On Independent Expenditures

tl;dr

  • I am not working with any special interests, nor have I accepted money from any organization of any type, unlike my opponent.
  • My opponent and her council majority bloc will not even sit at the table with Jed York to negotiate a deal more favorable for Santa Clara.
  • Independent expenditures in support of me or against my opponent are an indictment of the poor handling of the stadium, not proof of collusion or “selling out”.

The council majority bloc were the biggest backers of the ‘49ers, and Measure J which brought the stadium to the city. For example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57F4_X2PIJU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwxwFLbJO0k

They went to ‘49ers events. They worked with the ‘49ers on advertisements. They bought season tickets to ’49ers games.

People need to remember that I fought the stadium coming to Santa Clara from before the inception of Measure J. I spoke out against the stadium at city council, commission, and committee meetings, and helped campaign against Measure J when it was introduced. I spoke in favor of allowing residents to re-vote when the terms of the deal changed. But the measure passed, a motion to re-vote was never approved, and the stadium in Santa Clara is the reality we have to deal with. That means the hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, parking issues, traffic, closed bicycle trail, and messy event management, including curfew.

But the stadium is not the problem by itself. Poor stadium management that does not provide the maximum benefit for Santa Clara is the problem. Terms less favorable for our city, yet originally negotiated and backed by much of the council majority bloc, are the problem. A council majority bloc that will not sit at the table to renegotiate those terms for the better benefit of Santa Clara is the problem. And that is the issue that the council majority bloc is avoiding, wagging the dog of big independent expenditures.

The fact that the ‘49ers organization would support historically anti-stadium candidates like me shows the problems with their relationship with the council. This is the first time in history the council majority bloc finds themselves on the losing side of independent expenditures. This is not me, or any other candidate, “selling out” to the ‘49ers, it is an indictment of the poor business relationship the council majority bloc has with one of the most important business partners in the city, and their inability to negotiate with them. The stadium needs to be treated as an asset to the city, regardless if it is used for football events or not, but the council majority bloc cannot seem to understand this. We need the stadium to make more money. And we need the city to get as much of that money as possible to pay off our loans and benefit the residents.

I am an independent candidate. I am not endorsed by special interests or partisan organizations, and I have not taken money from any of them, unlike my opponent and her council majority slate. I am not in collusion with Jed York or his organization and have not — and will not — accept money from them. I could not be bought by the council majority bloc when they asked me to support the stadium almost ten years ago, and I cannot be bought by any organization today. I am transparent in my civic work and operate as a resident with a family that needs the city to be successful for their sake. Most importantly, I am open-minded and fair. I will work with any city partner to seek solutions that benefit everyone, because it is the city that reaps the benefits of any local success. And it is this last point that seems to have caught Jed York’s attention.

My opponent claims that it is the ‘49ers that will not engage in conversation, yet Vice Mayor Karen Hardy and Council member Raj Chahal, who are not part of the council majority bloc, seem to have no problems meeting with the ‘49ers on a regular basis. The current majority bloc will not even sit at the negotiating table, yet claim that they are making progress in the management of the stadium. This progress amounts to suing the ’49ers and trying to gain more control of stadium management. People do not realize that the city council acts as Stadium Authority as well. The council majority bloc could not come up with a deal favorable for the city and have a terrible record with management, which all makes sense because what kind of experience do the current council members have with managing a billion dollar stadium? This is not the same as negotiating a business transaction, it is a relationship with an organization that makes a billion dollars per year. We need better people, and I would ensure that we get them: people who know about stadium management.

The questions of “why do the ‘49ers want to renegotiate their rent”, “why do they want to use our soccer fields for parking”, and others should really be replaced with: Why did the City of Santa Clara, including the council majority bloc, negotiate such a bad deal, with not enough parking, not enough amenities, and the option for the ‘49ers to request rent reductions? With a good relationship, we could get the amount we are suing the ’49ers for every year, with benefits to both sides. They clearly have the money. We need to find a way of using that money to benefit the city instead of funding campaigns, but it is clear that until the council changes over to more rational and positive thinkers this will not happen.

While some council members may claim that there was nothing that could be done as the negotiations were mostly complete before their time, or that they were not necessarily in support of Measure J, I will point out that they had the better part of EIGHT YEARS to establish a relationship with ‘49ers and sit at the negotiating table with them, for the benefit of the City of Santa Clara. They do not seem to understand business or the importance of teamwork, and that is hurting our city.

And that is the real issue with the ’49ers and their independent expenditures.

There are no opposition candidates in the pockets of big money, there are no sell-outs or conspiracies here. There is just a player that is finally bigger, and more involved, than the people who back the status quo, and that is only a problem to the status quo. They want this change. Santa Clara needs this change.