Alvina Wong, right, with a Chinatown business
owner who expressed concern about an A’s
ballpark near Laney College.

Alvina Wong grew up in Chinatown. As a child she walked with her grandmother to buy groceries, learned Chinese calligraphy and made friends in the park. “That’s the type of community we have in Chinatown as well as East Lake and that is what is forgotten when we look at big sports stadiums,” said Wong during a rally attended by community activists, students and local business owners who believe the A’s planned 35,000-seat ballpark will negatively impact the working-class immigrant community.

“We get to decide the fate of our community,” said Wong, a member of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “In no part of that dream did we ever imagine putting a stadium there.”

The group hosting Tuesday’s rally, the “Stay the Right Way Coalition,” is comprised of several community groups, including the Oakland Chinatown Coalition, Causa Justa and the Oakland Tenants Union.
Chinatown and East Lake community members,
along with students have deep reservations
about a ballpark on the Peralta site.
Many believe the growing coalition and Oakland’s notoriously fractured politics could cause the A’s ownership problems well before a single shovel is in the ground. The team hopes to take the next year to gather community input and concerns before navigating the city’s planning bureaucracy.

The community groups, though, criticized A’s ownership, specifically team president Dave Kaval, for failing to approach stakeholders in Chinatown for meetings in their own language before announcing its decision earlier this month to build at the Peralta site .

The A’s hope to open the ballpark by Opening Day 2023.

But, antipathy toward the proposed ballpark partially on the grounds of the current Peralta Community College District office’s on 8th Street is not mutually exclusive with their stated love of the baseball team. Numerous speakers Tuesday morning described themselves as A’s fans and many others sported the team’s iconic green and gold caps.

“Let’s make this clear: We love the A’s. They’re the only sensible team to stay in Oakland.
Wong, added. “We also know the A’s are a business and this business decision to move a stadium is really concerning to our community.”

Shirley Gee, a former Oakland City Council and community activists, expressed dissatisfaction with the team and equated their proposed move to President Trump’s immigration policies.  “I am not loving the A’s right now. They A’s apparently have gone over to the dark side because they have been a community-oriented team up to this point,” said Gee.

“They have actually joined Team Trump in his anti-refugee and immigrant campaign. When you come into the community and displace thousands of people from their homes, change the character of the neighborhoods they live in, you are attacking that neighborhood.”

Another, a member of the Laney College faculty, said the ballpark will adversely effect the campus and education. “There’s no way you build a stadium right there and not totally disrupt our institution,” said Roger Porter. He later compared the A’s to Christopher Columbus.