Voters have ended the San Francisco Giants' bid to leave windy Candlestick Park for a new stadium in San Jose.
Measure G, which asked San Jose voters to spend "general funds" to build a stadium, was opposed by about 55 percent of those who cast their ballots Tuesday.The Giants previously lost three stadium bids in San Francisco and Santa Clara County.
"When I bought the Giants 17 years ago, certainly one of the main things in my mind was to make sure they did not leave San Francisco or the Bay Area," owner Bob Lurie said. "But in a few years it became apparent to me that Candlestick Park . . . was no longer an adequate facility for the Giants or our wonderful fans."
Candlestick has long been criticized for fog and wind at its perch overlooking the San Francisco Bay.
Lurie would not comment on his next move, saying he had to confer with commissioner Fay Vincent and National League president Bill White.
Although Measure G stated that "general funds" would be used to build the 45,000-48,000-seat open air stadium, city officials had proposed a 5 to 7 percent utility tax to help cover the estimated $265 million cost. The tax increase would have cost the average household $35 a year.
Citizens Against Stadium Taxes, which mounted a grassroots campaign to defeat the measure, maintained their group was not anti-Giants or anti-stadium - but they were against the utility tax.
"San Jose has a lot of problems and the stadium is just not a priority," said opposition organizer Kathy Napoli. "The voters said `Pay attention to the priorities.' "
With all 582 precincts reporting, 94,466 voters, or 54.5 percent, were opposed to Measure G, while 78,809, or 45.5 percent, were in favor.
Before even half of the precincts reported, Lurie and Mayor Susan Hammer conceded defeat.
"I believe that San Jose has lost a significant opportunity," Hammer said. "However, the voters are the best judges of how they want to spend their money."
Lurie said the loss hits Giants fans hardest.
"That's what troubles me the most," he said. "Thousands of Bay Area fans who pinned their hopes on the success of this measure are again left to wonder about the future of the Giants."
San Francisco voters have twice turned down new stadium plans to keep the team, which moved from New York in 1958 when the city refused to build a new ballpark. The lease with Candlestick Park expires in 1994.
Most recently, voters in Santa Clara County, whose seat is San Jose, failed to pass a November 1990 measure to build a sports complex for the Giants.
San Francisco Supervisor Angela Alioto said now that San Jose had voted down the Giants, plans were in the works to keep the team in their home town.
Alioto said supervisors would look at two possible sites for a new stadium on Thursday, and that San Francisco voters could get to look at the issue for the third time on the November ballot.
Mayor Hammer, who spent her first months in office working on the stadium deal with Giants officials, said despite the loss, she was proud of those who worked for Measure G.
"Certainly I think we've all learned one of the tough lessons of a democracy: Sometimes even if you try as hard as you can you don't win," she said.
The Giants would have given what Hammer called "major league status" to the city of 800,000, the state's third largest city behind Los Angeles and San Diego.