The lights are on in Santa Clara

Pub date December 20, 2011
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

It’s ironic that PG&E is trying to blame the (brief) power outages at Candlestick — seen live, nationwide, on what was otherwise a great Monday Night Football game — on San Francisco. Even by the utility’s biased admission (and let’s remember — these are the same folks who tried to duck blame for the San Bruno blast that killed eight people), the whole problem started when a line owned and operated by the private utility lost power.

But here’s the best part: One of the main reasons that Santa Clara has been able to finance a brand new stadium for the team, which will soon abandon poor, beat-up old Candlestick, is that the Peninsula city has its own public-power agency.

I’m not for using public money to build sports stadiums. The people who own NFL teams (with the exception of the Green Bay Packers) are not only part of the 1 percent; they’re part of the top one-tenth of the one percent. They’re very, very rich folks, who can pay for their own damn stadiums.

And I don’t think San Francisco will suffer greatly when the Niners move south — we never got much of an economic benefit from football games here, anyway.

But I’ll always remember the story Sheriff Mike Hennessey told me a few years back, when he was attending one of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s department-head meetings, and the mayor started complaining about Santa Clara’s efforts to woo the Niners, and how money from that city’s power agency was making it hard for S.F. to compete.

“Are you saying,” Hennessey asked the mayor, “that if San Francisco had public power, we might be able to keep the 49ers?”

Newsom didn’t respond.