On Wednesday night, more than 200 A's fans packed the meeting rooms at City Hall in anticipation of the start of the environmental review process for a proposed A's ballpark at Victory Court. The hearing room was so packed, the fire marshal showed up and cleared the room and ordered the extra fans into an overflow room where people could watch the meeting on TV. And then the overflow room was standing room only. Fans that got to the 6 p.m. meeting found out that the ballpark item would not be discussed until 7:30, so we thank every body who stuck around for the duration of the long meeting. After surveying the large crowd, Planning Commissioner Doug Boxer joked, "You hold a planning commission meeting and a rally breaks out."
All kidding aside, it was no rally, of course, but rather one important step in what will be a long, transparent political process. Also packing city hall was the local media.
VSmoothe at ABetterOakland did an excellent write up with complete video footage.
The Oakland Tribune's take is here.
Here is the San Francisco Chronicle's story.
Oakland North had a nice piece.
KTVU's video showed off Oaklandish’s great "StAy" T-shirt, which Oaklandish generously donated to the first 75 fans in attendance.
And KPIX had a good story and video on the meeting.
There was concern amongst the planning commissioners and other attendees that the public comments would stray off topic but everyone did a good job of staying relatively on topic. Some of the speakers discussed improving pedestrian access under the I-880 freeway. BaseballOakland's Mike Davie spoke about bicycle access at the park (we've talked about that before on this blog), for example. And Bryan Grunwald reiterated his idea for building a stadium over the I-980 freeway, calling for it to be studied in the EIR.
We are very glad this process is going forward. It is a marathon and not a sprint but the work that many of Oakland leaders have done so far have put us in a solid position to keep the A's and to develop the city of Oakland's economic base.