Family Health Fiasco: Chavez Wanted to ‘Shame’ York, 49ers over Contribution

Local sports fans and businesses celebrated Tuesday’s announcement that the San Francisco 49ers will host Super Bowl 2016 at their new stadium in Santa Clara. But not everyone has always been a supporter of the club. During the 2010 lead up to election day, which might as well be the Super Bowl of politics, labor organizer Cindy Chavez and Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, were deep in campaign mode, searching for more contributors to the Measure A effort, which wanted to raise the county parcel tax. On Oct. 8, 2010, King wrote an email to Chavez with the subject line, “Jed York and the 49ers.” In the email, King describes her efforts to squeeze York for a large contribution, but the effort was unsuccessful—even with help from San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo and Lisa Lang, who handles the team’s govt. relations work. “[York] says the 49ers initiatives are not focused on health care and he is getting hit up by everyone,” King wrote to Chavez. “I had told Lisa earlier that I was not willing to take the $500, it makes the 49ers look like they don’t care (they gave $10,000 to the last Measure A Hospital Bond). Lisa said call her back if I change my mind. What do you think?” Cold as ice, Chavez replied: “Take their 500.00 shame them a bit.” County Assessor Larry Stone, who has met with pro franchises on a number of occasions, said it’s possible York felt he might be “drawn into a political debate, or political issue. So, my guess is Jed York sensed that there were political overtones to this, and that would cause him to pull back, but make a token donation or contribution.”

Read the email exchange.
“Family Health Fiasco” is a series based on public documents released May 17, 2012 after a court decision by Judge Carol Overton. The documents shed light on how the South Bay Labor Council interacts with local nonprofits and government agencies. Click to read more about the coordinated campaign activities between the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation and local labor leaders.


  1. They’re not going to turn down $500 now, and I’m sure Sam Liccardo isn’t going to be doing any more “outreach” for them either.

    I have to believe that a lot of well meaning people worked hard because they thought the money was going to a good cause.  That’s the tragedy in all of this.

  2. Shameless.

    Looks pretty clear that Kathleen was using a health plan email address to fundraise for a political campaign.

    Where’s the D.A. on this?

    And Cindy is a party to the conversation….

  3. Who is Silicone Valley News Room?  They sure do not like Ms. Chavez. You might think they are in politics to slander someone?  If you Google them nothing shows up.  But they on San Jose Inside a lot.  They really like Mayor Reed. And really hate Cindy Chavez.

    SHAME SHAME SHAME on SanJose Inside for not posting who these ghost writers are.  One has to think that under the paper in the kitty litter box is Vic Ajlouny?

  4. I was curious about [email protected], the other person the e-mail was sent to.

    Would that be Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, former Executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, former CEO of Working Partnerships USA, and the current CEO of Green For All, an Oakland based non-profit?

    I don’t know anything about Ms. Phaedra, other than what I can find on the internet, but the I’m sure there are folks reading this that do.

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