OFF SEASON EXCITEMENT FOR WARRIORS ARENA

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Posticker Sig revisedAlthough the Golden State Warriors haven’t played since their surprising playoff run last May, the future San Francisco team is still making surprising news – which is stoking excitement about prospects for the team. Last week, the NBA basketball team – planning to be in a new San Francisco waterfront arena by 2017 – stunned fans by competing for the services of free agent and marquee player Dwight Howard who eventually signed with Yao Ming’s former team (and Jeremy Lin’s current), the Houston Rockets. Compared to the prestigious or lucrative Los Angeles LakersDallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks markets Howard could have signed, the Warriors made an enormous splash. New Warrior ownership – including executive board members like Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Hall of Famer Jerry West, and former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya – are stirring interest in elite players like Howard who once saw the team as a sports Siberia (small market and perennial loser). Howard’s arrival would have been equal to the San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds free agent signing in 1992 which put the Major League Baseball franchise back on the sports map (two world championships in 2010 and 2012) and on the road towards it’s privately funded and highly successful Mission Bay waterfront park….
Jeremy Lin at the post game Q&A during the Warriors Asian Heritage Night on Feb. 12. Photo courtesy of Gerrye Wong.

Jeremy Lin at the post game Q&A during the Warriors Asian Heritage Night on Feb. 12. Photo courtesy of Gerrye Wong.

CANARY CONDOS: Prospects of a new waterfront arena are also being pushed by the town’s Asian Pacific American (APA) leadership like Mayor Ed Lee, Board of Supervisors led by President David Chiu and Assemblyman Phil Ting who is helping fast track the arena in Sacramento with a bill through state and regional tidelands and coastal regulation. Ting’s bill which passed thru the Assembly is in the State Senate, but it’s opposed by the influential Bay Conservation Development Commission. On the other hand, Chiu is leading the fight against the waterfront “luxury” 8 Washington condos this Nov. election in his own District 3 (Chinatown/North Beach). However, Chiu is supporting the arena blocks south of his district (in Supervisor Jane Kim’s District 6 of SOMA), which is otherwise criticized or opposed by the same condo opponents like Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and former Mayor Art Agnos. The condos – on the ballot this November – could be the political canary in the coal mine as to how voters view any waterfront development, including a sports arena. That could be telling as to future steps of the Warriors political consulting apparatchik (everyone in town has been hired said Leslie Katz except for herself because of her conflict as a SF Port Commissioner having possible jurisdiction over the project if the Ting bill fails)…The Warriors political dream team will be watching how the condos play out. Already, the team has accommodated concerns like decreasing capacity and changing aesthetics (e.g. installing an arena porthole to allow the public get a free peep of the game and fans to view sights like the Bay Bridge) That would determine how the Warriors and arena are marketed in future months and when the season resumes in the fall. The Warriors will play two exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai against the LA Lakers which will be an opportunity to tout the 2017 arena as it goes through the regulatory process and further design review. The games will also be an opportunity to stir arena support in the APA community, given the large audience disappointed by hometown (Palo Alto) Jeremy Lin’s departure for New York and Houston…
 
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

I DON’T RECALL: Gosh, remember all that talk about a recall in 2012 of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan?  With a perfect storm of expiring labor contracts in the last two weeks, Oakland and the Mayor took center stage – a one day strike by Oakland city workers, a four-day regional transit strike and an Alameda county threatened bus strike. If all this had happened back in 2011 or 2012 (labor leaders including Alameda County Labor Council director Josie Camacho supported Quan early on against any recall in late 2011), it could have injected adrenalin into the recall effort that was eventually beset by funding and divided efforts, one of which was led by Johnny Wang, the same political consultant helping manage the successful 2008 Yes on Prop V to restore JROTC in public schools campaign. Quan surviving the labor strife as well as implementing a new police district strategy, reaping benefits of an improving economy, and basically beating back the three recall campaigns is taking the oxygen out of potential challengers to Quan’s 2014 mayoral re-election race. Adding to the difficulty is any challenger putting together a coalition of two or three challengers to put ranked choice votes to unseat Quan. She beat former State Senate Don Perata for mayor in 2010 with ranked choice votes of Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan …

FOUR YEARS LATER: What a difference four years make. In 2010, College Board incumbentsJohn RizzoLawrence Wong and Anita Grier were unchallenged and easily won re-election. But with the accreditation and financial management crisis at SF City College and a state appointed trustee that may take over governance from  the three, it’s likely they’ll draw competition in Nov. 2014 to represent an institution where nearly two out of five students are APA. Among APA potential challengers – attorney Hanna Leung who’s taken on higher profile positions as vice president of the Chinese American Democratic Club and Chinese Real Estate Association of America, and Beverly Popek, an instructor at Skyline College andSF Human Rights Commission small business advocate. In 2012, Leung ran for the SF College Board while Popek ran for a SF School Board seat…

MISS ME?: Email Samson Wong at potsticker@prodigy.net and  follow him at Twitter @SFPotstickers
 

About the Author

Veteran columnist has appeared in up to 450,000 households weekly in the SF Independent, Examiner (2000-04) and AsianWeek since 1996. As Editor-in-Chief (2003-07), AsianWeek and Samson received wide recognition from the California Legislature, New American Media, League of Women Voters, GLAAD, Organization of Chinese Americans, SPUR and APA civic groups. Thru the SF Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, SF Elections Task Force and Chinese American Voters Education Committee, Wong helped boost APA influence from 25,000 in the 1980s to over 50,000 voters by the early 1990s.

1 Comment

  1. Godwin

    I don’t know if you heard this already but the warriors front office has been dealing with alot of challenges lately due to the fact that the head designer of the project left his firm, AECOM

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