49ers fund pro-stadium mailing to everyone in Santa Clara

There’s still no date for a vote on the $937 million Santa Clara stadium project for the San Francisco 49ers, but that didn’t stop Santa Clarans for Economic Progress from sending out a mailer to all of the city’s 46,000 registered voters last week, urging them to vote “yes” on the project. Reports the San Francisco Chronicle:

So how did Santa Clarans for Economic Progress pay for that? With a little help from the 49ers, of course.

Lisa Gillmor, a former city councilwoman and central figure in the pro-stadium group, said the 49ers provided a substantial contribution for the mailers and the team was expected to continue funding Santa Clarans for Economic Progress.

“It will be the significant share of our campaign budget,” said Gillmor. She declined to say how much the team put up or the total cost of the mailing, saying it would compromise strategy.

Gillmor added that she expects “San Francisco interests” to finance the “no” campaign, which led Bill Bailey, treasurer for the opposition group Santa Clara Plays Fair, to say that his organization has received only a single $50 donation from anyone in San Francisco.

Weirdly, it doesn’t look like the San Jose Mercury News has reported on the mailing yet, though it has found room to speculate on the stadium project’s impact on San Francisco’s UFL franchise.

32 comments on “49ers fund pro-stadium mailing to everyone in Santa Clara

  1. The mailer featured a photo of Santa Clara’s mayor, Patty Mahan. How do you spell conflict of interest? Mayor Mahan forgets that she was elected to represent the citizens of Santa Clara; she behaves as if she was elected to represent the 49ers. Coincidentally, in our utility bill envelopes this month there is a blue flier listed the City Council Goals adopted August 18, 2009. These goals include: ethical, professional, and fiscally responsible, among others. People here are laughing on the SJ Mercury News comment boards, because most of our city council behaves in opposition to those goals. Speaking of the SJ Mercury News not reporting on the misleading mailer, the SJ Merc wants the stadium because they want the advertising dollars that will come with it. They have clearly had a pro-stadium bias, and that has caused some of their readers, including me, to cancel our subscriptions after decades of loyal readership. This mailer isn’t the only important piece of news on the stadium that the SJ Merc has refused to cover. The June 2, 2009 survey by Survey USA of Santa Clara voters that showed 62% of voters against a public subsidy for a stadium was not reported in the SJ Merc. And the Sept 2, 2009 Forbes.com 49ers team valuation, which was covered in the SF Chronicle, also wasn’t covered in the SJ Merc. This valuation was important because it showed how the team valuation would increase with a new stadium, and Forbes.com said, “The 49ers are in desperate need of a new stadium. Despite playing in a large, wealthy market the team’s stadium revenues at antiquated Candlestick Park are the third lowest in the NFL. There is no club seating and the team must share luxury suite, ad signage and concession revenues with the city.”

  2. Lisa Gillmor’s remark was basically pre-emptive, because she knows that the “outside money” label applies far more to her Stadium Subsidizers than to our volunteer group, Santa Clara Plays Fair……….Also, the Stadium Subsidizers have been selling this stadium as a venue for just about every other sport in town. That’s certainly a stretch in most cases, and simply untrue in some……….Note that the Term Sheet of June 2 gives the 49ers Stadium Company the right of refusal on certain non-NFL athletic events – does anyone think that Dr. York is going to tolerate those UFL games in his stadium? I certainly do not……….Bill Bailey, Treasurer of Santa Clara Plays Fair -=0=-

  3. Mr. York would not have to make a decision on UFL games–the proposal was for Spartan Stadium which at 35,000 if far to large for the UFL that most likely will no longer be in business when the ‘9er’s stadium is approved. Would Mr. York tolerate World Cup Soccer matches, International Soccer matches, College Bowl games–absolutely–

    Relative to Mayor Mahan supporting the project–good for her–someone with vision who realizes that do nothing will be just that…doing nothing–no jobs, no revenues, no growth…as for her representing the city…that is what she is doing…the fact that she has a different opinion than you on what is good for the city does not make her ill-suited to be a public representative…in fact the opposite–shows leadership with all of her constituents having the final say via the democratic process—and the fact that the Mercury did not report on a mailer…come on—I think that there are a few more important things than a mailer went out about the stadium…

    As I mentioned before I haven’t decided which way to vote on this but I am always annoyed by opposition groups that rant loudly about everything and anything–rather than calmly stating the facts and leaving it up to logical folk to make their decision.

  4. We stated the **facts** – they’re in the City’s OWN REPORTS:……….Blow $114M, get back a miserable $41M (Less than the Training Center gives us today!), THEN have $67M bled out of the City’s General Fund over 40 years………..If you’ve got some facts that contradicts those, I invite you to present them.

