No-bid contract bill was at 49ers’ behest

More on that California state senate bill that would allow the San Francisco 49ers to duck competitive bidding for their planned Santa Clara stadium without a public referendum. Reports Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News:

Alquist’s press secretary, Russell Lopez, described the original bill as an “economic stimulus” initiative, but a review of the original text shows that its various versions have dealt with everything from the cultural and linguistic competency of dentists to details of the state’s unemployment insurance code.

The reason for the subterfuge, explains Lopez: His boss adapted the bill at the request of team and city officials — city officials say it wasn’t their idea — inserting new language into an old bill because there was no time to introduce new legislation. (This is an old legislative trick, though I can’t for the life of me remember the term for it. I want to say “zombie bill,” but that’s probably because I have zombies on the brain.)

Swift further notes that the 49ers owners gave $1,000 in campaign donations to Alquist last October. Though to be fair, I’m sure they give that to all the legislators.

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16 comments on “No-bid contract bill was at 49ers’ behest

  1. Yesterday, Elaine Alquist’s chief of staff told me over the phone that Sen. Alquist had NOT received any donations from the 49ers. So why the deception? Santa Clarans should pay close attention-the 49ers are trying to do an end run around Santa Clara voters.

  2. Seems shady to say the least. I was originally very skeptical of the Niners plan, particularly at the original public contribution amount but was won over when the Niners reduced the amount Santa Clara was directly on the hook for and took the city off the hook for cost overruns.

    But this shady way of “zombie billing” out a competitive bidding rule has brought back my doubts in full.

  3. Wow—she received a $1000 campaign donation from the ’49ers—and as noted—so did all of the other politicians—I am sure that $1000 campaign donation completely influenced her—thank god someone can think outside of the box—I have yet to see a comment here that questions why the competitive bid process is critical when a private enterprise will pay cost overruns—rather I see a rash of anti-stadium types trying to parlay this into why the stadium shouldn’t go forward–separate the two arguments–otherwise you completely lose your credibility–

  4. First, it isn’t just about cost overruns. Santa Clara is being asked to take on 330 million in bonds for construction-it’s our money, we should get a say in what happens in the bid process, and our city charter should be respected. Second, we have a city council committee set up to review whether or not the charter should be amended through a vote of the public-Sacramento should not be involved in our local government politics. Our mayor is on record as in favor of this bill in Sacramento-before this has even been voted on by our city council. That stinks. Third, Elaine Alquist is reported to receive funding from the construction industry and trades-all of which have a vested interest in seeing this project happen. Most of the construction/trades people who have talked in favor of the project at our city council meetings DO NOT LIVE HERE and therefore won’t have to pay for the project. Those of us who live here and who will be paying for it are the ones who should be listened to.

  5. Chris just proves that people can’t comment on the issue at hand without trying to make a claim that the stadium is wrong for Santa Clara–different discussion/debate—to try and claim that this is some sort of devious end around to fool the citizens of Santa Clara is true fabrication—

  6. Don’t know how you can’t see this as some devious end run around though. Yes Alquist didn’t take anything special in campaign funds, but fact is she’s gutted a completely unrelated bill and inserted language specifically designed to circumvent Santa Clara city law at the Niners behest. And it doesn’t seem the Santa Clara city council was directly notified either if I’m reading this right which is also worrisome. Not saying anything outright wrong was done, but you can’t deny the move and it’s timing are fishy.

  7. So Dan–what is the “devious” benefit to Alquist or the ’49ers? There is none—and unfortunately n a bureacratic world of gov’t that is completely inefficient this is the way that things get done–ever hear of “pork barrel”—its unfortunate that it has to be done this way–but if there is no ancillary benefit than I find it hard to label it a devious end around–

  8. “So Dan–what is the “devious” benefit to Alquist or the ’49ers? ”

    How about that they’re attempting to circumvent the citizens of Santa Clara and Santa Clara city law. Or how about that it would allow the Niners avoid competitive bidding and put their chosen contractors on a partially public works project (and Alquist does appear to have some ties to this particular labor sector)?

    Or on a more basic level for stadium proponents, how about because it looks fishy rather than letting the city council vote on the issue properly as they planned to and could derail public opinion on the stadium issue and kill it when the time for the city wide vote comes up?

  9. So Dan–who is ultimately responsible for cost overruns? Shouldn’t the responsible party be able to manage the project to minimize their exposure–if you have an ounce of business sense you say yes–which is all the ‘9ers are trying to do–circumvent SC law–nothing prohibts the city of SC from still asking their citizens to vote on said topic–but it does provide for optionality and allows for the planning process to proceed in parallel with the stadium initative that wont occur until March or June of 2010–come on man—you must work for the gov’t–

  10. SJA’s, so far the Niners have said they’ll be on the hook for cost overruns, but they’ve said nothing about revenue shortfalls. And with a large chunk of the stadium funding coming from naming rights (something that hasn’t been selling on stadiums of late) who covers if there’s no takers? Give you a hint, it won’t be the team. Fact is the standard political process should not be bypassed for the connivence of a billionaire who to date has had no clue how to run his football team on or off field.

