Newsom's Cajoling on South Bay's 49ers Stadium Plan Comes Off as Desperate Hail Mary

These days are just packed for Mayor Gavin Newsom. He just introduced a city financial plan that's a dead cert to induce enough fevered statements about “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor” to make outsiders think the city's indigent population is working on a circus novelty act. Within a matter of days, he'll have the names of San Francisco's potential next police chief placed on his desk. And, tonight, Santa Clara's city council votes on greenlighting a $937 million stadium plan to appropriate the 49ers.

In the long run, the fate of our football team is likely the least important of these three challenges facing the mayor and the city. But while Newsom was composed and even upbeat in handing down a budget that slashes jobs and services, it was in his cajoling of South Bay politicos and voters with hopes to build a stadium — and with his rationales as to why the 49ers should remain here — that the mayor appears to have come slightly unhinged. Reading his statements in both local dailies induced a cringe-worthy feeling reminiscent of those moments when a punter or field goal kicker is desperately forced to run or throw the ball — it looks bad and often accomplishes the opposite of what they intended.

Newsom's logical zig-zagging recalled a Hugh McElhenny run — but not for positive yardage. How else can you explain his telling the Chronicle that a new 49ers stadium would be the centerpiece of his elysian dream of a rebuilt Hunters Point — yet telling the Examiner that a ballpark would be a bad deal for Santa Clara voters, who'd be “subsidizing a giant stadium for 10 games a year.” How is it possible to make both of these arguments on the same day? The Niners wouldn't be playing more games in a San Francisco stadium: You can't argue a ballpark would be a revitalization tool in your community but a behemoth money pit sitting empty for 355 days a year 20 minutes down the road. (By the way, we're inclined to go with the latter; employing a little-used football stadium as the anchor for residential or retail development is an abysmal idea). 

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