Jed York’s $1.4 million Spending to Control the City Council Will be an Issue for Many Voters, Says Political Expert

By Robert Haugh

Our absentee ballots arrived last week and Santa Clarans are starting to vote.  For over a week now, we’ve received mail for all the candidates. 

But we’ve also seen TV ads and received annoying text messages thanks to Jed York’s massive $1.4 million spending campaign in four City Council races.

Jed York
49ers CEO Jed York

York is trying to take control of the City Council by electing Anthony Becker (District 6), Harbir Bhatia (District 1), Suds Jain (District 5) and Kevin Park (District 4).

York is opposing Rob Mezzetti (District 6), Bob O’Keefe (District 5), Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill (District 4) and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe (District 1).

The Santa Clara Police Officers Association PAC has put up a website called that calls one group “Team Jed” and the other “Team Santa Clara.”

The POA PAC is supporting and spending money for “Team Santa Clara.” They’ve raised money from developers and their members. 

The POA PAC has spent about $50,000 so far. That’s a fraction of York’s spending. The City’s website has charts that show the spending for all districts from all sources. 

What we’re hearing from neighbors in District 5 is that they are turned off by York’s spending and attempt to control the City Council.

That feeling was echoed by Professor John Pelissero. He’s a Senior Scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

In addition to ethics, Pelissero is a specialist in urban politics. Here’s what he emailed us:

“No doubt, many voters in Santa Clara will find both the level and scope of the 49ers involvement in the election to be troublesome. Corporations and sports franchise owners in other cities in the U.S. generally don’t attempt to make such a huge impact on city council races.

“The level of expenditures on city council elections by the group representing the team’s interests is significantly higher than such spending on city council seats in other U.S. cities. It would appear to be much higher than typical business spending on mayors’ races.”

Press Conference

Yesterday, “Team Jed” had a press conference. Becker did not attend. There was speculation that the candidates would do something newsworthy like telling York to stop spending money in Santa Clara.

But none of them said that York should stop spending money to support them or to oppose other candidates. 

They all said they would be much more cooperative with the 49ers on stadium management issues. 

They also said they all would change the curfew law to allow more stadium events. That’s something that’s been in place since the stadium opened. York has been pushing hard to change it.


  1. Thanks for pointing to the city website. The charts are a real eye opener and show the scope of what York and the 49ers are trying to “buy”. It’s pretty disappointing as I thought Kevin Park would have been honorable and disavowed any association with the 49ers.

  2. How many districts will the Asian law alliance demand if none of these minorities candidates win this election? Maybe we should ask Jed? 💰

    Gary the Republican candidate did not take money from Jed and gets little attention. Gary is a minority but runs as a human being.

    • Yes but unfortunately Gary is rather clueless. Did you watch the LWV forum? The dude was wearing a red “Make Santa Clara Great” hat, and said he’s a big Trump supporter. I just don’t see how he can expect to be elected here by saying that, but I guess I could be wrong.

  3. I listened to the first part of it. Anthony Becker had to work and couldn’t join. He shouldn’t be criticized for making a living.

    • Maybe they purposely scheduled it so he could not attend or had an excuse not to. Doesn’t fit their narrative. As I minority in District 6, I always wondered how he fit into their message of being “pro-racial diversity”.

  4. Not surprised that 49er candidates squad won’t condemn Jed York’s generous spending spree. As far as changing the curfew. The curfew was part of measure J and written into the ordinance. Any changes should be voted by the citizens. 49ers wants to renege on what was agreed and voted on. Levi stadium home of 49er “Unfaithful” the team you can’t trust.

    • Yeah then once they condemn it then they get attacked more. What do you want from them, what do they have to prove?

      What if they get elected and you all are wrong on the criticisms? what if they are tough leaders? Can’t someone give them the benefit of the doubt.

      Anthony condemned it but also said he has no control just like he has no control over any hit pieces that are on himself.

      It’s wrong so much money is spent.

      But if you put it that way then anyone profiting from independent expenditures should condemn them that means all from the 49ers, Police and Fire unions.

    • Ginny,
      You can vote for whomever you want, but let’s not pretend that the four candidates that have been funded by one main donor, will be anything less than very supportive of their Sugar Daddy, and whatever interest he may have.

      You mention money, ALL elections have donors. You mention the Police and Fire Unions alongside the 49ers.
      Police and Fire Unions have donated I believe total $50,000.
      York has up to today donated $1.4 Million dollars.

