Friday roundup: A’s pollution woes, Falcons roof woes, Hansen email woes, and more!

Whole lot of news leftovers this week, so let’s get right to it:

  • It’s not certain yet how serious the environmental cleanup issues at the Oakland A’s proposed Peralta Community College stadium site are, but anytime you have the phrases “the amount of hazardous materials in the ground is unclear” and “two possible groundwater plumes impacted by carcinogens” in one article, that’s not a good sign. Meanwhile, local residents are concerned about gentrification and traffic and all the other things that local residents would be concerned about.
  • There’s another new poll in Calgary, and this time it’s Naheed Nenshi who’s leading Bill Smith by double digits, instead of the other way around. This poll’s methodology is even dodgier than the last one — it was of people who signed up for an online survey — so pretty much all we can say definitely at this point is no one knows. Though it does seem pretty clear from yet another poll that whoever Calgarians are voting for on Monday, it won’t be because of their position on a Flames arena.
  • The Atlanta Falcons‘ retractable roof won’t be retracting this season, and may even not be ready for the start of next season. These things are hard, man.
  • Nevada is preparing to sell $200 million in bonds (to be repaid by a state gas tax) to fund highway improvements for the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium, though Gov. Brian Sandoval says the state would have to make the improvements anyway. Eventually. But then he said, “I just don’t want us to do work that has to be undone,” so your guess is as good as mine here.
  • Pawtucket is preparing to scrape off future increases in property tax receipts for a 60- to 70-acre swath of downtown and hand them over to the Pawtucket Red Sox for a new stadium, an amount they expect to total at least $890,000 a year. Because downtown Pawtucket would never grow without a new baseball stadium, and there’s no chance of a shortfall that would cause Pawtucket to dip into its general fund, and nobody should think too hard about whether if minor-league baseball stadiums are really so great for development, this wouldn’t mean that property tax revenues should be expected to fall in the part of the city that the PawSox would be abandoning. Really, it’ll all be cool, man, you’ll see.
  • Somebody asked Tim Leiweke what he thinks of building a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays for some reason, and given that he’s a guy that is in the business of building new stadiums, it’s unsurprising that he thinks it’s a great idea. Though I am somewhat surprised that he employed the phrase “Every snowbird in Canada will want to watch the Toronto Blue Jays when they come and play,” given that having to depend on fans of road teams to fill the seats is already kind of a problem.
  • The study showing that spending $30 million in city money on a $30-million-or-so Louisville City F.C. stadium would pay off for the city turns out to have been funded by the soccer team, and city councilmembers are not happy. “There’s something there that someone doesn’t want us to find,” said councilmember Kevin Kramer. “I just don’t know what it is.” And College of the Holy Cross economics professor Victor Matheson chimed in, “I expect for-profit sports team owners to generate absurdly high economic estimate numbers in order to con gullible city council members into granting subsidies.” I don’t know where you could possibly be getting that idea, Victor!
  • Congress is considering a bill to eliminate the use of federally tax-exempt bonds for sports facilities, and … oh, wait, it’s the same bill that Cory Booker and James Lankford introduced back in June, and which hasn’t gotten a committee hearing yet in either the House or the Senate. It has four sponsors in the House, though, and two in the Senate, so only 263 more votes to go!
  • A Miami-Dade judge has dismissed a lawsuit charging that the sale of public land to David Beckham’s MLS franchise illegally evaded competitive bidding laws, then immediately suggested that the case will really be decided on appeal: “I found this to be an extremely challenging decision. Brighter minds than me will tell me whether I was right or wrong.” MLS maybe should be having backup plans for a different expansion franchise starting next season, just a thought.
  • The New York Times real estate section is doing what it does best, declaring the new Milwaukee Bucks arena to be “a pivotal point for a city that has struggled with a decline in industrial activity,” because cranes, dammit, okay? Maybe somebody should have called over to the Times sports section to fact-check this?
  • And last but not least, Chris Hansen is now saying that his SoDo arena plan missed a chance at reconsideration by the Seattle city council because the council’s emails requesting additional information got caught in his spam filter or something. If that’s not a sign that it’s time to knock off for the weekend, I don’t know what is.

