City Council Recap – Weekday Stadium Curfew Stands and Caserta Erupts … Again
By Robert Haugh
We expected some debate, maybe some fireworks, but not another emotional eruption. But Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta erupted again (it starts at 1:57:05). This time it was about the weekday stadium curfew and it was way worse than his previous outburst on the minimum wage issue.
Caserta was so out of line that even the usually even-tempered Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill snapped at him.
Then, during public testimony, beloved long-time Santa Claran Dorothy Rosa admonished Caserta directly for his over-the-top personal attacks on Mayor Lisa Gillmor (It is at 2:58:24). It looked like Rosa wanted to spank Caserta. (Note to Caserta: Don’t mess with her).
Setting aside the entertainment created by Caserta, something substantive did happen. The Council did not change the weekday stadium curfew which stands at 10 p.m. despite the 49ers claim that Ed Sheeran dropped Santa Clara because of it.
Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe started the discussion by reading an articulate statement she prepared that strongly said that the council’s responsibility was to protect neighborhoods and that the current curfew adequately balances private and public interests.
Then O’Neill laid out a detailed public outreach plan to get input from residents, especially those on the Northside, about their feelings about the stadium’s impact.
Caserta interrupted O’Neill and demanded an explanation why the Northside outreach meetings were cancelled and why O’Neill prepared the outreach proposal. Caserta argued that it was not the direction of the council and that it was interference by Gillmor and O’Neill. Here’s the kicker: interim City Manager Rajeev Batra asked O’Neill to put together a plan, and he canceled the outreach meetings because Gillmor asked him why he was scheduling it the Friday before Labor Day and the Tuesday after, when no one would be around. Ouch.
We couldn’t figure out why Batra only appeared at the council meeting at the beginning to take a bow for his years of service and to eat some cake then mysteriously took off. Now, we think we know why. He screwed up the outreach plan. We may have to change his report card and hold him back a grade.
49ers (ManCo) executive Jim Mercurio spoke briefly and answered some softball questions from Caserta. We hope this doesn’t mean that he’s replaced 49ers President Al Guido, the Jim Tomsula of the non-football operations. If so, we may have to nickname Mercurio “Chip.”
Eventually, the Council adopted O’Neill’s plan including outreach to Sunnyvale and North San Jose. It’s a very rigorous effort that many felt was long overdue. And it was approved unanimously. Yup. After Caserta raised a huge ruckus, he voted for the plan just like he did with his minimum wage eruption. We’re not sure why he does it, but we’re glad he does or we’d have less to write about. Sorry, Dorothy Rosa.
The Council voted unanimously (6-0, Caserta absent) to have city staff follow the four-step plan outlined in the agenda, including hiring a consultant to weigh in on the city’s options, which will be presented before April, 2018. A temporary ordinance to ban commercial marijuana dispensaries will be brought forth soon also.
Charter Review Recommendations
The Council noted and filed the draft recommendations from the Charter Review.
At a future date, the recommendations will come back to the Council who has the choice to put it on the 2018 ballot for voter approval.
Mission branch library
After testimony from community members, the Council moved to have city staff accept the lowest suitable bid for the Mission Library renovation. City staff recommended rejecting all bids and starting the bid process again. But the Council and the community did not want to delay since constructions costs are likely to rise. This passed unanimously.