By Robert Haugh
Former City Councilmember Teresa O’Neill pushed for public discussion of the 49ers’ legal settlement.
That seemed like a simple request since it was approved in August. And there have been multiple press reports about it.
O’Neill was concerned that the City staff and the City Council have never publicly reported to Santa Clarans any of the details. She said she read the agreement on a newspaper’s website.
“What I expect is that the City reports back to its residents what it has done,” said O’Neill.
O’Neill said the 49ers commented to the media about the agreement the next day. “It makes it seem suspicious to use an overused expression (when it’s) ‘crickets’ from the City.”
O’Neill’s request made a lot of people nervous.
First, Interim City Attorney Steve Ngo cautioned that the 49ers still have two lawsuits against the City.
The 49ers are trying to get money for the stadium’s VIP buffet. And the team is disputing how much they’re required to pay the City for public safety.
Ngo was concerned that Council members might say something to hurt the City’s position in the existing lawsuits.
Council member Anthony Becker used Ngo’s concern to delay any Council discussion of the settlement. He pushed his colleagues to put it off until the existing 49er lawsuits are settled.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor pointed out that the lawsuits have been going on for years and could continue for more years.
Council member Kathy Watanabe called it “an effort to put this off until after the election.”
They both voted against the motion which carried 5-2. The 49er Five voted for the delay.
But the good news is that the City staff will put the agreement on the City’s website. Wow.
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.