Is Jim Tomsula Now Running the 49ers Community Relations Campaign? (Opinion)

Is Jim Tomsula Now Running the 49ers Community Relations Campaign?

By Robert Haugh

When it comes to community relations in the Mission City, the 49ers are having the equivalent of a 2-14 season. They’re doing such a bumbling job that it seems that Jim Tomsula must have been hired.  Spoiler alert: he hasn’t. (But you’ll have to read the whole column to find out who’s responsible).

The latest example of the team’s mistake with community relations took place on September 20. The 49ers and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group held a “Public Official and Civic Leader Staff Thank You Event” at Levi’s Stadium.

But our sources say they didn’t invite Santa Clara elected officials. Yes, really. They didn’t invite the leaders from the city where they were having the party. And where they’re trying to get the weekday concert curfew lifted. Yes, really.

That was a Tomsula move. Not a Jim Harbaugh move.

For those who don’t remember — or want to forget — Tomsula flopped as a 49ers head coach after the team got rid of Harbaugh who led the team to a Super Bowl and three straight NFC West championships. Tomsula was nice guy and a good defensive line coach, he just wasn’t cut out to be a head coach.

We applauded the team last April for finally turning the corner (we hope) on the football operations when they hired head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch. LINK

We also suggested that owner Jed York take a closer look at his non-football staff since as he famously said: “You don’t fire owners.” Unfortunately York hasn’t. And the team continues to make mistakes off the field. Here’s the growing list:

  • They reneged on their commitment to build new soccer fields, then tried (unsuccessfully) to take over the Youth Soccer Park.
  • They tried to lower their own rent. Seriously.
  • They didn’t turn over documents for a City audit which makes people think they’re hiding something big.
  • They have their fingerprints all over BluPAC — a dark money group that tried to take over the City Council.
  • They brought in dozens of employees by bus to City Hall to attack Mayor Lisa Gillmor whose popularity in Santa Clara is sky high.
  • Then, to top it off, they sued the city, their landlords. Go figure.
  • They intentionally violated the weekday stadium curfew with the U2 concert  and in May and are are likely to do it again in October.

This makes us wonder: who’s responsible for all these blunders? We asked City Hall sources and others who work directly with the team. Most people said it was 49ers President Al Guido.

York has taken a back seat. And as one well placed source said: “Al is great at sales, but not at politics.” So he’s like the Tomsula of the 49ers community relations.


Guido won’t answer honestly when reporters have asked if he and the team were behind BluPAC and dark money.

He also criticized the City for hiring the Harvey Rose auditors for the Measure J stadium audit instead of Grant Thornton.

But Guido ignored the fact that his preferred audit firm wouldn’t fill out the city’s ethics form and had been fined $3 million by the SEC for “multiple audit failures” just six months prior.

With this type of record, maybe Jed York should let Shanahan and Lynch run the non-football operations, too.



  1. Don’t forget the 49ers are holding our community center hostage. They promised it to us during the campaign. But no community groups have access to it. That should be on the list.

  2. Jim Tomsula was 6-11 as a head coach. At least, he won some games. Has Al Guido won anything in the community. From the list Robert presented, I don’t think he’s even 2-14. The Niners would be lucky to have Tomsula replace Guido.

  3. It’d be interesting to see a list of promises kept vs. promises not kept by the 49ers.

    As well as a list of demands from the 49ers as well as concessions from the city council and city staff the last 3-5 years, much less the last 20 years!

  4. Mr. Guido was at a SCUSD board meeting where I saw him tried to convince the school board to build new soccer fields so that the team could take over the Youth Soccer Park. He wore an expensive blue suit and came across as a big phony. Everyone figured out that he wanted to leave the school district holding the bag for the promises that the 49ers made to the community and the kids who play soccer. Thankfully, the school board did not buy his BS, although some were willing. If he’s the executive who is in charge of dealing with the community, I can see why the team is not trusted.

  5. … the guy who bamboozled all those poor season ticket holders is now in charge of bamboozling the politicians to get rid of the curfew and to lower the teams’ rent.

    And he’s suing you while he’s asking you for a favor. Nice NFL team you have, Santa Clara. Enjoy.

    I’m glad my city doesn’t have the 49ers.

  6. The Mayor and Council should not trust Guido and his minions. I bought season tickets and it’s been a disaster. They promised the sky and the stars. I’m sure they did the same to the Santa Clara voters. Then they pull a bait and switch. Guido is slick like a used car salesman. I was dumb enough to buy a lemon.

  7. Why don’t we take legal steps to fire Manco, the 49ers management firm that is running the stadium? If we are already taking legal steps, take longer and faster ones. I feel like a spouse that is continually being cheated on but refuses to get a divorce. Past time to cut the cord, they have violated the contract many times in many ways. We have a good city atty, let’s turn him loose.

  8. If he’s good at sales, how do explain all the empty seats? You can blame the lackluster team, but other NFL teams with bad records, sell better. The 49ers are in big financial trouble these days. They have to fix the stadium and shade if they want fans to come back. A weak team and a lousy fan experience means financial disaster. No wonder they want to have weekday concerts that go to midnight. They need the dough. If the council isn’t careful, the 49ers will have concerts every night of the week to make money. They need to cover their NFL losses.

  9. … and you forget Robert, at one of the recent council meetings — wasn’t the new city manager just given special permission by the council to be on a Silicon Valley Leadership Board too? That group might be slimy too for not verifying who was invited to their appreciation event. Perhaps the new city manager needs to get away from that group already … where are their ethics and integrity?

    Who was at the event? How much did they pay for the facilities? Who signed that contract? Another event where Santa Clara will never have the details? That’s what happens when you have the fox (the 49ers) in charge of the henhouse (Levi’s stadium) … shame on the City for entering into such a dumb contract. Where are the checks and balances?

    • Watch out Dianna, Artie, Henry, Matcha, etc:
      You might end up with horse heads on your pillows if you go against the mobsters from Youngstown, Ohio.

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