49ers stadium proposal at odds over verbiage

A photo of what the new 49ers stadium could look like in Santa Clara if negotiations succeed. (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

February 9, 2010 7:10:43 PM PST
In the on-going effort to get support for building a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, the next battle is over language.

The state election code requires ballot measures to be boiled down to 75 words or less. But the proposed 49er stadium in Santa Clara may be too complex for 75 words.

"We're trying to explain a very complicated project that has a 40-page term sheet, and this is an effort to get this down into some precision in 75 words and explain to the community what the project is," Assistant City Manager Ronald Garratt said.

The mayor and two council members worked on the language to appear on the June 8 ballot, and supporters want to re-do it.

Lisa Gillmor, who talked to ABC7 by phone, said the ballot language doesn't convey some of the taxpayer protections written into an agreement between the city and the 49ers.

Opponents say they have no problem with the ballot language.

"With a 75-word limit, I think is their limit, the council did a good job of representing the term sheet as best they could with the limitations they have of basically one sentence," Chris Koltermann from Santa Clara Plays Fair said.

The council still has one or two more meetings before it must finalize the language. However, Garratt said the goal is to reach an agreement at this evening's meeting.

In the meantime, residents of Santa Clara have been thinking about the stadium proposal ahead of the election.

Some favor bringing the team to town.

"I'm in favor of it, I am. I think it'll be good for the local economy," Santa Clara resident Cottrill said.

Others worry about the $114 million the city needs to contribute to the $937 million project.

"My situation, I'm unemployed right now, so it'd be really hard right now anyway. It's tough," James Case said.

The ballot language is the very first item on this evening's council agenda. The discussion is expected to last about an hour.