Santa Clara supported hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup at Levi’s Stadium. The Council passed a resolution essentially waving a flag saying it is excited to be considered for the soccer championship.
Although Santa Clara has not been named a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the resolution brought forth by Councilmember Karen Hardy is based on a letter drafted by Mayor Lisa Gillmor in 2017.
City Manager Deanna Santana brought up a wrench in the works.
Because Al Guido serves both as the president of Forty-Niners Management Company (ManCo) — which secures non-NFL events for the City — and the Bay Area Host Committee for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Santana said there are potential conflicts of interest.
Since Guido has positioned himself “on both sides of the contract,” which would need to be between the host committee and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, she said there are many details to work out before the City can rest assured no conflict exists.
Much of that work would need to be done by the city attorney, a position that remains vacant after the Council fired Brian Doyle.
The resolution saw good public support, and the Council also favored it. However, Council Member Kathy Watanabe said she had “serious reservations” and “concerns” about the resolution, mostly because of the City’s lack of a city attorney to address potential legal issues connected to hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Santa Clara.
“This is all just very disconcerting to me. There is [sic] a lot of questions that need to be asked,” she said.
If selected, the City would not be on the line for any operational cost. Watanabe still supported the motion, as did the rest of the Council, passing it unanimously.
Better Performance Indicators Needed At Levi’s Stadium, Consultant Says
Consultants hired by the Stadium Authority to examine the marketing plan for Levi’s Stadium told the Board that details as to how to best market the stadium are too vague. David Stone, of Stone Planning, and Kevin Rooney, of The Rooney Sports & Entertainment Group, said that in order to maximize how much money the City earns from Levi’s Stadium, there needs to be more specificity in the marketing plan.
“There is a greater level of detail that can be gone into and other subjects that can be addressed to provide a fuller picture of the stadium’s operations and marketing and future performance,” Stone said. “In this kind of partnership, the Authority can reasonably expect to see additional, more detailed, more comprehensive information, because the stadium ultimately is an Authority asset.”
The marketing plan, or more specifically the lack of one, has been at issue with the Board for several years. The situation came to a head after Levi’s Stadium Manager Jim Mercurio informed the Board that projected revenue for non-NFL events is nonexistent. Mercurio and others from ManCo have repeatedly pointed to the City clampdown on its Levi’s Stadium curfew as the reason for revenue being obliterated, something with which the Council has since tinkered.
Stone said the goals are not well-defined in the marketing plan, lacking timelines, resource requirements or a plan to put strategies in place. No accountability exists in the plan, he added, or understanding of the competitive environment for use of the stadium. The crux of the issue is the lack of key performance indicators (KPIs) that would allow management to assess and change the trajectory of a strategy instead of just judging the results after the fact.
In response to pointed questions from Council Member Raj Chahal about how many events the Board should expect to see in a year and how much money it should expect to bank, Stone and Rooney gave wishy-washy answers that essentially amounted to “it is complicated.” Rooney eventually said between $5 million and $8 million gross revenue is a reasonable expectation.
Stone said the consultants did not contact the stadium manager, instead focusing on what appeared in the documents provided to them.
Council Member Kevin Park said there was little information worth passing on to the stadium manager, saying the report lacked the specificity he anticipated in terms of comparative analysis. Council Member Anthony Becker agreed, saying “anyone with any intelligence” would have done such an analysis.
Chahl pointed out Gillmor’s lack of willingness to take a second round of public comments, something that left Gillmor banging her gavel to silence him, saying she was “following the procedure.”
The Board unanimously approved noting and filing the report and submitting it to ManCo and having Authority employees return with a new marketing plan.
Districts on the Horizon, But Charter Change Gets Quashed
The Council will not enshrine its preference for an independent redistricting committee into the city charter. As part of the mandate from the City losing its California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit, the Council needs to split the City into districts. The item to put the measure on the ballot in June came before the Council Tuesday night.
Following that mandate to switch to districts, the Council also needed to establish a redistricting committee in the wake of the census. During the discussion last May, the Council opted to set the parameters for the committee that would be in charge of redistricting. One of those criteria is that the committee be independent.
Given that the City is already going through the process of getting a measure put on the ballot, it also had the option to put a charter amendment on the ballot, one that would cement its preference for the independence of redistricting committees.
However, the Council saw no reason to tie the hands of future Councils with a charter amendment.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor said she would “hope” that future Councils would make the committee independent as well but saw no need to codify such requirements in the charter. The motion passed 4-1 with Councilmember Kathy Watanabe casting the lone “no” vote.
Parade of Champions Poised To Return
Finally, the Council agreed to hear a proposal for the Santa Clara Parade of Champions at a future meeting. The Council voted unanimously to consider paying at least $65,000 to put on the parade.
The request, a petition from the parade organizer Ana Vargas-Smith, also asks the Council to cover $950 for parking fees from Santa Clara Unified School District. Mayor Lisa Gillmor asked that the parade committee consider getting the school district to waive the fee, but otherwise supported hearing the proposal at a future meeting.
Provided the City funds the parade, Vargas-Smith said the Parade of Champions, which she said was a rousing success last year after a long hiatus, is scheduled for Oct. 1.
Consent Calendar Spending
- A three-year $1.5 million contract for valve Inspection, maintenance, and repair services with Bay Valve Service and Engineering, LLC;
- A five-year $1.5 million contract for battery maintenance services with Associated Power Solutions;
- Three five-year contracts worth $3 million for generator maintenance services with Electrical Maintenance Consultants, Brush Americas and Mitsubishi Powers Americas, Inc.;
- Three five-year contracts worth $1.05 million for technical field advisor services with Axis Mechanical Group, HPI, LLC, Mitsubishi Powers Americas, Inc.;
- Two five-year contracts worth $650,000 for portable mixed bed and anion demineralized bottle rental and exchange services with Puretech and Evoqua Water Technologies LLC;
- Nine five-year contracts worth $20 million for electric utility engineering services for electric protection, communications, and control with Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc., Electrical Consultants, Inc., HDR Engineering, Inc., Leidos Engineering, LLC, Power-Tech Engineers, Inc., SEL Engineering Services, Inc., Soudi Consultants, Inc., TRC Solutions, Inc. and Worley Group, Inc.;
- Two five-year contracts worth $1.1 million for environmental health and safety consulting and training services with BSI Services and Solutions, Inc. and ESCI, Inc.;
- A five-year $300,000 contract for salt delivery services with TR International Trading Company;
- A five-year $300,000 contract for delivery of bulk sulfuric acid with Pacific Star Chemical;
- A $200,000 purchase order with Univar Solutions for delivery of bulk chemicals;
- A $378,600 contract with S&H Construction Company Inc. for repairs on the Harris Lass Museum;
- A $128,225 contract with BrightView Landscaping Services for landscaping services at the Lawrence Station Area Plan parks;
- A one-year $638,000 contract with Alfaro Communications Construction, Inc. to provide services for various traffic signal upgrades;
- Two contracts worth $115,000 with Tucker Construction, Inc. and One Day Installation and Repairs, Inc. for citywide as-needed repair services;
- A $148,000 contract for design professional services with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for the Intelligent Transportation Systems Project 2;
- A three-year $39,000 contract with Bonfire Interactive Ltd. for eSourcing platform subscription services.
Vice Mayor Suds Jain was absent from the meeting.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, March 1, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.
Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov.