Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The 49ers' Stadium Subsidies: The Truth becomes a Casualty - Again

Dear Santa Clarans,

Since 1987, the San Francisco 49ers have paid a pittance for the 11.2 acres of prime
Silicon Valley real estate under their Training Center on Centennial Boulevard. Their payment last year? About $26,000.

The Hyatt Hotel just up the street paid nearly $1,500,000 for 1.8 acres.

At a debate at the Muslim Community Association debate on Sunday afternoon, Mayor Patricia Mahan made the breathtaking claim that this "sweetheart lease" (her words) was justified because the 49ers contributed "hundreds of millions of dollars" to improve the infrastructure in and around the Training Center site.

However, I have before me the 1987 lease for the Training Center, and I believe that it shows the Mayor's claim to be simply untrue:
  • Escrow Agreement of February 12th, 1987, page 3, Paragraph B: "...public funds have been budgeted for and allocated to the construction of Centennial Boulevard as a two (2) lane....half street..."
  • Escrow Agreement of February 12th, 1987, page 3, Paragraph C: "All connections for utilities, including without limitation storm sewers, sanitary sewers, water, electric, telephone and gas (the "Utilities"), have been made available to the Property boundary at no cost to LESSEE other than the development fees..."
(Emphasis mine. Click here for extracts from the lease.)

So, in fact, our city - and not the 49ers - made the Centennial Blvd. infrastructure a reality.

Yes. Sunday's gathering was a debate, not a City Council meeting. But as electors, taxpayers and ratepayers in Santa Clara, we're entitled to far more honesty on the issue of the Training Center lease than we've been getting. Material misrepresentations such as the ones we heard on Sunday - from an elected official, no less - don't add to our understanding. Rather, they make us less trustful of the institutions that are supposed to be looking out for us.

We've been subsidizing the 49ers since 1987 with that Training Center lease. However, the five Stadium Boosters on our City Council, instead of correcting that inequity, turn right around and demand that we extend it with Measure J!

We urge all Santa Clarans: Please stop the Stadium Subsidies - all of them.

Please VOTE NO on Measure J on June 8th.

Thanks for all of your support,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer,
Santa Clara Plays Fair



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Night at the Movies

There was a spirited crowd at Peterson Middle School on Wednesday night, eager to learn more about the most important City-wide initiative of the century -- Measure J, the Stadium Subsidy.

And, learn they did. Kolstad & Kennedy covered topics as varied as the technical minutia of redevelopment law, school financing, game-day public safety measures and the stadium's potential impact on our perilously overdrawn City budget.

They even discussed campaign finance reform:

While we were not able to capture every moment of the evening's proceedings, we have posted as much as we could on youtube, where you will find discussions on:
Sit back, grab a bag of popcorn & let the good times roll!