Following on a lawsuit filed against UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood in Alameda County in December, claiming he overstepped his authority in negotiating with the Golden State Warriors about the construction of their planned Mission Bay arena, the deep-pocketed Mission Bay Alliance has now filed another lawsuit in Sacramento Superior court. This suit, as the Examiner reports, contends that the City of San Francisco and the Warriors violated state environmental regulations in getting the arena project approved last year.
The Alliance already tried to appeal the approval of the arena's environmental impact report, which was denied in December. And the reason this suit was filed in Sacramento is because issues pertaining to redevelopment areas like Mission Bay are governed at the state level.
At issue, mainly, is the concern that traffic in the area on game and concert nights will inhibit the ability of patients to get to the medical center. The Alliance has enlisted the voice of parent Jennifer Wade, whose son Magnus has a heart condition and is a sometimes patient of Benioff Children's Hospital who can need emergency care at a moment's notice. In their last official statement, Wade is quoted saying, "It terrifies me to think about being caught in traffic, unable to bring Magnus to the hospital."
The city and current UCSF officials have agreed to various traffic mitigation methods, including beefing up T-line Muni service and separating hospital and venue traffic onto different approach streets (something one Alliance attorney has called "unenforceable"). Every city agency has so far signed off on the 18,000-seat arena's traffic plan and car traffic to the area will of necessity have to be limited by the number of structured parking spots available, which will be 950, with over 600 of those dedicated to the two office towers that are part of the complex.
The Alliance, bankrolled by some wealthy donors to UCSF's Mission Bay medical center Matier & Ross says it's just "a couple" of benefactors and led by a group of former UCSF officials, has promised to sue until the proverbial cows come home, and this definitely won't be the last of the lawsuits. We were promised last May, by pugnacious local power-player Jack Davis, that the Alliance's army of lawyers would "go over every single line" of the Warriors’ filing and keep the lawsuits coming despite lots of popular support.
As arena development spokesman PJ Johnston tells the Business Times, says of the Alliance that they're just going to try to delay the project forever because they know they can't stop it now. "They've never been interested in sitting down to talk about compromise. They've never been interested in finding common ground. They've simply threatened to sue," Johnston says. "So the desire to delay is not surprising since the likelihood of prevention altogether has become increasingly remote."