18 comments on “Friday roundup: A’s pollution woes, Falcons roof woes, Hansen email woes, and more!

  1. Holy cow that’s a cryptic statement from Sandoval. At this point the odds have to be in favor of the Raiders staying in Oakland.

    • It’s not surprising. Fancy designs tend to fail when implemented in the real world. Just as the designers of the roof of Stade Olympique in Montréal. Eventually they just gave up and made the roof fixed.

      My guess is Atlanta will eventually do the same.

      • One-of-a-kind and they were trying to design it at the same time they were constructing it. But it’ll be a cool photo gallery when some urban explorer finds the room with all the motors that are attached to the now fixed-in-place roof.

  2. Tim Leiweke is a crazy person who says crazy person things. Canadian snowbirds are snowbirds because they don’t actually LIVE in Florida during the months when baseball is, you know, played.

    And the Rays would host the Jays no more than 9 or 10 times a season.

    • That quote reminds me of the Jack Kent Cooke, who was told the Los Angeles hockey team would be a success because 300,000 former Canadians lived near LA. When the team didn’t draw well, he said, “Now I know why they left Canada: They hate hockey!”

  3. How about a mention about the “revolution” in arena design, how long before owners want to ditch their passé and obsolete arenas for the new kids on the block…

    http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/Architecture-Firm-ROSSETTI-Turns-The-Upper-Deck-Into-The-Front-Row-With-Revolutionary-New-Arena-Design-The-Inverted-Bowl-1003684644

    • I saw that, but it’s really just marketing PR. It’s unclear from the rendering provided, but unless this guy has reinvented geometry, it’s either going to result in way fewer seats or just a new spin on the same old designs.

      • In their model in the video the upper deck has only two rows–any more than that and you’d need a glass floor in order to see the court below. The cost per seat in that construction would be astronomical. But those would be awesome seats because the video also has a private bar 10 steps from your seat in that upper deck!

  4. There’s always people calling for the head of the Seattle Department of Transportation (Kubly) to be fired, so e-mails that don’t have acknowledgement and a street vacation review being done entirely via one-off communications rather than some more comprehensive an online portal like the Department of Construction and Inspections uses could add to the “SDOT hate” chorus.

    DCI project portal for the arena –
    http://web6.seattle.gov/DPD/permitstatus/project.aspx?id=3014195

  5. Remember the Igloo!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civic_Arena_(Pittsburgh)

    I think they opened it almost ten times over it’s 50 year history… though once was for a Van Damme movie. Money well spent I’d say.

  6. Very confused about the”snowbirds” flocking (!) to see baseball in Tampa. Don’t snowbirds come down in the winter, when there is no baseball played?
    Here in Vermont the snowbirds leave for Folrida in mid-late October and return in late April/early May. They get out of the Florida heat and humidity during the summer months. Unless Tampa is now in the Southern Hemisphere this might not work.

    • Yes, they do. Maybe Liewieke is confusing Jays fans with Leaf fans (an organization he actually ran while with MLSe). If Jays fans are going to Tampa in spring or fall to see their team play, they will be going for the weather and other Tampa area attractions. A new stadium will do absolutely nothing to attract travelling fans.

    • Ironically this 30 something year old kid with limited experience wasn’t elected. He was appointed by FL governor shady Scott.

  7. For anyone interested, the actual results of the Calgary election (which were told the incumbent was going to “lose because he didn’t offer to build the hockey team a new arena”…)

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-election-2017-results-victor-1.4357873

    So, of the two polls indicating that either Smith or Nenshi would win with a 17% margin… neither were correct. Nenshi ended up with about 54% of the votes cast, Smith got the nearly all of the other 46%.

    Do you sometimes wonder if polling companies just deposit the check and write down results that they think their paying clients want to hear?

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