Golden State Warriors arena

Golden State Warriors Arena does battle with Art Agnos

San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos
San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos argues against the proposed new Golden State Warriors arena

To be on the right side of history

Former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos is on a mission to stop the Golden State Warriors from despoiling San Francisco’s exquisite public property known as the Embarcadero. Agnos served as Mayor of San Francisco from 1988 to 1992. One of Agnos’s signature achievements was his leadership to demolish the double-decker freeway that ran across this stretch of property. It was an ugly eyesore that once removed, opened up today’s glorious waterfront, worth millions, and dotted with tourist and local attractions, such as the Farmer’s Market, Exploratorium, and numerous fine eating establishments. Now, it’s all under threat of being overshadowed by one of the largest boondoggles in the city’s history. Thankfully, Mayor Agnos is on the right side of history. Back in May of 2012, with current Mayor Ed Lee leading the charge, all City supervisors, including my own, Malia Cohen of District 10, signed a letter sent to the Golden State Warriors organization asking them to return to San Francisco “in time for the 2017 NBA season.” Flash forward to today where backdoor negotiations continue to proliferate between the Warriors, Ed Lee and his planning commissioners. An EIR is in the works to be released in the months ahead. The Golden State Warriors unveiled their updated design of the arena it seeks to build on Piers 30-32 back in May. While it has been scaled back, make no mistake. A new stadium would not only add to the city’s horrendous traffic congestion but also restrict public access to the waterfront, which we all enjoy now for free.

Golden State Warriors arena
Golden State Warriors proposed arena

Let’s pour tons of concrete into San Francisco Bay

Mayor Agnos recently spoke at San Francisco’s Latino Democratic Club as part of his ongoing tour of the City’s various associations to share his urgent message. Let’s begin with a recap. To build this monstrosity, tons of concrete would be poured 50 feet into the Bay. Yes, the piers 30-32 are in sad shape and the costs of ultimately building a new arena could now top one billion dollars. Not just the stadium but also a retail area is planned that would take up 90,000 square feet. AT&T ballpark now attracts more than three million people a year. The Warriors real estate deal would bring in an added 2 + million visitors. And how does San Francisco’s public transportation system stack up against this onslaught of humanity? Warriors President and COO Rick Welts admitted in a recent debate on KQED radio that the city’s current transportation system won’t work for the arena. The current Warriors proposal offers the city a mere $14 million for a ‘transit impact fee.’ It is not clear how much of this fee would be spent directly on transit and /or dedicated to other priorities such as affordable housing. The fact is, Muni, as it currently stands, could NEVER support the impact of an additional 2 million people cramming the Embarcadero to watch a basketball game. It will cost the city $120 million to build the stadium foundation and the city would borrow that amount from the Warriors organization itself at an interest rate of 13% annually.

Mayor Ed Lee
Mayor Ed Lee

Mayor Ed Lee’s crowning legacy

Remember the hoopla and excitement over San Francisco’s hosting of the America’s Cup? It was supposedly going to net the City a treasure trove of new revenue. What happened? The America’s Cup Organizing committee fell short by the millions and still the City has not raised enough money to cover the costs of hosting this fiasco. The latest update from Jane Sullivan, spokeswoman for San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is that the city is still stuck at just over the 16 million mark in terms of collections (22 million was approved by the Board of Supervisors for spending on the event). As a native and long-time resident of San Francisco, it’s galling to witness the ongoing manhattanization of my beloved city. Whatever bohemians existed back in the ‘60s and 70’s have surely gone the way of the Dodo and been replaced by a city that caters predominantly to the 1%. Probably because Mayor Ed Lee wants the Warriors stadium to be his crowning parting legacy to the city of San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors scratched Lee’s back and provided him with a $25,000 contribution. The money came as a “behested payment” for the mayor’s cup golf tournament. Lee hid the contribution for eight months during the lead-up to the time he announced the Warrior’s waterfront proposal.

Just who owns the Golden State Warriors?

It’s not Mother Teresa. It’s not Mahatma Gandhi. It’s not Nelson Mandela. Peter Guber of Mandalay Entertainment and his partner Joe Lacob own the organization. Mandalay Entertainment Group is a film and TV production group based out of Los Angeles. Peter also owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. To think that Guber’s top of mind is the welfare of San Francisco residents and those who are still clinging to live in a city that is now ranked as the 4th most expensive place to live in the United States is to live in fantasyland. Make no mistake about it. The Golden State Warriors proposal to build a new 12-story arena, plus the building of a 17-story condo tower and luxury hotel complex is one of the biggest commercial real estate development deals ever and those who support it do not have San Francisco’s best interest at heart. Piers 30-32 may be dilapidated for the time being but I’d rather be able to walk down the waterfront with unobstructed  Bay views than be forced to look at a stadium. Don’t forget. AT&T park was approved by San Francisco voters back in 1996 by a razor thin margin. The realities of horrendous traffic and an inadequate public transportation infrastructure all came true when the ballpark finally opened for business.

