Obstructionists Could Kill 49ers Stadium

It is fundamentally wrong in a representative democracy to allow a minority to game the system and stop progress because they don’t like the result. The tea party is an example on the national level and the efforts of the ironically named Santa Clara Plays Fair is another.

The miscreants in Santa Clara just won’t go away. After getting thoroughly trounced at the ballot box last year, they want another chance to “vote” on the 49ers Stadium. They don’t expect to win, but if they can delay the project long enough, it is tantamount to a denial.

It is one thing for the fringe element to involve themselves in these process-driven escapades. Debbie Bress, the spokesperson for the NIMBY group, is a long dismissed gadfly in the city. She once ran a quixotic campaign against ethics icon and former Mayor Judy Nadler. Her vitriolic and hysterical campaign against Nadler was soundly rejected by voters.

But what is really disturbing is the two councilmembers who lend credence and encourage this obstruction. Will Kennedy and Jamie McCloud both opposed the stadium vote last year. That is not the issue—people can disagree. But once an issue is decided, unless there is fundamental moral principle at stake, public officials must put their differences aside and work for the people they represent.

We see the tragedy of minority rule on the national level. Local officials who decry the methods of the tea party cannot then utilize those same obstructionist tactics with impunity on the local level. This hypocrisy is the main reason people eschew government service and opine that “every” politician is unethical.

There is no doubt that this group will go to court in a further attempt to thwart a project a majority of their fellow citizens support. One can only hope a judge will put an end to the silliness once and for all. But the law is fickle and traditionally loath to involve itself in questions of a political nature; usually deferring substantive issues unless and until all governmental processes have been exhausted and it becomes, literally, a court of last resort.

But any delay is a victory for the minority mob. Delay will cost the project and the city more dollars. If a revote occurs, the citizens of Santa Clara will once again be subjected to the hysteria of people whose views they have consistently rejected. And this minority, thus empowered with another defeat, will look to their champions on the City Council to help them delay the project further. It is an unseemly and difficult alliance to comprehend.

The failure of minority elements to accept valid election results, as well as the desire of elected officials to empower fringe elements of the community for personal political gain—at the expense of the people they serve—is grounds for dismissal from office, in my mind.

That said, it is up to the majority of people in Santa Clara to determine the fate of their petty and irresponsible council minority.

Rich Robinson is a political consultant and author of “The Shadow Candidate”.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


      • The fact that Rich is willing to stand up and take the heat for whatever he says, while you hide behind a sock puppet with some phony handle does show you can be discounted.

      • When the pro-stadium folks, especially one adult male who frequents this comment board posting as other people (and San Jose Inside does nothing when presented with evidence of someone impersonating someone else on the comment boards – come on SJI, you need to implement the policies used by SFgate and the SJ Merc with regards to abuse of the comments area) and who writes a daily hate blog, stop all of the cyberbullying on his blog, phone call bullying to people’s homes and places of employment, hateful emails, and other forms of harassment of anyone who writes a letter to the city council, letter to the editor, or is quoted in the press questioning the stadium financing, then people will be willing to use their real names.

        • Note that Rich Robinson himself engages in the name-calling form of bullying – calling voters who signed the petitions asking for the right to vote on the $850 million in loans ‘obstructionists’ and ‘miscreants’. 

          The pro-stadium folks are scared of another vote because they know they can’t win with $850 million in loans on the ballot.  That’s why they worked so hard to keep the Stadium Authority costs/debt/loans off of the Measure J ballot in the first place, and spent close to $5 million telling Santa Clarans that we would get a $1 billion stadium essentially for free.  When you have to spend $350 per ‘yes’ vote, (the highest in the country by the way)you know that the message cannot stand on its own.  If the stadium was a good deal, private investors would be lining up to help pay for it.

    • Looking at Rich Robinson’s website, I note that he is also a consultant for high speed rail.

      Note that 2/3 of Californians who were recently polled on high speed rail want a re-vote. Why?  Because the numbers have changed drastically from the numbers we voted on.  The costs have skyrocketed about tenfold, and the ridership and jobs numbers we voted on were overinflated.

      Same issues in Santa Clara – the numbers we voted on aren’t the numbers presented in the contract and financing agreement – not by a long shot.

      Elected officials need to stop gaming ballot measures, and working with private parties to game ballot measures, to hide costs in order to get ‘yes’ votes.  The electorate is tired of this ploy.  We’re tired of bait and switch, whether it be with numbers/costs or with issues (such as in Wisconsin, where the Governor is learning first hand that playing bait and switch with the electorate will be countered with recall petitions.)

      The right to vote should come first. Always.

    • The Measure J campaign focused on schools and jobs and not on the team or stadium. 

      In order to provide $40 million in redevelopment funding for stadium construction, the council needed to pass a SB211 amendment to extend the redevelopment agency in time.  That extension in time triggered state-required passthrough payments from the redevelopment agency to the schools.  Why? Because the state recognizes that RDAs starve the schools of property taxes, so a continuation of a RDA requires a kickback to the schools to make up for the starvation.  Desperate for money, the schools wanted the kickback from the RDA.

      The SB211 amendment was passed and triggered passthrough payments from the Santa Clara RDA to the schools of $26 million over 16 years.  That’s a fact, and the passthrough payments are already happening for our schools.  But that money comes from our own property tax dollars.  Our schools were used to get Measure J to pass, just as the Tampa Bay Bucs used schools and police to get their ballot measure to pass.  Note that ANY RDA project would have triggered the passthrough payments.  The stadium project was not required to trigger RDA passthrough payments – another project would have had the same effect.

      But the 49ers stadium Measure J campaign put out boatloads of campaign materials claiming that the stadium or the team would be providing that $26 million.  That’s nonsense.  Neither the stadium nor the team are providing that money to the schools.  It’s RDA money, which comes from our local property tax dollars.

      Yet, on Facebook a few days before the Measure J vote, Rich Robinson made the following comment on Ron Gonzales’ link on an education article:
      “Niners are willing to put $26 million into schools in Santa Clara.” 

