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Stadium Board Seizes Non-NFL Event Control From 49ers

The Santa Clara Stadium Authority Board will bar the Forty-Niners Management Company (ManCo) from executing non-NFL contracts.

Santa Clara City Manager and Stadium Authority Executive Director Deanna Santana denied the action was about stripping ManCo of its authority, saying it was instead about “compliance, accountability and transparency.” However, stripping ManCo’s authority is exactly what the Board did Tuesday night when it voted unanimously to require any non-NFL contract to get its approval. Previously, ManCo only had to seek board approval for contracts exceeding $250,000.

As a preamble to the Board revoking ManCo’s authority, City Attorney and Stadium Authority Counsel Brian Doyle detailed the lawsuits ManCo has brought against the City, missing no opportunity to lambast ManCo, calling its financial management “absolutely abysmal” adding that management at the stadium has “fallen off a cliff.”

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“We don’t know what they are doing, and they refuse to tell us,” Doyle said. “If they are doing anything right, it is probably by accident.”

Among those suits is ManCo’s use of the revolving loan provision following the City’s refusal to pay shared expenses until ManCo could prove it had complied with prevailing wage laws.

A forensic auditor’s report revealed that 19 contracts had no invoice, 46 had no agreements and 24 had no bid, quote or estimate.

Santana joined the fray, saying that ManCo owes more than $85,000 in wages to workers after failing to comply with prevailing wage laws. ManCo has regularly attempted to “create the illusion of compliance” with state law, she added.

Santana and Doyle’s harping on issues of transparency regarding contracts is somewhat ironic considering an investigation by San Jose Spotlight earlier this month demonstrated the City isn’t great at such practices either. Although Santana disputed the article in writing, she did not comment on the agenda item.

Authority Board Member Raj Chahal tried to compromise by saying he would like to give ManCo a lower monetary threshold — he suggested $50,000 — but Santana and Doyle rebuffed his suggestion, saying they would be uncomfortable giving ManCo such latitude until it can prove itself reliable. Doyle said there is “absolutely no reason” the Board’s action should hinder day-to-day operations at the stadium.

The Board will hear a second reading of the ordinance and vote to adopt it on Oct. 8; if approved, it would go into effect a month from then.

During the financial audit presentation, Doyle continued his diatribe about ManCo. He pointed to the second consecutive year of the City receiving no ground rent because of waning non-NFL event income, something about which the City had previously been warned. The topic recently resurfaced when managers of The Rolling Stones, who played Levi’s Stadium last month, griped about constraints put on the band by City officials.

Authority Board Member Patricia Mahan was absent from the meeting. The Board excused her by a 4-2 vote, with Board Members Kathy Watanabe and Debi Davis voting “no.”

 

Council Reluctantly, Tentatively Approves Split Compost Bins

A Citywide roll-out of wildly unpopular split compost bins could be in Santa Clara’s future.

A pilot program with 4,800 participants using a split bin — with food scraps in one side and garbage in the other — has seen little support since its inception in October 2017. Only 26 percent of participants responded to a survey, and of those, only 57 percent said they were “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the program.

Many complain that the split bin commits too much space to food scraps.

However, state law mandates cities reduce the amount of organic waste going into the landfill. By 2020, the City must be putting only half as much organic waste into landfills as it was in 2014.

Although the Council’s hand is not forced into using the split bins, it is the most cost effective. The City could also add another bin for compostable materials or, possibly, have it sorted post-disposal. All the options will see an increased cost to residents, who, for the average household, will see its garbage bill increase by 43.8 percent by 2022 with the split bin.

That number jumps 45.4 percent with a separate food scraps bins and as much as a 58 percent increase to have compostable garbage sorted.

Council Member Davis, who made the motion, said “there might be pitchforks” if the split bin were rolled out Citywide.

The Council voted unanimously to have City employees look into an agreement with GreenWaste Recovery, Inc. to see about the viability of mixed waste processing. If no such option is available, City employees will begin work on the split bin rollout provided some changes are made and more public outreach is conducted.

The Council meets again Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.

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