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Oakland should play by the rules on a new stadium

If the A’s take shortcuts that endanger public interests and the environment, they will lose support.

Fielding a winning baseball team is hard, but all teams have to play by the same rules. Building on the Bay shoreline is also hard, because we’ve wisely created rules to protect what we treasure for the public’s benefit.

Those rules preserve natural areas for wildlife, beaches and trails for recreation, ports and airports for commerce. When someone tries to avoid or bend those rules to build on the shoreline, it puts at risk all we’ve improved and protected around the Bay.

The Oakland A’s want to build a new stadium and 4,000 condos at Howard Terminal, plus one million square feet of retail and office space and a 400-room hotel. It’s a particularly challenging and complex location the Port of Oakland currently controls that is reserved for heavy industry and shipping uses, surrounded by a working waterfront employing thousands of people.

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Oakland A’s ballpark plan gets boost, but what it means is matter of dispute

A bill introduced Friday would give the Oakland A’s new stadium project an essential designation it needs before construction can begin — but the team and its critics are at odds over the intent of the legislation.

The A’s said the bill from Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, would be a vehicle for ensuring that environmental justice concerns in the community surrounding their planned stadium — air pollution, water quality and the potential spread of pollutants in the groundwater — are addressed in the project.

But opponents, both industrial neighbors and environmental groups, said the team’s move is a way to bypass state regulations that typically apply to bayfront development.

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A’s ballpark proposal encounters choppy waters

The Oakland A’s are getting hit on two fronts by organized opposition to their proposed waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal.

The politically powerful organization Save the Bay is raising questions about the environmental impacts of the project, and the bar pilots association, whose members steer those huge container ships into the Port of Oakland, say they’ll be blinded by the ballpark’s lights and might run over kayakers hoping to collect home run balls. Then there are the port’s tenants, who are complaining about the impact on traffic.

“This is not a transit-accessible area, so more people will be traveling there in cars, and the more people traveling in cars, the more we contribute to climate change,” Save the Bay Executive Director David Lewis said.

Mike Jacob, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents several of the port’s tenants, said the A’s plan to build a hotel and 4,000 housing units at the site would significantly impact truck movements in and out of the port as well as future industrial uses in the area.

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Oakland A's stadium opponents line up to block streamlined approvals for Howard Terminal ballpark

A group including unions and environmental groups as well as Schnitzer Steel warned legislators in a letter Thursday not to relax regulations that could slow or stop the Oakland Athletics from building a 35,000-seat ballpark and ancillary development north of Jack London Square.

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