Oakland Rising's Poll Finds Overwhelming Support to Keep A's in East Oakland

East Bay Times

By David Debolt

OAKLAND — A poll released Friday by a group opposing a new ballpark near Laney College found four in five voters want the A’s to stay at the Coliseum.

The 2,526 Oakland voters were asked, “should the A’s stay at the Coliseum and invest in East Oakland?” according to Oakland Rising, a consortium of nine grassroots organizations which conducted the survey.

“This poll is a true reflection of what Oakland communities want,” Oakland Rising Executive Director Jessamyn Sabbag said in a statement. “The people we spoke with oppose constructing a stadium at the Laney site which would inevitably push out and could destroy historic cultural neighborhoods.”

In all, 82 percent favored the A’s staying at the Coliseum, while 13 percent were opposed. The findings run counter to an Oakland Chamber of Commerce poll of 500 Oakland voters released last week which found support for the Peralta Community College District site by a 2-1 margin. Chamber members have stood in support of a Peralta stadium.

In September, the A’s officially selected the location at E. 8th Street and Fifth Avenue as their desired ballpark site in a letter to the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees, which needs to approve any land deal. A’s President Dave Kaval has said the team will spend the next year listening to feedback from neighbors, even as the MLB franchise on Thursday announced the hiring of four firms to design the ballpark.

Sasaki, Snohetta and Oakland-based Studio T-Square will lead the urban planning surrounding the ballpark and HOK and Snohetta will design the stadium, the team said. HOK’s projects include Avaya Stadium in San Jose and AT&T Park in San Francisco. Snohetta designed the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The project has received resistance in nearby Eastlake and Chinatown as well as lukewarm reception at City Hall, with Mayor Libby Schaaf and others saying they’d prefer Howard Terminal or the Coliseum instead.

Oakland Rising’s poll found African-American, Asian, Hispanic and young voters overwhelmingly want the team to stay in East Oakland. Nearly 90 percent of Chinatown and Eastlake residents are Asian and 78 percent of Chinatown households are renters, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

“In Chinatown and Eastlake, immigrants and refugees have spent generations building communities where people can thrive,” said Alvina Wong of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “Our friends, churches, doctors, and stores are here. We will not allow the A’s owners to destroy the sanctuaries we’ve built.”

The poll echoed what Oakland Council President Larry Reid told a city committee this week during a hearing to place controls on development and demolition of buildings to protect Eastlake and Chinatown residents from displacement.

The East Oakland councilman whose district includes the Coliseum said he hopes Kaval will absorb his words from a prior conversation.

“I met with him” and said “that is the worst site you can pick to put a baseball stadium,” Reid said. “You need to leave it at the Coliseum where all the transportation infrastructure in the world comes to.”

 

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