49ers look at nonpublic funds

After a recent controversy over plans for a new stadium, San Francisco 49ers officials announced Tuesday that they are exploring ways to pay for the facility without using $100 million in public money.

Separately, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell introduced legislation that reaffirms the project complies with the “will of the voters.”
Both moves come after recent reports that Mayor Gavin Newsom’s administration had asked state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, to carry legislation that would allow a judge to decide whether a different stadium plan complied with the plan voters approved in 1997, which set aside public bonds for the construction of the facility.
At that time, voters narrowly approved the idea of a stadium and mall combination. The 49ers are now looking at options that include housing.

Critics charged the move was an end run around the will of the voters, while Newsom’s administration said it was simply a way to clarify whether the project met the will of the voters before extensive planning got under way. Newsom, who is on vacation this week in Mexico, said he would never do anything that might contradict the will of the voters.

If the 49ers ultimately take the public money off the table, it would render moot the discussion of whether the new stadium plans are in line with the voter-approved project.

“We know that the public would like us to avoid using the approved bonds, and we will continue to look at options to see if that is possible,” Lisa Lang, 49ers vice president of communications, said in a statement.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell’s legislation, which was crafted in concert with the Mayor’s Office, states the Board of Supervisors will have final say on whether any project at Candlestick Point is consistent with the voter-approved ballot initiative.

The bill also reaffirms the stadium will go through an environmental review and there will be reviews before various public boards and commissions — something any stadium project already must do.
“It is one more safeguard to make sure these disclosures occur,” Maxwell said.

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