By Robert Haugh
Levi’s Stadium Community Engagement Efforts
After a detailed discussion about how the consultants will survey the community, the fireworks started — and we saw another Dominic Caserta eruption.
As we reported Monday, one survey may have been tainted by Caserta who went on TV and spoke out on social media to support the 49ers’ desire to lift the weekday stadium curfew.
There was also a recent Mercury News article that quoted Mayor Lisa Gillmor. But she stated for the record that she didn’t speak to the reporter and her quotes were taken from an article months ago.
Board member Debi Davis said that the board previously agreed not to try to influence the survey by attending events or speaking to groups. Without mentioning names, she said the TV story damaged perception about the effort and skewed the data. Her statement begins at 2:11:24.
Vice Chair Kathy Watanabe, also didn’t mention any names, but she said the timeframe of the media coverage was very suspicious and thinks it taints the survey. Her statement begins at 2:16:52.
Everyone in the room knew they were talking about Caserta.
So he erupted. An angry Caserta attacked Davis and Watanabe by name. (He even attacked me by name and I wasn’t even in the room.) “I’ll be damned” he said in response to the idea that board members refrain from public comment during the survey period. His comments start at 2:24:19.
Caserta took some liberties with facts during his statement. He said the survey consultant concluded the survey was not tainted by Caserta’s actions. But the consultant responded later in the meeting that they don’t know yet if the responses were tainted. They’re setting aside about 30 surveys from last week to test them against later surveys to see if they’re skewed. If WWE star Matt Hardy had appeared, we likely would have heard TAINT, TAINT, TAINT chants.
Caserta also defended the 49ers and the effort to lift the weekday curfew. He said whether it’s $400,000 or $4 million, the city is losing a lot of money because of the curfew. But later in the meeting, Finance Director Angela Kraetsch says no one at City Hall knows how much money the city makes off concerts, because the 49ers won’t provide the details.
A couple public speakers criticized Caserta for his actions and outburst. The best statement came from Hosam Haggag. His statement begins at 2:35:20.
“You’re making a fool of yourself and making our city look bad,” said Haggag.
The council decided to voluntarily refrain from publicly commenting during the next couple weeks of the survey. Caserta was silent. But we’re guessing he won’t speak out again during the survey period like he did before and risk getting another public spanking.
Here are some major highlights from the quarterly report:
- Operating revenue increased $5.5 million
- Operating expenses increased $3.6 million
But here’s the big news — the city will start recouping all public safety costs from NFL games. There used to be a threshold of $1.7 to $1.9 million a year that the 49ers would pay. Then the city would eat the rest — sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars a quarter. But not anymore. City Attorney Brian Doyle says the threshold no longer exists after the third year. He said the team doesn’t like the decision, but has provided no written evidence that allows them to continue to pay only the threshold amount. Wow. This is good news for the Mission City.
As mentioned earlier, finance director Kraetsch still can’t answer how much the city makes off concerts because the 49ers won’t give her detailed info. (Note to Kraetsch: ask Caserta).
City Clerk Discussion – Special Meeting
Council held a special meeting to discuss the next steps in the process to fill the City Clerk position.
The position was vacated suddenly by Rod Diridon, Jr. at the beginning of last Tuesday’s council meeting. (A reliable source at a major high tech firm tells us that Diridon is now working at Apple Computer in government relations. He started work on Monday. (Note to Rod: you left everyone at City Hall hanging, dude, so you could take time off?)
Teresa O’Neill made a motion to have City staff bring back information on possible charter amendment language for the June election to have the City Clerk be an appointed and not an elected position. Patty Mahan and Caserta opposed the motion which passed 4-2. Pat Kolstad was absent from both meetings yesterday.