Monday, April 21, 2014

The 49ers' Blame Game: Pin it on the School District? Oh, sure.

Dear Santa Clarans:


The spinmeisters of the San Francisco 49ers were out in full force during and after the City Council Meeting of March 25th.

Regrettably, some of those doing the spinning were seated on the dais of our own City Council.

At about 7:45 that evening, Santa Clara Unified School District's Trustee Board President, Dr. Christine Koltermann, made perfectly clear that there was one single meeting between representatives of the 49ers, and the District Superintendent at the time, Dr. Bobbie Plough, regarding the use of district athletic fields.

At no time was any proposal brought to the Board of Trustees in public session, and most certainly none with any commitment of 49ers funds, for the simple reason that the 49ers failed to return to the SCUSD at any time after that.

But it took Councilmembers Mahan and Gillmor less than 30 minutes to misrepresent precisely those contacts between the team and the school district, each essentially claiming that our school district was somehow sandbagging the 49ers.

The spinmeisters - on and off of our Council - need desperately to persuade us that Santa Clara Unified is spoiling everybody's fun by denying the use of SCUSD athletic fields by the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League.   Not only is that false on its face, it not even what this is about.

Believe it or not, it's about parking stretch limousines:   Among the over 20,000 parking spaces the the 49ers now claim they've secured, the team still can't seem to find enough parking stalls for their VIP guests.   They're putting the screws to the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park to give up their use of a youth athletic facility that our tax dollars have already paid for.

At the time of the March 25th Council meeting, in fact, the team's extortion was much worse:   The San Francisco 49ers were actually  withholding the very funds they claim they were previously willing to expend for additional soccer fields.  They did that to coerce the youth soccer teams into giving up their use of our soccer park on NFL event days.  In other words, 'give us your soccer pitches, or we won't pay for the ones we promised you when we were trying to get you to vote Yes on Jed.'

Now, as a result of the San Francisco 49ers reneging on their agreement, YOU are paying the initial $2,000,000 for the development of new soccer pitches.

To make an unpleasant story short, the press releases we've seen since the March 25th meeting - city and team - could be most charitably characterized as "indignant backpedaling":   Due to the uproar over the 49ers' broken promises on the Youth Soccer Park, City Hall has itself now finally stated publicly that the Youth Soccer Park will be accessible and open to the soccer leagues on NFL event days.

At last!

But the question remains:  If there was no intent to hand the Youth Soccer Park over to the 49ers during every NFL event, then why wasn't the assurance above given to us residents last September when the 49ers's parking fiasco became public?

This is nothing more than the 49ers' parking problems, reloaded, and the Santa Clara Unified School District is not responsible for fixing them.

Instead, we urge all residents to demand that our Council - identically our Stadium Authority - force the 49ers to honor their commitments to the our city's youngest residents.



Thanks for all of your support,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,
http://www.SantaClaraPlaysFair.org/

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1.    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Lots-of-oil-in-rail-tank-cars-about-to-be-coming-5341197.php  - scroll down to "Niners vs. Soccer"

2.    Several links to the city's own statements on the accessibility of our Youth Soccer Park are now stale.  But a snippet of the coverage in Danville.com follows:

         Dan Beerman, spokesman for the city, said it is not true as some have reported that the 49ers are trying to take over the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park , beside the $3 billion Levi's project on Stars & Stripes Drive near Tasman Drive in Santa Clara . 
         The city-owned park, which has two grass fields and one artificial turf field for soccer and 140 parking stalls, is not closing and will be open even on crowded days when the 49ers play football to 68,500 fans on starting this fall, Beerman said. 
         "The soccer field is going to stay at the stadium and is going to be available to play at any time," Beerman said. 
         "People will be able to get in and access it even on (49ers) game days," he said. 

 

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

City Council Meeting Tues.: The 49ers' Traffic Jams & the TMOP - Part Two

Dear Santa Clarans,


There are some parts of the Traffic Management and Operations Plan, or TMOP, that are worth flagging.  A short index might help in locating the important parts.  Page numbers shown below are document page numbers:

1.    What data is going to be collected, so that we can challenge any spin on the traffic numbers?:

  • See page 4, Table 2-1
2.    Streets in Zip Code 95054 subject to access and/or parking restrictions, "Areas of Parking Prohibitions," and "Measures to Protect Property Owners:"
  • See list, page 6, Section 2.2.2
  • See page 106, Figure 5.5-3
  • See page 107
  The above is a critical feature of the parking plan.  Recall that the 49ers' stadium boosters sold their "plan" three years ago based on firm guarantees of 'residential intrusion control.'   Now, all of that is out the window.  If you live close to the 49ers' stadium, the amount of parking enforcement you get will depend on how much enforcement you demand.

