OP-ED: As 49ers Move, SF Black Community Gets Short End of Stick


Members of the struggling Black community of San Francisco’s BayView Hunters Point have plenty reasons to feel as though they got the “short end of the stick,” when it comes to economic deals that have paved the way for the 49ers to leave the city.

NFL owners loaned the San Francisco 49ers $200 million to leave Candlestick Park, which has been the 49ers official stadium since 1970. Their new home, “LEVI”S Stadium” currently being constructed in Santa Clara, is 35 miles south of the San Francisco.

Then, 49er’s CEO Jed York offered a host city role for Sam Francisco in the team’s bid, to host a Super Bowl contingent, based on San Francisco allowing the team to opt out of its 2015 lease agreement.

Last year, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an option that included an upfront fee of $1 million. The agreement released the team of its 2015 $6 million rent obligation, despite Supervisor Sean Elsbernd claim the team “abandoned” the city.

City officials never consulted with the community about the impact this move would have.

On May, the NFL announced that San Francisco will host the 2016 Super Bowl.

Efforts to improve the blighted area closest to Candlestick Park resulted in decades of broken promises and delays by the 49ers. A general contractor in the area commented, “The team blocked any attempt by the city to do construction.” Allegedly, the team feared the work would interfere with its season activities.

Now that the team has all but left the city, work to improve the area has begun, but who is benefiting?

In a protest at the Candlestick, picketers from Aboriginal Blackman United (ABU) were contained by SFPD at the bottom of the hill during the afternoon’s proceedings. Black town cars chauffeured officials to the event site, as protesters’ cries were drowned out by the music of Miles Davis playing from stage speakers.”

This was the third such recent protest by ABU, a Black community group that claims community Blacks are not being hired as promised. This first phase of a projected 20-year, $8 billion housing and retail project is not funded.

Meanwhile, 49er’s Jed York enthusiastically proclaimed, “25 percent” of the profits from hosting Super Bowl L will go towards the “Fight against poverty.”

But according to one San Francisco resident Terrance Barnes, who isn’t a football fan, “The team took a billion dollar project out of the city and now that it gets to host a Super Bowl, [but] they are concerned about poverty.”



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