OPINION: Santa Clara City Council Shouldn’t Settle with Untrustworthy 49ers Organization

By Alex Salzmann, Santa Clara District 2 Resident

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 49ers settlement, which they claim is worth $13 million, is really worth 1/10 that. Sports teams promise the moon to the sucker cities that give them handouts and never deliver.

According to studies, publicly subsidized stadiums have as much economic impact on a city as a mid-sized department store. All their promises of the benefit of this settlement are BS projections, just like the idea that building Levi’s would make Santa Clara in any way different than Sunnyvale or Milpitas.

Meanwhile, the value of the team has skyrocketed since the stadium was built. It’s impossible to lose money as an NFL team. There is revenue sharing, if your team is terrible, fans from the visiting team will come to games instead. It’s so easy, even Al Guido can do it.

The 49ers did not triple in value in the last 10 years by playing nice or even winning consistently. They also collude with fellow billionaires and the lawyers and CPAs of those billionaires. They buy local politicians and media outlets like San Jose Spotlight. The $13 million they are saying their settlement offer is worth includes a presumed $8 million in avoided litigation. They are the ones who filed the lawsuit against Santa Clara, not the other way around. Now they are worried that Santa Clara is going to incur too much in legal fees?

Suddenly, they lost the stomach for the lawsuit, and they want to settle for almost nothing … Why could that be? Could it be, because they suddenly don’t feel so great about their case anymore?

The 49ers shouldn’t be able to manage the stadium, because:

  • No one running the 49ers would be hired to run any other organization of similar size outside of the NFL. A monkey could keep an NFL team profitable … see Mark Davis of the Las Vegas Raiders! There is no competition, you make money whether your team is good or bad, get public subsidies for stadiums that moderate income earners in those communities can’t get for housing, and revenue share with fellow billionaires.
  • They also have shown themselves to be untrustworthy in their dealings with even local youth sports. The groundbreaking for the stadium was 10 years ago. Why hasn’t Jed York built the youth soccer fields he promised a decade ago despite those fields costing less than the little museum he had built inside the stadium? It’s because billionaires are the least generous, most sociopathic people on the planet. They only love money and the sight of their wealth growing. Jed gives only when he gets and he makes sure he always gets more than he gives. That’s called winning in the NFL.

Becker, Chahal, Park, Hardy, and Jain – you’ve met with the team every week for how many years? Do you really think they want to settle to be fair to the city? Evil is the absence of good. A child rapist will give a kid a lollipop to build trust. Don’t think because you were given a tour of the field during a Monday Night football game that you found a new friend for Santa Clara. Are you being blackmailed or otherwise strong armed? Or are you really naive and really believe the BS they’re selling?

The 49ers initiated this lawsuit and are now looking to settle it. Don’t settle for promises from an organization with an 8-year legacy of lying. Settle only for cash. Jed York’s team is worth almost $6 billion, but his word is worthless. As is the word of his minions whom the 49er Five regularly meet with. If the 49ers will settle for $13 million, tell them to put up $13 million in cash. otherwise, they should shut up.

Editor’s Note: The 49er Five are Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.

Jed York spent $3 million in November 2020 to elect Becker, Jain, and Park. They were previously 0-6 in Santa Clara elections. Chahal and Hardy have received gifts from the team recently without reporting them.

The 49er Five meet with the team on an almost weekly basis and have voted to help the team win millions of dollars in concessions from the City since December 2020.


  1. “Settle only for cash” would imply ignoring other open litigation issues, like stadium management, leaving the previously fired 49ers as stadium managers, where they could easily make up their “lost” money and do even worse in the future with respect to their fiduciary duty. Don’t fall into that trap.

  2. Interesting article in today’s San Jose Mercury……no salary issues for the 49ers since basically they have a free stadium….”Garoppolo will make less than his originally prescribed $20-something million this season, but even if he were on his original contract, keeping him would be the right move. The 49ers are flush with cash thanks to the NFL’s booming revenues and their effectively free stadium. The team can afford to pay him, and there are no salary cap issues. This was always a non-issue”

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