3.    Neighboring properties are expected to be in use during an NFL event.  Note the inclusion of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park.  That's pretty much pro forma at this point, because no one really knows what's going to happen to the YSL:
  • See list, page 10, Section 2.2.6
4.    "An illustration of the likely parking facilities for Stadium events is provided in Figure 2-4."  Likely?  After two years of obfuscation by the San Francisco 49ers on exactly this issue, there should be no "likely," but instead firm letters-of-intent and an exact numerical total of parking stalls.  They either have the 21,000 parking spaces they claim, or they do not.  To get most of the story:
  • See page 12, Figure 2-4, for "likely" parking facilities
  • See page 102, Figure 5.5-1, for "Potential" Stadium Parking Program"
  • See page 103, Table 5.5-2, for a count of those "likely" parking spaces

5.    "As described earlier, the parking program [Over three years after Measure Jed was passed!] has not yet been finalized for event day use of off-site parking facilities.":
  • See page 101
6.    Page 5 does show the totals of patrons and their estimated arrival and departure rates.  But note that estimated 18,818 vehicle trips does not include the 1,740 vehicle trips made by some 2,900 stadium employees on an NFL game day.  For the straight story on those additional trips - and the parking stalls needed to accommodate them:
  • See page 99
7.     Business Owners:  If you refused to agree to the 49ers' offsite parking demands, then you're now on your're own.  Please see the last sentence in the following paragraph:
  • See page 104, "Areas of Parking Prohibitions"

►  In sum, considering how long we've been waiting for it, the Transportation Management and Operations Plan should have (1) a rock-solid description of a fully-formed Parking Overlay District, and (2) at least some indication of the makeup of the NFL event-day multicity police force needed to squeeze the 49ers' traffic jams into parking spaces.   Unfortunately, it contains neither.   Residents on Santa Clara's north side, in particular,  should have serious concern over what this plan fails to make firm.

If you need any additional information on the TMOP, we'll be happy to answer any questions we're able to.  What we don't know, we'll find out.

We welcome your commentary as well - but comments you have on the TMOP should also be directed to the Mayor and the City Council.  Please let them know what you think.


Thanks for all of your support,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,
http://www.SantaClaraPlaysFair.org

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

City Council Meeting Tues.: The 49ers' Traffic Jams & the TMOP - Part One

Dear Santa Clarans,


The 49ers Stadium's Transportation Management and Operations Plan, or TMOP comes before Council this Tuesday evening, November 19th.  These 150 pages will directly impact Santa Clarans and Sunnyvale residents living north or U.S. 101.  Santa Clara Plays Fair encourages all Santa Clarans, but in particular those of us in Zip Code 95054, to examine this plan carefully.

This will give you a fair idea of the traffic jams that you can expect during events at the 49ers' stadium.


  • First, see the report's page 5 and note that the total number of vehicle trips on an NFL game day is recycled from the 2009 Environmental Impact Report.   At that time, the San Francisco 49ers and their stadium boosters needed desperately to low-ball the count of vehicle trips so that any traffic plan here would "show well" compared to Candlestick Park.

If you believe that figure - 18,818 vehicle trips - then maybe the 21,000 offsite parking spaces (the parking spaces that the 49ers now swear they have) will be enough to accommodate those vehicles.   If the intersections are cleared a little sooner, fine - but none of this is going to reduce those game-day traffic jams in any way.


  • Of greater interest to Santa Clara residents, particularly on our north side, will be 'Residential Intrusion Control.'  See page 6 of the report, Section 2.2.2,  for a list of streets with "Event-related vehicle access" restrictions.   At the very least, if you are a resident of the Agnews area on Santa Clara's north side, your own street should be on this list.
  • But what the City - and the Stadium Authority - are really willing to do to prevent residential parking from being swamped with game-day parking has been dialed back quite a bit since 2009.   See in Section 5.1.1 on report page 29 the four numbered bullets at the bottom of the page:   Basically, you will get parking enforcement on your street not because it's the right thing to do, but only if you speak up about abuses by 49ers' fans.    Those game-goers will be trying to evade the parking fees in the much-vaunted "Offsite Parking District."


