By Robert Haugh
At last night’s Santa Clara City Council meeting, one consent item created some unexpected controversy.
The 49ers needed approval to execute an agreement with Colony Landscape and Maintenance, Inc. for sod removal and related services at Levi’s Stadium – the contract is over $1.8 million.
Each year, there are three to four full field replacements.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe said they wanted to know why the team wasn’t paying for the entire cost of the field replacements since it’s being done during the football season.
“This should be done on the team’s dime, not the public dime,” said Gillmor.
Watanabe made the point that she attended the Elton John concert and noticed that the turf was being protected. That raised issues about how the team may be double billing the City since turf protection and replacement is usually a cost paid for by concert promoters.
City staff suggested that the issue be brought back on December 5 when they will have more information about the history of turf replacements and if the public has been paying for it when it’s a team responsibility.
One major controversial issue advanced without much debate.
With a unanimous vote, 5-0, the Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate and execute loan documents with Charities Housing Development Corporation of up to $4,944,484 to support the construction of 106 affordable housing units at 1601 Civic Center Drive
Councilmember Raj Chahal and Councilmember Kevin Park were absent from the meeting, even though the agenda listed them as calling in. Chahal was in Portugal and Park was in Korea.
Both Chahal and Park voted against the project last November when there was a lot of neighborhood opposition. The affordable housing development is in Chahal’s district and he was on the ballot for re-election.