Here’s How the 49ers Could Take Back Control of Santa Clara

Football season has a way of sneaking up on summer, but the most important games the San Francisco 49ers play this fall might actually take place away from the gridiron. A City Council majority is up for grabs in Santa Clara, and the NFL club that now calls the Mission City home has designs on supporting more team friendly candidates. Mayor Lisa Gillmor and council colleagues Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill have been a thorn in the Niners’ side going back to before Levi’s Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 in February. Gillmor has repeatedly questioned whether city staff and the team’s stadium management companies are providing an accurate picture on revenue and expenses. A civil grand jury recommended a compliance audit after its own investigation turned up inconclusive. But following the mysterious post-SB50 resignation of former Mayor Jamie Matthews and the expedited exit of City Manager Julio Fuentes, 49ers owner Jed York went from having the city on his side—if not in his pocket—to being a whipping boy of fans and electeds alike. It seems the team now wants to change the conversation. Gillmor inherited Matthews’ term through 2018, but Davis and O’Neill’s seats are up for grabs, while council appointee Kathy Watanabe’s seat is also open and Councilman Jerry Marsalli will not seek re-election; councilmen Pat Kolstad and Dominic Caserta term out in 2018 and have been good soldiers for the club. That leaves a council majority wide open. Word is the team has not only recruited Ahmad Rafah, a former policy advisor to Rep. Mike Honda, to run for council but also supports former Santa Clara Mayor Pat Mahan and Councilman John McLemore in coming out of political retirement. McLemore confirmed he’s been an unpaid consultant to the Niners—his phone number even ends in the suffix 4949, similar to the team’s headquarters—and Mahan helped lead the Measure J campaign to build Levi’s. Her return is not without some hypocrisy, though, as Mahan once criticized others for gaming term limits to remain in office. Bob Lange, a spokesman for the 49ers, said the team is merely interested in Santa Clara affairs like any other city business and had no comment on candidates the team may or may not support.

Below is a statement from the San Francisco 49ers:

“The 49ers organization has been a part of the Santa Clara community for nearly three decades and like businesses everywhere, we have a vested interest in the prosperity of our own community. Continuing to develop Santa Clara as an attractive location to visit, live, and conduct business is integral to securing a fruitful future for our city and its residents. That is why our organization continues to make impactful contributions to Santa Clara and the greater Bay Area region; efforts that have garnered recognition on both the national and international levels.”

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19 Comments

  1. They say money always talks, but they also say that talk is cheap. Why buy when you can rent? The bottom line is always about money and how to get the best return on your investment that affects your bottom line.

  2. If they are really interested in the community how about changing from the San Francisco 49ers to the Santa Clara 49ers.

  3. They’ve done it before, and they can do it again. They already control the school board.

  4. Huh?

    Wasn’t the school board the place where Chris THE STRANGLER Stampolis, the Mad Scientist Ina Bendis, Christine Madwoman Koltermann, and Michele Ryan, who ran the school President Erdogan of Turkey wants to blame for the coup (note to Michele, watch MIDNIGHT EXPRESS), ran?

    Canova, Gonzales and Ratermann aint under anyone’s thumb.

    Are you?

    • Get out much, James?

      “Canova, Gonzales and Ratermann aint under anyone’s thumb.”

      Hogwash.

      See, that’s what happens when you go off your meds.

    • Some years ago, at an SCUSD Trustee’s Meeting, it was noticed that Andrew Ratermann kept casting eyes downward to his mobile. It turns out that a woman in the back row – fussing and fuming over some item that had come before the School Board – was texting Andy from the gallery. Who? Turns out that it was a former Trustee.

      Still think that Andy ain’t under anyone’s thumb?

      Unequal access to our public officials is one of the biggest problems we face in a democracy. Our city and our school district are yet another example of exactly that.

      But that’s just fine by Herbivore.

      • Absolutely disgusting. You are right, unequal access to public officials must stop. The 49ers need to stay out of City business and our elected officials must act with integrity.

  5. Mahan’s decision to run again is dripping with hypocrisy. Why vote for a woman who has no issue selling out the residence who surround the stadium? Not a chance. Keep her out. Remember, she was ready to take the youth soccer fields away from the South Bay’s children without batting an eye.