Frankly, if we're dealing with game-goers who've spent $2,000 to $20,000 on stadium PSLs, they should have no quarrel with paying $40 to stow the Escalade while they're at the game.  If they do have a problem with that and if they insist on jam-packing your own street so that you can't park in front of your own home, that will speak volumes about the regard that the 49ers' fan community truly has for the team's new home.

Can you attend the City Council Meeting this Tuesday evening?  If you are a resident concerned about the game-day congestion generated by the 49ers' stadium, you can express those concerns when the TMOP is taken up.

Please come to Council Chambers, 1500 Warburton Drive, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday evening.  If you cannot attend, please email your written comments directly to the Mayor and the City Council .
 
Tomorrow:   A little index for the TMOP.


Thanks for all of your support,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,
http://www.santaclaraplaysfair.org/

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The 49ers' Parking Spaces and Evicting the Youth Soccer Park, Part Two

Dear Santa Clarans,


From the Council/Staff/Advisory Committee Meeting of Thursday, September 12th, we first learned of the depths of the San Francisco 49ers' parking-space fiasco, thanks to a Santa Clara resident who attended.  The "Feasibility Study of Facility Alternatives" for the City of Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park told us all that we needed to know:

The 49ers can't get enough parking spaces to accommodate the jammed traffic their games will cause - and by golly, someone's going to pay for that.

Namely, all of us, eh?

The 49ers and their stadium boosters were desperate to portray themselves as "partners" to our city - and they were quite happy to use the glow of a nearby youth athletic facility to help them in selling Measure Jed to Santa Clarans.   But once the stadium was a lock based on those false claims of "synergy,"  what happened to the Youth Soccer Park was of no concern to those folks.

Essentially, "synergy" went out the window two years ago.  The 49ers' attitude now is that the Youth Soccer Park has served its purpose.   It must go.

If the 49ers' boosters want to make that claim, fine.   But the expenses of moving the soccer park will range from $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.

What are we going to use for money?

Well, a misleading Facebook post by former Councilman Kevin Moore invites us to fall for the following line:  That the 49ers themselves might just pay for the damage they're causing - out of the goodness of their hearts!  Unfortunately, that latter part is completely untrue.

In fact, when I researched this last week, it turned out that the first part of Mr. Moore's claim is actually partly true and more so than he knows:   The San Francisco 49ers are actually liable for precisely this relocation expense.

The proof of that lies in the Rezoning and Tentative Subdivision Map requests from the 49ers themselves which were authorized by Council vote on November 9th, 2010.   Specifically, see RESOLUTION NO. 10-7785, the fourth item:

  • On page 5-of-39, Part G tells us that we'll have:  "...use that will be substantially equivalent to ones previously acquired for the public in that the public will continue to have access to the Youth Soccer Park Facility,... "                                           [Emphasis is mine.]
  • But on page 16-of-39, we then read in Item E1:  "If relocation of an existing public facility...becomes necessary due to a conflict with the applicant's new improvements, then the cost of said relocation shall be borne by the applicant...."    [Emphasis is mine.]

In other words, the 49ers have already agreed to cover the expense of evicting and relocating city property they think is just too close to their stadium.

If this is still true (I invite City Staff to supply corrections), then it's time for our Santa Clara City Council to step up and insist:   The San Francisco 49ers are to either honor Item E1 above or they are to leave the City of Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park alone.

The 49ers are making the former Redevelopment Agency pay off like a slot machine.  They'll collect $16,200,000 in property tax money from our Successor Agency's Oversight Board in 2014 alone**.   The team can afford to do what they've promised.

And not out of the goodness of their hearts.



Thanks for your support,
William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,
Santa Clara Plays Fair.org

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**Click here .  Then open "Resolution 2013-07."   The rakeoff to the 49ers, January and July of 2014, is shown in the rightmost column of the table on page 27-of-31.

Then, check out how much we'll end up paying the team after that...BB

Monday, September 23, 2013

The 49ers' Parking Spaces and Evicting the Youth Soccer Park, Part One

Dear Santa Clarans,


When the 49ers' Stadium Boosters on our City Council voted to allow a 14.5-acre stadium on a 17-acre parcel, what on earth did they expect would happen?

The San Francisco 49ers can't seem to stiff-arm enough businesses in the Great America corridor into the "parking district" needed to accommodate more than 20,000 autos.   No surprise there;  without being privy to any of the discussions, we can just guess what the lot owners' lawyers are asking the 49ers:

"You're mixing drunken fans and flammables on our private property.  Who's liable when a deadly assault or a fire or explosion occurs?   The 49ers assume all liability, right?  Or, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority has us covered, right?"

