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,