49ers stadium supporters deliver petition

A photo of what the new 49ers stadium could look like in Santa Clara if negotiations succeed.

January 12, 2010 7:34:00 PM PST
The San Francisco 49ers completed their latest play in the team's game plan to build a stadium in Santa Clara. Shortly after 11a.m., members from Santa Clarans For Economic Progress hauled seven boxes into Santa Clara City Hall. The boxes contain petitions with an estimated 8,000 signatures on them from Santa Clara voters. The people signing the petition support the city's and team efforts to build a $937 million NFL stadium near Great America.

The city clerk says his office will review the signatures and forward them on to the County Elections Department for formal verification. The petition needs 4,640 valid signatures or 10 percent of the registered voters of Santa Clara for the measure to be put on the June 2010 ballot.

"We're very confident that we have enough signatures and this will be on the June ballot," petition organizer Pat Kolstad said.

Critics of this process say Santa Clarans For Economic Progress are nothing more than a front organization for the 49ers. The team freely admits it is fully supporting and economically backing the citizens group and a 49ers spokesperson was there when the petitions were turned in Tuesday morning.

"There will be a form that's filed at the end of this month and all the financial backing from the 49ers to Santa Clarans For Economic Progress will be disclosed fully," 49ers spokesperson Lisa Lang said.

Community members and team executives say the petition turned in Tuesday is better than if the City Council had put a similar measure on the ballot because the results of this process are binding on the city. Critics accuse the team of using this process as a way to avoid the full scope of environmental review.

People can expect an aggressive campaign to get voter support for the 49ers to build a 68,500 seat stadium in Santa Clara for the 2014 season. Lisa Gillmor with Santa Clarans For Economic Progress says "This is a stimulus plan for the city of Santa Clara. It will create jobs and generate revenue for the city and small businesses."

Opponents would also say it is about the money but in a different way. Bill Bailey with Santa Clara Plays Fair says, "The stadium relies on a $114 million subsidy from the city. This is not about football; this is about taxpayers not getting a good rate of return on an investment."

The election to see if Santa Clara voters support the San Francisco 49ers building a stadium in Santa Clara will take place on June 8, 2010.