Thursday, December 31, 2009

49ers Stadium: A Santa Claran speaks on the so-called "Citizens' Initiative"...

"I had a strange experience while entering Lucky's (Saratoga and San Tomas Expwy) on Monday - a young guy standing outside was trying to get signatures on a petition relating to the Stadium. I naturally assumed it was the "Santa Clarans for Economic Progress" (aka the 49ers) so I talked to him a bit. He spouted what I thought was pure misinformation, namely: "the Santa Clara City Council has decided to rescind their support of a vote on the stadium and instead just wants to go ahead with the stadium. By signing this petition you will be restoring our right to vote on the stadium." This seemed to imply that if I was *against* the stadium (which I am), it would be a good idea to sign the petition. I did not sign the petition, because I believe it does an end-run around the EIR, but I did hear him state that the City Council, except one dissenting member, had decided they no longer wanted a citizens' vote. I went into Lucky's briefly and when I came out he was gone (or perhaps at the other entrance), which was too bad because I hadn't actually looked at the petition ... which would have allowed be to confirm which petition it was.
This guy was fairly young, and perhaps he was getting paid for each signature he collected, but he sure mangled the information he gave ... I could easily see some Lucky's shoppers saying "Yeah sure, whatever, kid ... can't hurt to sign it if it allows me to vote on the stadium."

That's from a Santa Claran who saw the 49ers' very own paid signature gatherers in action this last weekend.

The 49ers' claim that their so-called "citizens' initiative" somehow 'restores' our right to vote is simply an outright FALSEHOOD. We already had the right to vote with the City Council's own measure - and the 49ers along with their paid name-getters know this very well.

Sure, it's a free country: The 49ers can do this - even though we all know that its only purpose is to keep them from being held to account for their "Do-nothing-EIR".

After all, their "initiative" is identical to the Council's own measure (they promised), and also binding (they promised) - so there's no reason why we can't vote on the Council measure instead of on the 49ers initiative on June 8th.

Is there?

It also looks like the shoe is finally on the other foot: When, in 1997, a real citizens group tried to challenge the original San Francisco stadium measures from that year, the 49ers sued the Registrar of Voters in S.F. to halt that petition drive:

Regardless of the merits of "49ers v. Nishioka": It might just behoove the San Francisco 49ers to adhere to the same standards here in our city to which they held San Franciscans twelve years ago.

With that, I would like to call upon Santa Clarans to please drop us a line:

Tell us of your own experiences with this so-called "citizens' initiative" petition, and of claims made by any of the 49ers' name-getters.

Those claims won't be hard to debunk.

The 49ers are welcome to do what they're doing - but after the Confidentiality Agreement, the hijacking of Senate Bill 43 and now this "49ers initiative", they've earned themselves a lot of scrutiny.

And now, a postscript:

"BTW - my wife just told me the exact same thing happened to her at Save Mart on El Camino last night. She actually signed the petition because she was told she was protecting her right to vote, although she is strongly against the stadium ! These folks are underhanded."

Enough said.

Thanks again for your support!
Bill Bailey, Treasurer


Friday, December 11, 2009

49ers Stadium: THAT ballot measure?

Dear Santa Clarans,

The 49ers' "We're-writing-our-own" ballot measure arrived at the City Clerk's office earlier this morning. This is only the "intent-to-file" stage - but there's enough in it, we feel, to be of serious concern to Santa Clara's voters. By the numbers:

Section 2.A.1 Generate new revenues for Santa Clara?

  • The pathetic Fixed Ground Rent of $8M (TOTAL! Over 40 years!) comes nowhere close to covering the $67,000,000 General Fund LOSS that the stadium will cause. (Ref. 1)
  • It will certainly never make up for the upfront stadium subsidy of $114,000,000. (Ref 2)

Section 2.A.2. Create New Jobs?:
  • The last construction worker will walk off the job in the year 2014 - but we'll be paying interest and coupon for that poor job creation through the year 2053. For the money "in", the job creation "out" is miserable.

Section 2.A.3. Provide Taxpayer Protections?:
  • We really don't think so. How does squandering $114,000,000 in "corporate welfare" to the 49ers really 'protect taxpayers'? How does a $67,000,000 LOSS to the General Fund 'protect taxpayers'?

Section 2.A.4. Generate Community Funding?:
  • The Stadium Subsidizers are giving you only half of the "schools story". The TRUE story is: The City, the County and the Santa Clara Valley Water District LOSE $17.3 million in order to generate that "schools funding." (Ref. 3)
  • Bad stadium funding scheme = bad schools funding scheme. Unfortunately, that's the "New Math."

If some "plan" to subsidize a $1,000,000,000 NFL stadium requires your RDA to stop paying your General Fund what it owes, then that stadium DOES rip off your General Fund.

Registered voters in the City of Santa Clara: You'll be asked in the coming months for your signature on petitions barely originated by Santa Clarans - but surely paid for by the San Francisco 49ers themselves.

Santa Clara Plays Fair asks only this of our fellow Santa Clarans: Please consider who's really behind this "initiative" - and who's really paying for it. Urge your neighbors to be skeptical, too. Don't settle for hazy claims and glib promises - the four bullets above should make clear what this "49ers-own" ballot measure is really all about.

And please bear in mind that this measure has been thrust at us for one reason only: To prevent any legal challenges to the badly deficient Environmental Impact Report, or EIR, that came before the Planning Commission on November 18th and before the City Council on December 8th.

That EIR certainly isn't going to be in any better shape by the time we finally see some sort of "project" some eight or nine months from now.

Thanks for your support, and best regards,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer

Ref. 1: CITY COUNCIL - City Staff's Term Sheet Presentation, 6/2/2009 (SLIDE #48)

Ref. 2: CITY COUNCIL - Term Sheet, Exhibit 7, 6/2/2009

Ref. 3: CITY COUNCIL - Agenda Report on Tax Benefits, 6/2/2009 (Page 5)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

49ers Stadium: Vote on June 8, 2010 - on WHOSE ballot measure?

Dear Santa Clarans,

We'll be voting on something on June 8th, 2010.

But we're not quite sure what. Just when the City Council went forward to direct that a measure be placed on the June Primary ballot for next year - a "citizen's group" stands up to tell us that they're preparing an initiative also.

Why not let the City Council do their work for them?

Well, after spending four hours assuring us that the EIR process was clean and that CEQA was being obeyed - stadium proponents readily admit that the reason for their initiative is to exempt the entire project from any court challenges.

That is: Court challenges associated with the faults in the environmental review process they claim aren't really there.

In fact, the Stadium Subsidizers were even honest about one other thing: They freely admitted that the San Francisco 49ers will be paying for their petition signature gatherers.

This should be cause for great concern: A group of individuals - spending lots of 49ers money - paying lip service to the notions of a fair and transparent process, but all the while, seeking to undermine it by any means necessary. Who's really behind it?

And who's really paying for it?

I'd like to offer special thanks to Santa Clarans who stayed late tonight in Chambers, and spoke up. You challenged not only the certification of an EIR-that-ain't, but you also drew bold lines under what the 49ers are really doing to the process. Thank you.

Bill Bailey, Treasurer