By Robert Haugh
A review of individual City Council calendars, shows how often 49ers meet to lobby Santa Clara Councilmembers. It’s a lot.
The majority of the City Council meets regularly with the team and it’s more than any other business or organization in Santa Clara by far.
For much of the time reviewed, the meetings or conference calls are held weekly with two separate groups of Council members.
Chahal and Hardy
In 2020, Councilman Raj Chahal met with the 49ers a total of 11 times during the year. Eight of those meetings included Councilwoman Karen Hardy. Hardy’s total for 2019 was eight meetings.
This year, Chahal and Hardy have met together with 49ers team executives twice so far. Hardy has had an additional four meetings or calls with the 49ers.
For their meeting March 15, 2021, Chahal reports the topic as “Stadium Operations.” That’s the subject he reports for all his meetings. But Hardy reports that the meeting on that day was to discuss “Stadium Builders Licenses.”
But Hardy’s calendar entry isn’t always more detailed than Chahal’s. For their April 20, 2020 meeting she doesn’t disclose that 49ers executive Al Guido was in the meeting. City Staff discovered that Guido has a conflict of interest and looks like he was engaged in self-dealing with contracts for the Red Box Bowl.
Three Million Dollar Men
Last year, Jed York spent $3 million and got three Councilmen elected who had never won a Santa Clara election before.
This year, 49ers executives are cashing in on that investment. They meet regularly with the “three million dollar men.”
Councilman Suds Jain has met or had calls with 49ers executives eight times since January.
Councilmen Anthony Becker and Kevin Park have met with the team six times. Jain was also in those six meetings.
Becker and Park list the topic of all their meetings as “Stadium Operations.”
Jain is more specific. Jain reports that they discussed with the 49ers the following topics:
- Legal contingency
- Form 700 (financial disclosure form)
- Stadium Noise
- Creek Trail
- Fire code violations
- Panthers game
- Vaccination costs
- Vote at March 23 Council Meeting
- City Attorney Brian Doyle (who the 49ers want “gone”)
- Nex Systems
- 12% Interest Payment on Shared Stadium Expenses
- Electrical Repairs
We’ll be looking more into these issues that the 49ers appear to be lobbying the Council on.
The 49ers do not appear on the calendars of Mayor Lisa Gillmor or Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe even though she represents the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium.
Here’s a link to the Mayor and Council calendars.