Santa Clara’s City Council tackled several issues on Tuesday night including a request for $2M more in funding for Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the creation of a Whistleblower Hotline and potential parking at the Youth Soccer Park.
The fight over whether to allow Levi’s Stadium parking at Santa Clara’s Youth Soccer Park was renewed on Jan. 11.
Newly elected Vice Mayor Suds Jain asked the Council to put an item on a future agenda that would propose the idea of using the parking lot at the Youth Soccer Park for stadium event parking when youth soccer was not using the lot.
Jain emphasized that youth soccer events would have priority and that money raised from parking could help subsidize local programs like youth soccer. He said there would be no involvement from the 49ers and the City would contract a third party to operate parking.
Council Member Anthony Becker spoke in favor of the idea.
“We want to milk everything we can out of the Stadium and everything that’s revolving out of the Stadium,” said Becker.
Several community members asked the Council to deny putting the item on a future agenda.
“[The] soccer park was built for soccer,” said Gabe Foo, Vice President of Santa Clara Youth Soccer. “It’s Youth Soccer Park. It’s built for the children of Santa Clara and if you look at the charter, the intention is for use of soccer, not parking.”
“The soccer park was built to be a soccer park and its presence is a present and most definitely something that should be honored outside of soccer,” said Robert, who played on the field as a youth. “Myself and many others feel deeply and passionately about this park. In our eyes, it’s a foundation of Santa Clara and we will fight to protect its presence.”
Despite Jain’s insistence that there would be no 49er involvement, other attendees expressed distrust of the NFL team and its intentions.
“Giving the 49ers an inch, they will take a mile. It is absolutely clear they do not need this space. It does not belong to them. It belongs to the children of this community,” said Debbie.
“Based on the history and previous efforts of the 49ers, I worry that this is the first step in trying to take over our fields again,” 15-year-old Maria said in an email. “I was only 8-years-old when your predecessors tried to steal our soccer fields for VIP parking. I vividly remember that time and it still brings back immense fear and sadness that the City that I called home since birth would try to do such an atrocious thing to its youngest residents who don’t have a right to vote…please don’t put the young soccer players of Santa Clara through that again.”
The Council voted 5-2 to place the item on a future agenda, with Council Member Kathy Watanabe and Mayor Lisa Gillmor voting “no.”
City Council Elects New Leadership
During the closed session, the City Council elected new leaders for 2022.
Jain assumes the role of Vice Mayor, taking over for Council Member Raj Chahal.
Chahal will serve as Chaplain, taking over for Council Member Karen Hardy.
Whistleblower Hotline Approved
The Council approved a new Fraud, Waste and Abuse policy and authorized the creation of a Whistleblower Hotline.
A third party will run the hotline. City staff can call the hotline and log issues anonymously.
The items were initially proposed in 2019. City staff says completing the project will show that Santa Clara takes fraud, waste and abuse issues seriously.
Remote City Council Meetings Will Continue
The Council unanimously approved a resolution extending AB361, which allows city legislative bodies to hold public meetings solely by teleconference during California’s COVID State of Emergency.
As reported during the meeting, the Omicron variant has led to an increase of reported COVID cases among City staff.
City Manager Deanna Santana says Council Chambers might reopen in March or April if another variant does not come along.
Silicon Valley Power Requests Funding Increase
The Council unanimously approved a $2 million increase on a previous funding authorization for Silicon Valley Power (SVP) and its work on the Gianera Generating Station. The new authorization allows for purchases not to exceed $12,000,000.
Santa Clara’s Chief Electric Utility Officer Manuel Pineda says SVP will use the additional funds to purchase a spare rotor for the generating station. The initial funding approval was designated for overhauling the station’s Unit 2.
Pineda says Unit 2 has not had a significant overhaul since it was constructed in 1986.
The Gianera Generating Station only runs during peak usage, usually during the hotter months of the year. During those months, it is a significant piece of the South Bay power grid.
Silicon Valley Power Quarterly Update
Pineda also highlighted some SVP accomplishments in 2021.
He says load growth and peak load saw a slight increase. Sales also grew by 7.65 percent. Pineda says SVP sales have increased consistently each month since March 2021.
SVP just completed its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) project. Pineda says it is a significant accomplishment that will help control data acquisition and cyber security throughout the system.
Other highlights include new solar and hydro resources, an increase in proactive tree trimming and a new organizational chart that will include the creation of new positions.
SVP will soon have to decide if it needs to scrap a 50 MW battery project. Supply chain issues are preventing the utility from completing the project.
Upcoming projects for SVP include a potential 300 MW wind project.
Casa del Rey Homeowner’s Association Request
The Council agreed to place a request from the Casa del Rey Homeowner’s Association (HOA) on a future meeting agenda.
The HOA is trying to update its CC&R. While the members of the HOA have approved the changes, the City Attorney’s Office has disagreed with two items.
The HOA is asking the Council for approval.
Consent Calendar Spending
The Council/Board approved the following spending in one motion via the consent calendar:
- Contract Hotline Construction, Inc. for the South Loop Project in the amount of $18,583,938, with a total not-to-exceed $21,371,529;
- Extend the contract with Barry Milstone DBA Milstone Geotechnical consulting services for the Related Santa Clara Development Project through Dec. 31, 2022, and increase the contract amount by $50,000 for a total not-to-exceed $170,000;
- Extend the contract with Robert E. Van Heuit for consulting services for the Related Santa Clara Development Project through Dec. 31, 2022, and increase the contract amount by $100,000 for a total not-to-exceed $400,000;
- Contract R. Brothers Painting, Inc. to prepare and paint steel structure on 300 level concourse of Levi’s Stadium in the amount of $17,223, with a total not-to-exceed $18,945;
- Contract Ample Electrical, Inc. to replace existing light fixtures in Levi’s Stadium Electrical Rooms and Telecom Rooms with new LED light fixtures in the amount of $101,780, with a total not-to-exceed $111,958;
- Amend the budget to update Gold Lot 4 and 5 lighting project and increase the budget by $12,559 to a total of $65,059;
- Contract Bear Electrical Solutions, Inc. for removal and disposal of existing wall mounted lighting and installation of new fixtures in Levi’s Stadium loading dock area in the amount of $59,145, with a total not-to-exceed $65,059;
- Increase the budget for the Stadium Insulation CapEx project by $360,000 to a total of $517,500;
- Contract Bartley Pump PM, LLC to replace pumps, floats and controls on 100 level at Levi’s Stadium in an amount not-to-exceed $188,000;
After a brief discussion, the Council approved a request for charges up to $6,000 for registration, travel and expenses for two Stadium Manager employees to attend the Pollstar Live Conference in Los Angeles on Feb. 7-9, 2022.
Council Member Watanabe requested that attendees submit a report to the Council.
The Council also awarded two purchase orders to Benjamin Litho, Inc. to print and mail 2022 SBL invoices ($8,199 plus sales tax) and print incident cards ($1,299 plus sales tax).
Santa Clara City Council Staff Reports
During staff reports, Council Member Anthony Becker stated that he attended a 49ers game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 2 to evaluate stadium operations.
Becker says he paid for parking and tickets. He says traffic into and out of the parking lots moved much faster than when he attended in 2017. He was particularly impressed by the security at the game and leaving the stadium.
City Manager Santana reported that the City’s calendar is now out.
Council Member Watanabe asked that the meeting be adjourned in memory of Gloria Alvarez Reyes. Reyes was the mother of Augie Reyes, the long-time Director of Events at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
The next City Council meeting is on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.
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 (669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclara.gov.