Saturday, December 13, 2008

At What True Cost

(a great letter from comment by kc)

Just wanted to post my draft letter that I will be sending, if people need some more ideas for content when they write to the Council.
I had warmed up to the idea of a stadium, but now that they've decided to try and move the A's stadium to a couple blocks from Weibel, I am back in solid opposition to the plan.

Of course, this is only one part of the city, but it sits at a major entry point for thousands of commuters.

The problem is that every day one can bear witness to the traffic that is extremely dangerous during commute hours. The back up at 680 / Durham that forces people to sit in the slow lane at a dead stop while freeway traffic whips around them at high speed is just a starting point. Many have taken to bypassing the whole area and taking Grimmer into the Irvington area because they can sit through three or four lights waiting to get through the intersection. This congestion is so well documented that there is an easy lawsuit for the next victim's family, should the city go ahead with increasing traffic to the area.

What about game days? The Council should look at the layout of the streets near that intersection. It is obvious that people will be weaving in and out of neighborhoods in order to get more quickly to the stadium. Isn't that going to require a lot more police presence to keep homes --and people-- safe. We already went to a barebones staff that can't answer home alarms. Who will be paying for that additional security?

Another issue that makes little sense is that the Council will not realistically anticipate the project's impact on the school system. The Board of Education is not even allowed to get involved, yet clearly enrollment would be impacted if the city agrees to build a stadium/housing complex. A new school built from scratch would not add income to our city coffers, rather, it would pull from it. The assumption is that the young upscale demographic attracted to the complex will spend their money and be taxed. But once they have Kindergarden age children, they'll probably prefer to quit the fun single life offered by the "Santana Row" housing and raise their children near grass and in the Mission District. Not enough children means busing out to the few schools that can take overloads. Are we going to tell these young, upscale couples that Grimmer, which is struggling to meet its API goals, is their only option? Certainly Wiebel and the Warms Springs school, which won't require crossing a major freeway to attend, haven't a seat to spare. Oh, and remember, the FUSD budget is hosed and can't even offer buses.

Finally, there is already a clear path towards "the wrong side of town" mentality. The Warm Springs / Weibel housing is still affordable and yet not at the mindboggling cost of the Mission district. How much will the already tumbling prices of homes in the area be devalued when you fold in the increased grafitti, post game alchohol binges and other given inconveniences of mass gatherings?

Sure, the A's stadium will bring money, but in the long run, at what true cost?


  1. Remember when our City Council wanted to propose Utility Users Taxes because the city was running out of money ? Remember when the city discovered more than expected Tax revenue right after the Utility Tax failed ?

    If our city cannot forecast taxes accurately - why should I trust them to forecast the projected costs and possible revenues associated with MLB ballpark ????

    My city managers are supposed to know about taxes - I think they know very little about MLB ballparks. Wolfe will take Fremont taxpayers to the cleaners.

    Property tax revenue for City of Fremont will decrease drastically. The amount would be in the range of 400-thousand $ per year revenue lost for City and 1.2-million $ per year revenue lost for school or even more.
    Warm Springs/Mission areas are high-end residential area, so with stadium around, property value likely to drop 100K to 400K per house. Conservatively, say each house price drop only 200K and only 1,000 houses are affected. That’s 200 million dollars of property tax lost. If we base on 1% tax rate and 20% distribution to City, 60% distribution to School; this would means 200 million x 1% x 20% =400 K budget lost per year for City and 200 million x 1% x 60% =1.2 Million budget lost per year for School.
    (Please see Redwood City/San Mateo County’s distribution for reference: )