      That $26 million for the schools comes from our very own property tax dollars, not from the stadium.  Yes On J folks were quite willing to provide misinformation to the public in order to get votes.  And yes, people have saved the Facebook screen capture from that date which shows the ‘niners’ comment.

  1. “It is fundamentally wrong in a representative democracy to allow a minority to game the system and stop progress because they don’t like the result.”

    Isn’t that what happened with Prop 8?
    Isn’t that what happened with Prop 187 a few years ago? 

    The public voted and the minority used legal process to stop a majority vote that they disagreed with.  and of course, if you one that voted for either of these two propositions, you were labeled a racist, a bigot and a homophobic meanie.

    So, Rich Robinson, which way did YOU vote on these two propositions?

    • But once an issue is decided, unless there is fundamental moral principle at stake, public officials must put their differences aside and work for the people they represent.

      Note a fundamental moral principle—8 and 187 are issues regarding the fundamental rights of people.  We all have a moral responsibity to oppose them.

      And if you voted for these propositions you are a racist, a bigot and a homophobic meanie.  I have no problem with that. . .

      • are we discussion issues in another city that we have no vote on.  Bring on the real dirt behind the A’s deal coming to SJ.  Stay in target Rich.

      • If there was a local measure in Santa Clara banning gay marriage, that collected 6,000 signatures, would McLeod support it even though it would be improper?

        McLeod and Kennedy cited binding arbitration last week.

        A charter amendment is not the same as a measure rescinding an ordinance.

        These two drink the Kool Aid

      • Note that in Sacramento, just because the people elected a Governor who is a Democrat doesn’t mean that the people who elected Republicans as their senators/assemblymembers no longer have any representation of their views in our state government.  Quite the contrary when you watch what’s happening on the state level.

        Rich Robinson seems to be implying that people who disagree with the majority in any vote no longer should have any voice or representation in their local government.

  2. Rich

    I am a lifelong Santa Claran.  I voted against the stadium.

    I switched my view based on three things.

    a.  Vote is over.  Rich, the voters made a decision and we lost, those of us in the opposition. 

    b.  I understand you are a political consultant, and I both agree and disagree with your views.  But I did some research on my own. 

    c.  Whether it was Proposition 8 or other things, there are times when an initiative is improper.

    d.  In 1998, the proponent of this referendum, ran for Mayor.  I believe you worked for Judy Nadler.  I posted a sign for Judy when she ran for office.  Ms. Bress ran a dirty campaign and lost by thousands of votes.  I know she is the proponent because four different television stations said so.

    e.  I looked this all up, and read the City Attorney’s opinion.  Council meeting minutes from January 1998 show Ms. Bress speaking on a matter dealing with Agnews.  It says DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT.

    f.  I google that word, and then I compared it to what is called a disposition development agreement.  It is not the same.  So, even though I opposed the stadium, I did not just take your word, or anyone else’s word for it, when it comes to supporting the stadium.  But the voters approved it.  If Ms. Bress lies about what an agreement is, when she was present when the other such agreement was put on the ballot, then how can be she be trusted?

    g.  You know from political things that a lie used a hundred times becomes accepted.  Mr. Robinson, the debt for the stadium is large, but I do understand what the city manager is saying, it is a debt made for an authority, not for the city.  In the document, I voted against, it even said the same.  I voted no, because I live in Santa Clara and do not want a major sports stadium in my city.  But that view lost, and now we might as well learn about it. 

    h.  This group that opposes the stadium, on their website, there are numerous false statements.  Look I know there are fanatics on both sides.  I voted against the campaign with the slick mailers.  But, Mr. Robinson, I have a computer, and a mind.  What the petitioners now say is untrue, and also based on false premises.

    Santa Clara is a wonderful city, but, Mr. Robinson, we have to more forward.  The stadium won, and now, like anything else, it up to us to make it work.  So when we read it on our own, and the person making this petition has a reputation that is not a good one for telling the truth, I am going to rely on our city management.

  3. Rich,

    I signed the petition, then I watched the meeting.  Some person actually attacked the council with their child there, and she used him as a prop.  This gal claims to run a non profit, and she lectured the city council.

    I want my name off of this petition.

    Such an insulting person had no right to attack the council using their kids in public like that.

  4. > It is fundamentally wrong in a representative democracy to allow a minority to game the system and stop progress because they don’t like the result. The tea party is an example on the national level . . . .

    Wow!  Pretty strong stuff, your Richness.

    Is this more “fundamentally wrong” than Democrat campaign workers serving as election judges in Florida in 2000 counting “hanging chads” and soberly announcing to the camera that “my judgement is that the voter intended to vote for Gore”?

    Or how about the cretin Sheriff in San Francisco refusing to step down, or even taking a leave of absence?  The DEMOCRAT cretin Sheriff is charged with spousal abuse and barred from carrying a gun or going within a hundred feet of his wife.

    Isn’t that pretty seriously “fundamentally wrong”?

    What if the cretin Sheriff’s abused spouse is in need of some immediate and serious constabulary services?

    Who ya gonna call?  Ghostbusters?

  5. If you didn’t want the stadium, then you should have voted against it. 

    About 14,000 people voted yes

    10,000 voted no.  Matter is over.

    If you don’t want a pro stadium council, vote in new ones.

    But spending millions to have another vote over a package that was evolved from the measure that won, demonstrates what was just said online


  6. Rich, what I cannot understand why these stadium naysayers attacked Scott Herhold.

    Scott is the most independent writer at the Mercury News.

    They just hate, and none of them have every done anything for the community.

    • Herhold is “The most independent writer at the Mercury News”. thats like saying   ” Mayor Reed is a Liar , a Corrupt Politician” ……..DUH!!!! that much is obvious. Herhold is Reeds Lackey and only writes what Mr. Burns tells him to

  7. Rich

    1.  Let us say that Measure J had lost.

    2.  Then, the Measure J supporters decide to put forth a measure that would have created a stadium through a utility surcharge.

    3.  They would have been run out of town.



  8. Bress actually accused city officials of crimes and coverups.

    Interesting legal background for Debbie Bress.

    Ps, she was in the audience in 1998 when the elements of a development agreement was explained, and was in the audience when the elements of a disposition development agreement was explained.

