Timeline Jan/Feb 2010 Stadium Gameplan Exposed
Survey USA conducts a poll of 500 Santa Clarans: "Are you for or against the city's plan to use redevelopment money and hotel tax money for a stadium?"
January 2010 Hijacking the Stadium Ballot Measure Language
SCEP pays signature gatherers to qualify the 'citizen's initiative' for the ballot. The signature gatherers repeatedly mislead Santa Clarans to get them to sign, spreading false information including, "If we don't spend the redevelopment money on the stadium, it goes back to the state," (the RDA money doesn't come from the state - it's from our own property tax dollars,) and "the ballot measure language matches the language written by city staff."
They get enough signatures to give Santa Clarans a ballot measure that sounds like an advertisement for the stadium and does not disclose costs. No debt or loans to our Stadium Authority are disclosed on the ballot.
February 9, 2010 Hijacking the Stadium Ballot Question
A council committee of three (Kennedy, Mahan, Matthews) writes a fairly neutral 75-word stadium ballot question (the question that voters see in their absentee ballots and in voting booths.) But SCEP spokesperson and former council member Lisa Gillmor objects in the press to the ballot question, saying that it wasn't favorable enough to the stadium.
At the council meeting, Council Member Jamie Matthews puts forth a pre-typed ballot question that reads like an advertisement for the stadium and does not include any costs. No one knows who really wrote that ballot question.
Some council members look visibly shocked that CM Matthews would attempt to override the committee-written question (he was on the committee!), but some audience members came prepared with notes thanking CM Matthews for his question - and were rehearsing their speeches before he even presented the question. In a 4-3 vote, the council approves Jamie Matthew's question.
Council member Jamie McLeod said "It appears that the process was hijacked," and "We're not being truthful to voters if this is what we're drafting." Council member Kornder (who previously had voted 'yes' on everything stadium related) voted 'no,' saying the "process has lost its objectivity."
Feb 11, 2010
A phone poll of Santa Clara voters was conducted by Mountain West Research of Idaho. They asked, "Would you support or oppose using additional city money if the 49ers can't pay for their entire portion?" Results were not made public.
Feb 11, 2010 School Board Meeting - Using the Schools to Pass a Stadium Ballot Measure
Santa Clara's Redevelopment Agency (RDA) has been siphoning off property tax dollars from Santa Clara's schools for decades, and the schools have been running big budget deficits. The RDA was set to expire by 2016, but pro-stadium Council members wanted to extend the life of the RDA to continue to siphon off property tax dollars to pay for $40 Million in stadium debt. By recent state law, if an RDA is extended in time, schools must receive a pass-through (kickback) from the RDA.
At the SCUSD board meeting, an economist says that if the City Council extends the life of the RDA for the stadium , the school district will get a kickback of $26 million over 16 years. That $26 million will come from Santa Clara property tax dollars, not from the stadium, but the pro-stadium campaign will later pretend that the money is coming from the stadium or the team.
49ers CEO (and son of the owners) Jed York gives a long speech at the SCUSD board meeting and asks for the board's endorsement of the stadium.
He shows the false pie chart which claims that the 49ers/NFL/stadium revenues are paying 88%:
In a formal recorded presentation at an open Santa Clara Unified School Board Meeting, Jed York made the following statements with respect to how the stadium will be financed (SCUSD meeting mp3 recording 2/11/2010):
"92% of the funding of this project is from private financing or revenues that are directly generated from the stadium"
"So as prices of the stadium increase/decrease, if it's more than $937 million, all of that risk is on the 49ers."
"One of the things, one of the speakers brought up the revenues. So, the $330 million. If we generate zero dollars to the Stadium Authority - if there are no seat licenses are sold, there's no market for naming rights. Again, that's shifted to the 49ers. We take that risk. So, the 49ers are responsible for financing $937 million of a project."
"When we get into this project, and we see that there's no level of interest for naming rights, there's no level of interest for stadium builders licenses, there's two things that can happen. One, the 49ers can either borrow more money privately to fill that gap, or write a check to fill that gap, or two the project just doesn't happen."
(Note: In December 2011 Santa Clarans will find out that cost overruns does not mean cost that the 49ers would pay for costs above $937 Million, that Santa Clara's Stadium Authority would take on $850 Million in loans for stadium construction, and that the Goldman Sachs financing chart for the stadium would show that the 49ers owners are putting in zero dollars for stadium construction.)
The board agenda did not include presentation of an opposing point of view. A few community members spoke and asked the board to not endorse the stadium - because the school board isn't elected to interfere in city politics - but those speakers were only given two minutes each.
Based on the district wanting the RDA pass-through money, the board gives its endorsement without consideration of the financial or environmental effects on the city.
At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Steve Stavis and Board President Andrew Ratermann promise the audience that the district would get copies of the Term Sheet from the city manager, and possibly rescind their vote if what some opponents say is true about the Term Sheet costs and the risks to the Stadium Authority. Check-ins with the Assistant City Manager over the next month shows that the school district never called the city for information regarding the stadium or Term Sheet.
The board, superintendent Steve Stavis, and some administrators and teachers will later appear in numerous campaign mailings for the 49ers stadium. Because of the board's endorsement, the schools will be exploited by the 49ers stadium campaign group SCEP.
Note: The pertinent CA State Education codes on campaigning require that both sides of a ballot issue be presented when school district resources are used. Both sides were NOT presented at the Feb. 11, 2010 board meeting.
7054. (a) No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of
urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate…,
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of any of the public resources described in subdivision (a) to provide information
to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue or other ballot measure if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The informational activities are otherwise authorized by the Constitution or laws of this state.
(2) The information provided constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an
informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.
7058. Nothing in this article shall prohibit the use of a forum under the control of the governing board of a school district or
community college district if the forum is made available to all sides on an equitable basis.
The City Attorney writes an 'impartial analysis' which also does not disclose any costs to the Stadium Authority, and reads like an advertisement for the stadium.
Lindholm Research of Oregon conducts a survey of 200 Santa Clara residents who were polled on the actual ballot question:
Clearly, the strategy of hiding the Stadium Authority and the stadium construction cost, coupled with massive campaign spending to tell voters that the 49ers/NFL will pay for 88% of the stadium, is working.