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.