Failure of San Francisco measures fuel Warriors arena debate

The failure of two measures regarding the 8 Washington project along the waterfront is fueling the Warriors arena debate.
November 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
There was a big defeat for a controversial luxury waterfront development project in San Francisco. On Tuesday, 62-percent of the voters turned down Measure B, which would have allowed the complex, while two-thirds of voters blocked Measure C which would have increased height limits for any structure built on that site.

And that's not all, the same people that defeated the project now have their sights set on another waterfront development -- the new arena for the Golden State Warriors.

It's now back the drawing board for the developers and opponents say it should also serve as a wake up call for the Warriors who want to build and area nearby at Piers 30-32.

Props B and C got what one political analyst called "a solid whooping" on Tuesday night. Now those behind that campaign have a new target.

"I call it a Trojan horse that's disguised as a basketball gym," said former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos.

He spoke about the Warriors waterfront plan. In addition to the arena, it calls for a 175-foot condominium complex -- which is taller than those rejected -- plus two 105 feet hotel towers and more than 100,000-square-feet of retail space.

"That's not a basketball arena. That is a mega real estate project that threatens to build a much bigger wall that blocks the waterfront," said Agnos.

Mayor Ed Lee has described the Warriors arena as his legacy project and a recent poll showed more than 60 percent of those surveyed support it.

"I think when it comes to the arena for the Warriors, there's going to be a lot more people naturally saying, 'Hey, I like the idea and I like the idea of having an entertainment center on the waterfront,'" said Lee.

But opponents think they now have the momentum and are threatening to go to the ballot.

Political analysts trying to read the tea leaves on Wednesday aren't sure what the demise of Props B and C means, though one believes it could reflect fears about a growing class divide.

"The people who are making it part of our public debate are pushing that line and I think yesterday's results show some people are willing to listen to that argument," said Alex Clemens, a San Francisco political consultant.

The Warriors will present an updated version of their waterfront plan next week.


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