Santa Clara city officials signed off on a deal Tuesday night to build a 68,500 seat stadium 37 miles away from San Francisco for the 49ers. This is the first step in a long process but the fact that the first step has been taken shows the York Family are serious about moving the team to their team headquarters in Santa Clara. The next step is an environmental impact review and then Santa Clara residents get to vote whether or not the city should help fund a new stadium. The vote will not come up until March 2010. The stadium if approved would be open for the 2014 season.
I am against any move out of the city of San Francisco. Being a lifelong fan and recently moving to San Francisco factors into my favoritism of the team staying in SF. To see the 49ers play in another city without San Francisco as the home city would not be right. When the York Family first floated the idea of not only moving the team to Santa Clara but to any other Bay Area city, Senator Dianne Feinstein said “she would consider writing legislation to block the 49ers from using the words “San Francisco” or “49ers” in their name if they left the city. Her spokesman Scott Gerber said the senator is still studying the idea.” (Feinstein Acts to Thwart 49ers’ Possible Move) That was from an article in January 2007. Let’s how Senator Feinstein reacts with today’s announcement. From Senator Feinstein to Mayor Gavin Newsom to the S.F. Board Supervisors I bet all of them will finally agree on something: keeping the 49ers in San Francisco. To be fair to the York Family, although hard, the proposal from San Francisco City Officials was not all that great and did not do much to lure the owners away from the idea of moving out of San Francisco. The proposals were attached to too many stipulations. The first involved the current Candlestick location but that was attached to San Francisco getting the 2016 Olympics. Another proposal was tied to the toxic clean-up of the former Navy shipyard Hunters Point. The York Family balked at both proposals which led us to today.
Evidence that San Francisco City Officials will do anything and everything to keep the team from moving is that they hired former 49ers team president, the legendary Carmen Policy. Expect to see Policy’s face a lot over the next year as he tries to help the City from losing its beloved 49ers. There is also the economic recession to think about. It has been reported that the NFL fund for helping teams build a stadium has been depleted and there are no plans to replenish the fund. And of course the biggest block to the 49ers possible move is Santa Clara residents. There is a perception in California during the recession that any and all unnecessary spending is uncalled for. See yesterdays special election in California for proof. Come March 2010 when the voters will head to the polls how far out of the recession, if at all, will the economy be? Even if we are out of the recession and the economy is recovering, the economic downturn will be fresh on voters’ minds. I would think San Francisco will run an advertising campaign to keep the Red and Gold in S.F. If not I will be all for starting a campaign to keep the 49ers in San Francisco. What do you think? Share ideas in the comments.