Mercury News: Curfew is Good for San Jose But Not for Santa Clara (Opinion)
By Robert Haugh
When does the Mercury News like a curfew? When it’s in San Jose. When does the Mercury News hate a curfew? When it’s in Santa Clara.
Here’s what the paper — based in downtown San Jose — said about the airport curfew in a 2013 editorial.
San Jose’s downtown airport is a mixed blessing. It’s wonderfully convenient, but many people live near the flight path. The curfew balances business interests and livability, and that’s not going to change.
Well stated. Now how about Santa Clara and its stadium curfew that the 49ers want to lift? Here’s what the Merc’s editorial board wrote this week:
Yet the Santa Clara City Council seems willing to throw away that revenue for the sake of its ridiculous 10 p.m. curfew for weeknight concerts.
Wait … What? What happened to balancing business interests and livability?
For some odd reason, the Mercury News doesn’t understand, or purposely ignores, that the stadium curfew is a compromise. It’s 10 p.m. on weekdays when kids have to go to school and people have to go to work. It’s 11 p.m. on weekends. And the crowd at large concerts takes 1-2 hours to leave the stadium and neighboring lots after the curfew.
Odder even — they’ve written two editorials about Santa Clara this year, both in the last three days, both pushing for the 49ers request to lift the weekday curfew. Since they write an average of about two editorials about Santa Clara each year, this makes us wonder: do the 49ers have the same hold over the paper that the team has over another local publication that pushes their agenda weekly and runs the team’s ads? Hope not.
So to help the Mercury News out, here’s a simple rewrite of their 2013 editorial that will keep people from calling them hypocrites:
San Jose’s downtown airport Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium is a mixed blessing. It’s wonderfully convenient, but many people live near the flight path stadium. The curfew balances business interests and livability, and that’s not going to change.
The editorial board also opines that another stadium audit is not needed. That’s another headscratcher. Here’s their argument: the relationship between the City and the team is crappy. Duh. So, the City should give the team what they want, just to improve the relationship. Huh?
This contradicts what the Mercury News editorial board wrote in 2014:
A healthy relationship can only exist if parties to an agreement keep their commitments. The 49ers bailing on the soccer fields and the council letting them do it is a bad sign — and the stadium isn’t even open yet.
So if the the 49ers did not keep their commitment on the soccer park … or the creek trail … or the stadium community room … or by providing all financial documents to the City that they’re obligated to … or by trying to unilaterally lower their own rent … or by intentionally violating the weekday stadium curfew earlier this year for the U2 concert … How can the city have a healthy relationship with the team?
We’ve been tough on the Mercury News for their hypocrisy and contradictions. But we’ll give them kudos for this conclusion in the 2014 editorial:
It’s a matter of principle. But it’s also a test of whether the Santa Clara City Council is going to manage the 49ers or be managed by them.
We also agree with the Civil Grand Jury who recommended the audit just over a year ago and suggested that the City go back to 2010 and review stadium construction expenditures. That would require an additional audit. And the City may find even more money for the general fund.
We strongly suggest the City Council listen to the 2014 Mercury News editorial board and not the 2017 version whose bodies may have been taken over by aliens. The City needs to manage the 49ers and not be managed by them. That’s what Santa Clarans want. That means protecting neighborhoods with the curfew and doing another audit.