Team San Jose’s New Flack Delivers

David Satterfield doesn’t claim to be Don Draper, but you’d be a mad man to think the former Mercury News managing editor didn’t help soften the paper’s stance toward Team San Jose. Just a week after Team San Jose signed with Satterfield’s public relations firm, Sitrick and Company, Satterfield put together a meeting between the financially delinquent venue operators and the Merc’s editorial board—which included editorial writer Rachel Wilner, columnist Scott Herhold and reporter Tracy Seipel.

As an apparent result of that meeting there was a recent marked shift on the paper’s part: two glowing articles about Team San Jose’s commitment to openness and transparency after months of scathing criticism. City Attorney Rick Doyle was quoted in a subsequent Seipel article 
as saying “it’s a new day” for Team 
San Jose, while Councilmember 
Pete Constant was quoted loftily asserting his hope for “a renewed spirit of openness and cooperation.”

Several days later the newspaper lauded 
Team San Jose in an editorial for making “giant strides” to change operations. 
This included the resignation of Team San Jose CEO 
Dan Fenton in January, board chairman and ski resort owner Chuck Toeniskoetter taking on a greater role, and some cosmetic reorganization of the nonprofit’s board.

But newshounds want facts, not faces, and the disclosure of Fenton’s $180,000 exit package is what truly sated the Merc. This is a somewhat ironic detail, considering that the much-maligned Fenton was the only person who could sign off on making the disclosure public. In an effort to continue striking while the iron is hot, Satterfield and Team San Jose also recently met with the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Could another change of editorial heart be forthcoming? Fly’s available for lunch next week.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Team San Jose knows they have Council “in their pocket” politically so it they can charm with promises or buyoff Merc and SV Business Journal with ads or hiring former staffers

    Then Council will let the city and redevelopmnet millions flow again to insiders at Team San Jose

    It just show everyone how San Jose is run for benefit and profit of insiders who get millions taxes

    Residents pay higher and higher taxes / fess but get less and less city services at higher costs that Council will not change

    Time for local political revolt to throw San Jose’s corrupt insider political system out since it does not benefit public who pays taxes / fees

    • > Time for local political revolt to throw San Jose’s corrupt insider political system out since it does not benefit public who pays taxes / fees

      Stay tuned and keep your powder dry.

      I feel a disturbance in The Force.

      Sometime in the next month or two, the wise and charismatic President Obama will precipitate a government shutdown, which he will claim is the fault of rascally Republicans who want granny to starve and women to be denied healthcare.

      He will address the nation from an elevated platform in the Oval Office using a special gravitas augmented 3-D teleprompter with quadruple reverb.

      After his speech, the President will expect the Acorn-istas to flood the streets, much as the oppressed Egyptian masses filled the public spaces of Cairo, and DEMAND a trillion and half dollar deficit.

      Much to the Presidents dismay, the streets will flood, but it will not be with the rag-tag grifters and takers of the nation, but with the Red-White-and-Blue Regular Americans of the Tea Party movement.

      And their message to President Obama, to Harry Reid, to Nancy Pelosi, to Jerry Brown, to legislators and city councils up and down the nation and from sea to shining sea will be:


  2. Of course there will be kinder publicity to the new Team San Jose. The Mayor and city council cannot afford any more acts of financial incompetency. They demanded positive press from the Mercury news. Remember, The San Jose mercury news was going bankrupt and the city gave them a large amount bail out money to keep the paper in business. (most people are unaware of this because it wasn’t public)In exchange, the paper is in the cities pocket. Examples of this is the following; The city asked for the paper to squeeze the unions with bad press. Thats how they got most of the unions to give 10% of pay back and the passage of measures V and W. This is scary chicago politics Im witnessing in city hall. I keep hoping that all the watch dog groups out there start questioning and looking into these things because I cannot publicly mention these things. But then again I sometimes question them to.

  3. Well Well Well…

    It seems we have another game a foot involving TEAM SAN JOSE.  It appears the City is paying for more “Clean Up”, post TEAM SAN JOSE / DAN FENTON Fiasco they let continue like a bad CIRCUS ACT. 

    What is really bothering this Old Dog is that TEAM SAN JOSE still exists although they have lost well over $20 Million Dollars in TAX PAYERS money. 

    It seems that the City is using it’s Attorney’s to intimidate the Merc and other local rags to write nice stuff about Team San Jose. 

    I have to say the City of San Jose is not staying impartial about who they want to run the Convention Center to the ground.  It is very clear that TEAM SAN JOSE will win the RFP bid, if they ever have an RFP to put for bid…

    Reed will most probably make up some new rule stating that he can by Executive Powers bestowed upon him by the mighty “Zoltar” from the planet Incompetence, saying he can change any exsisting rule at anytime.  This power will allow Reed to have super hearing, X-Ray vision, Run Faster than a Bolt of Lighting, and last but not least he will have the ability to LIE to the people of San Jose and they will believe his every word as the GOD’s honest truth. 

