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 themselves to honor their commitments to our city's youngest residents.

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

1.  - 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 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.