Monday, September 15, 2014

Why we need an independent City Council

Dear Santa Clarans,

Whether you’ve got “mini-dormitories” in your Old Quad neighborhoods, or abusive 49ers’ fans parking up and down your streets while dropping their litter behind them, or automobile speeders using your streets as expressways, we’re betting that you can feel it:

A city government far less accessible to city residents than it ever has  been, and much more beholden to special interests.

A quick look at the FPPC campaign finance reports on file with the City Clerk’s office – and only as of June 30th! – tells just a part of the story.   Just halfway through the Form 460 of returning candidate Dominic Caserta, one finds the following totals of contributions:

~$18,000 from real estate, construction and developers,
  ~$5,000 from the San Francisco 49ers

And that’s only the first twenty some-odd pages.  For Patrick Kolstad,

  ~$3,750 from the San Francisco 49ers. 

You get the idea.  But what if there were an alternative?

What if, rather than “returning incumbents”  pretending to be challengers, we had real challengers who have accepted NO money from special interests?  Candidates who believe that Santa Clara is for Santa Clarans? 

It could be that the best way to welcome regular city residents into City Hall may be to elect more regular residents, with the energy and desire to serve, to our City Council.

And that is why Santa Clara Plays Fair strongly endorses:

√ Karen Hardy  for Santa Clara City Council, Seat 2:

√ Kevin Park  for Santa Clara City Council, Seat 5:

√ Deborah Bress  for Mayor,  City of Santa Clara:

On November 4th, elect a truly independent City Council.
Thank you for all of your support,

William F. “Bill” Bailey, Treasurer


Why an independent SCUSD?

Dear Santa Clarans,

Do you recall the 2010 Candidates’ Forums?

Candidates-for-mayor Jamie Matthews and Chris Stampolis squared off on the mayor’s role in the affairs of the Santa Clara Unified School District.   Mr. Matthews solemnly lectured Mr. Stampolis about the proper separation between the city as a political entity and the school district, which is charged with preparing young Americans.  Two necessarily separate things, said Matthews then.

But it’s 2014, and our Santa Clara Unified School District is apparently just a little too independent to suit this same Jamie Matthews, Lisa Gillmor and certain candidates for Council.  They’re singing a far different tune this year.  Would you believe that it’s all about soccer pitches?

Here’s why:   Throughout the summer of 2009, Santa Clarans were fed a load of nonsense about some “synergy” among the 49ers’ stadium, Great America, the Golf and Tennis club and the Youth Soccer Park.   Jed York and the 49ers’ front office were happy to exploit the appeal of a youth athletic facility such as the YSP in order to get up the steam for the stadium subsidy – the $42,000,000 that the 49ers sucked out of our former Redevelopment Agency.

But by last fall the 49ers knew that they didn’t have enough parking for their guests’ stretch limos.   They then decided that the Youth Soccer Park was just too close to their stadium – but that it would still make dandy parking spaces.  The Soccer Park would have to go.

Rather than engaging with soccer parents and young players fairly, the 49ers reneged on an agreement to fund the relocation of the Soccer Park.  They reneged yet again when they refused to fund the development of additional soccer pitches in our city.

The Council should be stepping up on the issue for us residents.  However, Councilmembers Mahan, Gillmor and Kolstad are instead running interference for the San Francisco 49ers.   Their ad hoc Council Committee claims to reach out to all the stakeholders – but its real aim is to force Santa Clarans give up even more to the 49ers than we already have.

This coercion started against youth soccer in our city, but it’s now a squeeze play intended to make the School District solve Jed York’s parking problems for him.  Why are they demanding that our childrens’ schools (!) surrender control of district athletic fields for soccer pitches which are unlikely ever to be enjoyed by those same students?

They’re not done:   This arm-twisting now continues with attempts to carve up city park lands.  In the City Council meeting of June 10th, the neighbors of Jenny Strand and Montague Parks saw this firsthand.  In particular, friends of the Ulistac Natural Area, know all about it.

Santa Clarans, you can see how the dominoes are truly falling:  This City Council voted to build a 14-acre NFL stadium on a 17-acre plot.   They are now running a blame game against the SCUSD along with a possible grab of city park lands.    The City Council – not the Santa Clara Unified School District – have led us exactly to where we are today.  Clearly, this City Council no longer believes in an independent SCUSD. 

