Council rejects putting Oakland A’s Howard Terminal waterfront ballpark on ballot

Residents of Oakland will not be voting on using public funds to pay for the A’s Howard Terminal waterfront ballpark in November.

Some leaders consider the vote by the Oakland City Council on Tuesday night to keep it off the ballot good news for the stadium project. 

The ballot measure would have asked Oaklanders how they feel about using public funds to pay for the ballpark. But the outcome of that public vote would’ve been non-binding and could’ve delayed the project even more.  

In a statement Tuesday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said putting the measure on the ballot would have "jeopardized keeping the A’s in Oakland, cost taxpayers as much as a million dollars, and done nothing but provide special interests with opportunities to spread misinformation."  

"If you actually saw the proposed measure, it really was not going to be helpful to anybody, least of all the voters," said Schaaf.

The vote was 5 to 2 with one member abstaining. 

"We don’t have a deal yet. The city administration is negotiating based on direction from the council and the mayor, they’re negotiating to come up with a deal to see where we’re at. We don’t have that in front of us yet, so it’s hard for me to know if we’re ready to bring something to the voters or not," said Councilman Dan Kalb, who voted no on the measure. 

Kalb said although the issue will not be on the ballot this year, it could still show up on the ballot during a special election. 

Kalb is not sure if he is for or against the Howard Terminal project right now, but he wants to make sure there are financial safeguards for the city. 

He said the A's are set to present a deal to the council in the fall.

"What’s before us, whether one likes it or not, if what’s before us is at least a reasonable effort, then the council will decide ok let’s just vote on it one way or the other, up or down. If we feel that what’s before us is too risky for the city, then we have an obligation to let the voters have a say," said Kalb.

MORE: Oakland A's get approval from state agency to use port for stadium

This is the second big win for the project recently. 

Just last week, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted to reclassify that section of the port of Oakland as mixed use where a baseball stadium can be built.  

The project – which also includes residential units, office buildings, retail space and a hotel -- still needs other approvals and an agreement on final terms of the deal. And the city council is requesting a financial analysis of the project to be presented in the fall.