Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lots of potential problems if A's move to Fremont

My Word: Lots of potential problems if A's move ballpark to Fremont
By Vinnie Bacon
My Word
Posted: 02/03/2009 12:01:00 AM PST

IN HIS Jan. 29 My Word, Dominic Dutra wrote that the Oakland Athletics coming to Fremont could "lead to significant economic growth for years to come," and that the impacts could be addressed to "an extent acceptable to most reasonable people." 

There are many who disagree with this optimistic assessment. 

A number of these concerned residents have joined together to form the Fremont Citizens Network, a group that feels that the negative impacts of a ballpark would far outweigh the benefits to the city. 

Fremont Citizens Network is educating people about the reality of building a ballpark in Fremont.

Dutra doesn't mention that the ballpark is conditional on the city changing the general plan to allow for 3,200 homes to be constructed west of Interstate 880, an area that is zoned for industrial uses that could bring high-paying jobs to Fremont. 

The homes would add children to our already overcrowded school system and require city services in a time when we're already having trouble paying for the existing services.

These homes would be in a redevelopment area. Unlike most other homes in Fremont, their property taxes would go to the Redevelopment Agency where they could not be used for police and fire services.

We would agree that an independent economic study needs to be done. No one has presented a concrete explanation of how a ballpark generates economic growth. We're just supposed to trust that it will happen.

The economic analysis done by the A's shows that the project would cost the general fund (which pays for police and fire services) more than $1 million a year in the long run. This analysis was done before the current downturn in the economy. 

Clearly, retail estimates should now be revised downward and sales tax revenue is the key component of the project providing revenue to Fremont.

The project proponents brag about the stadium creating jobs for Fremont. But their own analysis shows that these employees would only earn an average of $26,000 per year.

The traffic problems the stadium would bring are presented as a minor problem that can be easily mitigated. The A's have estimated that a game would generate an average of 11,000 car trips, the equivalent of five lanes of freeway traffic running at capacity for a full hour.

We simply don't have the roads to handle this level of traffic. According to the A's schedule, a game would coincide with the evening rush hour on one in six week nights (about 42 times a year).

Attendees trying to avoid the parking fee (currently $25) undoubtedly would drive around looking for free spaces in nearby neighborhoods.

The comparison to San Jose is not appropriate. 

San Jose already had a downtown with many high-paying jobs before the HP Pavilion was built. The proposed site in Fremont is between an auto plant and a residential community. What would support businesses in this area when the ballpark is empty? 

And if ballparks generate significant economic growth, why hasn't Oakland seen this growth in the 40 years that the Coliseum and Oracle Arena have been there?

Economic analyses are always estimates. Anyone would have to agree that this project brings significant risks to our city's economy.

We believe that the mistake here would be taking on such a risky endeavor, especially during our current economic situation.


  1. It is about time to have Fremont Mayor and City Council come to their common sense. A stadium in Fremont is a terrible idea based upon a flawed logic. Fremont future needs no Stadium but a magnet to create high paying jobs, great schooling systems and residential neighborhoods. It is the job of Mayor and all city officials to make that happen and to attract people to come to Fremont to live and work. We do not need to get people to Fremont to consume. Our Mayor and City Council members need to shift their paradigm; please keep in mind that jobs paid $26K can hardly make a living in Fremont and our kids will never take those jobs as their career objectives. The Mayor and all members of the City Council need to be proactive to hire an indepdent firm to assess A's business proposition, which was full of empty promises. In light of the current economic crisis and A's focus to build their stadium at the Warm Springs site, it is time for the Mayor and City Council to show they deserve citizens' trust by "DENYING A'S PLAN TO BUILD THEIR STADIUM AT WARM SPRINGS OR ANYWHERE IN FREMONT".


  2. The Mayor and his minion City Council Members are old school thinkers. What the Mayor says the council members say. If they want to set Fremont up for economic growth Baseball which is in decline is not the answer. They will get 81 days of revenue per year. Alameda County will lose $2 Billion in lost property tax revenue due to the impacts the stadium will have on housing values. Did the A's tell you this??

    Fremont should be thinking for the future. Put in a Tech Type Museum, Exploratorium for families, Academy of Sciences type of venue, Art and Cultural Centers, A Ferry Terminal at Pacific Commmons, solar power facilities, etc. These are low impact, cool, and 2009 opportunities for Fremont.

    We Cannot Trust the Mayor or Council!
    The Mayor and council cannot even keep the Central Park Water Slide Park on budget. That project will burn tax payer dollars forever. For the same cost my kids and I would rather drive 20 minutes to San Jose's incredible Raging Waters. Fremont Planners are idiots, with no clue on what the market wants.
    How in the world did the Mayor and Council 1) get elected 2) will decide the location of the A's stadium.

    I will tell you one thing I have heard from a Pacific Common tenant which is "that the Mayor and several Council members knew that the Warm Springs Stadium was going to be the preferred alternative but decided to have the A's not release the information until after the election, for fears they would lose."

    God help us.
    Recall Mayor Wasserman, Sue Chan and the other idiots.

  3. I live in Pleasanton and just learned about the A's wanting to put a STADUIM next to 680 between Durham and Mission BLVD. I commute on Highway 680 pass the proposed stadium location. Even with the widening of Highway 680 adding 5,000 to 6,000 cars just before the Sunol Grade (which is one of the Worst Commutes in the Bay Area) is dangerous and pure lunacy.
    What is wrong with the Mayor of Fremont, City Staff, and your City council for even considering a project like this off of 680?

    You what support against the Stadium off of 680. Post signs above the soundwall on 680 and off of the Durham overpass. On your signs Identify who to contact to protest the 680 area stadium.

    Thousands upon thousands of commuters that commute to and from Silicon Valley that live in areas like, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, Tracy, etc will support you.

    RJ Pleasanton

  4. Good idea to post protest signs somewhere around there, for the 680 commuters to see. Think about it. You have given us protestors some ideas!

  5. Another good comment from http://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/letterstotheeditor/ci_11647079

    Ballpark Woes

    I'D LIKE to thank Vinnie Bacon for his insightful and fact-based rebuttal (Feb. 3 My Word) to Dominic Dutra's over-optimistic praise of an A's ballpark in Fremont. (Jan. 29 My Word)
    I'm 100 percent in agreement with him.

    Just because a ballpark sounds cool does not mean it's good for us.

    My greatest fear is that Dutra will get his wish, and that along with it, he will bring upon us all a tsunami of problems that will overwhelm us when we can least afford it.

    I beg our city leaders to exercise great caution regarding this issue in these terrible economic times. Please do not saddle us with more than we can handle.

    The consequences of a hasty, poorly researched decision in favor of a ballpark could be ruinous. And we, the residents of Fremont, would have to bear the brunt of these consequences.

    Dutra has not convinced me this will not happen.

    Until he does, I will not be in favor of an A's ballpark in Fremont.

    Cynthia A. Earl