We’re Santa Clara Plays Fair, and we do believe.   For an independent SCUSD,  we urge your vote on November 4th for Dr. Chris Koltermann and Dr. Michael Helms for Trustee Areas 2 and 3.  They will work for all of us – not for special, monied interests.

Say NO to the blame game – and NO to giveaways of park and school land.

Thanks for your support,

William F. “Bill” Bailey, Treasurer


Monday, September 1, 2014

Santa Clara Voters, please vote for an independent Council and School Board!

Dear Santa Clarans,

Santa Clara Plays Fair is proud to announce our group's endorsements for the November 4th General Election.   We urge all city residents to cast their votes for an independent City Council and for independent Trustees of the Santa Clara Unified School District:

 Karen Hardy for Santa Clara City Council, Seat 2:       Email:
Kevin Park   for   Santa Clara City Council, Seat 5:                        Email:

Deborah Bress for Mayor, City of Santa Clara:   Email:

Dr. Christine Koltermann for SCUSD Trustee Area 2:            Email:

Dr. Michael Helms for SCUSD Trustee Area 3:                  Email:

If one Santa Claran or School District resident will endorse these candidates to three or more neighbors, we have a real chance to build a Council and a School District which represent residents and taxpayers - not special interests. 
As always, we thank you for all of your support.

Best regards,

William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,

If you are a Santa Clara resident not registered to vote in the November 4th election, you must register on or before October 20th.   A paper registration is available at the Office of the Santa Clara City Clerk at 1500 Warburton Drive, Santa Clara.   Telephone the City Clerk at 1(408)615-2220 for more details.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Please Save the Date: Northside Branch Library Opens on Saturday, August 9th

Dear Santa Clarans,

I simply couldn't resist:

"The pride and presence of a professional football team is far more important than 30 libraries."

                              --Art Modell,

                                late former Browns, Ravens Owner

Right back at cha, Art:

Please come out to the Northside Branch Library's opening next Saturday, August 9th, to see one example of the proper business of the City of Santa Clara concluded at last - and Mr. Modell proven wrong yet again.

Sometimes, We the People - taxpayers and residents - do score a win:  Recall that this branch library has been promised to Santa Clarans repeatedly since at least 1987.

After 27 years, it's about time.

It's also worth noting that in 1987 the Santa Clara City Council gave eleven acres to the San Francisco 49ers on a sweetheart lease that yields, even today, only a paltry $26,000 a year into our city's General Fund.

So, there is much to celebrate next Saturday.   If you can make it, especially you regular patrons of Central Library, please do come on over. 

Even on Moreland Drive, the parking will still be a lot easier than it is around Levi's Stadium.

Thanks for your support and best regards,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Santa Clara Citizen's Advisory Committee Meeting, Wed., July 2nd: Welcome S.F. 49ers's Manager of Government Affairs

Dear Santa Clarans,

The Santa Clara Citizens' Advisory Committee will meet this Wednesday evening, July 2nd, at 7:00 pm in City Council Chambers.

The guest speaker for the evening will be Mr. Rahul Chandhok, the Manager of Government Affairs for the San Francisco 49ers, who will present on the status of Levi's Stadium and host a question & answer session.

Can you make it?   Tell your neighbors, and please come out and ask those questions about the stadium you've always wanted to ask.

Thanks for your support,

William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,


Monday, June 23, 2014

The 49ers' Traffic Jams and Parking: The Last Community Meeting will be held this Wednesday, June 25th

Dear Santa Clarans north of U.S. 101,

There is just one Community Meeting left for the public discussion of the traffic and the parking management which will be needed throughout the area near the 49ers' stadium:

Date Time Location
Wednesday, June 25 7:00-8:30pm Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park
Conference Room
5020 Stars and Stripes Drive
Santa Clara, CA 95054
An NFL event will lead to a stream of easily 20,000 motor vehicles into our city's north side - an SUV for virtually every resident of Zip Code 95054.

The earlier meetings have been attended by maybe a hundred folks each, tops - meaning that only a tiny fraction of people with a stake in the traffic management associated with the stadium have turned out for these meetings.

