Heated Debate Over Stadium Curfew

Heated Debate Over Stadium Curfew

By Robert Haugh

The fireworks started early. It was another city council meeting with major 49ers-related items.


Tension was so high at times during this debate, someone might have needed a Xanax. Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta made a strong case to lift the curfew, primarily for financial reasons. He was supported by Councilwoman Patty Mahan. Councilman Pat Kolstad chimed in as well.

The council majority was not enthused. Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe strongly argued that the weekday curfew is essential to protect the Northside quality of life. Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill agreed. Councilwoman Debi Davis was mostly quiet. Watanabe provided good data on other concert locations and how they enforce curfews with serious fines. She asked staff to come back with some options. But she also floated the idea of giving free tickets to Northside residents when concerts go past the curfew. We’re not sure if this was serious or said in jest.

But at least this time the 49ers showed up.  Maybe the team felt more comfortable because all their council supporters showed up too, unlike past meetings.

They also got some written support to lift the curfew from Assemblyman Ash Kalra, who represents East San Jose, not Santa Clara. This makes no sense — unless the team gave him money. The Silicon Valley Organization (the former San Jose-Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce) spoke at the meeting and also wrote a letter telling the council to lift the curfew. (Nothing from the Santa Clara Chamber?)

But on the other side, Assemblyman Kansen Chu, who does actually represent Santa Clara, wrote to say the curfew should be maintained. Kudos to him for standing up for his constituents.

Team execs and LiveNation, the concert promoter, told the council to change the weekday curfew or lose money and lose acts like U2 and Coldplay, who will be here in about four months. They said that the big acts tell them what to do when they want to play.

But they also said that Levi’s Stadium is a great concert venue. So why don’t they just recruit acts for the weekends if the place is so attractive?

The council decided by consensus to have future study sessions on stadium issues. Stay tuned for the next round in the curfew fight. The location will be the Northside Library. That makes a lot of sense.


Nothing was really learned about stadium finances. 49ers exec Al Guido claimed that although events are down, profits are up. It’s hard to really grasp this when the public doesn’t see the financials. Neither does the owners of the stadium: the Stadium Authority/City Council.

Other Items

Niharika Mathur was appointed to the Cultural Advisory Commission. Congratulations.

Other items discussed at the council meeting that we’ll cover in future columns:

  • Public meetings for residents to suggest the type of new city manager the City needs.
  • Tasman East — the major housing development near Levi’s Stadium and CityPlace in the Northside.
  • The long awaited Harvey Rose audit is coming soon, Mayor Gillmor said.













  1. Unfortunately, the Santa Clara News Online is drifting further away from journalism to simple editorial.
    That Ash Karla support of a later curfew “makes no sense unless the team gave him money” and Assemblyman Chu deserved “kudos” for his opposite opinion supporting a 10pm weekday curfew, is not an objective coverage of the meeting.
    Perhaps those are valid conclusions, but as written, this article should have been clearly labeled “Opinion”.

    • My comment re the article notwithstanding…

      An 11pm curfew is consistent with SJC. There are arguments about comparative noise impacts, as was discussed at the revision of Great America hours of operation.
      But, it was the Council’s final decision to have a 10pm curfew & that should have been adhered to. I believe that was Councilman Caserta’s position as well.

      At the recent Bottlerock concert in Napa, the event’s CEO was harshly criticized for pulling the plug on the Foo Fighters at 10pm, conforming to a set curfew.
      “I was responsible for making sure that we ended at 10 and it pained me to have to do that.”
      He explained that there was more involved than the possibility of a fine for playing past 10PM. “I would have happily paid a big fine to keep them playing. It’s less about the money and it’s more about the trust within the community and the credibility that our festival has within the community.”
      “When we took over the festival, we made a deal with the city of Napa and the community that we would honor some of their concerns and deal with some of their concerns. One of which was, hey we can’t have noise past 10pm.”

      That’s where we should have ended up… with a clear Lessons Learned. I’ve heard other Event concerns by some attendees, besides the VTA issue, that we (the City) should take up as well with ManCo.
      However, the objective shouldn’t be who to blame, but how to do it better.
      The Stadium Authority (the City Council)) is the ultimate responsibility. ManCo is our agent, selected as a matter of convenience, but also of trust. If we don’t think they can or will improve and do things right & in accordance with the SA directives, then we should pursue alternatives, including termination of our agreement. Fines aren’t the solution.
      We do need to recognize the pluses and minuses of a 10pm weekday curfew. I’m not sure where Measure J fits here, if it specified curfews, but, it must be adhered to as well.
      Ultimately, though, particularly in this non-NFL circumstance, it’s a majority decision of elected Councilmembers (as Measure J was a majority election).
      The Stadium is here. I & many others believe it to be a benefit to the City. Proper management is imperative. Let’s do it right. (and quit squabbling.)