    • A message from Patricia Mahan, former Mayor of Santa Clara

      “I worked hard to bring the stadium to Santa Clara – and made sure the city got fair market value for its land and an income stream from its operations. So why is our current mayor and the apparent majority of our city council members now willing to give away the soccer park next to the stadium for far less than its market value? AND without any plans to rebuild the soccer park elsewhere in the city? That’s not the way we should do business in Santa Clara. If, like me, you think this is the wrong direction, our council needs to hear from you, especially those who have already expressed an opinion in favor of this plan – Mayor Matthews, Pat Kolstad, and Dominic Caserta. I hope it’s not too late to save our soccer park.”

      Patricia Mahan, former Mayor of Santa Clara

      • Jack, I prefer to judge Patricia Mahan by her actions.

        Not by her words.

        I’ve witnessed Patricia Mahan in action. Your paste-in above doesn’t say anything at all.

  6. This is the kind of deflection that Herbivore was famous for when he was actually living in our city, patronizing Santa Clara businesses, paying taxes here.

    Notice that he can’t address the subject of *this* article because he won’t.

  7. Patricia Mahan’s claim that she’s running out of a love of the city brings to mind her constant courtship analogies in and around “Measure Jed” in 2010.

    Nobody “dates” NFL Football teams, Patty – you only get bent over by ’em.

    YMoss, you’re right-on about the Youth Soccer Park. In Council Chambers, on the evening of the vote to carve up Montague and Jenny Lind Parks, an indignant Mahan whined that she was doing it all for us. The uproar got them to table the whole thing that night, and thank God.

    But if concerned residents hadn’t shown up that night, the Santa Clara City Council would have gone and done it.

    The only purpose behind these carve-ups will be to corner youth soccer advocates into giving up the current pitches on Tasman Drive. That is all that this is about.

    • Sorry, that’s “Jenny Strand” and not “Jenny Lind.” I had two historical digs going on at the same time.

    • A message from Patricia Mahan, former Mayor of Santa Clara

      “I worked hard to bring the stadium to Santa Clara – and made sure the city got fair market value for its land and an income stream from its operations. So why is our current mayor and the apparent majority of our city council members now willing to give away the soccer park next to the stadium for far less than its market value? AND without any plans to rebuild the soccer park elsewhere in the city? That’s not the way we should do business in Santa Clara. If, like me, you think this is the wrong direction, our council needs to hear from you, especially those who have already expressed an opinion in favor of this plan – Mayor Matthews, Pat Kolstad, and Dominic Caserta. I hope it’s not too late to save our soccer park.”

      Patricia Mahan, former Mayor of Santa Clara

      • That is exactly why I won’t vote for Ms. Maha. She was the key player in pushing measure J which brought the Nines here. Now the 49ers expect the rent decreased. Was that part of the deal she negotiated when you brought them to town? The stadium neighborhood surtounding the stadium suffers a great deal because of Patricia Mahan’s deal. The entire City does. Enough already.

      • The 1987 Training Center Lease is FMV? Puhleeeeze.

        The Stadium Lease itself gives the City’s General Fund only $250,000 this year – while Jed York has taken easily over ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR out of Levi’s since it opened. Fair Market Value to the CIty of Santa Clara? Please, tell me all about it.

        As for the YSP, the minute that preserving the Soccer Park at its current – and proper – location gets to be too poliitically inconvenient, I can assure you that Patricia Mahan will be backing away from it in a New York minute.

        Nice cut-and-paste, though.

  8. “Mahan helped lead the Measure J campaign to build Levi’s. Her return is not without some hypocrisy, though, as Mahan once criticized others for gaming term limits to remain in office.”

    In checking background on this statement and the article above, I found the following website – last updated in 2012 – called SaveSantaClara.org (http://www.savesantaclara.org), which posts Mahan’s 1994 statement criticizing politicians who ignore term limits.

    Apparently, Mahan has been on the city council for a grand total of 5 terms (3 as council and 2 as mayor). IF she is elected again, this will make a grand total of 6 terms and 24 years on Santa Clara’s council. None of which I would necessarily have a problem with, except for her statement (in a recent Mercury News article) that Santa Clara “has not always been fair with the 49ers”. This claim is ludicrous in the extreme – quite the reverse, the 49ers (with the aid of former city manager Fuentes and former council majority led by Jamie Mathews) have been given the keys to the city, the city’s general fund and the use of city staff from many if not all the departments. I look forward to the results of the audit ordered by the Santa Clara County grand jury.