Santa Clara City Council Review: Councilmembers Refuse to Disclose Details of Private Meetings with 49ers

By Robert Haugh

Last night, we learned that five Councilmembers meet regularly with the 49ers: Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.

They’re legally required to put the meetings on their calendars. But they won’t disclose to the public what they’re talking about. Wow.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe asked councilmembers to report on their 49ers meetings. They argued that the team is suing the City. So it makes sense that the City staff and public should know what the team is telling Councilmembers. Or what they’re asking them to do.

“Just disclose what you’re talking about to the public, said Gillmor. “In a previous administration, that’s how business was done (behind closed doors). We’re trying to change it and make it more transparent.”

“It’s important that we know what is being discussed especially since a lot of our discussions regarding the lawsuits are in closed session,” said Watanabe. “And we want to make sure that those conversations are not being shared.”

City Attorney Brian Doyle said: “I don’t know how I can be expected to defend seven lawsuits against the Stadium Authority, the public entity, when I have board members dealing separately with the 49ers and refusing to tell me what the 49ers are telling them.”

Doyle said that two Councilmembers even refuse to discuss the 49ers’ meetings with him when he asks about them. 

During the discussion, Becker and Hardy said that they tell City staff about what they’ve learned from the 49ers. Chahal, Jain and Park were silent on the issue.

Becker said he was offended by the implication that the 49ers own him. 

But last year, Jed York spent $3 million to help elect Becker, Jain and Park. All of them had lost elections in the Mission City multiple times before York’s independent expenditure put them over the top.

Now, all three of the York-backed Councilmembers are now pushing to change the stadium curfew, something the team has been pushing for.

Gillmor and Watanabe pointed out that Chahal insisted last year that City Manager Deanna Santana provide minutes for 49ers’ meetings with City staff, but he’s not willing to do the same thing himself.

Park questioned the fact that the 49ers have sued Santa Clara seven times and the City has never sued the team. We’ve heard 49ers executive Rahul Chandhok tell community members that. But it’s wrong.

Doyle had to correct Park. Whoops.

Jain tried to dismiss the argument that lawsuits were significant. Jain said that he currently meets with San Jose officials on transportation issues even though Santa Clara is suing San Jose. 

Gillmor and Doyle had to correct Jain. There is no current lawsuit between the two cities. Double whoops.

The vote failed 2-5 with Becker, Chahal, Jain, Hardy and Park refusing to disclose information from their private 49ers meetings.

Editor’s Note: Tomorrow, we’ll write about the El Camino Real Specific Plan study session.

14 comments

  1. When Measure J was on the ballot, there was virtually no opposition— except a handful of folks who knew what was coming. It all seemed too good to be true. Spoiler Alert: it was. Jed York is a money grubbing, city-screwing, carpetbagger. Nothing more. He bought five city councilmembers (The Filthy Five) who now meet with him on a regular basis sharing god knows what information from privileged meetings. Their unwillingness to share what they have been talking about with York speaks volumes. All lack the integrity and city loyalty that is desperately needed at the council level. All should be thrown out on their asses in the next election.

  2. Fellow Santa Clara residents,
    We are a small town, now with Big City issues. We were bought and sold to a company that views us as the preverbal “Bump in the Road”.
    That sums up pretty quickly how we rate with this one local Business.
    We believed in a man and everything he had to say.
    Well he is a liar.

    Let’s where his lies have impacted our City.
    I won’t even mention the wasted hours of our lives…. hours we will never get back. Let’s just focus on the few minor points below.

    1. Neighborhoods
    2. Quality of Life
    3. History of the City
    4. Residents
    5. Local leadership, (Business and Political)
    6. City’s Staff
    7. City’s Laws, Rules and Regulation
    8. School Budgets (Lowered Property Tax)
    9. City run programs for the Homeless, Veterans, Senior (Lowered Property Tax)
    10.Measure J as agreed upon and voted in by the residents

    As I have stated, we are a small city. Normally that is a problem. Here is where I think it is a blessing. We just need to educate the voters to vote what is best for our City.
    Then holding the 49ers, and the 49er City Council Members, accountable to what was agreed upon when Measure J was put on the ballot.

    Look at Measure “R” just a couple of years ago… man that was great! We can do it again. 89.6% of the residents voted to keep our Parks and Open Spaces for us to decide. No longer could any Mayor, or City Council make those types of decisions for us.
    Great day for the Residents.. not so good for the 49ers.

    On any day, drive by and take a look at the shadow of Levi Stadium around 3 or 4 o’clock. That shadow falls directly on Youth Soccer Park Field #1.

    DO NOT THINK FOR ONE SECOND THIS IS NOT ON THE LIST OF THINGS THAT THE 49ER CITY COUNCIL IS GOING TO TRY AND CHANGE.

    Burt Field

  3. Lord Voldemort is on our City Council?? How did that happen?
    HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED! Many people get a creepy feeling from the name Voldemort which is why it is the resemblance between Becker and Voldemort is uncanny. A wolf in sheep’s clothing??

