GUEST OPINION: We Must Strengthen Our Stadium Curfew

GUEST OPINION: We Must Strengthen Our Stadium Curfew

By Santa Clara City Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe

As many Santa Clarans know, the City Council has been dealing with controversy about the stadium curfew on weekdays. We have had in place a 10 p.m. curfew for concerts and events since the stadium opened in 2014. On weekends, the curfew is extended to 11 p.m.

I think our curfew makes sense. It helps protect the residents around the stadium, especially during the week when children have to go to school the next day or adults have to go to work.

But the 49ers would like us to extend our weekday curfew so that they can attract more big name music acts who want to play later. They came to us in January, 2017 and made the request to allow U2 to play to 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night during the school year.  The majority of the council did not support the request.

But then the 49ers who manage the stadium for NFL and non-NFL events decided they would ignore the council’s position and the law. They allowed U2 to play past 11 p.m. In fact, they advertised on their website that the band would play past the curfew when they let attendees know that VTA service would be available until 11:30 p.m.

I think this is not just an unlawful act but it demonstrates disrespect for the City of Santa Clara and it’s residents – especially those on the Northside.

So it’s time for us to put some real teeth in the curfew.  Right now, we can only fine the 49ers $750 for violating the curfew – even if they do it intentionally.

At our council meeting on June 6, 2017, I asked Brian Doyle, our Interim City Attorney, to research options for us to strengthen the curfew by having law enforcement act if a concert goes overtime.  At the BottleRock Festival in Napa, they cut the video and sound at the curfew even if acts are still playing on stage.  In 2012, Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney had the plug pulled and had to leave the stage in Hyde Park, London when they exceeded the 10:30 p.m. curfew.  Maybe our police department should do the same here.

I’ve also asked how we can make our fines for violating the law significant so the 49ers won’t  simply ignore the law.  For example, Folsom Stadium (Boulder, Colorado) fines acts  $1,000 for every 15 minutes they go over their curfew and $10,000 per minute beyond 15 minutes. They could be a good example for us.

At our council meeting, I also mentioned how I discovered that the NFL has regulations for stadium noise so that visiting teams are not disrupted. The NFL seems to care more about visiting teams than neighboring residents.

I also suggested  at the council meeting that the 49ers provide free tickets to the community because most events, including football games, are unaffordable to a lot of Santa Clarans.

This idea was misinterpreted by some to suggest that the team could simply give away tickets in exchange for us lifting the curfew. This was not my intent. I want the 49ers to have a better relationship with the community. One way to do that would be to figure out a way for more Santa Clarans to attend stadium events.

But the best way for the 49ers to improve their relationship with Santa Clara is really quite simple. The team should follow city laws whether they like them or not. Santa Clara residents and other Santa Clara companies do.

 

 

5 comments

  1. The rules are the rules … The stadium was built knowing what the curfew and noise ordinances are.

    It is now obvious that the 49ers believe that they are above the law … The City of Santa Clara *must* implement significant consequences when laws are broken and violations are intentially made. The stadium was constructed INTO an established residential neighborhood .,. The commitments made to the Northside residents must always remain the #1 priority … They were there first! Time for fines and jail time … If you disobey traffic laws, there are consequences … Why are the 49ers being given special treatment?

  2. The rules are the rules … The stadium was built knowing what the curfew and noise ordinances are.

    It is now obvious that the 49ers believe that they are above the law … The City of Santa Clara *must* implement significant consequences when laws are broken and violations are intentially made. The stadium was constructed INTO an established residential neighborhood .,. The commitments made to the Northside residents must always remain the #1 priority … They were there first! Time for fines and jail time … If you disobey traffic laws, there are circumstances … Why are the 49ers being given special treatment?

  3. How about $10,000 if it reached 10:05pm, and then $5,000/minute there after.

    Also, how about considering 11pm curfew when school is out (summer break). That would be a nod to respecting the needs of the children (maybe not the community as much).

    Another idea would be to take 10% of all profits from an event that needs to go over curfew and invest it into new technology that will help monitor and maybe even sound-deaden the area. Maybe better public art.

    Just thinking out loud.

    • I like where you’re going with this Kirk. Tampa Bay has a penalty fee set at $30,000 per minute.
      Yes, that’s right. $30k per minute!

      My proposal at the City Council was as follows:

      Work with the public to find out how many of the events they are willing to host and stick to it.
      Create a pre-arranged package to cover ALL costs, then roll this into the price of the tickets.

      These would include the costs of:

      Police/Security/Fire/Paramedics
      VTA
      CalTrain
      City Staff
      Other

      In addition to these costs, there should ALSO be these FEES for time spent over the Curfew:

      0-30 minutes: $30k/minute

      31-60 minutes: $40k/minute

      61-90 minutes: $50k/minute

      IF this was implemented before the U2 Concert, where the music ended at 11:15 pm,
      the Levi’s SMC would owe the Stadium Authority $ 2,850,000
      ($900k + $1,200k + $750k = $2,850,000

      Once again the costs of VTA, CalTrain, City Staff, all emergency profile, and other costs should be
      in ADDITION to the above costs.

      NOTE: Dominic Casserta was not for drastically higher fees.
      And he said that FEES should go to the General Fund.

      I strongly disagree with Dominic as it is those on the Northside that bear the brunt of that Levi’s Stadium.
      I mentioned that at least half should go to the Northside.

      It could be used for a Northside Intergenerational Community Center.

      As well as for the International Swim Center, which should really go into the “Entertainment District”
      and not in Central Park (by all means replace the pools at Central Park though!

      ——-

      Additionally, good faith needs to be shown by the City of Santa Clara/Stadium Authority and the 49ers/StadCo/ManCo and the Santa Clara Police Department regarding these and other items:

      – Residents: Implement parking permits
      – Support local businesses
      – Stop they LIES about the Golf Course (It was netting $1.5M profit per year, not losing money)
      – Keep David’s Restaurant open for the foreseeable future

      – Restore FULL access to the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail
      – Remove the Magnetometers that are a violation of the 2009 and 2014 EIRs

      – Stop the overagressive takeover of the Great America Parking lot
      – Stop the Safeway Mile “cash machine” of the 49ers
      – Remove the ever expanding eyesore that is the 49ers/SMC fenced off storage

      – Stop the misrepresentation of local activists specific requests/proposals

      – Stop the illegal takeover of a Class I regional Bike/Ped trail of significance
      — Violation of the 2009 and 2014 EIRs
      – Stop the illegal elimination of ADA Access on this trail

      – Stop the trashing of the parking lot and the San Tomas Aquino Creek via the garbage
      – Start implementing DUI check points heading out of every parking lot

      – Stop the 49ers from giving orders to the Santa Clara Police Chief

      – Stop the “Tenant” Levi’s SMC/ManCo from withholding any financial information from the
      Stadium Authority and place ALL of that information at Santa Clara City Hall.

      – Give auditors ALL of the information ASAP regarding ALL requests

      ——

      IF we did all of this, then we could have have a much better solution and we could make money.
      But Santa Clarans and the residents nearby should have “Say” in all of this and not the 49ers, etc.

      I hope that Santa Clarans join Northsiders and do what is right and not fall into complacency.

      But the tradeoffs need to be balanced and the FEES to make life Hellish for the Northside need to be
      VERY high so that the well being of the neighborhood is the FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT attribute
      to all of the decision making.

      Thanks for reading.

      Scott Lane

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