    Not a gadfly, just a liar

    • To add to the comment about Bress being in the audience when the elements of a DDA was explained, she actually told a reporter from the SF Chronicle that the City didn’t have any public hearings to discuss the stadium financing and yet she was there and even spoke at both hearings!

  9. I oppose stadiums in any municipality where there is a public/private partnership.

    I live near Pruneridge.

    1)  The insults Debbie Bress hurls towards our staff turned me against another vote.  I will never support a stadium, nor will I support council members who worked to get it.

    2) The staff made this dda better than what I could hope, and the petitioners lied about its security.  It is secure, but I have fundamental issues against stadiums.

    3) But I have fundamental differences with liars like Debbie Bress, and I have fundamental disgust with these petitioners who lied.

  10. That a political consultant would distort the legal truth is to be expected. No matter how “small” the minority, if enough people validly sign a petition which brings to a vote a decision made by a governing body, then government is following the strong words of the Brown Act:

    “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people do not relinquish their right to decide what is good for the people.” GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54950 et seq.

    When a governing body attempts to run over the people, it is even worse. Al Boro, the tyrant who just retired as mayor of San Rafael, did everything he could to squelch open debate about whether Target should open a store there. At one session he said, “I didn’t want to give you ANY time.”

    No owner people in Santa Clara are angry.

  11. You seem to get your knickers in a twist every time a minority thwarts the will of the majority. Would this moral code of yours apply in a lynch mob situation? Would you complain that lone Sheriff Nimby, a minority of one,  by stubbornly defending his prisoner, is thwarting the will of the majority? I’m guessing you’d choose the PC response and say, “No, of course I’d support the minority in THIS instance.”
    So when DO we choose to honor the rights of minorities? It seems like what you’re suggesting is that we just make it up as we go along. 
    Not sure whether the rights of a minority should be respected in some particular instance? Don’t look to the Constitution for your answer. Just ask Rich.

  12. $80,000 Personal Seat Licenses.
    Luxury corporate boxes.
    Millionaire players playing for billionaire owners.

    They should name it “The One Percent Stadium”.

    • Back in the day ( about 100 BC or so) the Roman leaders kept the mobs of the poor in check by dispensing bread and circuses.

      Now, government dispenses its largesse to billionaire sports franchise owners instead.  How many folks who aren’t tech gazzilionaires can afford an $80k PSL per seat, plus the price of tickets?

      So what happens to the average Joe who has had season tickets for years, maybe decades; was loyal through the bad years (decades) of 49er football, from Kezar to “The Stick”, and wants to take his kids to a game?  They get “the stick” shoved you know where.  Can he take his kids to a game any longer to watch overpaid prima donnas?  Not at those prices. 

      Wait until all the NBA and MLB teams jump on the PSL bandwagon.

  13. Rich,

    What’s your ax to grind in this?

    Do you own a home in Santa Clara?

    What is so legitimate about a bought election?

    What are some of the “lies” of SCPF?

    Why should Santa Clara accept business risk on behalf of a private family business?

    Does Goldman Sachs care about Santa Clara?

    The Mercury and Scott are a joke; they are afraid of losing access to the 49ers and like the ad dollars from the 49ers stupid ads comparing the stadium to the antiquites of Greece and Rome.

  14. The fact that your premise is wrong (that we live in a “representative democracy”) taints your conclusions.

    One would hope that a political consultant had at least a basic knowledge of how this country was organized.  Guess not.

    But then, I disagree with you more than I disagree with Scott Herhold.

  15. Rich

    San Jose Inside has provided some excellent columns on the stadium.  Tom McEnery and Peter Campbell did some excellent work, and you have also done a great job.


    The number one thing Santa Clara Plays Fair has done wrong is to do a horrible job representing themselves as concerned citizens.  They misrepresent and lie so much, that they have ruined it for anyone who wants to present themselves as legitimate critics.

    If you check this website and others, you will see that there is now a story of an officer of Santa Clara Plays Fair making obscene gestures towards women at the library while gathering signatures.

    Through all their bad attempts at activism, they have allowed two questions to remain silent.

    Ps, Rich, the petitions are illegal, and also the mark of some people with emotional issues.

    But as the stadium project should go forward, Rich, I remain concerned about the disposition of the 40 million dollar contribution needed by the city now that redevelopment is over, and will the NFL loan create the situation of having the Raiders come.

    Now, Rich, though I want the stadium to go forward, I think those questions have to be put forth.

    However, due to the fact that every single member of Santa Clara Plays Fair has been shown to be badly behaved adult children, there is no group of concerned citizens.

    The intellectually challanged officers of Santa Clara Plays Fair not only have lost the fight about the stadium, they have ruined any effort to create a group of legitimate citizens wanting to ask questions.

  16. Herhold called 49ers opponents snake oil salesman

    Herhold has no credibility as he daily pushes snake oil in his Mercury column for his cronies to get millions insider tax subsidies while not telling public or taxpayers about San Jose insider political profit sharing deals and contracts made to get Council votes for A’s Stadium

    More City Council Crony Capitalism for their friends

    • “Herhold advises Santa Clara residents from his home in San Jose to “just say no” to a revote on the stadium…”

      Save Santa Clara (publisher, Robert Smith, Santa Clara City Council meeting of August 2009, “affordable housing is just for Indians and Chinese”  on city archives)

      Brian Darby, Vice Chair of Santa Clara Plays Fair, San Jose Resident

      Byron Fleck, lawyer for Santa Clara Plays Fair, San Francisco resident

      Robert Herr, major donor, Santa Clara Plays Fair, Lawyer for Lennar Urban, San Francisco resident

      Michael Antonini, who is a leader for Santa Clara Plays Fair’s fundraising (it is on you tube), San Francisco Planning Commissioner

      • Resident??—you have no clue.

        Santa Clara Plays Fair has no Vice-Chair, and no Lawyer yet. [And I’m sure that if they get one, it will be someone with a speciality in this area of law.]

