49ers Act Like They Own the Stadium and City Council

By Burt Field

Last week, we learned a lot about the 49ers and the Councilmembers they elected.

The 49ers announced that they would be turning Levi’s Stadium into a COVID-19 vaccination site. That’s actually a good thing for our community.

But the team didn’t invite anyone from the City to the press conference as Robert Haugh reported. That’s a problem since they don’t own the stadium. We, the residents of Santa Clara, do.

The 49ers are tenants in the building. And they aren’t particularly good ones. Here are just a few examples:

They’ve intentionally violated the stadium curfew — the one they agreed to when they opened the stadium.

  • They’ve broken State wage laws.
  • They’ve violated public contracting laws.
  • They’ve been caught violating conflict of interest regulations.
  • They tried to lower their own rent — but failed.

So with an abysmal track record like this, any normal tenant would be concerned about the relationship with the landlord.

But as last week’s snub shows the 49ers aren’t concerned about what Santa Clara thinks.  Maybe it’s because they feel they own the City Council now.

Last year, they spent $3 million to elect three councilmembers: Anthony Becker, Suds Jain, and Kevin Park. These three candidates had unsuccessfully run for mayor or city council multiple times before. Is it just a coincidence that 49ers owner Jed York shatters records for spending in city council races and Becker, Jain, and Park win for the first time after multiple failed attempts?

Last week we also saw how intimidated City Council members are by the 49ers. 

The City was trying to do something simple — update the conflict of interest code. But the 49ers don’t want some of their executives to report their conflicts. 

It was telling to anyone who listened to last Tuesday’s City Council meeting that the team has a stranglehold on the majority of Councilmembers. 

When Councilmember Kathy Watanabe moved to pass the regulation, there was complete silence. No other Councilmember would second the motion. They seemed more intimidated by the 49ers than they were serious about their duty to Santa Clarans.

Luckily, Mayor Lisa Gillmor seconded the motion to force a vote. Then the City Council had no choice and the issue passed unanimously, 6-0. (Vice Mayor Raj Chahal abstained, appearing afraid to take a position against 49ers team executives who he meets with regularly).

Last week was an important one. It showed Santa Clarans that the 49ers think they own Levi’s Stadium and the majority of the City Council, too.

Editor’s Note: Burt Field is the President of Stand Up for Santa Clara. It started in March 2015, when the San Francisco 49ers and the majority of the Santa Clara City Council took action to sell the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park to the NFL Team. It’s a grassroots organization of volunteers.


  1. You are right about their arrogance. In a ninerswire article regarding the vaccine effort: Guido said in a statement. “We have brought every resource at our disposal to bear on this challenge to ensure members of the community we live in each and every day can be vaccinated safely and quickly.”
    Every resource other than the people that actually own the stadium, that is. Are they deliberately flexing their muscle to show who is boss or completely tone deaf?

  2. The 49er council members, Becker, Jain, and Park are folding under the pressure from their coach Jed, Jain seems less comfortable. Raj must have struck his own deal obviously by not wanting to support our city or piss off Big Jed. Abstaining to vote on 49er issues and Raj’s personal meetings with the niners are quite concerning.

    Hopefully informing the voters regarding their council members actions and correcting the low voter turnout can make a dent in Jeds cash infusion.

    • Richard, this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.
      The 49er City Council members stated time and time again that the money the 49ers invested into their election made no difference to them, and that they had no say in how it is spent. By law that is exactly what they had to say. It’s almost as if someone coached them on what to say if they were ever asked.

      History has proven time and time again…..
      Talk is cheap….Action always speak’s louder than words.

      So let’s grab a chair / scorecard and see who these 49er City Council members actually represent.
      Do they represent us, the City residents who voted during this last election?
      Or do they represent the one Santa Clara based company that seems to dominate most of our City’s negative issues?
      We can’t change the past, but we do have a say in how we move going forward.
      We have a great City, it’s worth fighting for.
      Burt Field

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