City Council Highlights: Another El Camino Development Axed; More Stadium Issues Addressed & More
By Robert Haugh
We learned a few things during the March 7 City Council meeting and study sessions.
- Acting City and Stadium Authority Finance Director Angela Kraetsch and her staff have greatly improved the stadium budget’s depth. It’s remarkable that in about one month, she has led efforts in vastly improving the amount of information in the stadium budget. Her predecessor, Gary Ameling, didn’t report this much information in the previous three years.
- We do not know if the stadium budget complies with Measure J. Interim City manager Rajeev Batra said he wasn’t sure if we would know by the March 21 meeting – when the budget is scheduled to be adopted. Mayor Lisa Gillmor asked the question no one else seemed to address.
- Stadium discretionary funds have been used solely for public safety costs. This isn’t good. It was also said that public safety costs may reach $3 million a year soon. We heard that we might learn soon if discretionary funds would otherwise go to the General Fund.
- Off-site parking fees go to the stadium discretionary fund, not the General Fund.
- There are still a gaggle of questions pertaining to stadium operations. Let’s hope more answers come soon.
Development Project Shot Down by Council After Resident Backlash
Summerhill Homes’ proposal to build 151 apartment rental units at 2232 to 2240 El Camino Real (Mayuri Restaurant, Verizon, Calmar Cycles and Academy for Salon Professionals) was met with a bevy of opposition.
After lengthy discussion, Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Council members Patty Mahan, Kathy Watanabe and Debi Davis voted against the project. Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta and Council members Pat Kolstad and Teresa O’Neill voted in favor. The project opponents called for more affordable and/or senior units and more retail, as well as reducing the height of the project.
The council discussed changes and additions to the policy which will return for final approval. Vice Mayor Caserta whose Yosemite trip created the recent stir was the only Council member who did not offer any thoughts about the policy.
John Casey was appointed to the Civil Service Commission. He received five Council votes. Mahan and Caserta voted for current Santa Clara Chamber CEO Chris Horton. That’s not a good sign for the Chamber.
The March 21 meeting is shaping up to be very long. Among the topics slated are stadium SBL revenue, the marketing plan for non-NFL stadium events, the debate about police wages for the Jan.1 49ers vs. Seahawks game which we’ve printed and a myriad of other scheduled items.
Finally, Burt Field read his guest letter from yesterday about how the Santa Clara Weekly may have only 100 subscribers but is charging the city $100,000 annually for legal and other ads. The council asked the city attorney to get back to the council with a report.