Only about 20,000 people are expected to vote in Santa Clara today, yet their verdict on one ballot item will affect hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, in the greater Bay Area.
Welcome to Measure J, which will authorize a degree of public funding for the 49ers’ proposed $937 million stadium adjacent to the Great America theme park, and to the team’s headquarters.
Many of us will be watching the numbers closely today, and that includes members of the 49ers – most of whom don’t live in Santa Clara.
“Obviously, it’s really important for all of the people that are excited about it or are thinking about it,” coach Mike Singletary said Monday. “It would be tremendous if they would get out and vote because it is important. I think it’s a tremendous step for the organization, I think we all know that. Everything that Santa Clara, what the people here have done has been great. Now, it’s just following through and getting out and voting. Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to have a stadium.”
Players usually tend to focus on football and leave weightier issues to others. But quarterback Alex Smith said Measure J is different, even if his teammates may be hazy on some of the details.
“I don’t know how many actually know that the vote is tomorrow. I think they are all very aware that it’s coming up here shortly,” Smith said. “They all know what it’s about, absolutely. It is a big deal. So, I think everybody is aware of it.”
And he knows how he feels about the prospect of playing in a clean, streamlined, bell- and whistle-enhanced stadium.
“I think it brings a lot of things to the table besides playing in a nice facility,” Smith said. “I think it does things for the organization. I think it does things for the fan base. I think it brings a level of excitement with it. Some of the things that I’ve noticed with organizations in places where they have new stadiums, other sports even – I just think it does bring a lot of excitement to the game. … And you can get some momentum going, so there are a lot of positive things that can come with it, especially financially. One of the things stadiums can do is bring some money into certain cities, wherever they are developed.”
Consider that a plea to Vote Yes on J. Of course, unless you live within Santa Clara city limits, Smith’s lobbying doesn’t do a lot of good.
Check in later for voting results.