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Sunday, Sep 21st

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Cal budget issues could alter San Jose, Oakland plans for A's ballpark

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Oakland Athletics
A proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to shut down California's 425 redevelopment agencies could have a huge impact on the Oakland Athletics, as both San Jose and Oakland are planning on using redevelopment funds to help pay for a new ballpark.

Both cities are planning on using a redevelopment agency as a base for the ballpark effort; that is, acquiring land and infrastructure so Athletics owner Lew Wolff can build a privately financed ballpark. Brown, the former Oakland mayor who was once a proponent of redevelopment agencies, wants to use the money from the closed-down agencies (after paying down existing debt, of course) to pay for basic services in the cash-strapped states. The California Legislature will be taking up the issue in upcoming months: fiscal conservatives say the redevelopment agencies are wastes of money and have moved far past their original mission of improving blighted areas; city officials they are useful and needed tools for bringing in outside investment.

Of course, there are other ways for a city to acquire land for a ballpark than using a redevelopment agency. And in this case neither ballpark venture seems absolutely dependent on a redevelopment agency. But it does complicate things.

And it could delay things. We can't imagine MLB Commissioner Bud Selig making a decision on whether the Athletics can move into San Francisco's territory with so much up in the air in both cities.

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