With the money being spent in Santa Clara elections on TV ads and glossy brochures being delivered almost daily, you might think this election is about the SF 49ers and not the candidates.
You might ask why so much money (millions) is being spent in Santa Clara political races.
Santa Clara is a small city that hosts some big corporations.
Mayor Gillmor has positioned her candidates like Jack in the beanstalk fighting the giant. The giant in this case being the SF 49ers.
However, the 49ers are only the 7th largest company in Santa Clara.
Why not challenge Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia or Applied Materials? They all make billions more than the 49ers.
The reason is quite simple. The SF 49ers and the City of Santa Clara are in a 50-50 partnership for Levi’s Stadium for another 30+ years.
Every other major company is responsible to its shareholders.
The 49ers are responsible for themselves and to the City of Santa Clara. Santa Clara gets use of the Stadium half the year and the 49ers the other half during football season.
It just happens that viewership during football is in the mega millions, making the 49ers a very high-profile company.
The first few years of the partnership proved to be exceptional for Santa Clara. The 49ers did well, the City did well, and the money rolled in.
Then enter that demon we all know as ego.
Mayor Gillmor and her Council majority were convinced they should oversee the partnership. To make that happen, they had to make the 49ers look bad and sway public opinion against the 49ers and in favor of the City Council.
They had a particularly good start, since 40% of Santa Clara voters had voted against the Levi’s Stadium.
Convincing most voters was a bit more difficult. To ensure the 49ers looked bad the Council enforced the 10 p.m. curfew on stadium events which reduced revenue to Santa Clara from the 49ers management company.
The management contracts the City Council — Mayor Gillmor, Councilmembers Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill — approved in 2012 and 2013 allowed curfew exceptions on a case by case basis. But flexibility isn’t in this Council’s vocabulary.
The Council majority’s power play cost the City millions and the Council made sure “it was all the 49ers fault.”
The 49ers have continued to operate and manage Levi’s Stadium under current City guidelines, which is like playing football with only half a team.
When the current Council voted to terminate the 49ers Stadium management agreement, it was enough already.
It is no surprise the 49ers entered the 2020 political contest. None of the current candidate contenders are “in the pocket” of the 49ers — the majority of them voted against the stadium. However, these contenders do possess one skill called “objectivity” which translates into decisions free of bias. Objectivity would be a wonderful injection into Santa Clara politics.
It would be a fabulous result to promote a working relationship with the 49ers that allows the company to thrive like Intel, Applied, Nvidia and Santa Clara’s many other great companies.
Santa Clara would benefit immensely from objectivity.