Civil Rights Groups Threaten Lawsuit Over Lack Of Minorities On 49ers Stadium Project
A coalition of civil rights groups is "threatening to sue over what it calls a lack of minority-owned businesses" working on the 49ers' new Santa Clara stadium, according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. However, project officials "deny those claims and say they gave contractors of all races an equal opportunity to participate." A group of attorneys last Friday in a letter to the city of Santa Clara, the 49ers and the NFL wrote that they "could not find any minority-owned companies working on the project," and argued that "black-owned firms should have gotten more of the construction contracts largely because African-American players are behind the team's success on the field." Rosenberg describes the attorneys as civil rights lawyers "with a history of suing public agencies." Project officials said that "under Proposition 209, an anti-affirmative-action law passed by California voters in 1996, they were required to be 'color blind' when they selected the firms that won roughly 60 public subcontracts" worth more than $700M. The civil rights groups "charge that project officials should have specifically reached out to minority-owned businesses to let them know of the stadium contracts." Santa Clara stadium project rep Dave Hatheway said that the project officials were "worried about running afoul" of Proposition 209 by "reaching out to minority-owned contractors separately, creating a quota for them or even tracking the race of the owners that won contracts" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/25).