    • You’re right! We need proper management of the Stadium.
      And the SF 49ers are not it!

      They claim to be experts, but much of their discussions on concerts centered around how they have no control over who comes and when and at what time. If that is the case, let’s put a monkey in charge of it. He/she can literally work for bananas and the Stadium Authority can save big $$$.

      We should also have the PUBLIC at the forefront of the discussion of how late and at what cost. And not for measly tickets. If LiveNation, AEG, etc. know the musical act (etc) know it will go late, add into the cost of the tickets $1 million per half hour and $50-100k per half hour for transportation and $50-100k per half hour for city staff/security/police time.

      Then put half of all the money collected to the benefit of the neighbors of the Stadium to the neighbors.
      It can help pay for a much needed Intergenerational Community Center.

      The residents can set a range of how many concerts (etc) per year that they’re willing to accept. And if our newly hired monkey can be take phone calls from LiveNation, AEG, etc and we will exceed the limit of allowed events, have it go to City Council.

      But for the love of God, let’s find a “win-win” solution here and be willing to go over an arbitrary time.
      Maybe if a sweetener of $1,000 per household per half hour of overtime, that would help too.
      But let’s help build that Intergenerational Community Center.

      It’s all about making a business case. People will not notice a ticket surcharge as much as the neighbors notice the noise of the concerts, the airplanes, the helicopters, the fog horn during the 49ers games and all the people parking in the neighborhood since the City refuses to implement a residential parking permit program.

      Lastly, I do hope the Interim City Attorney can find openings in our contracts with ManCo and StadCo and the Stadium Authority to terminate the 49ers from controlling the stadium. Their iron fist grip is so tight it strongly hints that there could be facts that if known could either be highly embarrassing, criminal or both.

      That combined with hiring a Stadium Manager and a team that will be beholden to the Stadium Authority and Santa Clarans will be far better than what we have now (most likely).

  2. These three Corrupt hacks (49er/Developer shills) need to be recalled!

    Their preorchestrated roles and questions to the 49ers were blatantly obvious.

  3. No surprises at last night’s 49er’s curfew arm twisting session … The three 49er cheerleaders — Casherta, Mahan and Kohlstad — did what I’m certain the 49ers told them to do — get rid of that darn 10pm curfew. But how interesting … The same three all agreed to it to begin with!!

    How DARE Casherta ask for a compromise — Northside residents already have to deal with helicopter noise, traffic, detours, training camp disturbances and having to plan their lives around stadium events and 49er football games … You, Dom have a tantrum because You want them to compromise more? Really — they have sacrificed enough and “compromised” enough already, maybe, you, Dom, need to realize that you don’t get to get your way no matter how big your tantrum. The 49ers agreed to the conditions of noise levels and curfews before they could build the stadium … Now that it is built … Everyone needs to deal with those conditions, rules and laws! The time for negations is over … YOU already agreed —

    Live with it! You, 49ers, wanted to build a stadium / entertainment venue into an established residential neighborhood with conditions … TOUGH — DEAL with it — the neighbor’s come first.

    Or are the 49ers now also ready to NOW pay market price for the property they ar leasing for pennies on the dollar for the training camp too?

    • I bet the free ticket idea was said as a joke. Residents want to sleep not go to a loud concert. I voted for Kansen Chu. Good for him. He has my future votes.

    • Kathy’s comments were great except for the asinine idea of free tickets.
      That had to be the worst negotiation line ever.

      Even Jamie must have gotten huge bucks for his corruption.

      I’m not saying that Kathy is corrupt at all… far from it.
      But I am saying that we should be taking upwards of a million dollars or more every time
      it goes over. The 49ers/Levi’s StadCo/ManCo can raise ticket prices to cover this.

      The prices should also include the extra costs for VTA and CalTrain and police too!!!

      So thank you Kathy… but be a tough negotiator.
      Never go super cheap like that.
      That was a DISASTROUS comment.

      The 49ers have NOW found the weak spot in our armor!
      We need you to patch up your armor and go back into battle!

      We need folks across the city to join all of us in fighting the 49ers and their corrupt
      Council Members (Casserta, Mahan, Kohlstad) and perhaps find a way to kick those
      jerks off of the City Council.

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