Candlestick Park
Candlestick Park

Why not build a new arena at Candlestick Park?

So here’s a daring idea. Why not build a new basketball arena at Candlestick Park?  It’s set to be blown up at the conclusion of the 2014 NFL season. 49er fans had no problem driving out to Candlestick. Why would they complain about doing so for the Warriors? We’ve got the 29-Sunset Muni line, which takes you directly to Candlestick. Yes, it won’t fully meet the needs of thousands of more sports fans trying to get to Candlestick but it is a vast improvement over desecrating the beauty that is our waterfront.

Oh, and about those jobs to be created by the Warriors?  Let’s remind ourselves of the wonderful employment provided by our beloved San Francisco Giants. Hundreds of concession workers went on strike back in May in front of AT&T park because they make such a paltry amount of money for the work they do. Concession workers make on average $11,000 a year. Eager to go to work for the Warriors? Stop the Golden State Warriors proposed arena in San Francisco. This is not a NIMBY issue. It’s a land grab of epic proportions and NOT in the public interest of San Franciscans.

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7 thoughts on “Golden State Warriors Arena does battle with Art Agnos

  1. Bob,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I know this is “unbiased” reporting. More to the point, you don’t seem to agree with the point of view expressed in this blog post. To say Agnos was a “horrendous mayor” is a purely personal assessment. I’m not sure you really read the entire blog post. If you had, you might then have responded with point by point rebuttals to all of the objections made in this post. Instead, all you do is summarize your viewpoint by trotting out the same tired argument about NIMBYs. As I mentioned, if you would bother to educate yourself further about what impacts building a new arena on the waterfront would have on the city of San Francisco you might change your tune. This is not about NIMBY by any means. It’s about what is in the best interests of all San Franciscans when it comes to enjoying the waterfront. And building an arena is not the thing to do.

  2. Thanks Bob, for pointing out some obvious facts.
    We like the idea of keeping the Warriors in Oakland, or putting them in the Shark Tank in San Jose, but, given the possibility moving to San Francisco, we prefer Candlestick as the best alternative place for them to land.
    Only San Francisco would consider tearing down an arena with a huge parking lot, easy freeway access, established Muni lines, and the necessary infrastructure to handle large crowds of people, and to sign yet another bad contract with yet another rich billionaire, to create another sports arena in the most crowded area of the city. Only San Francisco, the city that used to know how to take care of the least fortunate among us, would rush to lose more money and force the taxpayers into more debt.

  3. Yep. If you have to move the Warriors out of Oakland to San Francisco, Candlestick is the place for them to go.
    Only San Francisco, the city that would be great, would consider tearing down a sports arena with a huge parking lot, nearby freeway access and public transit, to the most congested neighborhood in town, while plunging the taxpayers into deeper debt to billionaires.
    The taxpayers need to win this round. If they lose, they gates are open to develop the entire waterfront.

  4. San Francisco is the only major city in the United States without a major arena, which has hampered The City’s efforts to host major events and conferences; particularly since tourism and conventions are the number one business in SF. San Francisco will lose $600,000 in ticket taxes from the 49ers departure, the arena will generate at least $650,000 from 41 Warriors date, as well as more money from other events such as NCAA tournaments, USF games, Olympics trials, concerts and other events that are now going to San Jose and Oakland. When AT&T Park was proposed, the same arguments about it would destroy the waterfront, how it was a power grab by the moneyed special interests of the Giants corporate partners (Chevron, Safeway, Visa, AT&T, Cox Broadcasting) that backed the construction of AT&T Park. Most, if not all the same arguments that are being made against the proposed Warriors arena were made against AT&T; too much noise and light pollution, unruly crowds, hours of midtown NY/LA freeways type traffic gridlock, a drain on city resources (police, muni, etc.) None of that happened and the same NIMBYs are crying wolf about the negative impact a much needed downtown arena to host not only indoor sports, but many other indoor events that are bypassing SF such as the Stones last tour, which was at the Oracle arena because there’s no indoor venue in SF large enough to host such a large show, as well as major conventions that are also bypassing SF because there’s no large arena.
    The dire claims that AT&T Park would be the city’s worst nightmare has never happened, conversely AT&T Park is considered a very good waterfront corporate neighbor and a critically important icon to SF on the level of Coit Tower and the Ferry Building.

    Some folks are saying “why not have it built in your neighborhood.” But if you check the property values of buildings, both residential and commercial around Petco, AT&T, Staples, and Coors Field and other recently built downtown arenas and stadiums, they have increased significantly since the stadiums/arenas were built.

