City Council Recap – City Council Tackles 49ers and Might Take Away Stadium Management

City Council Recap – City Council Tackles 49ers and Might Take Away Stadium Management  

By Robert Haugh

Last night, was not a good one for the 49ers. They learned that the City Council acting as the Stadium Authority thinks they’re in potential breach of their management contract to run the stadium.  That’s a huge deal.  The 49ers could actually lose management of the stadium.

They also learned that the City will be writing to the Grand Jury to let them know that the 49ers are withholding documents.  That’s huge, too. Who knows how the Grand Jury will react.

Other stuff happened, too.

Curfew/Noise/Public Transit for U2 Concert

This was the featured match. It started when Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill wrote a memo revealing that VTA had serious concerns about transit plans for tonight’s (May 17) U2 concert at Levi’s Stadium.

VTA presented a plan for services for the concert on May 5, but received no response from the 49ers by the May 10 deadline set by VTA. Last Friday, VTA decided to add transit service to accommodate the crowd and wanted the Stadium Authority to pay for it, because the 49ers would not. But the problem according to VTA staff was directly caused by the 49ers’ Management Company (ManCo) intentional violation of the existing 10 p.m. event curfew, which is a story we broke yesterday.

The Stadium Authority did not agree to pay VTA. But more importantly, Interim City Attorney Brian Doyle says there are specific requirements in the Transit Management Operation Plan (TMOP) for ManCo to provide public transit for large-scale events.

He says ManCo has a fiduciary responsibility to the City, adding that the quality and integrity of the stadium management needs to be reviewed.  After much discussion, with no representative from the 49ers in attendance, Council moved to direct Doyle to draft a letter to the 49ers for an anticipated breach of contract regarding violation of the curfew, fiduciary responsibilities, and transportation planning.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilwomen Debi Davis, Kathy Watanabe and O’Neill approved the motion, with Pat Kolstad opposed. Patricia Mahan abstained, citing a desire to discuss the issue as a legal matter behind closed doors. Did she just not want to support the 49ers on this issue in open session? Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta was absent. Did he not want to support the 49ers at all?

In January, the Council voted 4-3 to disallow a curfew extension for the U2 concert. Caserta, Kolstad and Mahan voted to support ManCo’s request for a curfew extension.

The City’s Levi’s Stadium FYI page discusses curfews:

Night outdoor non-NFL events shall be scheduled to end no later than 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11pm Friday and Saturday, unless otherwise approved by the City Manager or their designee.

The Santa Clara City Council approved Resolution 10-7784 on November 9, 2010.

* General Plan Amendment Projects

An early consideration policy for General Plan Amendment applications was reviewed. It establishes a gatekeeper process to give developers earlier indication on the likelihood a project will gain Council approval. It passed unanimously.

* Response to Santa Clara County Grand Jury Regarding Levi’s Stadium and Measure J

Mayor Gillmor requested that the Council direct the Interim City Attorney to rewrite the draft response to the Grand Jury about the city’s audit and findings. The response is to include details about how the 49ers have held up Phase II of the Harvey Rose audit by withholding key documents. The first draft just said vaguely that the City is still gathering info. Although it wasn’t said who wrote the first draft, the letter was for Interim City Manager Rajeev Batra’s signature.  It was clear from Council and public comments that a lot of people in the room believed the author (Batra?) was bending over backwards to make the 49ers look good. Council unanimously asked Doyle to rewrite the letter.

After last night’s eight-hour marathon meeting, the Council and 49ers executives look like they’re wrestling in a steel cage at WrestleMania. The Council is clearly winning, because the 49ers seem to be throwing salt in their own eyes.



  1. I agree. The 49ers have causes this problem. They should follow the ordinance. I have friends who live on the Northside and they have to work during the week.

  2. Ok, so I gotta ask, why are so fussed up about this event? If anything this exposes a weakness in our transit system, we now live in a near 24hr city/area, yet our trains and buses cut off at too early hours. This is stifling to the economy and for many underpaid workers that have to travel long distances, and oh yea, maybe that whole climate change thing too about getting cars off roads and dependency.

    Plus, the stadium is built and the people voted for it, despite all the drama, there needs to be a balance between NIMBYism and corporate neglect/abuse. We should be pleased the stadium is used and thrives, but we need pragmatism about it. I find a hidden narrative in your writing that is disappointing.

    • Diane,
      The Council voted against extending the curfew for this event.
      There are existing noise and curfews that need to be followed. This was part of Measure J that voters approved.
      Residents that live near the stadium shouldn’t be subjected to excess noise after the regulated curfews.
      The trains and buses are scheduled around a regular operating schedule, this is an event that is going beyond the allowed curfew, hence the additional services needed for a weeknight.

      If it wasn’t for the diligence of one Council member and the VTA, there could easily have been 1,000s pf people stranded at and near the stadium with no way home from tonight’s event.

      I have no hidden narrative. Residents shouldn’t be slighted by a tenant of the stadium they own.

      It’ll be interesting how things unfold moving forward. Voters didn’t approve concerts going past the curfew, nor did they approve closure of the Creek Trail.

    • Diane, not sure it’s fair to ascribe NIMBYism when the event is truly in some of our backyards. I live less than a half-mile from the Stadium as the crow flies, and on numerous occasions (Grateful Dead, Beyonce, One Direction and Taylor Swift concerts, notably) the concerts were clearly audible from my home, and in a couple of cases (Beyonce and One Direction) audible INSIDE our home with the doors and windows closed.

      I have no issue with concerts, games, and events happening at Levi’s, however, when an event on a weeknight goes past the mandated curfew time of 10pm, it has numerous effects on our quality of life. Not only does the event disturb the neighborhood, but the increased foot- and vehicle traffic through our neighborhoods, not to mention the trash, etc. can be very detrimental to maintaining the character of our neighborhoods.

      I acknowledge that the stadium is built and “the people” voted for it. However, I can assure you that if it were up to those of us north of 101, Measure J would have been defeated soundly. Yes, the transit system is weak, but even a state-of-the art transit system would not really address some of the quality-of-life issues we face when a stadium event goes beyond the parameters established by the City.

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