By Robert Haugh
Two incredible stories in one San Francisco Chronicle article.
Here are some highlights – and lowlights from the story:
The 49ers added $325,000 to their previous settlement offer, bringing the team’s cash payment to Santa Clara’s general fund to $1.675 million, according to interim City Attorney Steve Ngo. He wrote in an email to the City Council on Wednesday morning that the agreement was finalized.
When the council emerged from its closed session Tuesday night, Ngo told the public that officials had taken “no reportable action” on the matter. But his email Wednesday said the decision to accept the 49ers’ offer was made “consistent with board majority direction” at the closed session the night before.
Becker and Gillmor had an angry exchange during the open portion of the meeting, punctuated by Becker accusing the mayor of “political theater” and leaking information to the media. Gillmor said Becker’s “verbal attacks and irrational behavior” accelerated in the closed session — to the point, Watanabe said, where she stood up and walked out of the room.
That’s when Becker yelled “F— you!” at Watanabe and made an obscene gesture, according to both Gillmor and Watanabe. Gillmor remained in the room after Watanabe left.
“Then he continued verbally assaulting me,” Gillmor told The Chronicle on Wednesday. “I said, ‘This is unacceptable.’ … It just went on and on, to the point I felt so uncomfortable and I wasn’t going to take the abuse. So I stood up and left.
“I called the police because it was obvious he was having huge anger issues. I’m always very careful if it appears anyone is getting out of control. But he was so emotional and I wanted to protect myself.”
Becker, who is running against Gillmor in the November election, said, “We don’t talk about closed-session material,” during a brief phone interview Wednesday. Asked if that included occasions on which the police were called, Becker repeated his comment and hung up.
Gillmor said the incident left her “very shaken.”
“The flipping off and the F-bomb took it to another level that was shocking,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
A Santa Clara police officer arrived at the council chambers for the rest of the open session, which proceeded without incident. Gillmor wasn’t sure if she would file a police report, though she plans to file a complaint about Becker with the city’s human resources department.
“This was worse than anything I’ve experienced in my six years on the council,” Watanabe said. “I’ve never felt this uncomfortable.”
Santa Clara News Online will have in-depth coverage tomorrow of this huge and developing story.