Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Subsidizing the 49ers: That $10 million We Don't Have is just the Tip of the Iceberg

Dear Santa Clarans,

Very shortly, our City Council will have met behind closed doors with the San Francisco 49ers exactly ONE HUNDRED TIMES since May 1, 2007.

Publicly, however, there's been only four years' worth of total hype about the stadium's financing.  In early December, at least some preliminary Disposition and Development Agreement, or DDA, for the massive subsidy of the 49ers' stadium, will finally come before Council.  Can you residents, ratepayers and taxpayers attend some or all three of these meetings at City Hall, and speak out against the 49ers' Stadium Subsidy?:  

  • Tuesday, December 6th, 2011:  "Council Committee of the Whole" Study Session I 
  • Thursday, December 8th, 2011:  "Council Committee of the Whole" Study Session II 
  • Tuesday, December 13th, 2011:  Public Hearing, City Council Meeting 

Time:  7:00 pm     Location:  City Council Chambers, 1500 Warburton Drive
Santa Clara Plays Fair urges Santa Clarans to attend as many of these meetings as possible - and to speak out.

So, what's a DDA, and what's a Term Sheet?

The DDA is the binding Development Agreement, which places massive amounts of public subsidies - and control over the stadium itself - in the hands of the 49ers.  The Term Sheet of June 2, 2009 is its predecessor document --- which gives away the store to the 49ers:

1.  The wretched Ground Lease with the City pays only $180 thousand the first year any stadium opens - but the 49ers will easily gross over $130 million in television rights and luxury box rents that same first year.  Not a penny of those "NFL Revenues" benefit our city or its agencies - it all goes into Jed York's pockets.

2.  We voted away any right to sublease to a 2nd NFL team - and we gave that exclusive right to Jed York and the 49ers.

3.  It's unlikely that the Santa Clara Stadium Authority can generate enough revenue to operate the 49ers' stadium for them year-round - so, on June 7th, City Staff acknowledged that the Stadium Authority will probably give up control of the stadium for six months of every year.  Calling the 49ers's stadium a "municipal stadium" is simply inaccurate - virtually every development we've seen since Measure Jed merely proves how little control we have over "our" stadium.

4.  We were assured that the team would be paying 'substantially' more than the pathetic $5 million a year that the Stadium Authority was supposed to get originally - but we won't know what the 49ers will be paying until the Study Session Agenda is issued, probably on Friday evening, December 2nd.

5.  The $10,000,000 in Stadium Authority money voted for "make-ready" work this last Tuesday?  The Stadium Authority does not even HAVE $10 million.  It may have most of the $4 million that it got from the RDA after our Council "parked" that four mil with the 49ers themselves - but the remaining $6 million will have to be borrowed from the 49ers themselves, with interest payable.  Make no mistake;  this is the start of a perpetual cycle of indebtedness for at least one Santa Clara agency.

It's become quite clear over the last seventeen months that the "deal" with the 49ers has only two purposes:  To saddle Santa Clara's agencies with all of the stadium debt - and to give the profits, power and control to Jed York and the 49ers.

If you can speak out on December 6th, 8th and 13th - will you tell our City's leaders that the 49ers are not paying nearly enough for their own stadium. ?  Public debt IS public money. 

Before they sign any legally binding "deal" with the San Francisco 49ers, the five 49ers fans seated on our City Council owe us Santa Clarans a much better deal that Measure Jed gave us over a year ago.

Nothing is stopping Council from fixing a horribly bad stadium deal - but they'll have to stand up to the San Francisco 49ers in order to do that. 

Thank you for all of your support, 

William F. "Bill" Bailey