Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BREAKING: Senator Barbara Boxer Sent "Keep A's In Oakland" Letter To Baseball Commissioner Selig

I just received this letter copy via email.  It comes on the heels of the news that Oakland A's Owner Lew Wolff called Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums to request a meeting to discuss ways to keep the A's in Oakland.  


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent the following letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig:

March 31, 2009

Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167

Dear Commissioner Selig:

            I appreciate the announcement you made yesterday that you are forming a committee to review the various proposals regarding the future of the Oakland Athletics.  As your committee does its work, I urge you to do everything possible to keep the team in Oakland.

            As you may know, Oakland has recently gone through some difficult times and families there deserve some good news. As someone who splits her time between Washington, DC, southern California and Oakland’s Jack London Square neighborhood, I have seen first hand that Oakland is teeming with new young families and major developments that present endless possibilities. My children learned to love baseball through the Oakland A's and our family was so fortunate to develop that common bond.  We must give a new generation of families that same chance.

Oakland is witnessing a downtown renaissance, with new residences, restaurants, art galleries and entertainment venues opening weekly.  Two new office towers are in development and the Port of Oakland recently announced a private investment of close to $1 billion. Major League Baseball can play a key role in continuing this momentum by working to keep the A's in Oakland.

            Through their rich history and shared experiences, the identities of the City of Oakland and the Athletics are forever linked.  For more than 40 years, the people of Oakland have backed the Athletics during good times and bad. In the 1970s, Oakland celebrated the Athletics' glorious run of three consecutive World Series victories. And, together, the city of Oakland and the Athletics mourned the devastation caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake that took place during the team's 1989 championship run.

            Now that the team has ended its consideration of Fremont as a possible home, the time is right to renew the focus on keeping the Athletics in Oakland.

            It is critical that Major League Baseball and the A's ownership do everything possible to keep the A's in Oakland and I stand ready to help in any way possible, including attending and setting up meetings for you and the Committee.  Please do not hesitate to call me at 202-XXX-XXXX to discuss this issue.


                              Barbara Boxer
                              United States Senator

BREAKING: A's Owner Lew Wolff Calls Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums To Request Meeting

I have it from a very good source that Oakland Athletics Owner and Managing Partner Lew Wolff called Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums today to request a meeting to "explore options to keep the A's in Oakland".

That's great news and it comes on the heels of Monday's report that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig formed a committee to determine why a baseball stadium deal was not struck in Oakland, and Selig did so with wording that could have been read as a forecast of a move to take the A's out of Oakland.

But Wolff's phone call to Dellums today signals a new start to a recommittment to Oakland by the A's owner. Meanwhile here's the stadium proposal the Mayor's Task Force saw last Thursday:

Coliseum Stadium Plan For Oakland Athletics Revealed

The Commissioner of Baseball on Monday announced a new committee devoted to determining the viability of baseball in the East Bay. In his statements Commissioner Bud Selig said that the A's owners have exhausted their efforts in Oakland.

But really, they have not.

Here's an example in this plan for a new Coliseum baseball stadium on the parking lot land of the facility.

The plan, created by architect Frank Dobson and Retail Leasing expert Bob Leste with Oaklander Steve Lowe was first introduced in 2004 and while it was presented to the then-new ownership group and A's Managing Partner Lew Wolff, it went largely ignored by them. Wolff was known to be in love with a concept called a baseball village and needed a lot of land to make that work, hence the Fremont land chase.

But the idea called for hundreds of acres of land, more than the A's organization could afford given the economy and so needing public money turned to Fremont, which turned a deaf ear to their request.

Wolff has not wanted to be in Oakland, but the Mayor's Sports and Entertainment Task Force wants to maintain the A's here in Oakland. To that end, it supports the plan you're about to see in this video.

The plan needs to be upgraded for 2009 and a financing plan developed. It also lacks an economic impact analysis and a job development report. But just eyeballing the plan I can say it can generate about 10,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs. It calls for a new stadium, a parking structure, and a retail structure at the Coliseum as well as an enlarged BART bridge. The total cost is about $440 million but we at the task force understand that was a 2004 estimate.

The video shows much of Bob Leste's presentation to the task force last Thursday and the discussion as well as the plan itself.