How the multi-city police force parks those 20,000 vehicles over the five hours before a kickoff - and sends them on their way during the 90 minutes after game-over - affects every resident of Santa Clara and a great many also in north San Jose and Sunnyvale.    

Please note:

1.     Anyone may attend the meeting on Wednesday evening at the Youth Soccer Park. 

2.     You do not need to be registered to vote in order to attend these meetings.

3.     You do not need to be a homeowner to attend.  If you rent, you have a stake in this, too.

From the May 19th meeting, please see the actual PowerPoint slides here, and if you have any questions, we urge you to contact directly:

Mayor Matthews and the City Council 
The Santa Clara Police Department


Please let us know if we may provide anything else, and thank you for all of your support.

Best regards,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,

Next:  More on the June 10th Council Meeting - and a little on the Development Study Session that preceded it.

The 49ers' Stadium Subsidy: Includes our City Parklands, too.

Dear Santa Clarans,

As you know, our City Council and our Department of Parks and Recreation are contemplating the placement of soccer pitches on one or both of Jenny Strand and Montague Parks.   At the City Council Meeting of last Tuesday evening, June 10th,  Santa Clarans and friends of those parks strongly urged that they be left exactly as they are.

Those public comments also gave us a clue to how we got where we are today.   One resident lateraled this easy pass right over the dais - 'You're not closing the City of Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park, are you?' 

Mayor Matthews responded, in essence, 'Heavens, no!' 

Right answer.    However, it was the wrong question.

Of course we're not closing the YSP!   The real question should have been, "Why are we moving dedicated soccer pitches into Santa Clara city parks?  We have a Youth Soccer Park!"

We do indeed.   Of course one could try to make a case for additional soccer field capacity elsewhere in the city simply because the Youth Soccer Park is so heavily booked during the season.  But please consider that, since the passage of Measure Jed over four years ago, not one word of that has been spoken other than in the promises made by Jed York to the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League - promises since broken by Mr. York and the San Francisco 49ers.

There is no motivation for the 49ers - or even for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, for that matter - to guarantee access to the Youth Soccer Park on an NFL event day.  In fact, it is much more in the interest of the 49ers' front office to frustrate soccer park patrons as much as they possibly can, first to drive the offsite soccer pitch development (paid for by us and not by the 49ers) and then to force the city to relocate the Youth Soccer Park altogether (ditto).

All so that Jed York can park his VIPs' stretch limos on the grass.

Santa Clarans, the San Francisco 49ers are desperate to keep their names out of this entire affair.  It is no accident that the three City Councilmembers who placed themselves on the Ad Hoc Additional Soccer Fields Committee** are diehard 49ers stadium boosters.   They're more than happy to run interference for Jed York.

But Santa Clara Plays Fair urges that all residents call it for what it is:   Coercion by the 49ers which, at minimum, is intended to force soccer matches out of the Youth Soccer Park on NFL game days.   The Councilmembers on the Ad Hoc Committee should be working for us on this issue and demanding that the 49ers do what they promised us.   They should not be shielding Jed York and the 49ers from the consequences of their own double-dealing.

We would truly appreciate hearing from residents on this issue.  However, where Santa Clara city parks in your own neighborhoods are concerned, it's much more important that you ask hard questions of our seven City Councilmembers, particularly since they also comprise the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.   Please contact them at  .

In sum:   If Santa Clarans are being forced to give up the use of the Youth Soccer Park and multiple city park lands all because of the San Francisco 49ers' parking fiasco, then we're once again subsidizing Jed York and the 49ers by losing taxpayer-supported city services we've paid for but which we will no longer have available.

We've given Jed York and the San Francisco 49ers quite enough.   We most certainly do not owe Jed York what was demanded of supporters of Jenny Strand and Montague Parks last Tuesday night.

As for youth soccer in our city:   We have one Youth Soccer Park.   We should not be forced to live with three or four little ones.

The City of Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park, after all, is where real football is being played.

Thank you for all of your support,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,

Next:  More on the June 10th Council Meeting - and a little on the Development Study Session that preceded it.

**Agenda Item 12D, City Council Meeting of March 25th, 2014   (Scroll down to item 12D.  That's the only place in which the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee is even noted.)