        Only a tiny percentage of their paltry campaign budget came from anyone outside Santa Clara. I did see a $250 donation from Robert Herr on their FPPC forms—that’s hardly a “major donor.” Moreoever, there’s no information on his firm’s profile that he works for Lennar.

        I just LOVE how the stadium mob loves to focus on a few paltry dollars SCPF gets from outside city limits, while TOTALLY IGNORING the fact that this tine grassroots campaign was SWAMPED by $5,000,000+ spent by the ASTROTURF 49ers campaign committee. It is RIDICULOUS! They spent about $350 for every yes vote. They spent more on yard signs then SCPF did on its entire campaign.

        The 49ers campaign LIED about the benefits for the schools, and that probably swung the 2,000 or so voters they needed to the yes side.

        Take out the schools issue and add in $850M in loans to a city agency? This thing would tank. THAT’s why the City Council does not want the people to vote on it. They KNOW it would lose.

  17. Rich Robinson needs to disclose that the FPPC forms for the 49ers stadium campaign front group, Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, show that the 49ers/SCEP paid Mr. Robinson, who is president of Robinson Communications, $23,750.

    (408) 252-7939
    10679 FARALLONE DR
    CUPERTINO, CA 95014

    From 1/1/2010 to 3/17/2010 RR was paid $8750
    From 3/18/2010 to 5/22/2010 RR was paid $7500
    From 5/23/2010 to 6/30/2010 RR was paid $7500

    Rich Robinson should disclose that he has an inherent conflict of interest. This article was written as an advocacy piece for his former client.

    • It is widely known that I worked on campaign.  However I am not on the payroll now.  And if it did go to an election I would make more money.  This is my personal opinion.

      • “This is my personal opinion”

        Yeah, right!  Do we all have turnip leaves in our hair?

        Whatever opinion you wish to put forward is fine, Richie; but for chrissake be open about your axe to grind; oh, excuse me, conflict of interest.

    • Ok, we want to go with FPPC forms





      500 DOLLARS



  18. Herhold

    ” Scott is the most independent writer at the Mercury News.”  Ha, ha, ha,  ha –  independent – Yea right – ha , ha, ha, ha   ” The Mercury and Scott are a joke ”

    Scott is the most biased Mercury writers who twists or ignores facts to push his distorted personal viewpoints

    Is that you Scott ?  –  We know you read SJI

  19. Looks like Rich is yet another individual who doens’t live in Santa Clara and yet is comfortable telling us what’s good for us.

    Paid by the 49ers (and probably hopes for additional work from them).

    Also, I don’t feel the Measure J election was “valid” because of the millions 49ers were allowed to spend (the council wanted no limits).

    The DDA in my view does not match the term sheet (bad and vauge enough as that was).

    I’m not afraid of another vote with $850,000,000 disclosed and with limits on what the 49ers can spend to deceive people.

  20. Gee Rich, you forgot to tell us you work for 49ers

    Disappointed in SJI and Rich, expected better from both

    Editor: Did you know about Rich’s conflict of interest ?

    If SJI knew shame, shame   Did you know ?

    If not, then Rich should be publicly suspended for a few months for his non disclosure  

    No penality = No SJI ethics and No credibility like unethical and biased Mercury News rag

    Now have to take everything Rich posts carefully knowing Rich leaves out your conflicts of interest and potentially pushes biased Blogs

  21. There is no deed issued to a Concerned Santa Clara in the county record books, so he could be in grandma’s basement in his underwear eating cheetos in Palo Alto for all we know.

    On record is Case Bress v Boccignone

    Bress not only demands part of the demand for 14,000 dollars in legal fees, but she demands that the DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT be spelled out as her attorney claims a development agreement by the government code has a specific statement about “vesting”  Indeed, the court document spends about five pages talking about the need to lay out in a development agreement the “vesting the pricate developer” will do in the agreement.

    Check Santa Clara Plays Fair’s website, they claim the term “DDA” is the same as a “development agreement.”

    Dev Agreement is a document about vesting rights of a private developer (see Government Code)

    A DDA, and there is a DDA for the SF stadium, and a DDA for Irvine in Santa Clara, three DDAs in San Jose, especially for Fountain Alley, and it is abour conveyance about public land, and based in the Health and Safety Code


    Besides the lie about the DDA, Santa Clara Plays Fair claimed CalAware was suing Santa Clara over a document.  Calaware sent an email requesting a retraction

    Santa Clara Plays Fair claimed there were 102 secret meetings with the 49ers.  Not one was with the 49ers.

    The advisor to Santa Clara Plays Fair is Brian Darby, an apartment renter in San Jose.

  22. Petitions signed by 6,000 or more people in Santa Clara County since 1940

    Bring back segregation

    Ban gay marriage

    end ban on housing discrimination

    Hey, Will, when are you going to listen to the people!

  23. Concerned Santa Clara decides to invalidate elections based on money spent.


    President Obama, do not spend a dime!

    Romney, spend millions

    We win!

    8.6 DDA=loands and financing plan will not use the city funds as collataral,  Section 7.3 term sheet=financing plan cannot incorporate city funds as collateral.

    it seems to follow

    Now, let us examine something else





  24. Scott wrote a half dozen columns on Santa Clara politics in the last four years.

    He seemed very critical of the stafium supporters.  Indeed, Herhold was one of the principal columnists who went after two elected officials in Santa Clara who worked on the statdium campaign.  He is pretty independent.  One of the most fanatical boosters of the stadium has lambasted Herhold for years yelling at him for being too negative on Santa Clara.

    • Herhold 2,

      The assertion the Herhod was ever critical of the stadium plan is simply untrue. Years ago he stated that the stadium s/b built because you can’t put a value on seeing your kid in a marching band in a half time show. (I’m not kidding.)

  25. Did Will Kennedy admit that he did a voice over for a you tube ad against the 49ers that pictured Debbie Bress driving down a boulevard in a toy fire engine as an insult to the fire fighters?