  4. I agree with Observation, this sounds like a Brown Act violation. A majority of the council meeting with the opposition like this? If this was clearly illegal it would be called out by the city atty, but it sure smells bad.
    And while Filthy Five describes our feelings about the traitors to the city, Faithless Five describes their actions more accurately.
    Sure am glad I didn’t support, promote and vote for Suds in district 5.

    • It’s pretty clear these 5 council are coordinating to hurt my city and mayor.

      Each week since election shows drama.

      I was excited about Levi’s but no more.

      I was excited about council diversity but no more. These electeds are scientists?
      They are smart? They show more ignorance with each decision. They do not
      represent my concerns.

      They cancel police and defame chief and POA. The people I count on to protect
      my family and my city.

      They meet with a corporation that filed lawsuits against my city.
      Same corporation is not being honest about money owed to my city.
      They took money from my children and my school district. Read and
      know. One of these council is a teacher? I ask that teacher how can
      you support people that steal from your school students?
      How do you have a conscience?

      Sorry but I have no respect for these people. None.

      I wish I could vote.

  5. Mayor Gilmore pulled the covers on these five but when they brought up the discussions she and Suds Jain have privately with the developers, they didn’t want to disclose their discussions.

  6. Kevin Park thinks hes to good to turn his video on for the meetings, It’s BS!!! Why? Everyone will see that hes not paying attention. He is babysitting, cooking, on the phone with manco?? Or is his house too messy. Whatever his lame story is, it not ok. Everyone else has video on. I enjoy watching Becker pick his nose and sink in his chair looking like he’s wasted the whole meeting. At least his video is on. Why special rules for Park? Hardy has a attitude. Raj is Captain Save A Manco, he should look into an ESL class so we can understand him. And Suds thinks hes so much smarter than everyone, what a joke. Bunch of sneaky liars.
    Lets vote these two faced 49er puppet secret keeping sneaky liars out of office

    ABB= Anyone But Becker

    ABH= Anyone But Hardy

    ABP= Anyone But Park

    ABJ= Anyone But Jain

    ABC= Anyone But Chahal

  7. .
    The seven lawsuits are real. They have also serious financial consequences not only for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority but for our incorporated city, also.

    Adverse findings against the city now will be used to whip City of Santa Clara Government – and our city’s staff – into submission on every future stadium matter.

    Mr. Doyle should identify by name the Councilmembers who have refused to talk to him in defense of our city, its General Fund, and our Stadium Authority.

    And if there’s anyone out there – elected by us or not – who is claiming to use that old “Confidentiality Agreement” from the 2006-2007 stadium negotiations, that kind of talk needs to stop. Now. That agreement was nothing more than the City of Santa Clara’s “Official Secrets Act” (U.K.) . The Stadium Authority Directors – identically this City Council – should be junking that clause immediately.

    Equally as ruinous for Santa Clara, the misguided majority on our City Council is now hindering our ability to replace the corrupt and self-dealing 49ers’ ManagementCo with an honest stadium management partner. The refusal by Jain, Park, Chahal, Hardy and Becker even to cooperate with our City Attorney appears to be a maneuver to gull us into accepting ManagementCo back again and to tank the search for a _real_ stadium manager.

    As a fee- and tax-paying Santa Clara resident, I oppose any “kiss-and-make-up” with Jim Mercurio, Al Guido and Co.

    The fact that the San Francisco 49ers collect well over $150,000,000 in revenues from Levi’s Stadium every year, while the City of Santa Clara gets only peanuts from non-NFL events and a pathetic ground rent should be enough to insist that *ALL* Stadium Authority business be made transparent to the residents of this city.

    But, too bad: We’re stuck with exactly what the “Matthews-Caserta-Mahan-Kolstad-and-yes-Gillmor-controlled” City Council baked into the stadium agreement over eleven years ago.

    And the five Councilmembers in Robert’s article are perpetuating this. It has to stop. Now.

  8. It’s hard to believe these elected officials, our neighbors feel they are better than us. Why they won’t inform us to their actions with the 49ers. With the $3,000,000 that the 49ers invested into their campaign, their silence speaks volumes.

  9. You’re very right Robert Sherman. These officials have shown themselves to be untrustworthy.

    We need to keep an eye 🧐 on these traitors. We all know Becker is broke and his $2000 a month for being a traitor is his most consistent income in his life. If he orders cheese on his burger or moves out of the room he rents and rents an apartment, we will all know big Daddy Jed is kicking in.

    The voters of Santa Clara want to know what’s going on with your dealings with the 49ers. Remember you were elected officials and accountable to the voters.

  10. Brown Act violations much???? These council members are not only incompetent they’re downright scary for our city. RECALL!!

  11. Our city council is now effectively owned lock, stock, and barrel by the 49ers. We may as well change the name from Santa Clara to Yorkville. The shameful conduct of the “Filthy Five” is a primer for what corruption looks like…

    • Robert Sherman, ” The Filthy Five” perfect name👍
      Thank you🤣🤣

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