The Oakland Athletics franchise is at a critical crossroads with the city as eight Oakland City Council members will cast nonbinding votes for a proposed $12 billion development and ballpark plan on Tuesday morning, and a dissenting vote will start the Athletics’ relocation efforts.
A’s president Dave Kaval was both candid and blunt when speaking about the pending vote and it’s importance.
“Our future in Oakland is hanging in the balance,” Kaval said, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. “We are doing everything we can to get a ‘yes’ vote tomorrow on our plan and keep the A’s rooted in Oakland. But we don’t know if we’re gonna get a positive vote. There’s still a lot of areas we’re apart significantly with the city, and we go into the vote not knowing how it’s gonna play out.”
The A’s made public proposals back in April of this year stating that they would privately finance the ballpark, which will cost an estimated $1 billion, and would also be providing $450 million in community benefits and arranging for an additional $11 billion in private investment to eventually build up the surrounding neighborhood.
However, the city of Oakland made a counterproposal on Friday that Kaval says “lacks details and specifics and really doesn’t answer any of the questions that we have that need to be addressed to continue to move forward.” The issues seem connected to the $855 million that the Athletics have asked the city to pay in infrastructure improvements by utilizing the taxes that are generated by the project, among others.
“That’s an extraordinary sum of money,” Kaval said. “And not having specificity is a key concern. There’s also concern about additional taxes that they’re putting on the project — condo transfer tax, a transportation tax that obviously push up the cost, as well. Those are all items that are problematic. And we’ve been clear that the project can only do so much. We can’t solve all of Oakland’s problems, but we can do a lot to make this a better community and keep the A’s here for many generations to come. And that’s why we’re looking for an affirmative vote on our plan.”
“Hopefully it goes in our direction,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I’d love to stay in Oakland. I hope the team stays in Oakland. We have a long, rich history here. I think that’s the case with anybody who’s either grown up here or lives here or is an Oakland A’s baseball fan or a player.”
“In many ways, we’re down to our last at-bat in Oakland,” Kaval said. “But if we get a win tomorrow, and an agreement we agree with, we can send it into extra innings and hopefully get the final victory in the fall.”