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49ers’ audible spares taxpayers

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So the design for the 49ers’ new Candlestick Point venue is officially unveiled, and it’s a honey. Panoramas of the Bay and San Francisco’s unmatched cityscape. Up-close player views for every fan, no matter the seat number.


If an architectural vision can align the stars, then the 49ers’ fortunes are assured. This site can command Super Bowl after Super Bowl, not to mention the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

There’s something about this handiwork of HNTB Architecture Inc. that bespeaks the sporting life. Recreational areas, office space and residential units will feel some connection to our favorite NFL franchise. No dreary brainstorm of a municipal bureaucracy, this.

Even better (and this probably accounts for our boosterish tone): The Candlestick project, all $800 million of it, and once it gets through the approval process, will transform the windswept place where Willie Mays and Joe Montana performed — without burdening the taxpayers.

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The 49ers vow not to apply public funding, even that $100 million in bonds authorized by voters in 1997, to the new stadium at Candlestick Point. Holdout taxpayers who don’t like sports may even begin to love Candlestick. Authentic affection, obviously, is never coerced.

We suppose some people actually would feel better if that nine-year-old mistake at the ballot box were followed through to some clumsy completion. But the Niners spared us all that agony and expense. They’re to be saluted.

Monster Park itself, which will stick around until the christening of the new Candlestick, continues what we earnestly hope is a sports finance trend started by the Giants. For several decades it was taken as a given that the building of great arenas and stadiums had to absorb huge portions of city budgets.

As more economists looked at the costs and benefits — the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., led the way — that assumption fumbled. When politicians steer entertainment and recreational dollars to team owners, it turns out, they dam the flow of money to more varied forms of amusement.

Choices denied them, consumers lose. They lose again when politicians see the sales tax as an endless wellspring.

We’re glad the team brought back the “Candlestick” identity. “Naming opportunities” can be annoying, and they started to seem required if the commercial formula for these cathedrals to athleticism were to succeed. Restoring the historic name was a nice touch.

Pity Sacramento, where the owners of the Kings basketball team just this week are trying to line up political support for a new tax-funded arena. The casino-owning Maloof brothers face stiff voter opposition.

They should look to the 49ers for inspiration.

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