Oakland is trying to retain its Major League Baseball team.
Politicians know when it comes to funding a stadium or an arena project, you better not put the question of should public funding go into a stadium or an arena before the public. That stadium or arena project will more than likely be going down in an overwhelming defeat. In Oakland, the politicians have decided we don’t need the public’s approval to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure or to give Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher countless tax breaks and incentives in building a stadium village on the Oakland waterfront by Howard Terminal. The public should be kept away. The reason that Oakland citizens cannot vote on whether their tax money will go to help Fisher’s private enterprise? That’s simple.
“That (going to a public vote) could doom our efforts in Oakland,” Athletics President David Kaval warned. John Fisher is teaching a master class on the stadium game. Fisher got Las Vegas into the game and he and Kaval have pitted Oakland against Las Vegas. The threat of moving to Las Vegas has worked so far. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted to remove the port priority use designation on the 56-acre Howard Terminal site. That means Fisher’s project can proceed from the commission’s viewpoint. The referendum might not have been binding but it might have served as a reminder that people probably don’t want to invest in the stadium project. Oakland is still paying for the mid-1990s renovation of the Oakland Coliseum and local residents might continue to be paying for that building even if it is eventually razed because there is the new ballpark. Fisher wants his waterfront stadium village to also include 3,000 residential units, 400 hotel rooms, 1.5 million square feet of office space along with a 3,500-seat theater and 18 acres of public parks.
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