    You ever wonder why Reed never smiles?  He is hiding a lot of secrets and appears to be in misery because of it.  My grandson does the same face when his diaper is full. 

    Chuck, just come clean on the corruption within your ranks. 

    For a City that is broke… You are trying to build a ballpark, Why?  You want to rebuild and expand the Convention Center, Why?  You support special interest groups and companies with our Tax money, Why do we need to do any of this with a city that is broke?  I feel really bad for the Cops and Fire fighters that will be laid off soon for a ball park for Reed. 

    The dumbest idea I have heard yet was from Sammy L.  Lets pay the homeless to clean stuff up…  let me see lay off cops, fire fighters and city employees and give tax dollars to homeless that will use the money for alcohol and or get hurt while doing work for the city, can you say liability???  and more money flushed down the toilet. 

    Getting back to TSJ, Get rid of them.  They are a politicians career killer. 

    Old Frank

  4. city hall insider – What are city’s Mercury bailout details?  How much $$ payoff and when ? 

    Got a SJC “open government” web link or is it another City Hall back room hidden deal ?

    ” The San Jose mercury news was going bankrupt and the city gave them a large amount bail out money to keep the paper in business. (most people are unaware of this because it wasn’t public) “

    What are city’s Mercury bailout details – How muck and when ?

  5. I’m no Scott Herhold, but I am concerned that this blog would dare suggest that Scott or Satterfield or any other current or former employee of that paragon of journalistic integrity known as the MercuryNews could be involved in anything of this sort! 

    Seriously, these “journalists” are merely reporters fo facts – facts checked backed up and confirmed from multiple reliable sources. They don’t inject their personal biases into any of their reporting. The suggestion that they somehow “softened their stance,” after a meeting arranged by a PR firm resulting a “marked shift” and “two glowing” articles after months of criticism might undermine the publics reliance on the Merc for unbiased coverage.

    I mean come on a mere meeting?  I wonder if Satterfield didn’t sway Herhold’s opinion by providing him with a box of those special soup crackers Scott normally gets by driving all the way to Whole Foods in Palo Alto to steal?  No Scott has more integrity than that.  What could have possibly made him change his Mind on the selection of SJ’s police chief? For the longest time he was against selection of an “insider” until some epiphany lead him to write that the Selection of “insider” Moore was the obvious choice – it was almost John Kerry-like the way Scott was actually “For it before he was against it” only to ultimately be for it again.

    It is amusing how Herhold, in his waning years, likes to resurrect old columns to revisit an opinion he held at the time. He is great at blowing his own horn while detailing how in hindsight his opinion from those by-gone days has withstood the test of time.  We anxiously await a more humble Herhold’s future column detailing how “wrong” he was about Team San Jose.  Probably not…

  6. I have to admit, a “light bulb” came on when I read this post. As I’ve spent much of the last 15 years working in downtown arts organizations and have had several colleagues and friends work at Team San Jose at various times, I’ve followed this debacle fairly closely. I do remember thinking that the change in the Merc’s tone was very abrupt and very strange.

    Announcing Dan Fenton’s severance is positive, but it was hardly worth the hyperbolic praise we’ve seen—one act isn’t a trend. What I think is more telling about TSJ’s culture and modis operendi is that it allowed Fenton to negotiate that his severance be kept secret in the first place.

  7. When is everyone going to wake up? The only thing TSJ has done is play musical chairs and switch a couple of people around. There is no change, just more BS. If giving up information that should be public already is considered some great thing by Doyle, Reed,and Constant,San Jose is in BIG trouble.
    Face it Reed, your “pet project” Team San Jose is a huge FAILURE, admit it and get rid of those leeches.
    What business in their right mind lets a contractor come in, run one of it’s departments, multiple buildngs and is given total control over it’s employees. TSJ has been directly responsible for the unemployment of many dozens of Municipal workers while giving themselves hefty raises. Reed, you at this very moment have unskilled TSJ enployees attempting to get Municipal employees to perform work out of their contractual classifications and attempting to to have them disiplined without due cause and due process. You need to make this right and you need to do it now.
    San Jose needs it’s workers, cops, and firemen; what it does not need is the paper pushing administrators and greedy contractors they hire who all make obscene salaries and benefit packages.
    Toeniskoetter has no experience running a Municipal Convention Center, so how much money is going to be spent paying him his huge salary until he can hopefully learn to do it. That crook Fenton is laughing all the way to the bank,and left the City with nothing, don’t let it happen again.

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