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.
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.