Newsom's notion that the supposed $79 million in government funds Santa Clara votes may be asked to spend for that behemoth stadium would better spent on schools and the like sounds disingenuous. Of course they would. But these are redevelopment funds -- and, to the best of our knowledge, not available to redevelop pencils, books, and teachers' dirty looks. If not spent on a stadium, they could well go to develop infrastructure for an office park. The "save the children" method of arguing here comes off as desperate.
Finally, Newsom's wheedling of Santa Clara voters and politicos -- and legal threats to sue the team if it continues to use the designation "San Francisco" or even "49ers" are nothing short of bizarre. Newsom, for all his talents, has demonstrated to be a man with remarkably short political coat tails; he has been famously unable to convince San Francisco voters to vote for the people and things he endorses (Rob Black, Doug Chan, and Hillary Clinton may have more to say about that). So the idea that he now feels he can strongarm voters in another city -- and over the advice of their own elected officials -- is mystifying.
More truculent were Newsom's threats of legal action -- and we have more McElhenny zig-zagging here; within the same Chron article he smugly noted that Santa Clara voters would be paying a lot for a team that won't even take their city's name -- then threatened to sue the team if it kept the "San Francisco" designation. What city name does he think they'd take? Boca Raton?
These legal threats are a ridiculous and transparent ploy that smack of nothing so much as sour grapes. Did the good peole of New York sue the Jets and Giants when those teams moved down the road to the wide-open suburbs? You don't hear much about the Irving Cowboys or RalJon Redskins. Unlike baseball -- where teams play 81 home contests a year -- a football stadium is not a thriving hub of city life and many teams play in the 'burbs. As Newsom himself noted, folks show up for 10 days a year, barbecue in the parking lot, and go home. If you're trying to claim that football stadiums enhance the area around them enconomically or otherwise -- well, have you seen the area around Candlestick Park?
Here's what I'd like to see: Are there any numbers out there that determine what economic benefit it serves the city of San Francisco to continue to house the 49ers and pay for repairs and upgrades to their creaky stadium? Is there anything beyond regional pride that would actually make it better for the Niners to play their games in San Francisco and not Santa Clara? Or would it just be embarrasing for the city politicos -- some of whom, we're told, would like to be governor -- who've tried to negotiate this deal?
Sometimes it takes a bit of wisdom to disregard the crowd nose and make the solid decision to punt.
Photo | Refracted Moments