One of America’s richest men and an avid Trump supporter, billionaire John Fisher, wants to build 3,000 luxury housing units on the most valuable piece of public land in Oakland, the A’s stadium project, but his proposal has a lot more to do with real estate profits than it does with baseball.
Fisher wants to use the land for condominiums, hotel, and retail development along with a stadium for the A’s. There is much opposition among Oaklanders, and it centers on two problems.
First, the Port of Oakland, where the stadium project is located, is the reason that Oakland is in a better position economically than the old industrial cities of the Midwest. The Port generates 70,000 stable local jobs which, unlike factory jobs, cannot be moved to another country. And because of the historic politics of the local longshore union, many of those good-paying jobs are held by Black workers. Oakland cannot afford to limit its industrial engine because a developer can make a bigger profit from putting high-end condos in the same neighborhood. Furthermore, the new jobs promised by stadium advocates will either be temporary (construction) or low-wage (vendors, clerks and so on).
The demands of wealthy residents, who would inhabit the Fisher project condos, will ultimately overpower the needs of Port industry which can be noisy and dirty 24 hours a day. Decades of urban development have taught us that industrial and residential uses do not mix in the same neighborhood and industry inevitably loses out.