Majority rule has its flaws.
Paradoxically, our democracy—considered a pretty good means of governing—is decided by majority rule…except when it isn’t.
Let’s look at our City Council where decisions are made bi-weekly.
There are seven Council Members and when there are four votes for an issue and three votes against it, the majority rules.
Now, there may be exceptions. For instance, the Santa Clara electorate has already voted on an issue and decided for the Council. The case in this point is our stadium.
Measure J passed in 2010 by the majority of Santa Clara voters. Collectively we decided that we would build the stadium and bring the 49ers to our City to play their games here in town.
To financially protect our residents, Measure J was quite clear that no City funds were to be used to pay down the debt of the stadium or support operations from our general fund.
To assure that stadium funding would be adequate, the agreements included provisions permitting special events. These huge special events would also produce major revenue for our general fund.
From 2014 to 2016, this worked rather well. Thanks to the 49ers rent payment, and a few large special events like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, WrestleMania and the Super Bowl, our stadium was very profitable. In fact, millions flowed into our general fund from these special events.
However, in 2016, we elected a council which we thought would continue with the intent of Measure J. Not the case.
This Council has taken every opportunity to stifle the 49ers’ Management Company and special events.
This year, the Mayor and her majority, sued the 49ers over their rent agreement which she personally endorsed and signed in 2012. The 49ers filed for arbitration as the agreement specified. That arbitration has been heard and the arbitrator’s decision will be forthcoming in December.
That lawsuit was preceded by the much touted $180,000 City-paid audit of stadium financials and the 49ers’ management. That audit proved to be a total fizzle.
The 49ers have been doing their best to keep their side of the agreement by booking major events that will create millions of dollars for our general fund each year.
The Council has ignored the majority vote by our residents by enforcing a 10 p.m. curfew on weeknight events that would take place three or four times a year. Because of the curfew, we just lost the Ed Sheeran concert. Projected loss of revenue, $800,000. There will be more.
The Council majority now wants to do an expensive three month public-opinion survey of residents to see if the noise of stadium events three or four times a year is extreme.
You would think this survey has already been taken by the majority vote on Measure J.
Nearly 60% of our voters said they want the stadium, they want events that pay for it and they want the millions produced to come into our general fund. Is this a case where the majority doesn’t rule?
Two weeks ago, Coldplay performed for 46,000 fans at our stadium. There were seven complaints from residents. Seven complaints? Really?
Perhaps we could stop the nonsense and begin to apply some majority rule common sense.
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