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Emails Point to RDA Successor Agency Oversight Board Bias

Members of the Santa Clara RDA successor agency oversight board weren’t just disinterested executors of state law when they voted on June 22 to nullify $30 million worth of contracts between Santa Clara’s RDA and the 49ers stadium company.

Emails obtained by Santa Clara resident James Rowen under the Freedom of Information Act seem to indicate that county employees deliberately sought to discredit the City’s stadium investment as frivolous and irresponsible, and to justify appropriating the money to their agencies. “Such an effort was part of the county’s desire to block funding for the stadium done days before the vote,” Rowen wrote in his Mission City Lantern blog.

The June 21, 2012 email from Santa Clara County Redistricting Program Manager Melissa Erickson was sent to County Attorneys James Williams and Lizanne Reynolds, Ray Ruiz President of Community Development Resources of San Jose (a private developer), John Guthrie and Jai Singh of the County Finance Agency, and County Tax Collector George Putris.

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“I haven’t found the article yet about the $100 million for TVs in the seats, but I will continue to look,” Erickson wrote. “I did find these two articles:

“SF Gate March 14, 2012 – talks about the $157 million increase in costs and $50 million for emerging technology upgrades and $29 million in design tweaks such as expanded network for cell phone service and upgrades to the ventilation and air conditioning systems, and $78 million in interest, legal expenses and other costs.

“Mercury News June 8, 2012 – talks about hundreds of millions of dollars that will be realized from seat sales.

“Here is a website of a community group that is against the stadium,” Erickson concluded. “There is a lot of good information on this website. http://www.santaclaraplaysfair.org.”

County Executive Jeffrey Smith did not answer the Weekly’s request for comment.

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