Parent Jennifer Wade, in apress releasedistributed by arena opposition groupMission Bay Alliance (MBA)says that her six-year-old son Magnus “is alive today” because of heart surgeries performed by UCSF doctors. She stated that “His condition means that…he often needs emergency care at a moment’s notice. It terrifies me to think about being caught in traffic, unable to bring Magnus to the hospital.”
Parents of ill children who use the University of California at San Francisco (“UCSF”) hospital fear that the proposed Golden State WarriorsGolden State Warriorsarena, which is located 1,000 feet from the hospital emergency room, could block access to life-saving care. Wade, also an assistant professor of biology at UCSF, joined the suit filed by MBA as a plaintiff to stop the project. “I filed this lawsuit because I can’t believe that the Chancellor would allow the Warriors to build their arena next to the hospital.”
When questioned about concerns about the traffic and access to the UCSF emergency room, Warriors spokesman P.J. Johnston ofP.J. Johnston Communicationsresponded, “There are several dozen arenas in the U.S. similarly located less than three miles from a hospital. They all appear to function without major conflicts; in fact, they complement each other. Baseball and basketball seasons are almost entirely opposite; overlapping game days occur only a few times a year, with games starting at different times. Traffic planning is ultimately the responsibility of the city, but with the cooperation of the Warriors, UCSF and other neighborhood stakeholders, plans for special emergency lanes, dedicated routes for UCSF, transit and street improvements, an increase in traffic control officers and other mitigation efforts are in place, so patients, visitors and employees of the hospital have been well accounted for. That is why UCSF officially supports the arena. That is why the project was unanimously approved by the Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee, the Planning Commission, the Municipal Transportation Agency, the Board of Supervisors and several other agencies.”
The opposition asserts that this will be a fight to the death. Led by political consultant Jack Davis, they have vowed to litigate“until the cows come home.”Mr. Davis ran three successful mayoral campaigns, and has been described by SFGATE as“one of the most feared and loathed political players in San Francisco.”
Most observers believe that this is the first of what will be many legal entanglements between the proponents and opponents of this project. The opposition is using a familiar strategy, death by a thousand cuts. Ever increasing public opposition, including threatened as well as actual litigation, is designed to add up to a slow and painful demise of this project.
Their strategy may be working. Dueling polls commissioned by the Warriors in July and MBA in December found that support for the arena may already be eroding. In July the poll showed about 61 percent support. The DecemberMBA backed pollfound that the support had declined by 12 percent to 49 percent.
The recently filed suit, as well as the expected avalanche of litigation surrounding this project, will be piled onto the legal issue the Warriors are already fighting. Ticket resellerStubHubfiled anantitrust lawsuitin March, accusing the team andTicketmasterof conspiring to create an illegal resale monopoly by forcing season ticket holders to only resell through their platform.
There is a quiet and growing rumbling amongst fans. Businesses across the bay in Oakland are surely not ecstatic with the team abandoning their city. According to several experienced ticket brokers, as one of the top ticket selling teams in the league, they were in the top five when they had a losing record, soreasonably priced ticketswere already scarce, and with the move will be harder to find.
If the support for the stadium continues to erode through the next few months, the proponents may find themselves in need of an unobstructed path to that emergency room entrance.
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Darnell Goldson: email@example.com, 860-993-3906