Santa Clara meeting drags late into the night

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A crucial vote was expected Tuesday night on the future of the proposed 49ers stadium in Santa Clara. Many want it built there and many don't. On Tuesday, there was a surprising snag.

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At around 11 p.m. Tuesday night the public comment period was only half way over, but the bottom line was Santa Clara residents were not taking the issue lightly.

There is no misunderstanding which side of the stadium issue the residents in the meeting were on.

"We don't understand why we need to subsidize this stadium with $114 million of city money," said Erlinda Estrada, from Santa Clara Plays Fair.

"I think it's a great idea," said resident Steve Gifford.

According to the term sheet, the city would contribute one $114 million to the project. $42 million in city redevelopment money, $17 million already ear marked for a parking garage, $20 million to move an electrical substation near the site, and $35 million from a new hotel tax.

The 49ers and the NFL would make up the remaining $800 million.

"It guarantees no impact to the general fund. It guarantees no new taxes. It guarantees that the cost over runs are born by the team," said Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan.

The city's mayor is calling this a good deal and so are the 49ers.

"Right now Santa Clara is the absolute best option. We think this is a terrific place to move forward with our plans," said 49er spokesperson Lisa Lang.

But Cedar Fair, the corporation that owns Great America, at least at this point does not. Attorneys sent a letter to council members Tuesday asking they not vote on the term sheet. The amusement park fears it'll lose revenue if the stadium moves in. And even though the stadium is expected to create 1,500 new jobs, opponents still say, it's not enough.

"Maybe 1,000 part time workers. That is not what I want for my city. I want my city to be full of those who want to live here longer and put their roots down here," said Santa Clara resident Adila Saadat.

The council was expected to take a vote on Tuesday night, but if the term sheet does pass, city staff will be ordered to start working on a ballot measure for the 2010 election.

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