Warriors arena environmental report wins city approval, public less thrilled about it

The San Francisco board of supervisors unanimously approved the environmental impact report for the proposed Golden State Warriors arena last night, moving that $1 billion project a step closer to completion. A recently released poll by arena opponents found that less than half of city registered voters now support the plan, down from 61% support in a team-commissioned poll in July — though it’s always possible that wording differences in the two surveys are to blame, that is if you even think that polls still have any validity in a world where no one has landlines anymore and those who do seldom answer them.

The Warriors owners would be paying the full cost of arena construction plus land costs plus property taxes (no hidden tax kickbacks here), so opposition is mostly on the grounds that the plan would create traffic problems and allow too-tall development around the arena to help repay its costs. All of which are legitimate concerns, but don’t change the fact that this would be a very fair deal for San Francisco in terms of the funding, at least. The next step is probably a court battle over whether the EIR was properly conducted, which seldom ends up overturning these kinds of rulings, but this being California, one should never say never.

11 comments on “Warriors arena environmental report wins city approval, public less thrilled about it

  1. Keep in mind that the poll was conducted by the Mission Bay “ALLIANCE” which has been the most vocal group opposed to the project. Like you said, the wording was skewed in order to create the illusion that the city is wholeheartedly against the project.

    Also, they shouldn’t be confused with the other groups who have “Mission Bay” in their name. They have come out in favor of the project ever since the Warriors agreed to finance ways to help ease traffic congestion around the arena before and after events.

  2. Neither of the polls is worth a damn thing. The poll taken by the Warriors was pretty obviously going to show support and the poll taken by the Mission Bay Alliance was pretty obviously going to show opposition. What’s telling is that there is very little vocal opposition from the public and the usual anti-development forces in San Francisco (including pretty much all of those opposed to the Pier 30/32 site) are in favor of the current arena plan. What’s more, the Mission Bay Alliance claims to represent UCSF, but UCSF itself has publicly stated that it backs the arena plan. On top of that, the most notable donors to UCSF, Ron Conway and Marc Benioff, have both been very clear in their support for the arena and have repeatedly called out the Mission Bay Alliance as the farce it is. When you have an opposition contradicting itself at pretty much every turn and visible public and governmental support on the in-favor side, that’s pretty obvious path to failure for the opposition. The Mission Bay Alliance has near-as-makes-no-difference zero chance of prevailing in court or with a potential ballot measure. Hell, San Francisco voters just voted in favor of the Giants’ Mission Rock development by a 74% to 26% margin, and that is a much larger development than the Warriors are proposing.

  3. As others have pointed out I wouldn’t put too much credence in a poll by the group who opposes the arena, who seem to be a small number of NIMBY condo owners–also the same sort of condo owners the anti-gentrification folks tend to hate.

    Basically, there were a few people who might have had the clout to put up a serious opposition. One was UCSF but they got concessions they wanted. Another was Art Agnos and the “no wall on the waterfront” folks but when they moved the location, Agnos went from an opponent to a supporter.

    As mentioned, the Giant’s Mission Rock project was bigger and had similar supporters and opponents and sailed through a public vote. This one doesn’t require a public vote. It’s essentially a done deal.

  4. Frankly, I believe the Mission Bay Alliance doesn’t oppose the arena on the ground so their publicly expressed concerns. Rather, they want the piece of land being purported for the Warriors project so they can see another round of biotech expansion in that area.. Well, the transfer of that property was a private transaction and I see little hope for their group in ever obtaining it.

  5. They (by which I mean people who wanted it to be biotech offices without an arena) had the opportunity to buy the property on more than one occasion. Salesforce owned it and was going to build a campus there but later decided against it. They tried to shop it around, including to biotech property developers and companies, but nobody really wanted it. So they held on to it. Then the Warriors came along and bought it privately. Warriors ownership has made it clear that even in the very unlikely event that the arena can’t be built, they won’t sell it to interests affiliated with the Mission Bay Alliance. And what’s so dumb, is that despite all of the Alliance’s bitching and moaning, the site is going to get two office towers (in addition to the arena) for biotech anyway.

  6. And none of this changes the fact that an arena in Mission Bay is going to be a clusterfuck.

  7. It’s really dumb to put the arena in that location, and I say that as a Warriors fan. But CEQA has become essentially a dead letter. The traffic problems will be horrendous, but City Hall and the rich and powerful in SF don’t care about that.