By Robert Haugh
It’s deja vu all over again.
Last night, the 49er Five approved a recommendation by Councilman Suds Jain to evaluate using the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park for 49ers parking.
It’ll be discussed and voted on during a future City Council meeting this year.
As most Santa Clarans know, the 49ers tried to take the Youth Soccer Park in 2015. But they failed when the youth soccer community packed the Council chambers to stop them.
Looks like Jain and his four colleagues are going to replay the controversial move. The recommendation was approved 5-2.
Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, and Kevin Park voted with Jain.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe voted against the idea.
Most Santa Claran who spoke last night blasted Jain’s move.
A few of the speakers were children who spoke at the 2015 Council meeting to defend the soccer park. They’re older and wiser now and told the Council not to trust the 49ers.
One of them was Sophia Mendoza. She said: “If you continue to give and give and give to the 49ers, all they will do is take and take and take.”
Another was Dominic Peters who said about the 49ers that “if we give them a drop of water, they will take the whole bucket.”
Robert Hines, II said about the youth soccer park: “It’s a foundation of Santa Clara and we will fight to protect it.
Almost all Santa Clara community leaders who spoke opposed Jain’s proposal to help the 49ers.
“If approved, what is the true message that we would be teaching our children?” said Mike Walke. That big money is more important than our children.”
Santa Clara business leader Kirk Vartan pointed out that when Becker made a statement in support of Jain’s idea, Becker said, “We are not taking over the soccer fields.” To Vartan, Becker’s use of the word “we” was a clear indication that Becker sees himself aligned with the 49ers and not Santa Clarans.
This is a developing and major story.
Editor’s Note: Jain read a written, prepared statement at the beginning of the meeting criticizing Santa Clara News Online but he never said what was factually inaccurate in the brief report on Monday. Here it is again. Nothing came up last night that would cause me to change anything. But Jain can have a chance to write an op-ed to explain himself if he wants.
Councilmember Suds Jain is requesting to place an agenda item at a future Council meeting to discuss making the Youth Soccer Park Parking Lot available to the 49ers. Jain says this would be when there are no events at the Youth Soccer Park. This sounds a lot like the first step in the 49ers’ attempt to take the park years ago. Stand Up for Santa Clara was created in response and stopped the effort. Let’s see if history repeats itself.