Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!
Around the same time that the MLB and MLBPA will be meeting for the next round of lockout bargaining, the Oakland City Council will gather for a public hearing about the final Environmental Impact Report on the Howard Terminal ballpark project. There is some expectation that a binding vote on the EIR will take place alongside the hearing. This follows unanimous recommendation of certifying the EIR from the Oakland Planning Commission in January.
While the certification of the EIR doesn't mean an immediate jump to shovels in the ground, it’s another step in the slow march to a new ballpark for the A’s. There are a few key things to know about today’s hearing, and ABC Bay Area’s Casey Pratt detailed them on twitter yesterday.
First, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf put out a statement, and spoke publicly regarding the hearing and potential vote.
While the Mayor’s words stay relatively surface level regarding the vote, she does emphasize the amount of work done, even after the Planning Commission’s recommendation.
Howard Terminal EIR considerations:— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) February 16, 2022
✅ Both bike/pedestrian AND vehicular bridges to get people over the train tracks.
❌ Gondola. (Out of consideration for now) #BindingVoteSZN
The scope of the EIR doesn’t just relate to the environmental feasibility of the stadium itself, but also the surrounding area’s infrastructure, namely getting people to and from the park.
Bunch of new Howard Terminal presentation info posted ahead of 2/17 meeting. Shows updated transportation options including vehicle and pedestrian/bike bridges, etc. #BindingVoteSZN https://t.co/QFLQWqYbEF pic.twitter.com/19PwNPbWQB— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) February 17, 2022
Lastly, certifying the EIR with a binding vote allows things to continue moving forward, even if everything adjacent to the direct environmental impact of the ballpark site is not yet settled.
Oakland City Council added this memo ahead of tomorrow’s meeting. This relates to the first item on the agenda. It looks to me like it paves the way for a vote tomorrow while acknowledging the key (non-EIR) work that needs to be done. Either way, it outlines important details. pic.twitter.com/hHf1flqxyG— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) February 16, 2022
The Mayor’s words and Council’s memo seem to show that we should expect the binding vote on the EIR to happen today post-hearing, not only to help advance the project, but also to free up city resources. Between the long, long, long span of time we have waited for a new ballpark for the Athletics, and the crawling pace of this winter’s lockout negotiations, it will be nice for A’s fans to have a bit of progress (however small) on both fronts today.
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Best of Twitter
Something to keep in mind as we wring our hands over slow lockout progress
“It costs nothing to talk” isn’t actually true in collective bargaining. When you “talk,” you pass a counter back. That counter is legally required to be a step in the direction of the other side, which is why the owners have repeatedly avoided this responsibility https://t.co/7aQhHd947S— Tipping Pitches (@tipping_pitches) February 16, 2022
The new skip taking in the Dubs
New A’s manager Mark Kotsay is at tonight’s Warriors game pic.twitter.com/NMJHcgBd69— NBC Sports Bay Area & CA (@NBCSAuthentic) February 17, 2022
Some options for an upcoming A’s Cast classic game
Which Classic @Athletics game would you like to hear this Friday at 12 & 7pm on A's Cast?— A's Cast (@athleticscast24) February 16, 2022
Some stylized wallpapers to celebrate Satchel Paige and Black History Month