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Dellums Says Door To Keep Oakland A's in Oakland "Slighty Open" - Bay City News Service

UPDATE: NEWSOM AND DELLUMS DIFFER ON FATES OF PRO SPORTS TEAMS

01/17/07 4:10 PST
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums expressed contrasting opinions today about their ability to keep professional sports teams from leaving their cities.

Speaking at an annual business forum sponsored by the San Francisco Business Times, Newsom said the San Francisco 49ers' plans to move to Santa Clara "are by no means a done deal.''

Newsom said, "I don't know how the math works out'' to make the proposal to move to Santa Clara successful.

Newsom said he believes "it's in the best interests of the San Francisco 49ers to stay in San Francisco, where they've prospered for 60 years.''

He said he believes his recent proposal to build a new stadium in the Hunters Point area along with affordable housing and community projects is a good one.

"I hope the 49ers participate,'' he said.

Newsom noted that in any event the 49ers are locked into staying in San Francisco for another six years at the minimum, as they extended their lease at Monster Park, their current stadium, on Monday.

However, Ron Dellums said there appears to be little chance of dissuading Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff from carrying through with his plans to move the baseball team to Fremont.

"The likelihood is very slim'' of getting the A's to stay in Oakland, Dellums said.

He said, "The door is slightly open, but the chances are very slim.''

Dellums said a proposal that was backed by former City Manager Robert Bobb but opposed by former Mayor Jerry Brown to build a new baseball stadium in downtown Oakland "probably would have made sense'' because it would have been near downtown, Bay Area Rapid Transit and major freeways.

But he said, "That's hindsight.''

Newsom said that although he's "a rabid 49ers fan,'' it wouldn't be the end of the world economically if the team eventually left San Francisco because "10 home games a year don't make or break the city's economy.''

Newsom said San Francisco "can't subsidize billionaires'' by funneling money to team owners at the expense of its commitment to provide important city services.

Dellums responded, "Well said.''
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