  11. SanJoseA’s-you seem to be ignoring my point that Santa Clara is on the hook for 330 million in construction bonds to be paid for by selling seat licenses and naming rights-Oakland couldn’t sell all of the seat licenses it needs to and now spends 20 million/yr out of their city budget on Coliseum debt (they are 100 mil in the hole this year). No one has addressed what happens when the seat licenses and naming rights don’t sell to cover the 300 mill? You can bet the 49ers won’t be covering that debt-our little city will be expected to raise taxes etc. to cover it. I talked to a city council member who was only informed about Alquist’s bill this past weekend-to have Sacto try to sneak around behind the backs of the elected reps of Santa Clara is reprehensible-and yes, it appears our mayor knew because she is listed as a supporter of Alquist’s bill on the state website. IF the Santa Clara vote isn’t until next spring, then why the deception about Alquist’s bill now (a healthcare bill gutted and rewritten for the sole benefit of the 49ers) and why the rush? They could take their time and do this in fall. Answer-they wanted to sneak this in under the radar so Santa Clarans wouldn’t know. This should have been discussed and voted on in a Santa Clara city council meeting and made public.

  12. SanJoseA’s-you seem to be ignoring my point that Santa Clara is on the hook for 330 million in construction bonds to be paid for by selling seat licenses and naming rights-Oakland couldn’t sell all of the seat licenses it needs to and now spends 20 million/yr out of their city budget on Coliseum debt (they are 100 mil in the hole this year). No one has addressed what happens when the seat licenses and naming rights don’t sell to cover the 300 mill? You can bet the 49ers won’t be covering that debt-our little city will be expected to raise taxes etc. to cover it. I talked to a city council member who was only informed about Alquist’s bill this past weekend-to have Sacto try to sneak around behind the backs of the elected reps of Santa Clara is reprehensible-and yes, it appears our mayor knew because she is listed as a supporter of Alquist’s bill on the state website. IF the Santa Clara vote isn’t until next spring, then why the deception about Alquist’s bill now (a healthcare bill gutted and rewritten for the sole benefit of the 49ers) and why the rush? They could take their time and do this in fall. Answer-they wanted to sneak this in under the radar so Santa Clarans wouldn’t know. This should have been discussed and voted on in a Santa Clara city council meeting and made public.

  13. Chris–your ignoring my point that the 2 issues are independent of each other–one is a capital investment in which the City of SC redevelopment invests $100+M (a portion of which will be offset if Raiders come along, $330M which will be invested by the stadium authority and $550M invested by ’49ers and NFL—the city of SC redevelopment agency investment is capped, the stadium authority investment is capped—with any overruns on the capital construction project owned by the 49ers—therefore they should be able to manage their risk exposure of developing the capital project (building the stadium)by using a design build process v. going to a less efficient, more costly, competitive bid process.

    The issue you are raising is whether or not the revenue’s will be sufficient to manage the investment of the stadium authority–a separate issue which will not be addressed by a change allowing for design build v. competitive bidding

  14. And you are ignoring the fact that our city council already has a committee set up to study the design/build issue and whether or not the city charter should be amended, which requires a vote of the citizens of Santa Clara. What the 49ers, Elaine Alquist, Mayor Mahan and Councilmember Kevin Moore (Mahan and Moore attended the SB 43 meeting yesterday in favor of the bill)are doing is circumventing the process put in place by our city council and our city charter. This is dirty politics. They are trying to sneak this in under the radar, without presenting this information at a city council meeting and obtaining a vote from the rest of the city councilmembers. Councilmember McLeod attending the meeting yesterday and spoke against SB 43. It may be that the design build process is the best one-but that decision should be made after following a process that has already been put in place, not by circumventing the process. This does not make the 49ers, Alquist, Mahan, and Moore look trustworthy to citizens in Santa Clara.They want this project to go forward no matter what, and they are willing to do anything, including circumventing their own city council, to do so. Believe me when I say that this has lit a fire under people who have not previously been politically active, like me.

  15. The design/build language in SB 43 is apparently flawed. From yesterday’s meeting:
    The Committee’s OWN COUNSEL provides a statement as to the gross flaws in SB 43:

    “SB 43 would breach the carefully crafted compromised reached in 2000 between all interested stakeholders by not including any of the language included in every other design-build authorization law. There is not a single cross-reference to existing design-build laws. SB 43 even states that all existing design-build laws are legally inapplicable in this situation. ”
    And someone from ACEC had reservations about the bill’s variance from the state’s current design/build requirements. This is a flawed bill, and should not go forward.

  16. Chris – SanJoseA’s is only willing to tackle this one specific issue. I understand you want answers to every single issue. Perhaps SanJoseA’s can enlighten you, by providing information where Santa Clara’s city government, has guaranteed no new taxes, or fee increases, will ever be required to pay for any stadium revenue shortfalls.

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