A’s get a double whammy loss on Howard Terminal with no federal funding and Supreme Court appeals loss on hazard materials push on recycling plant

The Oakland A’s attempts to make Schnitzer Steel an environmental hazardous liability failed when the State Supreme Court ruled that Schnitzer is treating it’s recyclables with water and cement that satisfies their landfill dumping. Could this be a show stopper for the A’s Howard Terminal project? (photo of Howard Terminal by the Port of Oakland)

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–This week was a double loss for the Oakland A’s they were turned down for federal funding as ruled by the state Supreme Court as they lost a lawsuit to classify recycling company Schnitzer as a hazardous waste recycler and wanted to get them classified as such.

Last Tuesday a spokesperson for the City of Oakland said that federal funding for the Oakland A’s were denied funds that would help the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal project in the amount of $182 million. The A’s will not receive any of the monies from the federal Transportation Department’s Megaprojects.

According to the Oakland Department of Transportation director Fred Kelly the city will continue to explore other avenues in trying to secure funding sources. Kelly said that he and the city will look for sources that will help finance and get the project off the ground. The A’s goal is not only a new ball park at Howard Terminal but also development for 3,000 residential units, commercial space, retail, an indoor performance center, 400 hotel rooms, and public space.

The City of Oakland has secured government grants amounting $321.5 million that would help pay for the infrastructure. The $321.5 million is still short as the city sought funding, $55 million for regional grants, $25 million for other federal grants, and $60 million in state grants.

The City is also seeking a limited obligation bond for $150 million. Kelly’s efforts in seeking another $182 million is crucial for the funding of the project and Kelly will have to find what government agency who will be willing to kick in.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said is committed to keeping the A’s in Oakland and said during her inauguration that she wants to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland and wants to protect Oakland’s values. Sheng did say that she hopes the A’s and the city can reach an agreement that safeguards the tax payer and the city.

With the federal department of transportation turning down the A’s for the $182 million the A’s lost a Supreme court appeal decision on Wednesday that would reclassify car recycling company Schnitzer who are located next to Howard Terminal as a hazardous materials outfit that are a environmental threat which deposits hazardous materials in landfills. Schnitzer recycles unused and junked automobiles.

The state department of Toxic Substances Control said that the mix of recyclables of scrap metal, plastics, lead, cadmium, copper, and zinc has been made safely for landfill deposit as the recycler mixes the material with cement and water which acts a cover over soil in landfill. The A’s argue that materials mixed next to the ball park and Howard Terminal project is a environmental threat being next door.

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco found that the recycled material is not a threat and did not contaminate air or water and does not threaten humans. The Department of Toxic Substances Control reviewed the study and said that the recycled materials in the landfill that was treated with the water and cement did not bear any threat to people near the plant or landfill.

The A’s main goal to building the project is to move Schnitzer out of Howard Terminal but Schnitzer whose been at the Howard Terminal location for decades does not want the A’s at the location likewise. Schnitzer with cargo operators, port workers, and truckers have filed lawsuits saying their businesses are not an environmental threat. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman ruled on lawsuits back in September saying safety measures are in use and that the work that Schnitzer does doesn’t contribute to air pollution.

The state of Nevada’s newly elected governor Joe Lombardo has not made it clear where he stands on using state public funds to bring the A’s to Las Vegas. Previous governor Steve Sisolak said he would not use public funds for the A’s ballpark but would consider using other avenues to fund the project. Sisolak was voted out of office and Lombardo has been quiet about funding the A’s stadium project.

Lombardo who has been more focused on other political issues like abortion, immigration and catalytic converter thefts. If Lombardo follows Sisolak’s method of using other ways to find money to pay for a new ballpark that could put the A’s funding in play. The A’s have been silent on any commitments on moving to Las Vegas as both scenarios for staying in Oakland and moving to Las Vegas are not quite clear.

The A’s have spent plenty of money on lawyers to move to Howard Terminal already. The A’s most likely location to move to in Las Vegas is at the Tropicana hotel and casino site on the strip but that might have to be done with private money. The A’s will be playing in Las Vegas’ minor league ballpark of their affiliate the Aviators March 4th and 5th and will evaluate the crowds for that weekend and where they go from there.

