Bunch of unnamed rich folks form opposition to Warriors’ SF arena

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier & Ross report that the Golden State Warriors‘ San Francisco arena project has acquired some deep-pocketed opponents — even if it’s not quite clear who:

An anonymous group of what organizers describe as big-bucks donors to UCSF hired an imposing cast of consultants — including former UCSF Senior Vice Chancellor Bruce Spaulding and, for a time, Chronicle columnist and former Mayor Willie Brown — to block the plan for the arena and adjacent twin office towers in Mission Bay near the waterfront.

Also on board, and working without pay: Jack Davis, once the biggest political consultant in town and still a force to be reckoned with in semi-retirement.

“This arena is going to essentially ruin decades of good work and planning in Mission Bay and make it impossible for people to access the hospital there,” said public relations pro Sam Singer, who has also been hired by the antiarena forces.

Now, nobody concocted big-money campaigns to oppose development project just because of bad planning processes (or the risk of ambulances getting stuck in traffic, another objection that’s been raised by UCSF), so clearly these folks — whoever they are — must have some ulterior motive. Either way, though, the power to hire lobbyists and lawyers is a key factor in the success of opposition to sports development projects (and all development projects, really), so this could be more than a minor stumbling block for the Warriors’ owners — depending on what it’ll take to placate these mystery men, anyway.


11 comments on “Bunch of unnamed rich folks form opposition to Warriors’ SF arena

  1. This is a little odd. The Warriors purchased the land for this arena from Salesforce.com (I thought the sale was final and had gone through, but it appears it hasn’t been finalized yet). The largest donation for the new hospital, coming in at $100M was from the Benioff family. Yes, the same Benioff who is founder/CEO of salesforce.com who are selling the Warriors the land. I cannot imagine that UCSF would fight the arena without at least tacit permission from their largest donor.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2014/10/warriors-purchase-salesforce-mission-bay-land.html
    http://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/about/benioff/

  2. Meh. This has no chance.

    Suing over traffic in SF would be even less effective than suing over traffic in Brooklyn. Go right on ahead, sir.

    Someone’s trying for a donation.

  3. There’s no way the hospital wins over the public on this. Other hospitals have to contend with traffic too (they’re in SF, what the hell do they expect?) and nobody cares if a hospital’s views get partially blocked. This is just more typical, selfish (corporate) NIMBY nonsense.

    And by the way, it’s not UCSF itself fighting this, they’ve distanced themselves from he opposition.

  4. Yeah this will end up being nothing. Not with Salesforce being such a big donor to the hospital and not with the public backing the arena now that it’s not on the prime waterfront near the Bay Bridge as it originally was.

  5. I would’ve purchased land for my temporary .. I mean long-lasting ballpark. But I refuse to pay for power hitters and decent starters despite having my temporar.. Iong lasting ballpark finally built, let alone a parcel of land.

  6. A little more depth in today’s article, including names behind this group.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/M-R-Big-time-opposition-emerges-to-Warriors-6229959.php

  7. I guess the one thing that they are accomplishing is that there is no way this gets done in time for the 2017 tip off. They’ll have 90 days from the end of the EIR next month to file their suit. The judge will throw it out but by that time, it will be too late to break ground in time for a 2017 opening. They’ll break ground in the summer of 2016 then open in 2018.

  8. Benioff has explicitly come out against this anti-arena group, as has Ron Conway, another major UCSF donor and tech financier.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2015/04/marc-benioff-warriors-arena-salesforce.html?ana=twt&page=all

  9. The EIR is almost done. I think it has less than 3 weeks until they vote on it (and it’s guaranteed to pass). An interesting note I read the other day though noted that the state is probably going to give the arena project and EIR special status under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) that would significantly limit any legal challenges to the project and EIR and would place a time limit on any litigation that was still allowed. Basically, the anonymous anti-arena group is losing badly. They don’t seem to have anyone on their side: not the city, not the state, not the community, not the largest UCSF donors (the Benioffs), and not even UCSF itself.

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