Howard Terminal District At Full Buildout

Howard Terminal Ballpark: A Gift To Oakland And Its People – By Kevin M. Corbett

Zennie Abraham for Zennie62Media’s Oakland News Now, here. The opinion-editorial you’re about to read was sent to me by Oakland Athletics Public Relations Marketing and Communications VP Catherine Aker on behalf of Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval and after he tweeted the following:

Considering that:

  1. It’s hard to read the letter in the photo unless you have a microscope
  2. The fact that I’ve had a terrible relationship with the former and once-friendly Bay Area News Group-owned Oakland Tribune, now called East Bay Times because many of their editors and reporters have been flat out racist toward me (one reporter drunkenly stalked me and my girlfriend at The Alley Cat Bar in Oakland while we were singing at the piano a few years ago, to offer one example),
  3. The East Bay Times seems to avoid posting any text that would show support for Howard Terminal (which makes one wonder if they were hired by some opponent organization, when one considers their Digital Marketing-client oriented news business which appears as the first result in a Google search for Bay Area News Group).
  4. I have had no reason to protect that organization, so my response was:

And, so, right on the spot, Dave and Caroline came through! I digitized the text by A’s Fan Kevin M. Corbett for presentation. Here it is:

Howard Terminal Ballpark: A Gift To Oakland And Its People

The editorial board of the East Bay Times must be all San Francisco Giants fans because they sure don’t seem to want the Oakland A’s to stay in Oakland. But we the people who actually live here do want the Oakland A’s to stay put. This is their home and they are trying to give the City of Oakland an amazing gift that will transform Jack London Square into the place to be, and in the process generate over $1 billion of City and community benefits, and creating thousands of good paying union jobs as well as housing units, including affordable housing, which Oakland desperately needs. This project is a no-brainer if ever there was one.

The East Bay Times editorial falsely stated that Howard Terminal requires a massive taxpayer subsidy for the required infrastructure – Strike One!

The truth is that it will be privately financed. Only tax revenue, that does not currently exist, but will be generated by this project will be used for the infrastructure, not any current city funds, therefore the project pays for itself. In fact, the A’s are paying upfront for the infrastructure and expect to get paid back over time only with the tax revenue that will be created by the project. Why did the East Bay Times leave that crucial bit of information out?

Next they make the further misleading claim that the more than $1 billion of City and community benefits that will flow to the City’s general fund and therefore its people, would also come from property taxes – Strike Two!

Again, no current city funds will be spent on this project, only the new tax revenues that currently do not exist but will be created by this project will be used. If H.T. doesn’t get built, guess what, there will be no $1 billion for City and community benefits. In other word, H.T. is a win-win for the City and the people of Oakland. Oops, the editors of the paper left that crucial fact out too.

Thirdly, they outlandishly claim that the A’s are not putting “a dime” into this project – Strike Three, you’re outta here!

This one is actually a big whopping lie. The A’s are not only footing 100% of the $1 billion plus cost of a brand new state of the art and architecturally significant stadium on the waterfront, but they are also footing 100% of the costly and necessary environmental clean up of the site which is something the City would have to pay for if the A’s didn’t. Why the big lie from the newspaper’s editorial board? Technically, it’s correct that the A’s are not putting in “a dime”, they’re putting in over $1 billion of their own money, not to mention the $200 million of their own money they have already put in to date just to get this project to the stage it’s at now. Nobody has ever offered this kind of a gift to Oakland before. The right thing to do for the people of Oakland is to accept it.

I fully understand why the SF Chronicle is putting out a steady stream of misleading information about a project that will make Oakland the envy of the Bay Area. They want to get rid of the competition. The Giants are building Mission Rock next to their stadium. It’s the same kind of project that the A’s want to build and it’s on land owned by the Port of SF, but you will never hear any criticism of that project, or of the taxpayer money that was spent on the infrastructure for the SF project, only the one in Oakland. Why is that and why is our supposed hometown newspaper also trying to mislead us about Howard Terminal? Oh yeah, we remember. Unlike the Oakland A’s, who actually want to stay here, years ago that newspaper dropped the name “Oakland” from it’s masthead and fled to the suburbs, in the process abandoning the iconic Tribune Tower and downtown Oakland where they had been for over a hundred years. What glaring hypocrisy!

Whose interest do they actually represent? It’s clearly not the people of Oakland.

Oakland is and always has been one of the best sports towns in the country. We want to keep our A’s and the A’s want to stay here. They are the only team who has ever put any real effort into staying in Oakland, having spent millions of their own money in order to do so. They generate civic pride and provide jobs and entertainment and community benefits for us and our families. Oakland cannot afford to lose all of that. If the editors of the East Bay Times would ever get out their suburban office park and get on the freeway and drive back to Oakland to actually take in an A’s game on one of our beautiful, gloriously sunny East Bay days, then maybe, just maybe, they would get it. Perhaps they would actually understand the immense value having a local team to root for brings to us. They would be able to observe the families, couples, and individuals representing all of the races, creeds and colors that make up our Town uniting to root for the home team and enjoying a day in the sun, together.

Now the Oakland A’s want to give the city of Oakland an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime gift and cement their location right here, in Oakland, for future generations of Oaklanders to enjoy. This is a win-win. Let’s go Oakland! Let’s get this done for the people of Oakland.

Kevin M. Corbett
Born and raised in Oakland

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