Sunday, December 14, 2008

No Stadium In Fremont

Dear Mayor / City Council members, City Planning (Kelly Diekmann @

I am writing to urge you NOT build a stadium in Fremont.  Either proposal is a bad idea.   At a minimum, REMOVE the paragraph for "off-site alternate" from the EIR.

I am requesting the following;

  • this letter be included in the EIR report(s) for the stadium proposals.
  • to see ALL communication (email, voice mail, fax, regular us mail) between the City of Fremont and all other pertinent parties (The Oakland A's, Pacific Commons owners, BART, etc.)", under the provisions of the Sunshine Law.

You have already received a litany of negative feedback regarding the impacts of traffic, pollution, crime, drain to city resources, and impact on city residents.   I urge you to look at long term negative impact  to our city financial resources/taxpayer dollars.  FACT:  Fremont is currently running a $6.3 million deficit (source: Fremont News – winter 08).  Adding a ballpark to our city is NOT going to help us.  Please do the same research we (the residents/taxpayers) of Fremont are doing and you will find numerous studies, articles, books from independent sources have all come to the same conclusion.  Building stadiums is a drain on the city/taxpayers that host them.  The only people who seem to benefit from building new stadiums are the team owners.  DO NOT BUILD A STADIUM IN FREMONT.

Below are references to articles, books, etc.  There is much more information available. It all comes to the same conclusion….building stadiums is not beneficial to the city/taxpayers who host the stadium. 

Should you decide to proceed with the ballpark idea please address the list of questions in # 5 below, “Stadium Issues / Questions.”

1.  “As Stadiums Rise, So Do Costs to Taxpayers” -- New York Times, Nov. 2008 

…the cost to the city of infrastructure…has jumped to about $458 million, from $258 million in 2005… 

“In general, stadiums are not engines for economic development, “said Ronnie Lownestein, the director of the New York City Independent Budget Office.  “Inflating the economic benefits associated with stadiums that typically have only part-time or seasonal employment is missing the point.”

2. Sports Stadium Madness: Why It Started, How to Stop It (summary):

A typical sports facility costs local taxpayers more than $10 million a year….and teams routinely claim all revenues from parking and concessions.

According to The Brookings Institution, "a new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. ... [T]he economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus."

3. Long-term Economic Impacts of Stadiums and Sports Teams A Summary of Robert Baade's Work by Janice Houston:,0,w

Conclusion:  Baade’s findings suggest that for most cities, Salt Lake included, the tangible economic benefits of hosting a professional sports team and/or constructing a new venue are not the highest and best use of public funds. Very little tangible economic activity is generated from them, unlike road construction or other public works.

4.  Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It,  Mike Weintraub

Proponents of stadiums argue that they generate money for the city. Mike Weintraub debunks that myth in his book Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who Is Paying for it.

5.  Stadium Issues / Questions:

-       Provide a cost/benefit analysis for all site options modeled out 5, 10 years with “what if” scenarios for both good and bad economic times. Stadiums generally go in areas in need of economic redevelopment to improve the area. 

-       How will  the ballpark generate revenue for Fremont, NOW, in the future?

o   How much revenue are you projecting each year?  Based on what facts?

o   FACT:  City is currently running a $6.3 Mil deficit (source: Fremont News – winter 08)

o   Why are you proposing adding more infrastructure which will add costs to the city/taxpayers?

-       Have any tax breaks been given to the A’s if they select Fremont ?

o   If so, provide details of tax exemption and duration.

-       Who pays for the infrastructure to prepare the site for the ballpark (e.g. road improvements/on-going maintenance, water, power, sewer, etc.)?

-       Who currently owns the 240 acres in the area of the proposed Warm Springs Alt. ballpark site?

-       What is current zoning of the Warm Springs site?

-       What zoning is required to build a ballpark?   Serve / consume  alcohol on site?

-       What are our city rules/laws regarding “tailgating” parties (alcohol outside the venue)?

-       How will “tailgating” parties be managed?

-       How many people would be employed at the ballpark during any given game day?

-       How do current ballpark employees typically travel to work?    # by car?      # by public transit?

-       Has anyone talked with Santa Clara leaders involved in the negotiations for the 49’er stadium in their city?   Why have they been unable to create a workable plan? 

-       Have you talked with leaders in other cities who have recently built stadiums?  Did/ have the costs exceeded projections?  WHY?  All the evidence I have found indicates ballparks are NOT a good investment for host cities/taxpayers

-       Traffic congestion / crowds / crime – What is the EXACT plan to channel traffic / manage parking / crime in either venue?

-       Who pays for the personnel to do these jobs (traffic / parking management; crime follow-up)? 

-       IF A’s pay for some of the security personnel what happens when/if A’s ownership changes? What guarantees do we have that new owners will pick-up the tab?

-       Who decides how much security is needed to secure adjacent neighborhoods/retailers?

-       What is the background / training of the security employees? 

-       Are the ballpark security personnel armed?

-       What is the crime rate on game days around the current stadium location?

-       What types of crimes are committed?

-       How many incidents have occurred in the last year?

-       List the crimes committed at each stadium in the last year.

-       What is the conviction rate?

-       Outline, in detail, plans to address all access points to the ballpark at either location (Pac Commons / Warm Spgs)  .

-       Outline, in detail,  the plan to eliminate a travel and / or parking burden to residents who must conduct their regular business on game days at either venue (Pac commons / Warm sprgs) 

Who profits when stadiums are built?  The team owners profit while the citizens pay the bill.  See the following blog for more information.

Who loses when stadiums are built?  The local residents / taxpayers!