    Did Jamie McLeod reveal that she did a you tube ad with a picture of a football player shaking a little girl’s arms with her ourse dangling?

    nice ethics

  26. ” Rich Robinson

    It is widely known that I worked on campaign.  However I am not on the payroll now.  And if it did go to an election I would make more money.  This is my personal opinion. ”

    No, it was not widely know you have a conflict of interest with 49ers lobbying, otherwise people would not have posted that you were a 49ers lobbyist  

    Rich, you should always disclose your potential lobbyist conflict of interests when you write for a SJI blog

    Disclosure has become the ethical standard for last 6-8 uyears and is public’s expected behavior for bloggers, journalists, TV reporters, corporate executives, politicians etc so that everyone knows even if it is your personal opinion not promoting out client’s interests so your integrity is not called into question as it has been today for non disclosure

  27. They only got trounced because big NFL lobbying dollars got involved.  The other side didn’t have a chance.

    It’s the overall plutocracy that’s ruining every facet of our political system.  It’s going to come to an end soon though, I’m fairly certain about that.

  28. News flash Rich: we don’t live in a representative democracy. We live in a Republic. There’s more than a merely semantic difference, and that difference underpins a major grievance that the Tea Party has with the state of the nation. The freedoms we enjoy – our ‘unalienable rights’ – are only possible in the context and framework of a republic. In a democracy, the ‘unalienable rights’ of which the Declaration of Independence speaks don’t exist and human rights are exactly those which the majority decides everyone else can have.

    In a democracy, the merit of law is gauged on the basis of ‘majority rule’. For instance, if southern democrats in the mid 1900’s had their way, if they had the majority, the civil rights movement never would have happened.

    In a republic, the merit of law is gauged on the degree to which it infringes on those ‘unalienable rights…endowed by their Creator’. It is precisely because we live in a Republic which has as its foundation a recognition of unalienable rights that the Civil Rights movement was successful.

    While one could easily argue that the United States currently functions as a democracy far more than as a republic – far more as a democracy than it was designed to – I submit that this is largely the result of social entropy, of apathy, and of the sort of ignorance you displayed in your opening paragraph.

    • My American Government textbook, American Government and Politics Today (Sixteenth edition), says “The United States is a democratic republic, or a representative democracy”. That’s the first sentence, and I think a textbook is a pretty good source. However, I do agree with you that our representative democracy doesn’t respect unalienable rights; for instance, the Republican members of legislatures who try to deny marriage equality to gays, or the Democrats like Orval Faubus who once opposed the civil rights movement. But I’d like to see your credible source that states that unalienable rights cannot exist in a representative democracy, but somehow can in a republic, because I was always taught that a republic was essentially a representative democracy.

  29. > Rich Robinson needs to disclose that the FPPC forms for the 49ers stadium campaign front group, Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, show that the 49ers/SCEP paid Mr. Robinson, who is president of Robinson Communications, $23,750.


    Someone is actually paying Rich Robinson?

    I thought his assertion that he was a “political consultant” was just a pretentious way of saying he sat on a park bench and read the newspaper and told the pigeons what to think about Joe Biden’s presidental prospects.

    Don’t tell me.  Is someone somewhere paying Rich with taxpayer dollars?!!!!


    Society has lost its collective mind.

  30. To “Ethical Behavior etc” , Rich Robinson and SJI Editor, 

    The term “conflict of interest” in the broadest terms could be used for a blogger not disclosing that they are or were paid to advocate on a blog

    The law and ethics for bloggers continues to evolve but most authorities agree that

    1) California gives blogger some of the same rights and responsibilities as traditional journalists and as such they should follow journalist ethics rules


    Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

    Journalists should:

    —Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

    — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

    — Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

    — Disclose unavoidable conflicts. ( Rich and SJI did not )

    2) FTC’s Revised Endorsement Guides:


    Bloggers have both en ethical duty to disclose that they were paid to endorse a product or cause

    ” the financial arrangements between some bloggers and advertisers may be apparent to industry insiders, but not to everyone else who reads a blog. Under the law, an act or practice is deceptive if it misleads “a significant minority” of consumers. So even if some readers are aware of these deals, many readers aren’t. That’s why disclosure is important. ”

    ” s there special language I have to use to make the disclosure?

    No. The point is to give readers the information. Your disclosure could be as simple as “Company X gave me this product to try . . .. “

    3) Questions to SJI Editor and SV Metro staff

    What ethics, conflict of interest or other rules do Blogger operate under on San Jose inside ? 

    Are there any ?

    4) Recommendation to SJI Editor and Dan Pulcrano. CEO, Metro Newspapers & Boulevards New Media Inc. the owner of San Jose Inside who was also on San Jose’s Sunshime Committee and long an advocate for public openness and disclosure

    Blogger Ethics and conflict of interest might be a great future blog topic for The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University to write 1 or more blog for SJI

    • Funny, if it was not for Rioh Robinson, Nadler and Parle would not have been so successful with their ethics projects.

      From a 1996 court record,


      it is in the court file.

  31. The intellectual dishonesty of Jamie McLeod and Will Kennedy is what is so disappointing.

    Both helped draft the DDA.

    Kennedy, a lawyer, made the argument that the number of signatures has to be addressed.

    Measure J= 8,000 signatures

    SCPF= 5100 signatures

    By McLeod’s logic, the measures to ban gay marriage and deny services to undocumented workers would be legal.

    Kennedy is well aware of the difference between an initiative, which must be certified for distribution, and referendum to repeal a law.  The referendum must address a valid issue because it is not subject to preliminary review.

    Bress makes the comment that she intends to hold the stadium hostage for years.

    These people bank on fear.  Notice, with exception of one fellow, whom I disagree with but appreciate his courage for listing his real name, all of the critics of your points hide behind pen names?

    Because they are afraid to put their names to their intellectual dishonesty.

    • This is an apples/oranges comparison for the following reasons:

      For a referendum, petitioners have only 30 days to gather valid signatures from at least 10% of the voters.  SCPF’s signature gathering effort was for a referendum.  And it took place over the holidays with union members hired as blockers for $25/hour.  There were up to 15 union blockers per SCPF signature gatherer at the grocery stores etc.  And it was about 5,500 signatures collected within 3 weeks.  That’s quite a feat and shows that people here really want a chance to vote on the DDA because it is so very different from what people voted on in June 2010.

