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Old Posted Nov 10, 2013, 4:42 AM
OhioGuy OhioGuy is offline
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Location: Oakland, California
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8 Washington critics take aim at Warriors arena

When San Francisco voters resoundingly quashed a high-rise luxury condominium development set for the city's waterfront, they signaled their resistance to the Warriors basketball arena planned for a mile up the road, opponents of both projects say.

These opponents, led by former Mayor Art Agnos, on Wednesday used their election day momentum to call on Mayor Ed Lee to relocate the Warriors arena to Candlestick Point or the Caltrain Station at Fourth and Townsend streets.

The waterfront should be preserved for affordable housing for teachers, artists and others, Agnos said, and if Lee won't budge from what he calls his "legacy project," the same group that defeated the 8 Washington condos will sponsor a ballot measure to defeat the Warriors arena, too, he said.

Lee and the Warriors rejected any comparison between the two projects. The mayor said low voter turnout for an unremarkable ballot says very little about what would happen if the basketball arena were to wind up before voters someday. He added that basketball is a lot more popular and accessible than luxury condos.

"When it comes to the Warriors, I think there will be a lot more people saying, 'Hey, I like that idea,' " Lee said, pointing to the crowds that flock to AT&T Park and the Exploratorium, which are both on the waterfront.

Lee acknowledged that the arena is "no slam dunk, but maybe more like consistent three-pointers."
Arena measure will be on S.F. ballot, but when?

The question no longer is whether the Golden State Warriors' waterfront arena will go on the San Francisco ballot - but rather, when it will go on and which side will put it there.

"I think (the Warriors) probably have to," said Mayor Ed Lee. "I think they need to consider that, because everybody is going to want to have a voice."

Temperatures rose on both sides of the arena issue after voters' landslide rejection Tuesday of the 8 Washington condo complex along the waterfront. Leading the opponents, former Mayor Art Agnos zeroed in not just on the height of the proposed 18,000-seat arena at Piers 30-32, but on the 16-story condo project and luxury hotel the Warriors would build across the Embarcadero.

"We do not want height limits busted through," Agnos said. "We do not want this to be used by people with the biggest bank accounts."

The Warriors and their allies are confident that voters like the idea of the arena - but they also know the hotel and condos, which the team says it needs to pay for the deal, aren't nearly as popular.

The team's fear is that, rather than attack the arena directly, Agnos and Co. will go to the ballot first with proposals for new waterfront height limits, or affordable housing on the hotel and condo site, or maybe for a new waterfront master plan that would delay an arena for years or kill it altogether.

Figuring that they can't score when they're playing defense, the Warriors are considering their own ballot initiative. But when?

The next election is in June, and it's likely to have a relatively low turnout. As the Warriors saw with 8 Washington, low-turnout elections tend to have a proportionately higher number of cranky voters.

That would seem to point toward November 2014 as a better option for the team - a general election that will pull a better turnout. But if the Warriors wait until then, they risk having the Agnos forces swoop in with a June initiative.

Which could lead to a repeat of 8 Washington.
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