The Politics of Bread and Circuses Building the City for the Visitor Class
Peter Eisinger Wayne State University
City leaders in the United States devote enormous public resources to the construction of large entertainment projects, including stadiums, convention centers, entertainment districts, and festival malls. Their justification is that such projects will generate economic returns by attracting tourists to the city. Although this economic expectation is tested in the literature, little attention is given to the political and social implications of building a city for visitors rather than local residents. A focus on building the city for the visitor class may strain the bonds of trust between local leaders and the citizenry and skew the civic agenda to the detriment of fundamental municipal services.

As a long time resident and taxpayer of this city I urge you to uphold your obligation to us (the residents and taxpayers) and come to the only logical conclusion:   A ballpark in Fremont is a BAD idea.



  1. Link to the Mercury News article is broken.

  2. Fremont says it is economically challenged right now - P.D. have to cut off responses to residential burglar alarms. When city streets require traffic patrol and occassional fights break out after a game - who will respond ?

    City leadership cant plan Centerville. How will they plan a MLB baseball stadium ?

  3. Fremont is a not a large city for a sports stadium like for Oakland A's. Buidling such stadium anywhere in Fremont doesn't bring any goodness to the city - neither for the residence, nor the business parks, nor the government. It's such a miserable idea to even think of building one in a residential area so close to an excellent elementary school like Weibel!!! I'm shocked why this proposal will even come up! If even the businesses like Costco in Pacific Grove park don't want such a stadium be built close to them with a large empty land, how can this stadium be built in a nice residential area close to Weible and Warm Spring?!
    No A's stadium in Fremont!!!
    - a Fremont citizen

  4. Fremont is bigger than San Francisco. But San Francisco has more population than Fremont. A lot of people choose to live in San Francisco is because shopping, dinning, entertainment, housing, and offices.

  5. A's have a home now.

    Their current home is a mess. I would not walk around the coliesum at night alone. Why would I want this neighbor in Fremont ?

    Why would I think that A's won't leave Fremont in a few years and leave us holding the bag on another mess ?

    Why would I think that the A's will pay for the problems their fans bring to town ? WHen there is a traffic problem at Paseo Padre and Decoto because of a drunk driver - who pays for the P.D. and EMT response ? Not Wolfe !!!! Not the restaraunts in Pacific Commons !!

  6. The web site located at -

    - is Pro-A's

    Dont waste your time posting here - the moderator will not allow commentary that is contradictory to his position which is pro-A's

  7. Wasserman has delusions of Fremont being San Francisco. He thinks his supporting constituency in Niles has the same kind of economic and political "clout" that businesses in the S.F. financial district have.

    He thinks that the apathy expressed by so few voters pulling the "Wasserman for Mayor" lever was somehow supportive of his plans.

    Wasserman thinks that Fremont taxpayers will eventually offer him and his pet Diaz more general fund money.

  8. recall wasserman and sue chan

  9. I Support a Recall of Mayor Bob Wasserman and council member Susan Chan. Both of these individuals which support the A's stadium in Warm Springs knew from Lew Wolff prior to the Novemember 2008 election that the Warm Springs Alternative was on the front burner and the PACIFIC Commons site was dead.

    However, The November 17th Notice of Preparation and the announcement by Lew Wolff that Warm Springs site was preferred over the Pacific Commons site was intentionally delayed until after the election. This delay was orchestrated to prevent the A's stadium supporters Wasserman and Susan Chan from losing votes and the election. Few would have supported putting a stadium adjacent to a residential community.

    This action by Mayor Wasserman and Chan are Chicago politics at there worst. Sign the recall petition to Recall Wasserman and Chan for selling out our community!

  10. Bob Wasserman has supported the A's coming to Fremont way before the last election. This is not new news. He is my neighbor and I guess people around here like his liberal views. I don't.( I am surprised he wants the A's at WS as it is in his backyard too.) I believe he won the election because Morrison (anti A's) came in late to the election and took a lot of Cho's (wanted to let the people decide with a special election)votes. Wasserman also was the ex-police chief and is very popular with city public workers as he approved better pensions for them before the election.
    In 2000, our family was affected with school boundary changes. Although there was a huge uproar within the Weibel community, the school board still went ahead and changed the boundaries not caring much about how we felt. Those few members had all the power to do this! Now I see this same power happening with the City Council. They want the A's and do they have the same power to make this decision? I believe they do. I hope economics or something will stop it from happening because I am pretty certain it will have a negative impact on Fremont.

  11. There don't seem to be checks and balances, the 5-member council and businesses can do whatever they like and step on the back of defenseless citizens. I couldn't believe I was in 21st century America!
    Let's do something to correct this. Together we are strong. Power to the people!

  12. There is a City Council meeting tonight Tuesday 27th at 7pm located at 3300 Capitol Avenue in Fremont. Be there to Protest.

  13. I think, we should recall council members who are clearly not representing the people of Fremont.

    Anyone knows what actions we can take to recall council members.

  14. Wow, this blog post has become the most popular ones, probably because of its title "No Stadium In Fremont." I don't even remember who wrote this letter.

    Please join for more discussion and actions. If you see something missing, add a discussion there, so more people can participate.

    Great to have you guys here;-)

  15. Does anyone know of anyone who we could get to cover this story??? Does anyone have any connections to get some press on this?? We need to put some heat on the city council . Please use your connections to help this community.

  16. Responding to the posting by Anonymous on 1/28 on how to recall council members, there are I think 2 postings on the blog or forum of providing the info. on how to recall the mayor.
    Think about it.

  17. I heard the the city can approve the project without residents approval according to the law.