      No one tried to stop/block the 49ers when they collected signatures two years ago.  Initiatives have a much longer time window than 30 days.  And the 49ers could afford to throw as much money as they wanted behind the signature gathering effort.  I recall speaking to 4 paid signature gatherers during that effort, and all 4 provided mis-information (such as that RDA money comes from the state – it doesn’t. RDA money is siphoned off from local property tax dollars.)

      When the cyberbullying/harassment coming from the pro-stadium adults in this community ceases, then people will put their names to their comments.  See my comment elsewhere on this thread.

      • Votes’ Rights Matter writes, “No one tried to stop/block the 49ers when they collected signatures two years ago.” 

        Uh, guess you weren’t at the sham debates that SCPF fair held to give equal time to people to talk about their concerns on the stadium.  It was like walking into the lion’s den.  The Mayor, Chief of Police and Vice Mayor were attacked repeatedly while Kennedy and McLeod sat by and let their fellow councilmembers get slammed with no opportunity to defend themselves, no rebuttal.  SCPF went around neighborhoods all over Santa Clara during the campaign to discredit the Santa Clarans for Economic Progress and their volunteers taking down signs, trying to embarrass them in public, spitting on them and spreading misinformation – yet the stadium voters won 60-40%.  During the campaign that SCPF recently undertook, stadium supporters who worked hard were verbally attacked again and told to be quiet when they pointed out the untruths of SCPF.  People have a write to freedom of speech but use it wisely because as I tell my children, lies have a way of catching up with you and the consequences can be tough.

  32. Wow, Rich,

    You are obviously really good at your job and got the Santa Clara Plays Fair as well as the 49ers Stay in SF group upset for them to get this flurry of activity.  Good for you!  Thanks for telling the truth.  We’ve yet to see their FPPC disclosures.  Hmmmm……

  33. As silly as it gets.

    We started this blog discussion with a column by Rich Robinson.  We know that he is a political consultant, and we know he works in elections in Santa Clara.

    Well, we had a clue he would have an opinion on the stadium, and we also know he has written for SJI many times before and we get an idea of what he would say about the stadium.  However, he took a moment to criticize the miscreants who oppose the stadium.  I read Greg Howe and John Michael’s view and they both are sincere and intelligent guys, who put their names to the words.  All we have read in response to Rich which was in objection were people who are hiding behind some screen name claiming to be homeowners in Santa Clara which they refuse to acknowledge by hiding behind a screen name.

    I voted against Measure J.

    But, Rich, you come out of this discussion making me wish I had voted yes.

  34. Tuesday, Santa Clara Plays Fair will hand in their contribution report for December.

    Debbie Bress will likely expect money for the petition effort.

    In an interview for the Mercury News, Bress said there were no paid signature gatherers.

    There were two.  Both from Washington State.

  35. What was very interesting at the Council meeting was the information presented by the City Attorney.

    While he kept insisting that this disposition development agreement was not a development agreement, the chair of Santa Clara Plays Fair kept saying it was.

    I checked the disposition development agreement for Hunters Point, and then I check a development agreement for BAREC in Santa Clara, which was put on the ballot for the voters.  That is an actual case of a referendum and development agreement.

    They do not match at all.  I called the City of Palo Alto where I have a dental practice.

    They faxed me several sheets of the two documents for properties concerning Stanford and housing developments.  They do not match at all.

    I could care less about the stadium.  I did not support it, and I do not think I will vote for people who championed it, but, Rich, you know what you are talking about, as does the City Attorney, and the Chairwoman of this group is a kool aid drinker.

    • A DDA is a contractual agreement which arose out of California redevelopment law. Given those agencies will no longer exist, and a stadium land use contract has yet to be signed, what will be the precedent for a DDA involving the stadium? Can our city council use a law which may no longer be applicable?

      • DDAs are still to be in use, check the Supreme Court opinion.  They did not use the law, they used the instrument.  But I would say this is the first time someone critical of the document acknowledges its format was suggested by the Health and Safety Code, rather than the Government Code which defines a development agreement.  So we are making progress.

        As for SC Taxpayer who kept saying it was a development agreement, at least this person asking the question has read the law.

  36. “In light of this rule, and because only legal questions are presented on an undisputed set of facts giving rise to the summary judgment motions, we may properly proceed to examine the procedural and substantive issues raised with respect to the validity of the proposed initiative. There is no threat to the proponents’ constitutional rights under the First Amendment or the California Constitution in this process, because where there is a legitimate question raised about the power of the voters to adopt a proposed initiative, the Supreme Court has stated there is no value “in putting before the people a measure which they have no power to enact.” (American Federation of Labor v. Eu, supra, 36 Cal. 3d at p. 697.) Rather, “the presence of an invalid measure on the ballot steals attention, time and money from the numerous valid propositions on the same ballot. It will confuse some voters and frustrate others, and an ultimate decision that the measure is invalid, coming after the voters have voted in favor of the measure, tends to denigrate the legitimate use of the initiative procedure.” (Ibid.; see also Citizens for Responsible Behavior v. Superior Court (1991) 1 Cal. App. 4th 1013, 1021-1024.) Accordingly, before the SLAPP issues can be finally determined, the facial validity of the proposed initiative must be resolved.”

  37. The residents voted for Measure J.  Mostly they were voters in the Reoublican primary and hardly would have been impressed with slick mailers since most of the endorsemenrs were from Democrats, so CC is out to lunxh there.

    As for the “tactics,”  Ms. Bress has been living off lawsuits for years, check the court files, Macel.

    Finally, the term sheet mentioned loans and financing, check section 7.3.

    In June 2011, the DDA was first presented with the idea of a secured loan.

  38. October 20, 1998


    Bress claimed she had numerous endorsemens at editorial board interview for mayor.

    Then Bress called back and acknowledged she had lied.

    Since then, Bress has attacked staff and council memebers for her ten year lie.

  39. I’ve been following this issue for years, and I’ve read through these messages, and I think Santa Clara’s political bottom feeder has been hard at work.

    He’s paid by most of those on the City Council to cyberbully people opposed to the stadium subsidy, and one of his favorite things to do is to go on message boards and pretend to be different people commenting. Since this website does not require commenters to log in—preferably with something like their Facebook profile—he just creates different names but keeps bringing up the same old lame (and false) accusations.

