BREAKING: Jed York Makes Huge $300,000 Contribution to Defeat Measure C and Santa Clara Council Districts

By Robert Haugh

Is the 49ers owner mad that he lost the Super Bowl?

Yesterday, Jed York filed a report that he contributed $300,000 to the No on Measure C campaign. Wow. That’s a huge amount of money for a Santa Clara election. 

Jed York and Dominic Caserta

This happened one day after he created the committee and put $17,125 in its account. That action is now being investigated. It may be the first violation of our 2018 Dark Money Ordinance.

As we’ve reported, someone did an anonymous poll last December. They asked questions about the Mayor, City Council, City Manager, Measure C and the 49ers. 

But whoever did the poll, was supposed to report it because Measure C is on the March ballot. But no one did. Whoops.

That is until City Clerk Hosam Haggag sent out warning letters on January 31. He sent them to seven people, including York, 49er executives and lobbyists Kevin Moore and Ed McGovern.

Only one business day after Haggag’s warning letters, York created the committee and put in his first contribution. 

What’s York’s Motivation?

The 49ers say that they’ve been asked to help elect more minorities to the City Council. Huh? They’ve never done that before. And I’ve been reporting on the team since 2008. 

The ask for help came from the Asian Law Alliance. It went to the team only one day after Haggag’s warning letters. It was also the day before the Super Bowl. And it was on a Saturday.  Looks suspicious.

But some people are buying their spin.  

But not everyone.

An SF-based consultant who has worked against the 49ers in the past tells us that it’s just a cover-up story. They want to mask their real goal to take over the Council. “They don’t care about candidates of color. They care about the curfew and concert cash. Duh.” said the consultant.  

Another Bay Area consultant said that $300,000 may backfire in Santa Clara. “The spending is out of whack. Voters will see this as a big-money play to buy the Council,” said the consultant. 

The Mayor and City Council elections have a voluntary cap of $40,500. But initiative spending is not capped so York can spend as much as he wants to.

A local community leader said this looks like another BluPAC campaign. That was the 2016 dark-money organization that had direct links to the 49ers. They refused to disclose their donors. They tried and failed to elect a majority of the Council.

Coincidentally, two of the BluPAC-supported candidates in 2016 are co-chairs of the No on Measure C campaign. They are former City Councilwoman Patty Mahan and former Police Chief Mike Sellers.

Measure C is the plan to create three council districts with two representatives each in Santa Clara. It’s what the diverse Charter Review Committee came up with after months of meetings. 

We’ll be reporting more about this campaign in the coming days and weeks. It just got really interesting.


  1. if Jed gave money to the Asian Law Alliance isn’t it fair to say that everything about 6 seats is Niners victory – such a farce. This whole thing should be over turned, the judge, the courts, the verdict. The argument was that there were minorities that felt disenfranchised and not represented B/S –

    TRUTH Jed didn’t feel represented he lost control of his council and he wanted it back His friends on council either got up and left or turned on him. Santa Clara are fools that’s for sure.

    Yes on C if we have to have districts let’s have less than more. Preferably NONE

  2. Why is jed giving money to candidates and why are they taking money? Evan low got lots of money on papers filed with Hosam. Low signed letter against measure c. He doesn’t live in SC! WTH? Another candidate taking money is Anne Kepner. Isn’t she representing a school board? Who is representing our kids? Anna Strauss took jed’s money when she ran for school board and got trashed by Santa Clara plays fair. Is anyone but me questioning this money?

  3. So Measure C would leave only 2 of 6 of the Santa Clara City Council members representing the interests of the 49ers? YES ON C! YES ON C! YES ON C!

  4. Whether or not the football team invests money into this campaign, this Measure is a disgrace. Six Council districts provides the best chance for diversity and for each neighborhood to have a stronger voice at City Hall.

    Robert, I would hope that you see through this clear power grab and have a more thoughtful approach to this issue. Santa Clara’s future is bright and diverse with the current six council districts. This gives the fringe voices, like yourself, a better chance to be represented as well. I hope that voters reject this change, do not weaken your votes and representation.

    • I have mixed feelings about 6 districts. With the old at large system that is no longer permitted by court mandate, I could vote for all 7 seats. With 6 district voting I can only vote for 2, my district plus mayor. With the 3 district voting proposal I can vote for mayor plus 2 for my district. That seems less than fair to voters as a whole.

      All Council members vote on issues affecting the entire city or beyond. Even if I do not live in their district, their votes still significantly affect me in many ways, so I am not happy that I can no longer vote for the other seats.

      I do not really buy the arguments about minority candidates being disadvantaged, at least in Santa Clara. We have such diverse populations that this argument is not nearly as valid as it might be in some jurisdictions.

      It does not take a huge amount of money to win even at large seats in Santa Clara. Hosam Haggag, a Muslim, spent only $11563 in 2018 to win a tightly contested citywide city clerk race. I heard virtually nobody talk about him except in the ways that truly matter – his competence and dedication to serving the city as a whole, not just a subset of it. Kathy Watanabe spent only $12874 to win a citywide Council seat in 2016, while Sam Kumar spent $24,442 to lose a 2018 district election to Karen Hardy who won despite only raising $3160. Clearly money alone is not sufficient to win in Santa Clara, which destroys one of the main arguments for district elections.

  5. It’s interesting that Jed York (49ers) and Mike Sellers who don’t even live in the city of Santa Clara is spending time and big money to convince voters of Santa Clara what’s best for our voting process. This is about control and money, not what’s best for Santa Clara. Vote YES on measure C and keep the riffratf out of Santa Clara.

  6. Thanks Robert for uncovering and bringing this to our attention. We know we can’t trust the business end of the niners. Teaming up with the ALA is just a way for the niners to get back at our administration for holding them accountable for what is owed to our city.

    Not a good time to be council member supporting the niners for any issue.

  7. The 49ers are used to buying Santa Clara. That’s why they are even a factor. It is no secret they bought the Measure J election in 2010, let’s not them buy out city again.
    When asked about potential revenue: York stated, “If we didn’t feel comfortable with that number, we wouldn’t have worked for three and a half years on Santa Clara and spent close to $4 million winning an election.”
    Another pro J organization with outside money:
    Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, in their campaign finance report of March 22, 2010, reported that they had spent more than $1,000,000 on their campaign for the reporting period 1/01/2010 to 3/17/2010.[62] Only $35.00 of this total came from Santa Clara residents. The rest came from the San Francisco 49ers affiliate, Forty Niners Stadium LLC.,_Measure_J_%28June_2010%29#cite_note-examiner-20

    • Fool Santa Clarans once shame on you! Fool Santa Clarans twice shame on us. Not going down that road again. Yes on C!

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