If you’re a Warriors fan who goes to Oracle, you’re likely someone who cares where the team will be playing in the next few years. Warriors owner Joe Lacob has made no secret he wants to move the team from Oakland to San Francisco … the question just seems to be when.
Originally, Lacob was hoping for an arena on Piers 30/32 in the City, ready for the 2017 season. After that, it was Mission Bay by 2017, which quietly turned into 2018. Recently, former SF mayor and current lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom was on The Sal and Steiny podcast and asked about the Warriors’ arena situation.
While Newsom believes the team will eventually get to San Francisco, it certainly sounds like there will be challenges to hitting the 2018 date. Here are excerpts of Newsom’s discussion with Sal Castaneda and Matt Steinmetz.
Question: If building on Piers 30/32 was a 10 in terms of difficulty, what number would you give the Mission Bay project?
Newsom: “I think a five, this is half. Nothing is easy because it takes a couple of people to scare the bejeezus out of folks and get a petition out there. There are folks who are professional naysayers. You know the names. They’re branded names in San Francisco, who have literally made a career out of being opposed to everybody else.
“That’s why there will be no statues built for these folks because at the end of the day, they’re asterisks. They hate other people. There’s a hatred. Now, there are also good people that are opposed to things that will have statues built. But there’s sort of a professional class in San Francisco that exists and whatever the mayor’s office is against or for, they tend to be the opposite.
“It’s a good site (Mission Bay). It’s a good infrastructure down there. They’ve done a good job of ingratiating themselves to the city. They’ve worked hard. They haven’t been arrogant from my perspective.
“They were ambitious at 30/32 but they listened and I thought they appropriated themselves well. I think it will pay dividends in terms of building trust and some people initially opposed to them I think will be silent.”
Question: Why did you support the Piers 30/32 site when you knew that it likely wouldn’t happen?
Newsom: “I was the fourth mayor that tried to develop that damn pier. It’s collapsing, people forget that. To argue for the status quo is to argue for the inevitability of that being shut down. Now, you can put some cars there, that’s about it. But we couldn’t even do the X-games – we did the X-Games there. They couldn’t even do that again because of the nature of those piers.
“Mayor (Frank) Jordan worked hard on it, mayor Willie Brown did, too, and when I was supervisor we worked with him to get a cruise terminal. I thought we had a deal with Larry Ellison on America’s Cup. So that was almost done and of course that slipped away and then Mayor (Ed ) Lee came on right after me. And I thought it was iconic and I thought maybe they could figure this out. They didn’t.
“The good news is that effort didn’t go to waste because they’re going to move down the road at an easier site to develop, more easily supported by the neighbors and the broader community. And it will be a world-class site. The sad thing, unquestionably, is they’re leaving Oakland. What does it mean for the Raiders? What does it mean for the A’s, who are struggling to get out from under the competitive environment with the Giants (who) don’t want to give up territorial rights in San Jose. And what can Lew Wolff and the Fisher family do to preserve their identity to the East Bay and keeping them in the state. That’s another concern we have.”
You can download the entire Newsom podcast right here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/thesalandsteinyshow/GNf.mp3
All the Sal and Steiny podcasts can be downloaded for free at ITunes.