    He seems to have disappeared from the sites that require profiles—usually because they’ve banned him—but this site apparently doesn’t care about filtering out the crap.

    I’d recommend searching for “Mission City Loser”—it tells the real story of this jerk.

  40. Herhold was actually working on behalf of the snake oil salesmen. The rich sports team and their shills who waited till after the vote to give the actual terms of the deal.

    The people of Santa Clara voted on the deal. And then the deal changed. In a democracy the public vote on the actual deal. Hence, a re-vote is necessary so the public can vote on THE ACTUAL DEAL.

    The vote wasn’t “should Santa Clara buy a stadium – leave the deals to us”. The vote was “should Santa Clara buy a stadium and here is all the details”.

    And the system puts a high bar on getting re-votes. It’s not easy to gather 10% of registered voters’s signatures in 30 days. Particularly over the Christmas/New Years holiday.

  41. “Disclosure has become the ethical standard for last 6-8 uyears and is public’s expected behavior…

    Let us see

    Jamie McLeod contributes 500 dollars to Santa Clara Plays Fair, but did she disclose that when she voted?

    Debbie Bress is one of three officers of Santa Clara Plays Fair to receive over a thousand dollars for undisclosed services.

    I thought all of them were volunteers?

    On the day, Rebecca Kaplan met with Jamie McLeod, she handed McLeod a check for 500 dollars for Santa Clara Plays Fair and the dates of other contributions match a fundraiser for Santa Clara Plays Fair had at McLeod’s home.  Disclosure?

    By the way, Kaplan released the email that McLeod said did not exist.  Disclosure?

    Proponents of a Los Angeles Stadium admit they gave an in kind contribution to Santa Clara Plays Fair, but it has never been disclosed on the Plays Fair website?

    Robert Herr, honorary chair of several campaigns in San Francisco, including ones that want direct efforts to keep the 49ers in San Francisco, gave money to Santa Clara Plays Fair, at a fundraiser organized by a San Francisco Planning Commission.


    Finally, do they cash checks made out to Ethical Behavior, or do you have a name?

  42. Did you know, Rich, that a special election will cost 3 million?

    Last time, the police and fire unions paid for it, so how about Santa Clara Plays Fair picking up the tab?

    These are not activists, but disgruntled NOT IN MY BACKYARD noodles, who are lead by a person funded by San Francisco.

    Prove differently.

    • Are there any documents itemizing what election money is spent on that back up the city’s claim about how much they will have to spend for an election? 3 million dollars would pay for the city hiring an additional 120 people at a rate of $100K a year working full time for three months. Does anybody really think that it takes that much money to have an election? Even the government shouldn’t be that inefficient.

      • The City Clerk handed out cost estimates.  Go to the Secretary of State and County Registrar.  The costs are due to state budget cutbacks which were quite severe.  Handed down from Jerry Brown.  It is a point of fact.

      • The sample ballot will have to contain all of the pages of the documents which are subject to referendum. That’s over 500 pages of text. Plus the R of V has to have the text translated into a variety of languages and printed in a variety of languages.  For 45,000 voters, the printing costs will be substantial. 

        But, the city has a no cost option.  They can rescind their decisions on the DDA and Joinder (the 2 documents which were the objects of the petitioners) and go back to re-work the contract and make it something more palatable to the public (i.e. no $850 million in loans, limit the city’s contribution to what was specified in Measure J, which was the $40 million in RDA dollars plus $35 million in hotel taxes. That’s it. That’s all that Measure J for the stadium authorized.)

        Just remember that whatever happens, the root of the problem is our city council working with the 49ers to keep the costs off of the Measure J stadium ballot measure in the first place.  Please read Measure J.  It only authorizes the $40 million and the $35 million – the voters never authorized any loans/debt from any city agency. This is a bait and switch, which is why so many people were willing to sign the petitions in such a short period of time.

        • Section 7.3 specifies that no general fund moneys will be used for collataral for loans,and in Section 7.2 financing plans will be carried forth in the DDA.  The General Fund committment is capped.

          Also, the DDA was mentioned in 2009, and in June 2011, the agenda report outlines that a secured loan would be an option.

        • Hey, the DDA is not subject to referendum, so there will be no cost.  I just can’t wait if it is put up for referendum, and the DDA is not put in the samole ballot, Bress will claim no one knew what they were voting for.

          Bear in mind in that in an email to the treasurer of Santa Clara Plays Fair, three months prior to the vote, the leadership asked him if there was a way to block the stadium

          This referendum idea is nothing but a political dirty bomb at the project, lest we forget on You Tube, Debbie Bress is asking for money from San Francisco (whose project was a DDA!) and being told by a financier, “what you need it to block the project whenever possible, do you need money for that?”

          Bress, “we need money”

  43. As much as Rich Robinson wants the stadium here, as do many others, we have to be realistic.
    Now, Rich Robinson’s profession is that of a political author & consultant. So, what makes him an expert on financial issues? I don’t know. Perhaps he can share his background with us? Whatever the case, having out city undertake $850 in loan obligations without having fullproof resources to pay it back is ridiculous. Our city council is saying it can be done without affecting our general fund, or other city resources, but how can they be certain? Maybe if Rich Robinson can show us where another NFL stadium is providing a hefty financial return for another city, then his argument might be convincing. So far, all I’ve read about are cities which have built NFL stadiums that are losing money for the taxpayers. Well, if this project is such a money generating concept, it certainly begs the question: If owning an NFL stadium is so profitable, why don’t the 49ers want to own it?

  44. Robert Herr, Pillsbury Winthrop, is not a lawyer for Lennar.  Lennar Urban, Herr, and Michael Antonini all sit on the same San Francisco Chamber of Commerce committee on the Hunters Point Project.

    The one with the Disposition Development Agreement

    Brian Darby was introduced at the press conference of Santa Clara Plays Fair not as vice chair, but as the Political Director of Santa Clara Plays Fair.  He lives in San Jose.

    Near Herhold.

