Who Really Controls Alcohol Sales for 49ers Games?

Elected officials in Santa Clara can’t get on the same page, mirroring the efforts of the city’s beleaguered football team. Earlier this month, Jamie Matthews doffed his mayoral hat and sent a letter to 49ers season ticket holders in his role as chair of the Santa Clara Stadium Authority. Matthews warned that anyone violating Levi’s Stadium’s code of conduct could have their seat license revoked. Some of his colleagues on the City Council, who also sit on the Stadium Authority, were caught off guard by the timing of the message. Council members Debi Davis, Lisa Gillmor and Teresa O’Neil—the lone women on the seven-person council—drafted a memo demanding a public discussion on the matter considering just a week prior to Matthews’ letter going out, the city’s police chief, Mike Sellers, and city attorney, Ren Nosky, had suggested the Stadium Authority had little ability to change the time of last call for alcohol. Instead, the two men indicated, the Niners and VP of Stadium Operations Jim Mercurio control alcohol concessions, which end before the fourth quarter. But as it turns out, Chief Sellers does have the power to stop alcohol sales at any time if he thinks there’s an “imminent threat” to the public, according to Nosky. A fan being beaten in the parking lot, apparently, didn’t rise to that level. The council members’ request to flesh out who has authority on alcohol sales was mysteriously left off this week’s meeting agenda. The city has no system in place to make sure things are agendized, which Nosky called “problematic.” Perhaps more concerning is the growing sense that elected officials and 49ers brass have grown too cozy, and dissenters will be targeted. Sellers, the lone elected police chief in California, recently got remarried and invited Mercurio as a guest to his wedding. The chief says no gifts were exchanged because it is his second marriage. Meanwhile, polling is being done in Santa Clara that suggests the women on the council are already being targeted for the next election.

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  1. Can somebody explain how the gender composition of the Council minority on this issue is relevant in any way?

  2. It creates a storyline for Scott Herhold and The Fly. Funny, I’ve never Rose Herrera and Magdalena Carrasco described as the “lone women” on the San Jose City Council; or Cindy Chavez as the “lone woman” on the Board of Supervisors. When a majority of the Council was women, when the mayor was a woman, the Mercury didn’t stop playing the “old boys network” tune. Previously the line has been that Santa Clara’s at-large elections keep the ‘old boys’ in office. Now district elections will keep the ‘old boys’ in office.

  3. What’s needed is an investigation into the alcohol they’re serving at some sporting events these days. I propose a Blue Ribbon committee be formed and, as its first act, a comparison be run between the alcohol served at 49ers games — which regularly produces barbarous behavior, and that served at the Shark Tank — which produces little or no uncivilized behavior. We have to identify the element behind the relatively recent appearance of savage, wolf pack behavior at what are supposed to be fun events, and, as we all learned in Diversity 101, it certainly can’t have anything to do with changes or differences in fan demographics.

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