By Robert Haugh
It wasn’t as lengthy a meeting as we reported it would be on Monday. Some items were continued to future meetings. But it was still interesting.
Levi’s Stadium Noise Monitoring
No surprise really: the July U2 concert was by far the loudest event at Levi’s Stadium since noise monitoring began in May, 2017.
The consulting firm engaged by the city, Wilson Ihring Acoustics, Noise & Vibrations reported that concert noise clearly dominated the soundscape near the stadium.
In addition, some concert pyrotechnics equaled the maximum noise levels of jets flying over. Wow! That must be very frustrating to neighbors, especially when this happens on weekdays when people have to work the next morning or kids have to go to school.
Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe, a Northside resident mentioned she’s received several complaints about noise during events. One instance she cited specifically was a Sunday morning Mother’s Day 10 a.m. noise complaint about the 49ers training facility. Councilwoman Debi Davis mentioned that the Beyoncé concert, cited by many as the loudest of all concerts held at the stadium, was never measured for noise, as it occurred before the process began.
The proponents to lift the weekday curfew (Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta and Councilman Pat Kolstad) didn’t say one word during the study session.
Raw noise monitoring data should be available early next year on city website. The next step will be a work plan session on noise monitoring at the January 23 or 30 meeting.
City manager Deanna Santana emphasized that the noise data was the first part of a multi-pronged, thorough set of community input about stadium impacts.
City Attorney Salary
The council voted 5-1 to approve a $320,000 salary for city attorney Brian Doyle. Caserta was the lone dissenter on the vote and tried, unsuccessfully, to make this a major issue. But he did make some loud noise.
Caserta says he was disappointed in the process and claimed he didn’t have the opportunity to put in a written evaluation of Doyle, so he would do it publicly. He also stated that a salary committee, which he serves on, did not meet on this matter. Caserta claimed Doyle’s salary is over 10 percent higher than the previous full time city attorney.
Caserta also said he has “grave concerns with the performance” of Doyle and says he’s received “monumental complaints” about his performance. Mayor Lisa Gillmor and HR director Liz Brown stepped in to remind Caserta that personnel issues about city employees are not allowed to be discussed in open session. Caserta ignored them and continued his complaints about Doyle’s performance. You can watch Caserta’s performance here, starting at the 52:56 mark.
Brown factually corrected Caserta. The salary is seven percent higher and Doyle has waived several benefits that will save the city substantial money, she said. In addition, the salary committee only meets annually and they did not meet to set the salary of the city manager a few months ago either.
Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill also corrected Caserta, mentioning that the salary was equivalent to nearby jurisdictions based on her recent experience in searches for legal counsel for regional agencies.
Councilman Kolstad, also a member of the salary committee, stated that the entire council met in closed session and unanimously agreed to the terms and he calmly criticized Caserta for missing two separate opportunities to weigh in on the hiring. This is the first time we’ve seen Kolstad reprimand a colleague. It’s worth watching here. It starts at the 1:04:14 mark.
Gillmor complimented Doyle and reminded people that he’s been on a 10-month on-the-job trial and has been doing an excellent job. Watanabe complimented Doyle as well.
Public Safety Overtime for Christmas Eve 49ers Game
The Council approved paying double-time pay and time and a half pay for public safety staff and other employees for the Christmas Eve 49ers game at Levi’s Stadium. Agreements with a number of bargaining units were reached in “record time” according to Santana.
The 49ers agreed to reimburse the City the $70,000 cost. Last year, the team resisted paying. So this is another signal that the relationship is changing … for the better. Kudos to the new city management team.
Marijuana Consultant Hired
The council unanimously approved selecting Fairfield-based SCI Consulting Group to assist the city with cannabis regulations. The council approved $192,000 for the effort. In January, there will be a council study session, followed by public outreach, and a draft ordinance to review around April. It’s anticipated that the council will put a cannabis tax on the ballot in November, 2018, for voters to approve so Santa Clara can get a cut of the revenue like other local cities have done. We’ll be following this issue more closely next year.
- Watanabe was unanimously selected as Vice Mayor for 2018. Congratulations to her.
- O’Neill was appointed the to the Valley Transportation Authority Committee and it was announced that she was recently selected as Vice Chair by that board. Congratulations to her.
- The January 9th Council meeting has been cancelled.
- The Council Goal Setting meeting has been set for January 19 and 20.