Vote on Oakland A's ballpark project goes before key state agency

The state agency that oversees the Bay Area's ports is set to vote Thursday on a measure that could move the Oakland A's stadium project forward or stop it in its tracks. 

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) must give its permission whenever a port is to be used for a non-maritime purpose, such as a ballpark or stadium. 

A staff report from the agency issued earlier in June recommended its members to approve the project and allow the A's to push forward with plans for a stadium, housing and retail space at Howard Terminal.

Several labor and community groups arrived before the meeting to show their support for moving the A's from the Coliseum to a site near Jack London Square.

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"For us, it would mean thousands of construction jobs, long-term hotels and restaurants. We just can't say no. That will help fund schools, fund infrastructure," said Eddie Alvarez, Alameda County building and construction trade council. 

The Alameda labor council and its 28 affiliated unions support the Howard Terminal project. But other community and labor groups do not. 

Representatives from the longshore workers union said a stadium with high-end housing would not work right next to a 24-7 port.  

"You can't put billionaire condominiums on the edge of a working dock," said Trent Willis, former president of ILWU Local 10. "So we're opposed to the BCDC allowing the A's to take port designation off of Howard Terminal."

The BCDC has 27 members and are expected to approve the measure and move the A's ballpark project at Howard Terminal forward.