Mission Bay Alliance retains top land-use attorneys to fight Warriors arena project 

The group opposed to building a Warriors arena near UC San Francisco's Mission Bay campus has retained a slew of prominent attorneys in preparation for a legal battle against the project.

Led by former UCSF officials, the Mission Bay Alliance has hired David Boies, chairman of the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner that has worked on cases including the reversal of California’s Proposition 8 to allow same-sex marriage and the Florida vote count debacle in the 2000 presidential election.

The alliance emerged earlier this year to voice opposition to the Warriors arena, which is supported by Mayor Ed Lee.

The Warriors had previously proposed a waterfront arena along The Embarcadero, just south of the Bay Bridge, but last year purchased land in Mission Bay from Salesforce.com.

Opponents argue that traffic congestion and a lack of parking will impact the neighborhood, including the new UCSF hospitals that opened in February across the street from where the arena is planned.

In addition to Boies, the alliance has employed a legal team with expertise in the California Environmental Quality Act to review the environmental impact report for the stadium plan.

The team includes Thomas Lippe, who worked with organizations that sought to minimize the environmental impacts of the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco.

Also retained by the alliance was Susan Brandt-Hawley, an experienced attorney in CEQA and land-use issues who successfully argued in San Francisco Superior Court that the environmental impact report was inadequate for the controversial 8 Washington St. waterfront condominium project, which failed at the ballot in 2013.

Principals at Sacramento-based environmental law firm Soluri Meserve, Osha Meserve and Patrick Soluri, the latter of whom has experience challenging NBA arenas, were also engaged by the alliance.

“Our team of attorneys — some of the nation’s best — will be tasked with analyzing the Warriors’ proposed plan and advising us on the environmental and civic impacts of a project that we believe would wreak havoc on Mission Bay for UCSF and bioscience research,” Bruce Spaulding of the Mission Bay Alliance said in a statement.

But news of the legal team did not appear to discourage proponents of the Warriors arena plan.

“Since they organized as an anonymous 501c4 lobbying organization, it's no surprise they’d rather talk about who their lawyers are than who their funders are, or why they’re really doing this,” project spokesman PJ Johnston wrote in an email to The San Francisco Examiner.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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