The most recent Robert Gammon article in the East Bay Express details what Oakland officials felt they had to do regarding the A’s ballpark situation and how they accomplished it. Oakland officials have been criticized for their failure to put a deal together. Until now. This time they did things right.
Here is a list of the challenges Oakland has faced and how they have dealt with them:
*Political Will: Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums put together a group of city officials and business leaders and they were effectively able to show a unified front.
*Site: For years, A’s co-owner Lew Wolff has said Oakland is “too built up” to provide an adequate ballpark site. Well, Oakland has found two new sites that have more than enough acreage and that are aesthetically pleasing. Also, a new stadium in Oakland — which is the Bay Area’s most cental location, would offer excellent public transportation options, making it the easiest ballpark to access in all of Northern California. Each of the new sites would offer all the advantages that a waterfront location provides, giving Jack London Square a potentially serious economic boost — with possibly enough land left over for additional development.
*Business Support: If you look at the LetsGoOakland.com founding supporters list, you will see a broad spectrum of business leaders from all over the Bay Area, not only the Oakland/East Bay area. Those supporters are just the tip of the iceberg. A well-executed ballpark plan embedded into a larger economic redevelopment concept would snowball into wider business support.
Oakland officials obviously have spent considerable time in putting these sites together. Being successful at avoiding leaks while getting many of their ducks in a row bodes well for Oakland’s ability to execute a complicated deal such as this. There still is a lot of work to do, but the city leaders have generated good momentum from their efforts to keep the A’s in Oakland on terms that will be favorable to Oakland, MLB and A’s ownership.