The Port of Oakland Board and Oakland Athletics are set to sign an exclusive four-year term sheet to lease the Howard Terminal waterfront property to the team for construction of a new waterfront ballpark. An item on the term sheet is scheduled to come before the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners on May 13.
The A’s will pay the Port $100,000 for the right to continue negotiations over the purchase of the 50-acre property located west of Jack London Square. The team hopes to build a 35,000-seat ballpark on the site that also includes 3,000 housing units and retail. Under terms of the agreement, the A’s would pay an additional $150,000 to the Port if a deal is not consummated after one year; $200,000 after two years; and $250,000 after three years.
The framework for the term sheet sets the annual rent price for the property at $3.8 million for the first 20 years. The proposal reserves the Port’s authority to approve any final project for Howard Terminal until the A’s have fully navigated the long list of land-use hurdles associated with building on the bay. It also requires the A’s to offer a comprehensive traffic plan to the Port as part of the permitting process.
Meanwhile, legislation that would help the City of Oakland finance infrastructure and transportation projects for the ballpark was approved Monday by the State Senate on a 34-0 vote. The bill would allow Oakland to create an infrastructure financing district.
“Any financing that emanates from the district would not be used for the actual stadium itself — that is going to be privately financed — but rather for the other transportation and other infrastructure that may be needed at the site,” Skinner told her Senate colleagues.
State Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa, said he struggled with giving support to the plan at a time when the finances of Oakland’s school district are so poor.
“I get a little nervous about certain transactions and I’ve looked pretty closely at the City of Oakland,” said Moorlach, who labeled the bill a “redevelopment-like vehicle.” He then read out loud the Oakland Unified School District’s dismal financial record. But Moorlach’s then offered his support for the bill with a caveat. “Oakland needs a shot in the arm and economic boost to its distressful balance sheet. I’m not sure moving a baseball stadium will do the trick, but I sure hope it does. If it doesn’t, I sure apologize in advance for encouraging an aye vote on SB 293.”
Skinner assured Moorlach the bill does not take away property tax increment that would otherwise go to Oakland schools, similar to how redevelopment agencies once operated in the state.
The bill heads to the Assembly for debate.
Hayward to Add Eight New Cannabis Permits and Rescind One
The Hayward City Council was set to approve eight more cannabis permits this week, while possibly ridding itself of one previously approved permit. Three of the eight proposed permits also received permits from the city during a previous round of approval for separate cannabis activities.
Fifteen applicants applied for the permits. The following applicants were expected to get the official go-ahead: BAS Research, Empress Extracts, and Gurpreet Singh for manufacturing; Always on Time Consulting, and Precision Apothecary for microbusiness; Meristematic, Inc. for cultivation; CBRA, Inc. for delivery; and Mijosa, LLC for distribution.
Meanwhile, the city is seeking to rescind a distribution permit given to Vista Development Enterprises after it was learned the applicant allegedly has ties to a man who was recently arrested by Hayward Police on suspicion of running a large-scale cannabis grow site.
Swalwell Qualifies for Presidential Debates
Two weeks ago, East Bay presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell was dialing for dollars in a bid to rack up more than 65,000 individual donors (200 from at least 20 states) to his upstart campaign to qualify for pivotal debates that start this June.
Although the Swalwell campaign has not released fundraising information since he announced his run for president on April 8, it won’t matter for now, at least, for inclusion on the debate stage later this year. Under Democratic Party rules, presidential candidates have another avenue for qualifying for the debates by gaining a minimum of one percent in three polls recognized by the party. Last week, Swalwell did just that.
A new CNN poll registered 1 percent support for Swalwell. It is the third such showing for the East Bay Democrat. Former Vice-President Joe Biden led the poll with 39 percent. The effort to attract at least 65,000 individual donors, however, must continue. That’s because the sheer number of Democratic presidential candidates, currently at 20, could give preference to those have attained both benchmarks.
Former East Bay Congresswoman and Diplomat Dies
Ellen Tauscher, a seven-term East Bay congresswoman and skilled diplomat who served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the Obama administration, died Monday in Palo Alto. She was 67.
Tauscher represented the Tri-Valley and parts of Contra Contra County from 1996-2008. Her initial campaign against Republican Bill Baker was viewed as a long-shot in an area that was clearly more conservative than the rest of the East Bay. Tauscher had a trailblazing background in business that spoke to women in the district. As a 25-year-old, she was one of the first women to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
Her politics were also decidedly centrist, a fact that greatly aided her successful 1996 campaign, but later wore thin with progressives and labor unions in the East Bay. However, Tauscher’s politics served her well as a diplomat. In 2009, she was confirmed as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs for the Obama administration. She was credited in 2010 with the successful negotiations of a non-proliferation treaty with the Russian Federation, the first such agreement in two decades.
Her cause of death was pneumonia. Tauscher had fought an extremely deadly form of esophageal cancer in 2010 and won, describing herself cancer-free a year later.
In Other News …
In an unexpected development, the defense lawyer for one of the defendants in the Ghost Ship trial alleged that the fatal 2016 fire was an act of arson. Meanwhile, an unlicensed electrician who was scheduled to testify in the trial was killed in a car crash, the Associated Press reported. … The Oakland Community Police Review Agency said in a report released Friday that four Oakland police officers’ use of force was justified when they shot and killed Joshua Pawlik, a 31-year-old homeless man who police said pointed a gun at the officers. … Former Principal Ben Chavis, who ran Oakland’s American Indian Model Schools, received one-year probation and a $100 fine in the resolution of his six felony charges of mail fraud and money laundering. … Catholic Charities plans to open a home in the Oakland Hills for the victims of sex trafficking, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, but the idea is facing opposition from neighbors and victim’s advocates who are skeptical due to the church’s opposition to abortion and contraception. … The Alameda County librarian is asking the Board of Supervisors to write off late fees for more than 78,000 library card-carrying county residents.
A stark increase in prison inmates facing medical emergencies due to opioid use is causing concerns among state officials, the Chronicle reported. … Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators want a cut of profits from the personal data that Internet companies collect on you, the Los Angeles Times reported. … Sen. Kamala Harris was the star of Senate hearing in Washington last week for her rough questioning Attorney General William Barr. …
Berkeley school board member Judy Appel and her partner are back home four months after suffering significant injuries when they were struck by a car. … The Chronicle reports the sighting of a Rickey Henderson bobblehead in publicity stills for the upcoming Pixar film Toy Story 4. If the character has a speaking part, expect it to refer to itself in the first person.