49ers Try To Smooth It Over With SF

San Francisco 49ers president Jed York is beginning to realize what many Niner Faithful have been saying for more than a year -- the team has so thoroughly botched it's proposed move to Santa Clara that it may have no choice but to stay in San Francisco. To that end, Jed met with mayor Gavin Newsom for a "renewal of dialogue" intent on making sure the Yorks have a place to drag their tail between their legs if the Santa Clara option continues blowing up in their faces.

Mayor Gavin Newsom -- geez, just typing his name makes me feel like some kind of gossip columnist -- is the one who actually requested the meeting.The mayor wanted an opportunity to respond to York's claim at the 49ers "State of the Franchise" event that "there hadn't been great cooperation" from the mayor's office on future stadium planning. Jed, you will have that sometimes when you try to bail out on a multiple hundred-million dollar lease.

The city of San Francisco already knows the Yorks can't possibly move to Santa Clara by their target date of 2012. The 49ers couldn't manage to get a funding measure on the ballot there last year, and still don't know if they will even be able to do so by November 2009.

Even if they do, this whole move is predicated on that huge-tax-increase-during-horrible-recession bond measure actually being approved by Santa Clara voters. San Franciscans are giggling and wishing Jed York the best of luck on that one.

Swooping in on what looked like a foundering stadium plan, Gavin has grabbed some help from his friends at the Lennar Corporation and counter-proposed a 49ers stadium at Bayview-Hunter's Point in San Francisco.

This counter-proposal includes 10,000 units of affordable housing for Lennar to build, a necessary sweetener to get someone-anyone other than taxpayers to put up the astronomical sum necessary to build a new stadium. They describe the project as a "transit-oriented neighborhood." That sounds bizarre, but not as bizarre as the stadium-mall they were going to build there in 1997.

The Yorks' concern with this plan is that it's "based on selling 10,000 condos."  Newsom insists that is not the case. But it is definitely the case that this franchise has nowhere else to play for at least the next four-plus years, and this marriage of convenience may be the Yorks' only option.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who hasn't had great cooperation from the mayor's office on reducing his parking tickets.

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