Newsom: “In My Core of Core,” 49ers Will Stay

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Wednesday reiterated his desire for  the San Francisco 49ers to stay in the city, after the Santa Clara City  Council voted early this morning to move ahead with its stadium deal with the  team.

The council voted 5-2, at a packed meeting that lasted until 1:30  a.m., to move forward with an extremely detailed financing deal, the result of two years of negotiations.

Newsom, speaking at San Francisco City Hall after a news  conference about the city's universal health care program, said he would  continue to fight to keep the 49ers from moving out of the city.

"I put myself on the line as a San Franciscan -- a  fifth-generation San Franciscan," Newsom said. "I care deeply about the San  Francisco 49ers. This wasn't a team that we recruited here, this was a team  that started here in San Francisco."

He said he will continue fighting to keep the 49ers in San Francisco and is optimistic the team will stay put.

"I still believe, truly in my core of core, that they're going to remain the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco, not outside of San  Francisco, for the remainder of my lifetime," Newsom said.

However, Newsom said, there is only so much he can do if the team is set on moving.

"They have one directional pursuit, and that's Santa Clara,"  Newsom said. "It's hard to negotiate with people that don't want to  necessarily negotiate because they want to leave, but we're continuing to  pursue our plans as we have been."

Those plans include the possible construction of a new stadium as part of the redevelopment of Candlestick Point that was approved by San Francisco voters as Proposition G in June 2008.

Team president Jed York told the Santa Clara City Council of his hope that the team can call Santa Clara home for decades to come.

This morning's vote approves the "term sheet," a detailed  financial agreement between the team and the city. However, Santa Clara  residents must also sign off on using public money for the venture. A ballot  measure to approve the term sheet is planned for spring 2010.

The agreement holds the 49ers responsible for constructing and operating a $937 million 68,500-seat stadium next to the Great America amusement park.

The city would contribute a maximum of $42 million in  redevelopment agency funds and spend $37 million to build a public parking garage and relocate a nearby electricity substation. A new tax on rooms at  nearby hotels would contribute another $35 million.

Newsom said the Santa Clara agreement is still not a done deal, especially since voters may be reluctant to spend more money given the current economic climate.

He said, "We're going to keep doing what we're doing, and that's the best I can say, but I've also made it clear that I can't sell the soul of the city and finance this with the city to keep the team."

If the team did leave, Newsom said, the Candlestick Point space would be used to attract green-technology companies, among other uses.

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