Well - probably not, and probably not.  Or, the lot owners could be holding out for a much bigger slice of the parking-stall fee payments than the 49ers' are willing to part with.  Guess.

Back in 2011, in any event, we residents were informed in our own Council Chambers - by the 49ers themselves - that we were not even entitled to know how many parking spaces they had secured by the first round of their letters-of-intent.


Only in the last couple of weeks have we learned that the 49ers are short by 5,000 parking spaces.

What?  In a Council Meeting of several years ago, former Councilman Kevin Moore, indignant that anyone would challenge his 49er-booster claims of 'more-than-enough' private parking stalls, stalked off the dais and returned to chambers some moments later with his famous two-by-three-foot storyboard showing "tens of thousands" of parking spaces surrounding the stadium site.

No problem, he and the four other 49ers' boosters on our Council assured us.

Well, yeah - there is a problem:   Please note that the Stadium Authority, identically our City Council, approved the Non-Relocation Agreement of March 15, 2012.   On page 12/23, note that the San Francisco 49ers have the power to break this agreement if 20% of the parking spaces are unavailable to them.

While it's unlikely that the 49ers would do that at this stage, it's the deal-making by our own City Council=Stadium Authority that actually gives the team a perverse incentive to tank the NRA above if they ever decided to use the parking issue (or mustard stains on more than a fifth of the stadium's seats) as an excuse.   But that isn't even the most deplorable part of this fiasco.

We've now learned that the 49ers are demanding that the City of Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park be evicted so that the 49ers can pave it over for the parking stalls they're unable to squeeze out of the business owners on Great America Parkway.

A note to the suits in the 49ers' front office:    The best you can do is maybe 1,300 spaces by forcing out this vital City of Santa Clara youth resource.

It should not even come to that.   This has an easy solution:

First, to former Councilman Kevin Moore:

  • Please dig out that old 2-by-3 piece of foamcore with your much-vaunted "tens of thousands" of parking spaces.
  • Give it to the 49ers.
Problem solved.

Second, to the Santa Clara City Council=Stadium Authority: 

The City Of Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park does more for the young people of our community than the San Francisco 49ers ever will.   The YSP should not be made to pay a thing for the poor planning which caused the stadium parking fiasco - no matter how many hot dogs you tell us we're going to sell.



Thanks for all of your support,

William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,
SantaClaraPlaysFair.org

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Tomorrow:  What will we use for money?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

49ers' Stadium Subsidies: Making our General Fund Whole

Dear Santa Clarans,


If you caught Tuesday evening's Stadium Authority Meeting Agenda posted last Friday night and its media coverage, you would have seen a total capitulation in our Stadium Authority's bid to host Super Bowl L or LI.

Miami, a metropolitan area of 5.5 million, pushed back on some of the very demands that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made of Santa Clara when he visited us back in January.  Miamians said that they weren't going to give up any of their hotel taxes in order to host a Super Bowl.

Those negotiating for our Stadium Authority sprang into action.  As both the Agenda Report from Friday and the local news coverage made clear, those in charge of our bid to the NFL said that Santa Clara would leave all of that, plus waivers of the Youth/Senior Ticket Fee and the Off-site Parking Charges on the table for the NFL to snatch up.

But those hotel taxes are still a part of an $11 million revenue stream vital to our city's General Fund.  No one on our Stadium Authority and City Council had any business even considering such a thing.   Tuesday evening, I presented this one slide before the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and the City Council:



After all, a promise is a promise, even if Council made it over six years ago.

At any rate, I learned shortly after this, in Chambers, that during the day on Tuesday, the San Francisco Super Bowl Host Committee finally stepped up where the NFL itself would not.  There is now at least an agreement in principle that our city's General Fund will lose nothing because of what still remains a rather pathetic cave-in to the NFL's demands.

I was impressed but not terribly surprised that the Bid Committee and City government could move that fast.   As it turns out,  I was required by the City of Santa Clara Policy and Procedure Manual to submit the slide above in advance to City Hall so that it could be checked for compatibility with the equipment in Chambers.   This I did at 1:18 am Tuesday morning, a good seventeen hours in advance of the Special Session.

For whatever reason today's events unfolded the way they did, this resident is grateful.  But why bother?  350 hotel rooms in Santa Clara, let for a week with the 9.5% Transient Occupancy Tax waived, could amount to a mere $30,000 to $50,000 in losses to our General Fund.

