The following is a statement from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in California. The ILWU is opposing building an A’s Coliseum on top of the Oakland Howard Terminal because it threatens good paying jobs and for other principled reasons. They are asking for help in this effort. You can sign their petition here.
Once again, billionaire John Fisher of the “Gap Family” fortune is attempting to make personal profit off the destruction of the public good. In a real estate steal he is using the A’s franchise as a tool to destroy Howard Terminal and snatch waterfront property, not normally available for private exploitation, to build a new A’s stadium and 4,000 condos selling for a million dollars each. In a similar move he tried to take land from our public Peralta College Laney but was stopped by the organized public outrage.
The Oakland Port is the fifth busiest in the nation and second busiest on the west coast next to L.A. and Long Beach. It is an economic engine for Northern California and supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region. Howard Terminal is one of only six terminals at the Port of Oakland. If built, the stadium complex would be right on the edge of the Port’s only turning basin. This threatens the area necessary to turn around about 50 percent of the container ships in the port. In 2018, the Oakland Port handled the equivalent of 2.55 million 20-foot containers.
Additionally, two major railroad tracks would be directly behind the complex, cutting it off from the rest of Oakland and transportation. On these tracks, freight trains run an average of approximately 19 per day and with all trains 61 per weekday. For now, this is a busy area but if a stadium and condos are built on Howard Terminal, there will be pressure to shut down even more of the port. This proposal is like building a playground and luxury living in the middle of an industrial assembly line.
Some other problems are as follows: There is no infrastructure for getting 34,000 to 40,000 people to the stadium. The area is packed with businesses. Where will the parking be? The nearest BART station is a mile away. You have to get all those people across the dangerous railroad tracks. They are talking about a giant gondola going over the 880 freeway carrying 7,000 people per hour. The environmental issue is also a major one, as the area along the water is protected by California tidelands trust regulations forbidding this type of development.
The second half of Fisher’s scheme is for the city of Oakland and Alameda County to give him the 110-acre East Oakland Coliseum complex for either $135 million or the existing debt. He would get the Coliseum, Oracle Arena and the parking lots for his real estate development.
Why not build a new Coliseum there? An environmental impact statement has already been done permitting building a new Coliseum at that site. There is excellent existing infrastructure, close and easy BART, freeway and even airport access and plenty of parking.
He’s driven to maximize his profits with two real estate developments: (1) 4,000 million-dollar condos on the estuary and (2) a prime area for more condos, etc at the old coliseum site with land at only a little over $1 million an acre. The public interest be damned. He would destroy part of the Oakland Port, jeopardizing thousands of our jobs and the environment. He would take land for his private profit that was taken from citizens by the city and county for the express purpose of building a sports complex in East Oakland.
Build the new Coliseum at the existing Coliseum complex in East Oakland and develop around it!
Leave Howard terminal and the Port of Oakland intact as the economic engine it is!
ILWU Local 10 May Day Committee