guarantee that the ballpark will be built, it does allow negotiations between the team and Oakland City officials to continue.
Tuesday’s vote is an important step in rooting the A’s in Oakland or uprooting that beloved team forever.
Athletics team president Dave Kaval – who had previously said the Oakland-provided term sheet was unacceptable to the team – said the A’s remained at a dead end after voting with city officials.
Council members changed the term sheet so that the developer and the franchisee are not responsible for the estimated $ 352 million cost of the off-site transportation infrastructure.
“This isn’t a term sheet that works for A’s; it is not the basis for our proposal, which we approve, ”said Kaval at the meeting. “There is no benefit in voting for something that we disagree with.”
Some Oakland officials were equally pessimistic that the two sides would find a way to resolve issues that stand in the way of the waterfront stadium plan.
“I don’t know where we’re going after doing somersaults, receiving insults and being disrespected,” said Carroll Fife, a member of Oakland City Council
City officials and A team leaders also disagree about the need for affordable housing included in the Oakland Termsheet.
City Councilor and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said the city council changes addressed the A’s biggest concern, who had to pay for off-site transportation infrastructure improvements. Nevertheless, the A’s could not agree to the total offer of the city.
The Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao made a statement in which she wanted to make it clear to the public that the vote is not binding, but “will give further directions on how we as a city move forward with the negotiations with the A’s”.
Thao said she wanted the team to stay in Oakland but understood their responsibility to keep the project on a solid financial footing for the city and urged the team to respect it.
“There is a way forward with this project, but that means the A’s must come back to the negotiating table and respect our responsibilities as officials and address the concerns of the port, the West Oakland community and Chinatown,” the statement said Thao read. “If the A’s commit to staying rooted in Oakland, they must embrace the needs and concerns of our communities and invest in them as we will invest in them.”
While the amendment relieved the team of infrastructure costs, the city also increased its demand for affordable housing from 30% to 35% of all units built for development.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff tried to remain optimistic despite the gap between what the A’s want and what city officials are willing to give them.
“We’re very close to a full match with the A’s,” Schaaf said on Tuesday. “The main difference is that Oakland is firm on community services and the sources of funding for them.”
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Before the vote, citizens expressed their opinion on the plan.
“Please keep the Oakland A’s in Oakland. For the hundreds of people who work for them, ”said an Oakland resident who gave her name as Norinne. “You need these jobs to get up every morning. We mustn’t lose these jobs. Wherever the A’s go, the A’s have to stay in Oakland. “
Some criticized the team’s negotiating tactics.
“There is no example of a successful work harbor next to a residential complex,” said local resident Margie Lewis. “The team is simply trying to create a political crisis for the city and capitalizing on the public’s fear of losing another sports team, and this is being used to pressure elected officials to quickly approve an unacceptable term sheet.”
Major League Baseball has already given the team the go-ahead to exit the San Francisco Bay Area, with Las Vegas being one of the cities actively pursuing the team.
Negotiations have taken place in the past few days. The team insists that a deal on a new stadium is required to keep the A’s from moving elsewhere. The team’s current lease at Oakland Coliseum ends in 2024.
“I think there are concerns that they might vote on their term sheet, which really doesn’t have any specifics or details, and I think that would be really challenging because we really didn’t agree on it,” Kaval said earlier. “We hope that they will vote on something that we have proposed or that we would agree to. If not, it’s kind of a no. “
Fans who KPIX spoke to outside the Colosseum on Tuesday know very well how quickly a team can separate from a city.
“If we lose the A’s, what then? The stadium is old. There are problems, ”said one.
“Oakland and the A’s. The A’s and Oakland. One doesn’t work without the other, ”said a second fan.
The East Oakland Stadium Alliance, which represents seafarers and other businesses, says the project will disrupt operations in the Port of Oakland and threaten jobs.
“The east coast ports are being upgraded and spending hundreds of millions as we think about building a playground in the middle of a park. It doesn’t make sense, ”said Aaron Wright, spokesman for the East Oakland Stadium Alliance.
Workers and environmental and community officials held a rally to the “No to Oakland A” agreement Monday afternoon, saying it would disrupt operations.
“Ultimately, this is a functioning port,” said Mike Jacob, VP and General Counsel of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. “This is not an empty location behind us. We watched these trucks come and go behind us. We work here every day. “
“We are concerned about the watercraft that will be in the turning basin. What are the ships going to do – stop? ”Said Susan Ransom to SSA Terminal.
“I want to keep the team here,” says Mercedes Rodriguez, a longtime Oakland resident. “The people who work at Oakland A’s – I know them very well and they are good people, but they should be in the Coliseum.”
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Kenny Choi contributed to this story.