That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast: No one will touch Bauer now; Only a miracle now can prevent A’s from leaving Oakland; plus more news

Former Los Angeles Dodger Trevor Bauer was not claimed on waivers and the Dodgers could be on the hook for Bauer for $22.5 million if Bauer is not picked up by another big league club (AP file photo)

On That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer who was unclaimed on waivers. Bauer’s leaving will cost the Dodgers $22.5 million which he will be owed if he not claimed by another club. Bauer if picked up by another big league club will be paid the MLB minimum at $720,000 that would offset the $22.5 million. The Dodgers as it looks right now will be on the hook for the balance as Bauer is persona non grata after several sexual misconduct allegations were made against him.

#2 The Oakland A’s will not see any kind of funding money in the neighborhood of $180 million in federal funds and now it’s a question of how the City of Oakland can finance the A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal at Jack London Square. The federal department of Megaprojects may not grant some of the monies or none of it at all.

#3 Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis expressed how Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas has now become less of a home field advantage for the Raiders because more fans travel to visit the visiting team than home fans that turn out. Also Davis observed that local fans in Las Vegas aren’t coming out to support the Raiders during the season home games.

#4 The Miami Marlins announced on Tuesday that they have come to an agreement with veteran pitcher Johnny Cueto to a one year deal with an option. Cueto formerly pitched for the Chicago White Sox last season going 3.35 ERA, 158 1/3 innings with 102 strikeouts and 33 walks. Cueto could get as much as $8.5 million this season from the Marlins.

#5 The Toronto Blue Jays keep on dealing they signed five players including a 16 year old pitcher named Emmanuel Bonilla who signed for $4.1 million the biggest contract for a bonus in Blue Jays history.

Join Amaury for News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Las Vegas Oakland and Elections

Sheng Thao who leads for the Oakland Mayor’s race is seen here at her campaign headquarters on Tue Nov 8, 2022. Thao’s decision on whether or not to back the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ballpark weighs heavy on the A’s future in Oakland. (photo by Saskia Hatvany and from oaklandside.org)

Las Vegas Oakland and Elections

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–For just a moment forget about the possible relocation of the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas; more on that at the end. The Raiders now play in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium the most expensive stadium ever built among all the current NFL teams, Las Vegas gave the Raiders $750 million in public financing. The Vegas Golden Nights, of the NHL, who in 2018 (their inaugural season) won a conference title, also make their home in the desert.

Let’s see what’s happening in Sin City, when it comes to the world of sports.

-MLS Soccer has been planning to have a team in Nevada and recently called Las Vegas “soccer town”. The MLS is serious about having a team in Las Vegas

-NBA Mega star, LeBron James made a direct appeal to the league’s Commissioner Adam Silver and the owners about owning an NBA team in Las Vegas. The NBA is very positive of Las Vegas for a new NBA team.NBA Commissioner Adam silver said in October: “Las Vegas will make a great location one day”.’This is not imminent, but eventually (if I was a betting man) I would put some chips on the NBA playing in Las Vegas in a few years.

Other sporting events coming to Las Vegas:

1-NFL-Football: Sunday, February 5, 2023 the multi-day AFC vs NFC competition will culminate in an action-packed Flag game featuring Pro Bowl players at Allegiant Stadium. A week-long celebration of flag football.

2-Racing: The Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix, November 16-18, 2023. Where is the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix racetrack? The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023 will be held on and around the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

3-Superbowl LVIII. Las Vegas is scheduled to host the Superbowl LVIII on February 11, 2024 at Allegiant Stadium. Considered the biggest live sporting event in the United States every year and one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Other Pro-Sports teams in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Aces – Basketball-WNBA, Las Vegas Aviators-Baseball, Oakland A’s AAA team, Las Vegas Knight Hawks- Pro Hockey (owned by Las Vegas Golden Knights) plays in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas.

Show original message Latest with the A’s new stadium. With the recent election results, the dynamics could have changed for the Oakland A’s to build their new park at Howard Terminal, Oakland and Las Vegas. Oakland will have a new Mayor and Nevada already elected a new Governor.