    Now Karen Hardy at the Library pointed out Byron Fleck was their legal counsel.  This was at the library where Karen was friendly and very happy to talk.  There wasn’t 15 union members near her, and as a matter of fact, of the three stops that there were union representatives doing what Santa Clara Plays Fair and Stadium Facts advised people to do in 2010, they talked to people. 

    Referendum and Initiative
    key difference, an initiative requires a certification from the clerk and legal review, whereas a referendum can be put out without review

    too bad

    Hopping v. Council of Richmond
    Burdick v San Diego
    McKevitt v Sacramento
    Davita v County of Napa


    California Constitutioon states that “statues” can be subject to referendum

    American Federation of Labor v. Eu
    “resolutions are not acts of legsilation.”

  45. In 2011, Santa Clara Plays Fair claimed that CalAware filed a lawsuit against the City of Santa Clara for a document dealing with stadium security.

    CalAware sent an email requesting a retraction.

    Santa Clara Plays Fair claimed that no email was sent, but that their members “corrected the issue.”

    Over four blog posts made the claim that 102 secret meetings were held betweent the City Council and the 49ers.  No such meetings were held.  The Brown Act lays down a format that requires each closed session desginate the real parties in interest, but the law limits closed sessions to only the council and employees, despite several clarifications and even a public demand during the public session of a closed session for clarifications, Santa Clara Plays Fair continues to insist there were closed sessions with the 49ers.

    Santa Clara Plays Fair insists that the 49ers team is not making a contributiion to the stadium,  The 49ers LLC, a company of the team owners, is making the contribution.

    • The chart from Goldman Sachs shows that the 49ers are not contributing anything directly to stadium construction. 

      And a LLC is just a shell company.  The idea is to have the LLC take on the risk and it can fold if needed.  That’s why it’s called ‘Limited Liability.’

      If this was a good deal, the 49ers themselves would take on the loans rather than shoving the loans onto an agency of a small city.  And if this was a good deal, they would have been able to get private investors.

      Had the $850 million in loans been on the ballot, no way would Measure J have passed.  They’re afraid to put it back on the ballot, because no way will a majority of Santa Clarans agree to have a city agency take on that much debt.

  46. “As we have indicated, Resolution 901 became the subject of the referendum proceedings here under consideration. The question before the superior court, and now before us, is whether that resolution was, as a matter of law, subject to the referendum process.

    The acts, ordinances and resolutions of a municipal governing body may, of course, be legislative in nature or they may be of an administrative or executive character. (Hopping v. Council of City of Richmond, 170 Cal. 605, 610 [150 P. 977].) [1] It is now settled in this state that “[t]he power of referendum may be invoked only with respect to matters which are strictly legislative in character ….” (Wheelright v. County of Marin, 2 Cal. 3d 448, 457 [85 Cal.Rptr. 809, 467 P.2d 537] [cert. den., 400 U.S. 807 (17 L.Ed.2d 37, 91 S.Ct. 65)].) Administrative or executive acts of such a body are beyond the reach of the referendum process. (See Pacific Rock etc. Co. v. City of Upland, 67 Cal. 2d 666, 668-669 [63 Cal.Rptr. 572, 433 P.2d 476]; Simpson v. Hite, 36 Cal. 2d 125, 129 [222 P.2d 225]; Hughes v. City of Lincoln, 232 Cal. App. 2d 741, 744 [43 Cal.Rptr. 306]; Martin v. Smith, 184 Cal. App. 2d 571, 574 [7 Cal.Rptr. 725].)”

    valentine v. city of ross

    The power of referendum may be invoked only with respect to matters which are strictly legislative in character (Johnston v. City of Claremont (1958) 49 Cal.2d 826, 834 [323 P.2d 71]). It may not be invoked with regard to those matters which are strictly executive or administrative. (Housing Authority v. Superior Court (1950) 35 Cal.2d 550, 557 [219 P.2d 457].) This type of ordinance has generally been held to be legislative. (See Hopping v. Council of City of Richmond (1915) 170 Cal. 605, 613-614 [150 P. 977].) [13]

    wheelwright v county of marin

  47. There is no recently built NFL stadium that is providing a positive return to its host city. There is “real world” examples of the across the country and barely 35 miles up the road from Santa Clara.

    I tell people about James Rowen and they are befuddled. Why does he care whether a stadium gets built or not? It’s not like he’s going to attend a game or apply for a job there helping park cars or something.

    Rich, please let me know about SCPF’s lies. Tnx!

  48. We’re told that the 49ers will be in Santa Clara playing at the stadium for 40 years, but the truth about NFL teams is that after about 15 years they start angling for another new stadium or substantial improvements.

    The debt from the Coliseum renovation in the mid-1990’s is still hanging over Oakland and Alameda County, but the Raiders are threatening to leave.  If they do, the public debt stays behind.

    Today’s (Monday Jan 30, 2012) field of schemes website states that the Rams are threatening to leave the 17-year old stadium which was built for them, if they don’t get a new stadium or substantial improvements.

    The team owner “tries to angle for either a new or improved stadium to replace the 17-year-old one that was built by the city to lure the Rams in the first place.”  If he doesn’t get what he wants, he’s threatening to break the lease and move the team.


  49. One council advisory committee actually tried to use his position to lambast the city manager by calling her “Jennifer No, No, No”

    The City Manager is the one who insisted on a 30 year contract for the Niners.

    That was her idea.

  50. 1984

    Santa Clara was asked in a letter to the editor not to purchase the Great America site using Goldman Sachs.

    The writer claimed that 85 percent of the people were against the loan package.  Ps, the purchase was approved, the loan package came later.

    the voters approved the purchase, the council executed an mou for the loan package.

    Ps, 2007, Brian Darby clamied to be an expert on the voters of Santa Clara.

    he lives a block from Herhold.

  51. Rich Robinson does not live in Santa Clara, therefore by this rule, he cannot comment on the stadium.

    However, Michael Gallinsky from Brooklyn, hosted Santa Clara Plays Fair, in San Francisco and gave a speech against the stadium.

    You can comment against and not live in Santa Clara.

    Makes sense, no?

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