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Contrasting styles

The San Francisco 49ers have apparently determined that both renovating Candlestick Park and building a new stadium in San Francisco are too expensive. So they are considering a site in Santa Clara, 30 miles to the south. The mayor of Santa Clara notes the following about the 49ers approach:

"The 49ers have been clear that their goal is to put together a project that has no impact on the city's general fund and no increase in taxes, and we are ready to give this project our full attention."

Nice to hear. I expect that the ultimate deal may involve a land lease that is implicitly quite lucrative. Nevertheless, the articles' quotes from 49ers owner John York -- e.g., "we are part of the fabric of the region and intend to stay right here where we belong" -- are similarly refreshing. They don't rub a raw nerve in the way of Jerry Jones, or yesterday's gem from the Sonics, that I-91 had "relegated [Seattle] to a second-tier status."

The 49ers are operating in the wake of a series of failed subsidy referenda for the baseball Giants, culminating in the privately financed SBC Park on the edge of San Francisco Bay. Perhaps the difference in rhetoric stems from the existence of an established political equilbrium in the Bay Area that precludes construction subsidies for San Francisco teams. That's my hunch, but credit to York for recognizing it and making public statements accordingly.

Note: In the SBC Park arrangment, the Giants obtained $80m in land improvements from the city and a $1.5m annual lease on the property. So there was, as usual, a public contribution of some sort in the deal. See these articles (1 2) for useful discussions of SBC's development history.