Watchdog group claims 49ers trying to influence local election

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Are the 49ers contributing a lot of money to influence next month's Santa Clara city council election? That's what a watchdog group is claiming.

The Niners may call Santa Clara home, but accusations that the organization made a contribution to support certain city council candidates are creating a stir, and it will be up to voters to figure out who's telling the truth.

The group Stand Up For Santa Clara claims the Niners made a $49,265 contribution to San Francisco-based Blupac, whose website is promoting a slate of candidates for city council. Critics say it's an effort to tip the balance on the council in favor of the Niners.

"Money is being secretly laundered into Santa Clara politics, and we believe strongly the 49ers are behind that," said Burt Field of Stand up for Santa Clara.

"Otherwise, we're going to just be big money and these special interest groups are going to continue to develop our city and take over our cities," said Noreen Carlos of the Old Quad Residents Association.

The election comes as the council is dealing with a re-set of the stadium rent paid to the city. The council also fought efforts by the Niners to take over a city-owned youth soccer field.

The Niners issued a statement to respond to the allegations: "This organization does not make a practice of commenting on political matters and will not begin doing so now in response to unsubstantiated rumors that support the personal agendas of local politicians."

Dorothy Rosa, a lifelong 49ers fan, wants team CEO Jed York to come clean.

"I want him to hold a press conference and tell the people of Santa Clara he will not engage in dirty politics and laundered money," Rosa said.

Bluepac was set up by San Francisco attorney Douglas Chan. When asked if the money did or didn't come from the 49ers, he would only say donors do not direct its message of seeking diversity and transparency in governance.

The site criticizes mayor Lisa Gillmor, who is not up for re-election.

"If you can't trust who you're working with, and they're doing these types of dishonest things, then we have a problem," Gillmor said.
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