By Burt Field
All Santa Clarans should be concerned, really concerned.
We learned this week that the new majority on the City Council wants to get rid of City Attorney Brian Doyle — and they’re getting pressure from the 49ers to push him out.
Doyle has been an outstanding City Attorney who is actually a Santa Clara resident. There’s no doubt that he can be trusted to do what’s right for our city.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the City Council’s new majority. They’re being pushed to get rid of Doyle. We learned that Tuesday when Councilmember Suds Jain admitted that the “49ers would like to see Brian Doyle gone.” That’s a scary statement.
Why don’t the 49ers like Doyle? There are at least 180 million reasons. Doyle led the legal effort to stop the 49ers from lowering their own stadium rent. When the City won that fight, we secured $180 million in rent over the next approximately 40 years of the stadium lease. The 49ers were not happy campers.
Doyle also led multiple efforts to call out the team when they’ve broken the law:
- The team intentionally violated Santa Clara’s curfew law.
- The City documented a major case of employee wage theft with a stadium contractor.
- 49ers executives Al Guido and Jim Mercurio have financial conflict of interests and look like they’ve engaged in self-dealing with stadium contracts.
Doyle has clearly been doing his job and doing it well. We applaud him for standing up for Santa Clara.
What’s really unfortunate is that the 49ers think they can have their way with the new City Council. But when you spend $3 million to get three Councilmembers elected, you obviously want something and expect to get it.
Jed York wrote big checks in last year’s election to elect Anthony Becker, Suds Jain, and Kevin Park. They all say they didn’t ask for his money, but they were all beneficiaries of York’s large wallet. In fact, the three of them have run for city elections multiple times before last year. None of them could win on their own merits. York knows that and now he wants a return on his investment.
The first thing the 49ers want is Doyle fired. Then, they’ll want to change the curfew to make more money for themselves at the expense of Santa Clara neighborhoods that the curfew was put in place to protect. The pro-49er Councilmembers are already publicly saying they want to do this.
It’s like 2015 all over again. That’s when former Mayor Jamie Mathews was in charge and a pro-49er majority ruled the City Council. The team would frequently get its way. That’s how they almost stole the Youth Soccer Park.
But in 2015, the women on the City Council stood up to them. With the help of the soccer community, they stopped the 49ers. Thankfully, one of those women is still at City Hall: Mayor Lisa Gillmor. She and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe who represents the neighborhoods around the stadium can be trusted to do what’s best for Santa Clara and not the 49ers. Sadly, the rest of the City Council cannot.
That’s why our community must rally again to stop the 49ers from taking over Santa Clara and stop us from being turned into Yorkville.
We ask people to re-engage through our website. Sign up if you haven’t already. And please recruit friends and neighbors. We’ll be shining the spotlight on the City Council more regularly and taking more direct action when necessary.
Maybe if we can save our Youth Soccer Park, we can save our city, too.
Editor’s Note: Burt Field is co-founder of Stand Up for Santa Clara, a grass-roots watchdog organization born out of the fight to save the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park in 2015.