OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The City Council voted 6-1 in favor of an amended term sheet for the much-debated Howard Terminal Stadium project Tuesday, but the Oakland Athletics said the plan simply doesn’t work for them.
Six councilmembers voted in favor of the city’s proposal, while Councilmember Noel Gallo voted “no” and Councilmember Carroll Fife abstained.READ MORE: Former California Senator Barbara Boxer Assaulted, Robbed In Oakland's Jack London District
The vote came after hours of heated debate as pro-stadium union leaders squared off against housing advocates and Chinatown community leaders.
While the vote doesn’t guarantee the ballpark will be built, it does approves a continuation of negotiations between the the team and Oakland city officials.
Tuesday’s vote stands as a major step in rooting the A’s in Oakland, or arguably uprooting the beloved team for good.
Athletics Team President Dave Kaval — who had previously said that the term sheet provided by Oakland was unacceptable to the team — stated that the A’s remain at an impasse with city officials after the vote.
“The grand slam homerun would have been voting for our proposal but there was a yes vote so we need to analyze what it means and how it impacts the club and the future of the project,” said Kaval.
Council members amended the term sheet so that the developer and franchise would not be responsible for off-site transportation infrastructure cost projected at $352 million.
“This is not a term sheet that works for A’s; it is not the basis for our proposal that we agree with,” said Kaval at the meeting. “It is not beneficial to vote for something we don’t agree with.”
Some Oakland officials were equally pessimistic that the two sides would find a way to work out the issues that stand in the way of the waterfront stadium plan.
“I don’t know where we go from here after doing somersaults, after receiving insults and after being disrespected,” said Oakland City Council Member Carroll Fife.
City officials and A’s team executives are additionally at odds over the affordable housing requirement included the Oakland term sheet.
Councilmember and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said the City Council’s amendments addressed the A’s biggest concern, which was having to pay for offsite transportation infrastructure improvements. However, the A’s still could not agree with the city’s overall offer.
Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao issued a statement saying she wanted to clarify to the public that the vote was nonbinding but “will give further direction in how we move forward with negotiations as a city with the A’s.”
Thao said she wants the team to stay in Oakland, but understands her responsibility towards keeping the project on sound financial ground for the city and called on the team to respect that.
“There is a path forward on this project, but that means the A’s must come back to the negotiating table and respect our responsibility as public servants and address the concerns brought forward by the Port, the West Oakland community, and Chinatown,” the statement from Thao read. “If the A’s are committed to remain rooted in Oakland then they must embrace the needs and concerns of our communities and invest in them as we will be investing in them.”
While the amendment relieved the team of having to cover infrastructure costs, the city also bumped up its demand for affordable housing from 30% to 35% of all units being built for the development.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff tried to stay optimistic despite the gap between what the A’s want and what city officials are willing to give them.READ MORE: KPIX 5 Exclusive: Older Concrete Buildings in San Francisco Raise Earthquake Concerns
“We are very close to full agreement with the A’s,” said Schaaf Tuesday. “The primary difference is Oakland standing firm on community benefits and the sources for funding them.”
Before the vote, members of the public commented on the plan.
“Please keep the Oakland A’s in Oakland. For the hundreds of people that work for them,” said an Oakland resident who gave her name as Norinne. “They need these jobs to get up every morning. We cannot lose these jobs. Wherever the A’s go, the A’s need to stay in Oakland.”
Some were critical of the team’s negotiation tactics.
“There is no example of a successful working port next to a residential complex,” said resident Margie Lewis. “The team is simply seeking to create a political crisis for the city and capitalize on the public fear that they’ll lose another sports team, and this is used to pressure elected officials for a quick approval of an unacceptable term sheet.”
Major League Baseball has already given the team a greenlight to exit from the San Francisco Bay Area with Las Vegas among the cities actively pursuing the team.
Negotiations have been ongoing over the last few days. The team insists a deal for a new stadium is needed to keep the A’s from relocating elsewhere. The team’s current lease at the Oakland Coliseum ends in 2024.
“I think that there’s a concern that they may vote on their term sheet, which really doesn’t have any specificity or detail, and I think that’d be really challenging because it really isn’t what we agreed to,” Kaval said previously. “We’re hopeful that they’ll vote on something we proposed or something we would agree to. If not, it’s kind of like a no vote.”
Fans KPIX spoke with outside the Coliseum Tuesday know very well how quickly a team can part ways with a city.
“If we lose the A’s, then what? The stadium is old. It’s got issues,” said one.
“Oakland and the A’s. The A’s and Oakland. You can’t have one without the other,” said a second fan.
The East Oakland Stadium Alliance, which represents maritime workers and other businesses, says the project would disrupt operations at the Port of Oakland, and threaten jobs.
“East Coast ports are modernizing and spending hundreds of millions while we’re thinking about putting a playground in the middle of a park. It doesn’t make any sense,” said East Oakland Stadium Alliance spokesperson Aaron Wright.
Workers and environmental and community advocates held a “Vote No on the Oakland A’s” agreement rally Monday afternoon, saying it would disrupt operations.
“At the end of the day, this is a working port,” said Mike Jacob, VP and General Counsel, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. “This is not a vacant facility behind us. We’ve been watching these trucks come in and out behind us. This is where we work everyday.”
“We’re concerned about the watercraft that’s going to be out in the turning basin. What are the ships going to do – stop?” said Susan Ransom with SSA Terminal.
“I want to keep the team here,” Mercedes Rodriguez, a longtime resident of Oakland. “The people that work at the Oakland A’s – I know them very well and they’re good people, but they should be at the Coliseum.”MORE NEWS: CA Supreme Court Ruling Gives Prisoners Right To A Lawyer In Some Murder Conviction Challenges
Kenny Choi and Andrea Nakano contributed to this story.