Well, we've had no Fourth of July fireworks display in Central Park in 2011 or 2012 because our City's Government has lacked the $65,000 to $80,000 needed for it.   A resident learned that the City was spending about $10,000 to provide Santa Clara Police escorts for the 49ers on our dime.

Now, staffing the new Northside Library will cost the General Fund about a million dollars a year, and if we choose to finally rebuild the International Swim Center, we'll stretch to provide the $700K per year it will cost to operate it  (See the 2012-13 City Budget here , pp. III .)

In other words, $50K here and $50K there, and in no time at all, you're talking real money.

But the real reason why Santa Clara Plays Fair took this up was that the promise above had already been broken by our City Council two years ago, nearly to the day.

It was on March 15, 2011, that the Council voted the very SB 211 amendment which would take $19.5 million out of our General Fund over time by a diversion of  RDA money.  It may be called an irrevocable act on behalf of a now-defunct RDA.  But it was still done in order to grease the subsidy of Jed York and his stadium, and it is very much a real General Fund loss - as today's giveback almost was.

Two years ago, by the way, "make our General Fund whole" were exactly the words of Santa Clara Plays Fair.  Tuesday evening in Chambers and in the media, we were grateful to learn that City Staff agrees with us.



Thanks for all of your support,

William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,
SantaClaraPlaysFair.org

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

49ers' Stadium Subsidy, Schools Money in One Pot - Who Knew?

Dear Santa Clarans,


In the wake of the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies in California, every city has its own story, no doubt about it.  In a nutshell, this is ours:

Our former RDA couldn't subsidize the San Francisco 49ers to the tune of that original $42,000,000 without extending its own authority to hand your property taxes over to the team.   But our Council did just that in February of  2011 when they first proposed abolishing the debt-incurrence time limit for our RDA.  This was the so-called "SB 211" amendment.

The claim at the time was that this would enable the RDA to issue low-interest bonds to pay back cash advances from the 49ers.  Click on Agenda Item 6B here to see the video and get the reports.  The same claim was made when the SB 211 amendment was finally passed on March 15th, 2011.


Now, fast-forward to the City Council meeting of June 7, a mere eighty-four days later.  In that meeting, surprise!:  We learned that there was no way that the RDA could possibly issue any bonds at all.  The RDA would be stuck paying the 49ers for their "Agency Advance" at an interest rate of up to 8.50% - using our property taxes to do it.

See page 5 of the "Committee of the Whole" report here :


By the time of the dissolution of the RDAs with AB 1x 26, the San Francisco 49ers had managed to suck over $10,000,000 out of our RDA.   But now, both the remaining subsidy for Jed York and property taxes to support Santa Clara Unified Schools have ended up in the same, identical "Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund," or RPTTF.   The Oversight Board of the Successor Agency is responsible for payments from that fund.

A majority on that Oversight Board - and the California State Department of Finance as well - have rightly refused to recognize the stadium subsidy to the 49ers as equal to needed funding for SCUSD schools.

Well!  Furious that they cannot bleed that last $30,000,000 out of our property taxes, the 49ers are suing the Oversight Board - and they've gotten the courts to stop payments to any other Agencies until they get payments to themselves.  One original estimate (5/3/2012) actually called for the Oversight Board to pay the 49ers more than $52,000,000 over time!:


 


How on earth did a plum payment to a millionaire NFL team owner end up in the same pot as the money we need to educate our children?  By what arrogant stretch of entitlement do the 49ers justify holding the entire RPTTF hostage and in making the Oversight Board responsible for acts of Sacramento?

Ask a 49ers Stadium Booster - if they voted for Measure Jed on June 8, 2010, then they voted for exactly the outrage above.**

We'll know more on March 22nd, when 49ers v. Oversight Board is heard in the Sacramento Superior Court.  Please stay in touch, and ask questions.  What we don't know, we'll do our best to find out.


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

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49ers v. Oversight Board:   Case 34-2012-80001192 may be searched here . Pull down for "Civil," check "CCMS," then enter the case number.  Smile.

**If you do ask a 49ers Stadium Booster, please don't settle for any weasel words.  That "Agency Advance" was amply covered in the June 8th, 2010, language for Measure Jed, §7.4(c).  I'm reading my old Sample Ballot now as I write this.  It was one of a myriad of reasons I voted a flat "NO" on Measure Jed then.