Yorks celebrate first win of 2010
David White, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
No one doused 49ers President Jed York with a bucket of Gatorade, but Measure J supporters celebrated an election victory just the same.
The York family arrived at the American Legion Post hall in Santa Clara to a live band and a cheering crowd, there to count down the clock to what became a victory for an initiative that will help fund a football stadium in Santa Clara.
Early results had the measure getting 61 percent of the vote. With the measure passing, York believes the 49ers will be in their South Bay home four NFL seasons from now.
"It looks good," York said Tuesday night. "This is a big step. ... We look to be playing football in a new stadium in 2014."
York, of course, was beaming in his suit and tie as he was surrounded by Measure J volunteers in their blue T-shirts. The nervous part was waiting at his office in team headquarters for the early results to post.
When the 61 percent numbers showed, York might as well have found a football to spike.
"I was kind of waiting on pins and needles, waiting for the score," York said. "It's not playing a game where it happens one by one. When it comes in, it's a pretty exciting moment."
This isn't the first time the 49ers have won a stadium ballot initiative. They pulled out a victory in San Francisco in 1997, when York was in high school and his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., ran the team.
That project never got off the ground. York said this time will be different.
"I think the difference is we've done a lot of work leading up to this, 3 1/2 years of work making sure we had a feasible project we could take to the voters," York said. "We put together a deal that was good for the city and good for the 49ers."
York said "absolutely" when asked if the 49ers will be able to come up with their significant end of the deal of a stadium that could cost at least $1 billion.
York believes the NFL will help the 49ers finance the stadium with a loan program as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell visited with Santa Clara officials last month to express his support for the measure.
However, York said the 49ers are not interested in taking on additional investors to help complete the project.
For now, there are deals to finalize, naming rights to sell, and there is ground to break. Those are all matters for another night. Tuesday was about enjoying the franchise's first victory of the year.
York made the media rounds as his father, John York, shook hands with supporters who turned the hall into an indoor tailgating party.
"It feels great," Jed York said.
E-mail David White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle