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Elephant Rumblings: Proposed referendum could delay Howard Terminal Ballpark further

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Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval leads a private tour of the Howard Terminal site in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 where the baseball team is hoping to build its new stadium. Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

The Athletics had a day off from scheduled spring ball yesterday, but things weren’t as quiet in Oakland over the weekend. Saturday, Oakland City Council member Carroll Fife held a community meeting in West Oakland that was focused on the A’s current ballpark project.

As reported by Roland Li of the San Francisco Chronicle, the meeting was largely attended by community members against the waterfront park. Fife was one of two council members who voted against the successful certification of the Environmental Impact Report last month, and in her weekend community meeting raised concerns that more research was required to determine the ballpark’s impact on West Oakland. The most concerning topic broached in this meeting to those in favour of the new park was that of a ballot measure being added to the November municipal election.

Adding a referendum about the new home for the A’s would increase the potential for delays for a ballpark that has already seen plenty. According to Li, the idea of a ballot measure wasn’t fully embraced by the Saturday crowd, noting that even after a municipal vote there would still be multiple City Council votes required. This consideration from Fife comes on the heels of the Seaport Planning Advisory Committee narrowly voting against recommending repurposing land for the ballpark. Neither the SPAC vote, nor Fife’s ballot measure, are the final nail in the coffin for Howard Terminal to host the Athletics, but both are representative of the potential struggles that could keep appearing as the ballpark project soldiers on.

Saturday was the first A’s President Dave Kaval had heard of a ballot measure, likely meaning that this idea hasn’t been bandied about City Hall for long. To become a reality, Fife would need to convince four other members of the Council to support the ballot measure. It would then be up to Oakland voters in November to decide the fate of the waterfront development. For now A’s fans will have to keep an eye on the potential of a referendum and if it grows into anything larger than Saturday’s initial proposal.

A recording of Saturday’s community meeting is available.

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