The Governor in Nevada plays a larger role regarding the current expansion in Las Vegas, while the situation in Oakland City Hall is still unknown. Joe Lombardo (R) a former Sheriff was elected Governor of Nevada beating Steve Sisolak(D) who was opposed to using taxpayer’s money for the construction of the A’s new park in Las Vegas.

The intentions of the new elected Governor of Nevada, Joe Lombardo are still unknown regarding the A’s. In both elections, Come January 2023 there will be new leadership in all positions from Governor to Mayors to members of city councils in Las Vegas and in Oakland. As of this article, it appears Sheng Thao will be the next mayor of Oakland, she led Loren Taylor by 680 votes in the latest ranked-choice-voting numbers by the Alameda County elections office Friday night.

But regardless of who was elected. The clock is ticking for the city of Oakland and the Athletics to hammer out a deal to move forward with the team’s planned $12 billion waterfront ballpark development by year’s end. And that year is 2022, almost Adiós. That is why there is so much pessimism about the A’s staying in Oakland.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Howard Terminal-A’s lose legal challenge

Issues of about the environment surrounding the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal location and project includes toxic waste and melted shredded metal amongst other environmental problems at Schnitzer Steel Plant in Oakland. (Mercury News file photo)

Howard Terminal: A’s Lose Legal Challenge

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–A lost season with over 100 games in the L column is coming to an end, as the Oakland A’s will play their last three games this season, a series against the LA Angels at the Oakland Coliseum, Monday through Wednesday.

The Oakland A’s also lost a legal challenge in a state appeals court against a metal shredder named Schnitzer which is near the site of the A’s planned new Howard Terminal ballpark.

For decades Schnitzer metals plant has been turning discarded cars, scrap metal, and cars into recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Millions of tons of metals and plastics and others such as lead, copper, and zinc at a potentially dangerous levels.

But this Friday, September 30, a state appeals court overturned a ruling in favor of the A’s, saying that Schnitzer metal shredding company near the proposed Howard Terminal site for the new baseball park need not classify its treated residue as hazardous waste, In a 3-0 decision after reviewing the research studies, Judge Alison Tucher said that “there is no threat to human health or the environment from managing treated metal shredder waste as non-hazardous”

Refreshing our memory – The A’s sued the state agency in August 2020 for refusing to classify the waste as hazardous, saying the plant releases 200,000 tons of metal waste annually that pollutes the air, water and soil.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Herbert ruled in March 2021 that a state law passed seven years earlier required the department to classify metal waste as hazardous, prohibiting its disposal in landfills. But the A’s did not win this one.

The A’s could come back with the argument that they disagree with this decision and they will not build their new park next to a metal waste plant that could endanger the health of their fans.

Now, this ‘legal jujitsu’ might continue as the A’s can seek review in the state Supreme Court. However, so far the A’s and the company have not made any statements regarding this most recent legal decision.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s Spanish radio network and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: Oakland tax payers worried about Howard Terminal costs; A’s look to try their luck against Angels Ohtani at the Big A tonight

Artists rendition of proposed Howard Terminal ballpark in downtown Oakland. Oakland residents are concerned about taxes from the project. The Oakland City Council are also concerned about the infrastructure costs as well (Artists rendition from the San Francisco Chronicle)

On the A’s podcast with Jerry F:

#1 The Howard Terminal project still up in the air the A’s brass has been to Las Vegas twice visiting prospective sites.

#2 The main concern is the Oakland taxpayer has regarding the cost of paying for the Howard Terminal Project which is estimated at $12 billion.

#3 Jerry one of the other major concerns regarding Howard Terminal is the infrastructure concerns is public transit with Amtrak and Southern Pacific railroads around the ballpark and how public transit will get fans and employees to the ballpark.

#4 The A’s currently in Anaheim and will see the Angels for another three series at the Oakland Coliseum next week starting Monday night. That might be a positive thing in playing a team twice in a week.

#5 The A’s go at it again tonight against the Angels the A’s will start Cole Irvin (9-12, 4.11) and for the Angels Shohei Ohtani (14-8, 2.47) a 6:38 pm first pitch at the Big A.