      Do you know that $50,000 is roughly 3.5% of $1.4 Million dollars.
      Can we not just lump them together? It kind of embarrassing when you do.

      After this election is done we will have two possible outcomes.

      York succeeds in buying the election. Santa Clara becomes “Yorkville”. He now controls our City.
      He spends all this money, Santa Clara residents prove once again they will not let their City be bought. All Hell breaks loose, and even his Shareholders question if this man should be parking cars on game day.

      Santa Clara is not for sale, not this year or anytime in the next 34 years.
      Burt Field

    • Oh I get it Burt ,

      that is called a double standard. Independent Expenditures are ok in 2016, 2018 when your candidates or cause ?
      It was ok in 2016 when developers funded the POA to elect a majority of their slate and since has voted in lockstep to all those donors. Look at all the filings of donations of developers and then compare to the the votes cast on council.

      it was ok in 2010 when current leadership backed the millions of dollars effort to bring the stadium to Santa Clara.
      It was ok when outsider interests invested into the YES on MEASURE A campaign.

      so in general
      It is ok when developers fund your side. Then in two elections another player outspends your side and you call foul ? that is hypocrisy Burt plain and simple.
      If you denounce one you should denounce the other, big money from developers niners etc should be kept out of politics. But only way to fix it is nationally, but good luck with changing that law.

      Yorkville, Developerville are the same beast right ?
      just one outspent the other and everyone loses their mind. Any other election it is business as usual.
      Santa Clara voters are smarter than that.

      Judge the candidates if they win and if they vote in lockstep with York until then it’s all theory and speculation.

      Remember who brought the mess here
      You can’t make up the rules as you go.

    • I told you it would be embarrassing if you tried to compare the two. I guess you didn’t read that part.
      Do you remember that Stand Up for Santa Clara flushed out Dark Money? BLUPAC, ring a bell? Pretty recent, 2016,2018.
      There was a Press Conference, lots of people saw it. Our group was front and center. What we wanted was transparency in donations. To a very high degree we have.
      Where is the double standard when you are just trying to get everyone on the same playing field?
      So now we have the same playing field. I guess next time we should consider limiting how many players one team could have on that same field. That may not be a battle we can win, but now is not the time to fight that fight anyways.

      By the way, I firmly believe that York is no where near done putting money into this project. My bet is he will pull out all stops to make this little dream of his happen. I can see him right up to Election Day pouring more and more money into this investment of his.
      Why, because no matter what he spends, it will be cheap!
      What’s a couple of Million, when you will get Hundred’s of Millions in return over the next few years. Lower rent, late night concerts etc.
      I forgot to mention the embarrassment of getting the Management of the Stadium pulled out from under his own feet.
      This is not just a business decision, it also very personal.

      As for your idea to just judge candidates after the fact, not a good idea.

      My Dad taught me many good life lessons. One sticks out right now. Real simple, If you see a gun out in the open, for safety reasons consider it loaded.
      He didn’t tell me to pick up the gun, point it at my head and pull the trigger just to see if any bullets.

      That’s not theory or speculation, that is just good sense.

      Santa Clara has already made one huge error. We trusted a person with the key to the City.

      That has not worked out too well, or is that still theory and speculation?

      Burt Field

  5. Becker qualified earlier because he is gay. Now the desperation is sinking in and they are starting to eat their own. Obviously these unfaithful candidates will do anything to get elected.

    With 1.4 million dollars in this election so far, what is in it for them if they win. Jackpot🎰💲💵💲🎰

  6. There’s a reason Becker didn’t attend the “Team Jed” press conference yesterday: he wasn’t invited.

    Word on the street is that Harbir, Kevin and Suds bumped Anthony Becker off their team because he’s white. They are cutting their losses and giving up on Becker.

    What’s hurting them is that they’re out there campaigning about how people should vote for them because they’re minorities (forget about their qualifications or who they serve ala 49ers). But based on the latest polling from the 49ers their 49er consultant advised them that it makes no sense that they are supporting Becker the white clueless guy over another clueless guy who’s a minority.

    So to uphold their image they decided to drop Becker.

    Besides, he’s dead weight to them anyways and they don’t want to be seen as losers come November.

  7. Thank you for pointing out who they’re helping, and who’s against them. That will help when I fill out my ballot. 🙂

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