OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - Sick children may not get life-saving treatment at the University of California-San Francisco Children's Hospital if plans to build an arena for the Golden State Warriors go forward, a mom and a nonprofit claim in court.
Jennifer Wade, the Mission Bay Alliance and its strategy and organizational consultant Bruce Spaulding sued UC Chancellor Sam Hawgood in Alameda County Superior Court Thursday.
The plaintiffs claim Hawgood on Oct. 7 secretly negotiated a memorandum of understanding to transfer UC property near the UCSF Children's Hospital to the Warriors basketball franchise.
"Such a transfer is unlawful because Chancellor Hawgood acted without the UC Regents' authority in purporting to bind UCSF and by extension the regents. Furthermore, the transfer is an unconstitutional delegation of the UC Regents' police powers, including the power to abate nuisances that affect land owned by the UC Regents; an unlawful gift of public property; and represents an abuse of the chancellor's discretion," the 93-page complaint states.
The Warriors want the arena built in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood, a former industrial area on a "small peninsula on the eastern waterfront" that is now the site of private research labs and the "world-class" UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, which has a 50-bed intensive care unit for premature babies who would die without treatment, according to the complaint.
The hospital offers cutting-edge treatment for cancer, serious birth defects, and other life-threatening conditions, and the surrounding bioscience labs generate around $4 billion each year, the complaint states.
If built, the arena would be across the street from the hospital's emergency facilities, interfering with the ability of parents of children with "life-threatening medical emergencies" to get help, the plaintiffs say.
Traffic is part of the issue. Mission Bay has few access points and is served only by bus and the Muni rail line, problems exacerbated by "tens of thousands of commuters who pass through the area every day," the complaint states.
Plaintiff Jennifer Wade says that her six-year-old son Magnus "is alive today because of a series of heart surgeries performed by UCSF doctors when he was less than a year old.
"Magnus's heart condition is extremely rare and the risk of dangerous complications is high, so his mother Jennifer must take him to a specialized emergency room like the one at the UCSF Children' Hospital whenever he has a medical emergency," Wade continues in the complaint. "The family lives in the Mission District of San Francisco so the UCSF Children's Hospital is the only place Jennifer can take her son for potentially life-saving care."
Though several UCSF officials criticized the proposed arena and its environmental impact report and demanded concessions from the Warriors - like not overlapping Warriors games with Giants games, enabling access to the hospital via parking control officers and making sure the hospital helipad is not blocked by construction crews - the "Warriors and their allies at City Hall were in no mood to cooperate," the complaint states.
For years the owners of the Warriors have wanted to move the franchise from Oakland to San Francisco, where its value is expected to skyrocket to over $1 billion. After abandoning plans to build the arena at Piers 30 and 32 next to the Bay Bridge, the Warriors announced intentions to build near AT&T Park, "where the San Francisco Giants play at least 81 games per year," the complaint states.