Stadium Authority and Special City Council Meetings: Are the 49ers Breaking the Law and Breaking the Bank?
By Robert Haugh
The Stadium Authority and the City Council each met last night. They started at 5 p.m. and ended before 8 p.m. Amazing. So far, we are really liking Deanna-Santana-run meetings.
Stadium Noise Monitoring
The Special City Council Meeting was brief and provided an update on noise monitoring for Levi’s Stadium, in particular the 10 p.m. weeknight event curfew.
There was some debate. Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta (or as Deborah Bress called him last night: “the appointed Vice Mayor”) and Councilwoman Patty Mahan tried to get the staff to prepare a report that says the 49ers aren’t “breaking the law” as their colleagues and many residents contend. They argue the curfew wasn’t specified in Measure J and the city manager has discretion to extend it on a selective basis. But Interim City Attorney Brian Doyle said that when a weekday concert ends after 10 p.m. without getting the permission from the city, the 49ers are actually violating a zoning permit and therefore breaking the law as they have done twice this year. That statement kind of ended the debate. It was like The Undertaker hitting the Tombstone piledriver, ending a wrestling bout.
There was also some discussion about looking into stadium revenue. Mahan asked for an analysis of the economic impact of reducing or eliminating weekday concerts. Mayor Lisa Gillmor upped the ante by saying the city needs to analyze the claim that 49ers executives and councilmembers have made that each concert returns $500,000 to $800,000 to the city. She said that given the number of concerts and events in 2015, the city may be owed millions of dollars since the team only paid the city about $2.5 million that year. If that’s true, Mahan may have just screwed the team by asking for the analysis. Let’s hope she has a no-trade clause in her contract or she’ll be the next Navorro Bowman.
The Council unanimously voted to approved a noise monitoring update and implemented a schedule to make noise monitoring available on the City website. A detailed noise analysis of the four monitors will be brought back to the Council in December, while the data will be available by January, 2018, on the City’s website.
Community Outreach and Engagement
The Board also reviewed plans for robust community outreach and engagement, as outlined by Board member Teresa O’Neill at the Sept. 26 meeting. Executive Director Santana outlined the plan, which includes possibly selecting multiple consultants to handle the scope of work. The Stadium Authority unanimously approved the outreach plan.
The multi-pronged effort to gather public opinion will include targeted community groups: citywide, neighborhood and regional (Sunnyvale, Milpitas and North San Jose).
Stadium impacts to be addressed will include: noise, public safety, nuisances, parking in residential areas, flyovers, circling helicopters, crowd control, loitering before and after events, lights, pyrotechnics/fireworks and other items.
The outreach plan, dubbed by Board members as “robust,” “comprehensive,” and “independent” would begin being implemented from January through March, with public opinion data being presented to the Board around April, 2018.
The Stadium Authority Board reviewed an ordinance that’ll allow the City Attorney to represent the City in all legal actions or proceedings on behalf of the Stadium Authority, and sign contracts with external counsel. It will allow the City Attorney to keep litigation budgets confidential. It passed unanimously. We think the City might be preparing for some legal fights with the 49ers over documents or curfews. We’re wondering if you can sue a team for setting an NFL record for losing five consecutive games by three points or less. What do you think, Brian Doyle?
Pat Kolstad was absent from both meetings.