Thursday, January 07, 2016

Oakland calls NFL's bluff

Proposed new Raiders stadium in Oakland

It’s NFL self-imposed deadline week for San Diego, St. Louis, and Oakland to come up with concrete stadium plans to keep their teams from moving to Los Angeles, and one shoe has already dropped:

Oakland faces a Wednesday deadline to give the NFL a financing plan for a new Raiders football stadium, but city officials, who have repeatedly said they won’t stick taxpayers with the bill, indicated Monday that no plan is forthcoming. Instead, Oakland will send a letter to league officials simply updating them on the city’s efforts to persuade the Raiders to stay in town, said Claudia Cappio, Oakland’s assistant city administrator.

This is what’s known as calling the NFL’s bluff: With all indications that the NFL won’t be able to get 24 of 32 owners to agree on an L.A. relocation plan in votes next month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf doesn’t have much to lose by telling the league “Sorry, no Raiders stadium plan for you.” Especially since at this point, there’s no way Schaaf could present a more lucrative offer than what’s on the table in St. Louis — so her best hope for retaining the Raiders is either that the NFL gives Rams owner Stan Kroenke permission to move to L.A. and Raiders owner Mark Davis is left out in the cold, or that nobody decides anything, either of which means Davis is stuck having to continue negotiations with Oakland or else try to find another city to relocate to.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt Schaaf that if the Raiders do leave, it would solve another problem for her, namely by clearing room for A’s owner Lew Wolff to build a new stadium on the Oakland Coliseum property — which he claims he can do without public funds — instead of having to resort to the problematic alternative sites. We’ll see how this all plays out, but so far Schaaf seems to be negotiating from a position of strength, on the grounds that the city’s sports teams need Oakland more than it needs them — which is refreshing, at least, even if we don’t know just how far she’ll take it.

More on the issue in yesterday's East Bay Express: Schaaf's Stance on Raiders Is Spot On

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Opposition to Geary BRT

Geary Boulevard

A letter to the editor in the January 6 SF Chronicle:

We oppose Bus Rapid Transit plans to take out parking meters and replace them with bus lanes. My husband and I are the owners of a computer store located on Geary Boulevard between Spruce and Cook streets. My understanding is that there is a bus terminal planned on this block and that all the parking meters will be eliminated. Our business needs an area where people can drop off their computers and park their cars, so these changes will destroy our business. There are also medical offices on our block that need parking for their clients. Geary Boulevard is the home of many small businesses and medical offices that service the needs of San Franciscans.

Today, there is a healthy mix of public transportation and private cars and pedestrians along Geary Boulevard. All are important, and yet this plan focuses on just public transportation needs. Without parking many businesses will cease to exist. It is unfair to senior citizens and pedestrians as well. Handicapped people will not have access to businesses or medical offices should these changes go through. We strongly oppose this effort.

Therese Moldvay
San Francisco

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Highrises, gentrification, and "a car-free paradise"

26 highrises changing SF skyline

From a recent story on highrise development:

Individually, there may be economic logic behind each of these developments. But local residents fret about the overcrowding of public schools, strains on public transit, the loss of emergency medical services and more waves of gentrification even as City Hall lacks an effective master plan to coordinate growth. Instead, there are just piecemeal, opportunistic proposals. City leaders would be wise to guarantee that additional schools, parks and other sites and services that neighborhood residents actually want are provided in return for the increases in density or other changes the government seeks.

About San Francisco? Nope, it's about New York City.

Here's a rosy account in San Francisco magazine (San Francisco 2020) of this kind of development in SF. On transportation:

Environmental groups see green in high-density urban living because the more people in a city center, the less traffic and global-warming-causing exhaust in the region as a whole. Hence, the plan for a three-part, multibillion dollar public transportation program that would turn this part of the city into a car-free paradise.

Here is what’s supposed to happen: Commuters to Silicon Valley will sell their cars once Caltrans extends the South Bay–San Francisco rail line from Fourth and King into the new transit center. Mission Bay residents will use the light rail running along Third Street between the financial district and Bayview–Hunters Point or the subway linking Mission Bay, SoMa, the financial district, and Chinatown. The high-speed train connecting the city to Los Angeles and Sacramento will allow those who fled to the Central Valley or beyond San Jose to come back to work or shop and leave their cars at home.

And in 2020 I will become the Pope of Rome.

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