Oakland council votes against adding A’s ballpark plan to ballot

Oakland council votes against adding A’s ballpark plan to ballot

The Oakland Athletics’ Howard Terminal project will not be included on the November ballot as an advisory vote.

The Oakland City Council voted late Tuesday against adding a referendum regarding public funding going toward infrastructure costs related to the $12 billion Howard Terminal mixed-use project. Councilmembers Carroll Fife and Noel Gallo were the only votes of the eight-member panel in favor of adding the matter to the ballot, with Rebecca Kaplan abstaining from voting.

The vote would have been advisory in nature and only served as public guidance for the council’s potential decision on the project.

Elizabeth Lake, assistant city administrator, likened the potential ballot measure as an “expensive survey.”

Some members of the City Council didn’t rule out potentially calling for a special election in January, pending what the specifics on the financials for the project are. The city is expecting the A’s to present them with a cost-benefit analysis this fall.

“At that time we could choose to create a special election,” councilmember Dan Kalb said. “There’s a whole process to do that with the county, but cities are allowed to call special elections … I’m not suggesting that I want that or I expect that to happen. But that’s always an option we have on the table if we feel the deal before us should go to the voters at that time.”

The A’s are also still mulling over two potential Las Vegas ballpark sites. There is no time frame for when the final site and plans for that will be made public.

With the A’s hoping for a binding term sheet with Oakland by the end of the year, the ballot measure would have been a major blow to keeping the team in Oakland, A’s President Dave Kaval last week told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“That (going to a public vote) could doom our efforts in Oakland,” Kaval said.

The vote is the second vote falling in favor of the A’s regarding their Oakland ballpark process. Following last week’s decision by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to remove the port priority use designation on the 56 acre Howard Terminal site. That decision was needed to allow the A’s potential Bay Area ballpark process to move forward.

The Howard Terminal project would include a 35,000-capacity ballpark, 3,000 residential units, 400 hotel rooms, 1.5 million square feet of office space and 270,000 square feet of mixed retail, cultural and civic uses. There would also be a 3,500 seat performance theater and 18 acres of public parks.

Last month, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred noted he wanted the A’s new ballpark search to come to an end soon.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.