Phil Matier: Grand Opening For Levi’s Stadium Leaves Former SF Mayor Willie Brown Feeling ‘Bitter’
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The first new NFL stadium in California in a generation is officially open—although there won’t actually be any football at Levi’s Stadium until September—and Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown took part of the opening pageantry on Thursday. While it appeared to be great fun, Brown said he had a difficult time enjoying it.
The normally 45-minute drive to Santa Clara turned into an hour and half journey to a structure that Brown thinks was less than impressive. He summed up the entire experience as “horrible.”
During his time as Mayor, Brown had hoped to build a new stadium in the City and worked with the 49ers to create a plan but then-team owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.’s bribe for a riverboat casino license in 1997 threw the team into a two-year ownership limbo and helped kill the deal.
“It was like the divorce was finally over and you get the last two forks and a water jug—and I got nothing,” he said about the grand opening.
Brown said that when the 49ers moved from Kezar stadium to Candlestick Park it was a “big deal.” This time, he said, there was no real transition from Candlestick Park to Levi’s Stadium.
“It didn’t feel like San Francisco at all,” he lamented. “There was no Eddie DeBartolo, there was no Joe Montana; there was just nothing of what was San Francisco 49ers.”
While Mayor Ed Lee was invited, he did not attend and Brown said it would have been a good handoff if he did.
“Dianne Feinstein wasn’t there. Nancy Pelosi wasn’t there. The only elected official from San Francisco that was there was the district attorney (George Gascon) and he looks like he was looking for people to prosecute.”
But it’s a new day for 49ers; they have made that clear. It’s a younger, more-tech oriented group. Take one look at the menu there from renowned chef Michael Mina and it’s easy to understand.
So what is it? Is Brown just jealous?
No, I’m not ‘just jealous,’” he said. “I’m bitter!”