By Ken Epstein
A new poll of Oakland voters, conducted by a professional polling firm, indicates that Oakland voters are refusing to spend taxpayer dollars to build a new Stadium A’s, a retail and condominium project in Port of Oakland Howard Terminal.
Additionally, nearly two-thirds of voters say they would not support candidates for mayor or city council who voted to spend taxpayer dollars on the Howard Terminal development.
The first question – with no additional information presented – was: “From what you have heard or read, do you support or oppose the Oakland City Council spending the taxpayer money to help build a new Port-side Baseball Stadium A at Howard Terminal.”
The results were 46% opposed, 37% in favor and 17% didn’t know.
Opposition was significantly higher among residents of Council Districts 5 and 7, compared to 56% to 36% in District 5 and 59% to 37% in District 7.
Fans of A – 53% of the electorate – supported the use of tax money by 44% to 42%. Those who are not A fans were opposed to spending taxpayers’ money 53% to 26%.
The results for the second question about who should pay for community benefits were even more strongly opposed to taxpayers footing Company A’s bill.
Here is the question:
“As part of any major business or sports stadium development project, local governments in California make the creation of a community benefits fund part of the deal. This is money provided by developers to fund important projects identified by local citizens, including homelessness, affordable housing, crime prevention and education programs.
“How do you think the proposed $450 million community benefits fund related to the Howard Terminal stadium project should be paid for?
“a) By the A’s because the project is being built with taxpayers’ money and the team has to pay its fair share of community benefits like all the other developers do. WHERE
“b) By the taxpayers of Oakland City without any A’s money, as the waterfront development will create a new entertainment, work and residential destination while keeping the last professional team in Oakland.”
An overwhelming 81-15% said the A’s should use their own money and not rely on taxpayers’ money to pay for the proposed $450 million in community benefits.
The next question asked was, “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: The City of Oakland should NOT spend more than $800 million in taxpayer dollars to keep the A’s in Oakland when the city has other major needs such as homelessness, affordable housing and crime. ?”
The results: 69% agreed the city shouldn’t spend more than $800 million to keep the A’s in Oakland. Taxpayer spending support drops from 37% to 27% when the “over $800 million” figure is presented.
In a separate poll question, 70% of Oakland voters said homelessness was one of their top two issues, followed by 60% who chose crime and 40% affordable housing. Only 5% said “losing professional sports teams” was a major issue.
Finally, voters were asked how this issue would affect their vote for mayor or city council in this year’s election.
The question: “After hearing this information, which of the following two candidates would you vote for in the next Oakland city council or mayoral election if their positions on other issues were the same?”
“a) Candidate A who voted TO spend over $800 million in taxpayer dollars on infrastructure upgrades to make the Howard Terminal baseball stadium a reality. WHERE
“b) Candidate B who voted AGAINST spending taxpayer money to support an A stadium at Howard Terminal, even though the A’s can leave Oakland.”
The results: Two-thirds (65%) said they supported Candidate B, who voted against taxpayers’ money for Howard Terminal Stadium, “even though the A’s can leave Oakland.”
Support for Candidate A, who backed spending taxpayers’ money on the stadium, was just 29%.
The poll, conducted by FrederickPolls, was released by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance. The sample size was 509 interviews of registered voters in Oakland. Interviews were conducted from December 8 to 16, 2021. The margin of error was 4.4%.