By Robert Haugh
Sometimes you know you’ve won something big when the other side goes completely nuts. That’s what happened when “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels beat Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 19. After the loss, Jericho attacked Michaels, and started calling Michaels all sorts of names. Jericho couldn’t accept the loss graciously.
We saw a similar reaction this weekend after the City of Santa Clara won a big legal victory over the 49ers on a rent issue. The 49ers wanted to pay $170 million less over 40 years. Instead, they’ll pay over $10 million more. That’s a big swing of $180 million. Ouch.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor said “We hope the 49ers will work with us, not against us, and see that we can be good partners if the team will work cooperatively with the public.”
49ers Vice President Rahul Chandhok reacted by turning into Jericho. Here’s what he said, as reported by SanJoseInside.com:
“It’s exactly this deceptive approach, her lack of transparency and fuzzy math that makes Mayor Gillmor difficult to trust,” he said. “We accept the arbitrator’s decision to increase our annual rent payment by 1 percent. It’s deceitful of the mayor to say otherwise.”
Chandhok also questioned Gillmor’s judgment in hiring a pricy PR firm and pointed out “a basic math error” in the news release, which put the yearly rent hike at $238,000.
“That is incorrect,” he said. “The annual increase is $262,000. We would hope the mayor and her personal PR consultant, Sam Singer, would have been more careful while being paid with taxpayer dollars.”
So, Chandhok pointed out that the 49ers have to pay more! (Dude, let’s hope it’s not coming out of your salary). Chandhok also attacked Singer, the city’s public relations consultant. No kidding. By the way, Singer is known as one of the best professionals in the business.
I attended the press briefing yesterday at City Hall and talked to a lot of reporters. Many of them told me that the 49ers blew it. The team turned a one-day story into a bigger deal by attacking Gillmor and Singer. And pointing out that they have to pay more money. Oops.
We’re not really surprised. The team is known for making lots of political and P.R. mistakes. The list was getting so long that we thought former 49ers coach Jim Tomsula had taken over the front office.
So, thanks to the 49ers, we don’t think this story is done. Stay tuned.
NOTE: If you have two minutes, you can watch a video the City made featuring Mayor Gillmor explaining the legal victory. It’s got good factual info, but no one is going to win an Oscar.