Join Jerry for the A’s podcasts Thursdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: A’s Ballpark Soap Opera Episode No. 45

Artists rendering of the new Howard Terminal ballpark in downtown Oakland (file photo SF NIMBY)

A’s Ballpark Soap Opera Episode No. 45

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–This is for sure. The Oakland A’s will finish the 2022 season at the Oakland Coliseum with the game on Wednesday October 5, at 1PM against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, But, the next few months could bring us the final chapter of this long running soap regarding the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark in downtown Oakland, or a possible move out of town.

City of Oakland and the Oakland A’s are negotiating the $12 billion waterfront park and surrounding area. They will have to figure how to pay for the upgrades in infrastructure which includes affordable housing.

They are securing $320 million in public money for the A’s ballpark, but some expect $320 million will not be enough. The City of Oakland has applied for more than $180 million in federal grants and also looking for other regional, state and federal grants. The city doesn’t expect to be awarded the $180 million federal grants. It is all about money, what else is new?

At stake: -$1 billion privately financed ballpark of 35,000 seats (A’s will pay for the park) -$11 billion development -3,000 residential units -1.5 million square feet of commercial space (retail and outdoor) -3,500 seat performance center -400 hotel rooms -18 acres of open spaces for the public to enjoy.

Do not “tune out”. Soon, more votes to come and by November the expected conclusion!

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s lead Spanish play by play announcer on flagship station LeGrande 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: New Lawsuit Against Howard Terminal

Mr. Mike Jacob (in photo), vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association which represents port workers, said the San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development commission failed to properly evaluate the impacts of the project before they voted in favor of the A’s request. (photo from pmsaship.com)

New Lawsuit Against Howard Terminal

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–This June the San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development approved the Howard Terminal project, ruling it will not negatively affect the Port of Oakland Operations.

Now the group of Port operators and trucking disagree with the June ruling claiming the commission did not adequately assess the environmental impact of the project as mandatory by law.

In a recent statement Mr. Mike Jacob, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association which represents port workers, said the San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development commission failed to properly evaluate the impacts of the project before they voted in favor of the A’s request. Mr.Jacob claims the commission should have allowed their advisory group to do further analysis on their recommendation prior to taking a vote.

How many lawsuits now?

Three (including this one) of the legal opposition to the project is coming from an argument that the project has not received the proper level of analysis about the environmental impact. That is the key to this most recent lawsuit. According to the law, all these lawsuits need to be decided within 270 days of the lawsuit being filed. The opposition to Howard Terminal is basically claiming that not enough environmental studies have been done and that more is needed.

How do the courts consider this lawsuit? Depends on how the courts interpret an evaluation of the economic impact of the project.

This November 8 the elections for Mayor and other positions in the Oakland government. Do not be surprised if we still talking about the Howard Terminal project by then.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer on the Oakland A’s flagship station Le Grande KIQI 1010 San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Howard Terminal A’s Win Big Vote. What’s Next?

Oakland City Councilman District 5 Nick Gallo is pushing for a Oakland ballot measure that would ask voters should the A’s build at Howard Terminal in November (Mercury News file photo)

Howard Terminal A’s Win Big Vote. What’s Next?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

SAN FRANCISCO–The Oakland A’s are one step closer to staying in Oakland, and building their new Howard Terminal ballpark. By a 23-2 vote the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted in favor to remove Port of Oakland designation for Howard Terminal.

The A’s still need to go back to this BCDC to apply for a permit to build on the site. So we will hear about this Commission again.

The vote was one in a series of different legal hurdles the A’s will have to overcome, before they can get the green light to put the shovel on the ground.

The Team also needs approval from various other agencies, including California Department of Toxic Substances Control. “We are one big step away from having this project as a biding deal said team President Dave Kaval.

Noel Gallo, Oakland City Council member wants the issue to go on the November ballot and the council will consider the proposal next Tuesday. “Voters want a voice, they want to have an advisory say in their support or no support of Howard Terminal” said Gallo.

Another hurdle that has not gotten much publicity is the City of Oakland wants 450 new low cost apartments to be built there, but the A’s have not said if they will build them. Affordable housing, is one of the most important issue facing Oakland residents.”

Affordable housing is going to be what makes or breaks this project,” Dolores Tejada, lead organizer of East Bay Housing Organizations — a nonprofit advocacy coalition that’s been involved in community benefits discussions.

