Timeline April 2010 Stadium Gameplan Exposed
April 5, 2010
Because the Measure J ballot does not disclose Santa Clara's $114 million direct subsidy or our Stadium Authority's $330 million in debt for stadium construction as listed in the Term Sheet, a Santa Clara resident files a lawsuit in an attempt to force the city to put the stadium costs on the ballot. Santa Clara's city attorney argues in court that there is no legal requirement in state law for a city-wide ballot measure to disclose the actual costs (sadly, this is true, whereas for county-wide and state-wide ballot measures financial disclosure is required).
In a filing with the court, an attorney for SCEP argues that, "There is nothing in the Term Sheet that requires the Stadium Authority to provide $330 million (or any other amount) for stadium construction..." and that the number $114 Million was "plucked out of thin air." (The attorney neglected to mention that Term Sheet Exhibit 14 lists $330 million in stadium debt for the Stadium Authority. And the $114 Million is the sum of all of the city's direct contributions to the stadium.)
The court sides with the city and no Stadium Authority loans/debt are added to the Measure J ballot. The ballot measure goes to the voters without disclosure of the stadium construction costs. (Unbeknownst to voters, the council will do a backroom deal to load up the Stadium Authority with $850 Million in debt after the election.)
April 6, 2010
Mayor Patricia Mahan appears on ABC 7 television to continue the deception of voters: "The mayor of Santa Clara insists the 49ers will end up paying close to 92 percent of the costs."
Schools superintendent Steve Stavis and board president Andrew Ratermann send a letter to undecided voters' homes asking for them to vote Yes on Measure J. While the return address shows the names of the superintendent and board president above "Santa Clara Unified School District," the return address isn't the school district's - it's the 49ers campaign Yes on J headquarters in Mervyn's Plaza on El Camino.
Santa Clarans' mailboxes are bombarded with campaign mailers using the schools. At a time when the district has a budget crisis, and teachers are being laid off, the mailers make boatloads of promises which cannot be kept (the $26 million in RDA money over 16 years will not be enough to meet all of the promises.)
Parents report to SCPF that principals at two SCUSD schools send letters home asking parents to vote Yes on Measure J. A high school parent complains that pro-stadium fliers are being left on end tables in a SCUSD school office. A parent from one SCUSD elementary school posts on the SJ Mercury News comment board that her child came home from school saying that her teacher told her to tell her parents to vote 'yes' on the stadium. That parent contacts SCPF.
April 2010-May 2010
Santa Clara's elected police Chief Steve Lodge appears in Yes on J mailers/ads. he also appears in a front page spread on the SC Weekly which states that Chief Lodge endorses the stadium. (Six months after the election, he will retire and go to work as a highly paid stadium security consultant at $100/hr, on top of his almost $200K/yr pension from the city.)
(Except that there is a $170,000 threshold on public safety costs per game, the number of officers required per game is greater than Santa Clara's entire police force. Ultimately, 18 months later, the contract the city negotiates with the 49ers will state that public safety costs above the threshold will be paid but will be compensated for with a rent credit on facility rent.)
SC County Tax Assessor Larry Stone also appears in 49ers stadium campaign materials. SJ Mercury News: "Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone also accepted tickets worth $350 from the team in August 2005 while he was exploring possible South Bay relocation sites on the 49ers' behalf. The Mercury News discovered that Stone listed the tickets among gifts he received on an economic disclosure form, despite his statement in the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that he 'paid for everything that I got from the 49ers.' "
(Except that construction costs which soar above the Term Sheet's $937 price tag won't be considered 'cost overruns' and will be paid for with Stadium Authority loans, not by the 49ers, and the stadium contracts don't say the 49ers are responsible for all operating costs, and there is a cost to our General Fund because of the $67 Million loss. Voters don't know that because of Freedom of Speech, there is no requirement for truth in advertising in campaign materials, and that our City Council majority partnered with SCEP to say anything to get Measure J to pass.)
April 15, 2010
San Jose State conducts a poll of 614 Santa Clarans on behalf of ABC7 and the SJ Mercury News. The poll does not disclose the stadium construction costs to Santa Clara and its agencies.
April 25, 2010
A San Jose Mercury News article shows how successful the 'money for the schools' argument is:
"Craig Blackhurst, a 43-year-old architect, is convinced parking will be a major problem for NFL game days and is also certain taxpayer dollars are going to be spent down the line on the stadium. But he remains undecided because the deal, if it goes through, would free up more than $20 million in redevelopment money for the financially strapped Santa Clara Unified School District, where his two children attend schools. "We need the money in the schools," he said. "I don't feel I have much of a choice."
In a SC Weekly editorial, Council Members Jamie McLeod and Will Kennedy attempt to dispel the myths put forth by SCEP mailers/ads about the source of the $26 million in redevelopment money for the schools. "The 49ers do not contribute this money, but they are taking full credit. It doesn’t come from them or from the stadium. This money comes from the city."
Yet, SCEP campaign consultant Rich Robinson, who earned $23,000 from the Yes on J stadium campaign, posted the following misleading statement on his Facebook page: "The Niners are willing to put $26 million to schools in Santa Clara."
Stating that the 'money for the schools' would come from the stadium or the 'Niners' team is a deception continuously perpetrated by the Yes on J SCEP campaign and its consultants. The $26 million comes from our own property tax dollars from the RDA, and ANY redevelopment project would have triggered the kickback to the schools - the stadium was never necessary to trigger the kickback.