    Staples Center in Los Angeles generates about $3 million dollars a year in tax revenue to the city of LA and hosts everything from political conventions to high school events. Muni/BART moved a million plus people in and out of SF for the World Championship rallies, days when the Blue Angels, 49ers-Dallas and Giants playoff games are all happening the same day so it wouldn’t be a problem having BART & Muni handle the number of people going to Giants and Warriors games. Giants fans have learned that taking public transportation is the way to get to Giants games and you don’t have the massive gridlock that was predicted by the NIMBYs when AT&T Park was proposed. Most Warriors fans take BART and will continue to do so at a downtown arena
    Full and part time jobs were created or saved by the stadiums being built. About 500 people have jobs either directly at AT&T or at places like MoMos across the street that wouldn’t exist if the Giants had moved to Florida. About the same number of people, particularly many non-white and low income people will lose part time employment when the 49ers move to Santa Clara next year.

    As far as the claim by the NIMBYs that that the proposed Warriors arena will “block views” The Embarcadero between China Basin and the Ferry Building is already more than 85 percent unobstructed view space adjacent to the bay. The arena will occupy less than 2 percent of that view corridor.
    So lets stop the NIMBY and naysayer nonsense and get this arena built. San Francisco will be the better for it.

    1. EF Sullivan,

      Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, I really don’t think you read my post. Do you actually live in San Francisco? I’m going to rebut all of your arguments, one by one.

      You write:
      San Francisco is the only major city in the United States without a major arena, which has hampered The City’s efforts to host major events and conferences; particularly since tourism and conventions are the number one business in SF.

      Excuse me but did you actually read my post? There is a perfect location for the new arena, it’s called CANDLESTICK PARK. Candlestick has access via Muni and vehicle and makes complete logistical sense since (and if you bothered to read my post you might learn something). San Francisco DOES NOT need an arena on the Embarcadero, PERIOD. This is not about San Francisco not having a major arena, it’s about where to locate it.

      You write:
      The dire claims that AT&T Park would be the city’s worst nightmare has never happened, conversely AT&T Park is considered a very good waterfront corporate neighbor and a critically important icon to SF on the level of Coit Tower and the Ferry Building.

      Absolutely incorrect. When is the last time you tried to drive your vehicle down Brannan street when a game is scheduled at AT&T park? It’s HORRENDOUS. TRAFFIC JAM NIGHTMARE. For you say that parking and traffic has not been impacted by the building of AT&T park is LUDICROUS. You need to spend much more time around the area during a ballgame so you can see for yourself just how congested the Embarcadero becomes thanks to AT&T park. Your argument “holds no water”

      Stop comparing STaples Center in Los Angeles to a new arena in San Francisco. A completely unfair comparison. These are two entirely DIFFERENT CITIES, with completely different transportation infrastructures. LA IS ONE GIGANTIC TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE.

      Again, you did not even bother to read my blog post. The Warriors owners ADMIT that San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure could NOT SUPPORT the influx that a new Arena would impose upon the Embarcadero.

      Cost associated with building a new Arena (that San Francisco would be forced to pay) continue to skyrocket! Well passed 120 million dollars! And you don’t seem to care because all you’re focused is on your precious new arena. Not even the 13% interest rate charged by the Warriors themselves for the loan that the city would have to take out. It’s preposterous!

      I do not care about how much unobstructed views would remain with the building of a new arena. The new arena does NOT BELONG ALONG THE EMBARCADERO.

      You need to read much more to better educate yourself about the challenges imposed upon the city and the residents if an arena were to be built. Just wait until the EIR comes out and watch the costs associated with building the arena continue to skyrocket.

      The vast majority of jobs created by AT&T park are LOW WAGE jobs. What do you not get about this??

      You really need to reread my blog post because it’s obvious you didn’t read any of it.

    2. I’d also add that your comment: San Francisco is the only major city in the United States without a major arena, which has hampered The City’s efforts to host major events and conferences

      Again, this is UNTRUE. Where did you get your data? And how has the City been hampered by not having an arena? Built for basketball?

      Ever hear of Moscone Center? Where the vast majority of conferences take place in the City of San Francisco?

    3. One more thing, EF Sullivan:

      San Francisco city supervisors approved a new business improvement district to be known as the “Moscone Expansion District.” The new district would tax hotels that generate tourist revenue to help fund the proposed expansion of the Moscone Center. Proposed and supported and generally loved by everyone, the new $500M expansion will add more than 200,000 square feet of underground and aboveground convention and meeting space – not to mention create 3,420 new jobs, generate $700 million in revenue for the first seven years, and increase hotel occupancy to an average of 87.6%. San Francisco Travel has estimated that the city is losing $2B in meeting and convention business due to space constraints at the current Moscone Center. The new tax district would have a duration of 32 years, and would affect all tourist hotels, breaking them down into a primary zone (east of Van Ness/South Van Ness and north of 16th Street) and basically everything else.

      This is why we DO NOT NEED A NEW ARENA by the Embarcadero. We can build it at CandleStick park.

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