There are still three lawsuits and some more expected against the Howard Terminal project.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez on Le Grande 1010 KIQI San Francisco for all the Oakland A’s action in Spanish and News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jeremiah Salmonson: A’s move a step closer to Howard Terminal; BCDC votes 23-2 in favor of project

Artist rendition of projected Howard Terminal ballpark (San Francisco Chronicle file photo)

On the A’s podcast with Jeremiah:

#1 The Oakland A’s have moved a step closer toward a their hopes in getting a new Howard Terminal ballpark after the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) voted 23-2 well over the two thirds needed for the project.

#2 The vote gives designation for the A’s to use the 56 acres of the property that is currently used for port shipping and if the A’s clear a few more hurdles they can use the property for the project for retail, hotel space, housing, and the ballpark.

#3 There were those who oppose the project saying it will take away port and shipping jobs and those who came to support the project who said it will bring jobs to the port and upgrade the waterfront area as a destination for sports and entertainment.

#4 The vote on Thursday was just one of three more vote hurdles that the A’s have to take on they face votes from the State Lands Commission, the Department of Toxic Substances, and Control for site remediation. The if they can get past those votes the A’s need the nod from the City Council for development and community benefits package.

#5 The Oakland A’s other concern is by November Mayor Libby Schaff and the City Council will be termed out and there will be a new council and mayor by that time and it’s anyone’s guess what their position will be on a the Howard Terminal project at that time.

Join Jeremiah for the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Affordable Housing will Make or Break the Howard Terminal project–

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff seen here speaking at a news conference on Wed Jul 26, 2021 is pushing for the Howard Terminal project. Schaff might have to be the go between for affordable housing at Howard Terminal and the Oakland A’s as affordable housing could be a deal breaker for a new A’s downtown ballpark. (AP News photo)

Affordable Housing will Make or Break the Howard Terminal project–

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–The new Oakland A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal is loaded with enough suspense to write an Alfred Hitchcock movie thriller. An affirmative vote by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission on June 30 would be a key step toward a new A’s ballpark in Oakland.

But there are still more hurdles ahead, one important issue is affordable housing which is included in the project and something the City of Oakland wants if the A’s build the new ballpark.

“Affordable housing is going to be what makes or breaks this project,” Dolores Tejada, lead organizer of East Bay Housing Organizations — a nonprofit advocacy coalition that’s been involved in community benefits recently told SFGate.com. The disagreement is not complicated.

The City of Oakland would like the A’s to designate 450 of the approximately 3,000 apartments, an equivalent of 15% as affordable housing on site at the Howard Terminal development. The city also wants the A’s to pay for an extra 600 affordable homes in the nearby neighborhoods.

This is according to a draft term sheet back in July 2021. The Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf and a number of city council-members have repeatedly said that 15% is a hard line for the project in order to move forward.

In other words, somebody will have to pay for the Affordable Housing around Howard Terminal. According to Oakland Mayor Schaaf “City Council has been very clear about the affordable housing requirements for this deal,” Schaaf told The Oaklandside back in April. “This project right now is proposed to create 3,000 desperately-needed units of housing.

15 percent of them would have to be at least deeply affordable.” The Oakland A’s have not come out publicly and said if they are anywhere close to meeting that target. The A’s have said many times they do not want to negotiate through the media.

On June 2 The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission held a public hearing on the proposed A’s ballpark and development project.

At that meeting, dozens of Oakland port workers urged members of a key state agency to reject the A’s $12 billion proposed waterfront project, as they called it a “real estate grab” that would transform the Port of Oakland into a “yuppie playground. The Commission decided against their wishes and recommended the next step for June 30.

I have not mentioned Las Vegas, Nevada, although Dave Kaval, President of the A’s still maintains that the team is working on parallel plans, to land the new ball park here or there. There are two Piñatas, but only one will be broken.

As a longtime Bay Area resident, with interests in baseball, as baseball is a great part of my career, I would like the A’s to stay here in Oakland. But I do not have a vote on this process.

Round and ’round it goes, where does this stops, nobody knows.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s lead play by play Spanish announcer heard on flagship station Le Grande KIQI 1010 San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com