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  5. State your source for “$67M bled out of City’s General Fund over 40 years….”there is no basis for this statement—just further proof that you like to twist statistics to try and paint an unfavorable opinion–btw–no need to yell while blogging by using all CAPS—always gotta question those that try to out shout people v. communicating the facts–

  6. State your source for “$67M bled out of City’s General Fund over 40 years….”there is no basis for this statement—just further proof that you like to twist statistics to try and paint an unfavorable opinion–btw–no need to yell while blogging by using all CAPS—always gotta question those that try to out shout people v. communicating the facts–

  7. Easy: Go to the Term Sheet Presentation by City Staff on Tuesday evening, June 2, 2009, located here:


    Page down to Slide 48. It’s real clear: Build a Stadium, and the return to General Fund = $31M. **Refuse** to build one, and that same return is $98M.

    The 49ers Stadium WILL raid the General Fund – by $67,000,000, and over the 40-year initial term of the lease.

    That’s not too many capitals for you, is it?

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  8. SanJoseA’s – if you had attended the June 2, 2009 city council meeting when the Term Sheet was presented, you would have seen a presentation that included a slide showing a reduction in money flowing to the City’s General Fund over 40 years of 67 Million. This isn’t in the Term Sheet, but was presented by the city at that Jun 2nd meeting. The reduction comes because of how TI (Tax Increment, in other words, the redevelopment area property taxes) funding is handled with and without the stadium. Here’s the link to the city’s presentation (see slide 48): http://santaclaraca.gov/ftp/csc/pdf/49ers-Term-Sheet-Presentation.pdf The total amount of funds flowing to the General Fund over 40 years without the stadium is $98 Million. The total flowing to the General Fund with the stadium is only $31 Million, which is a reduction of $67 Million over 40 years.Another example of information left out of the Term Sheet is the amount of money the STadium Authority is responsible for raising ($330 Million). That is not in the Term Sheet, it’s in another document: http://santaclaraca.gov/ftp/csc/pdf/49ers-20090601-Exhibit-14.pdf which also shows the contribution from the 49ers as $493 Million. The mailer sent by the 49ers lumps the $330 million in with the 49ers contribution, to make it seem to Santa Clara voters that the city is taking on far less risk than it really is. The city has not pulled all of the information about this project together in one document to make it easy for residents to figure out what’s going on. As complex as this project is, I think the city owes it to the residents of Santa Clara to make the financial information about this project more accessible and understandable.

  9. Lots of assumptions around development in that area that would contribute to this–and what development is planned for this area other than the ‘9ers stadium? More office buildings to add to the 26% vacancy rate—ahh–yeah right–relative to the $114M that you throw out—a large portion of this is associated with the hotels increasing their occupancy tax–because….they see the value of the stadium in generating revenues. This won’t occur if the stadium isn’t built–so to claim that the city’s investment is $114M is a big stretch of the truth–of course not suprising—recognizing the sources that are touting it—

  10. SanJoseAs — gosh, sorry, but you don’t get to pick and choose data just to suit your own little Agenda. The $114M is no “stretch”, as you wrongly claim – it’s a fact, and it’s right out there for all to see in Exhibit 14 to the June 2 Term Sheet. Visit the City’s website sometime.

    As for the hotels – the gains you (weren’t able to) claim are nowhere near worth that amount of money.

    San Francisco wouldn’t pay the Yorks off; we certainly shouldn’t do it, either.

    It’s too bad that the facts hurt – but they’re what you said you were waiting for.

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  11. Bill–SF voters approved a $100M subsidy of a new ‘9ers stadium already—this was back in the late 90’s–so put that in terms of real dollars today…and it would be equal to how much?? So once again a false claim on your part—you have definetely convinced me—you state data without the facts…

  12. Where’s the “false alarm”, JoseAs?

    I quoted the exact reference for the $114M welfare check to the Yorks, as well as the exact reference for the $67M ripoff of our City’s General Fund.

    And what in the world does the San Francisco subsidy have to so with the price of tea in China? Their ballot measure was in *** 1997!! *** – and look at the fiscal basket case that S.F. City/County has become in twelve years.

    Sorry, but your little diversion is completely irrelevant to the subsidy/ripoff in Santa Clara.

    Facts are really pesky things, aren’t they?

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  13. The “diversion” as you call it was in reference to your false claim that the Yorks couldn’t get anything out of SF so they came to SC—false Bill–York’s have a $100M of voter approved tax dollars waiting for them in SF—for a man (I assume) who is so confident that it will fail in SC you seem to have a little bit of an inferiority complex to continue to present half-truths–state the facts BB and let others make their decisions—

  14. Who cares about the promises made in S.F.?

    You’re still wrong: Mayor Newsom stated publicly that San Francisco has way too many problems to be handing a hundred million to a millionaire NFL team owner.

    He will, in fact, be REFUSING to do so – and he’s completely right.

    None of that changes the fact that the stadium rips off the General Fund of the City of Santa Clara. None of that changes the fact that it will require an upfront welfare check of $114,000,000 just to get ripped off for the $67,000,000.

    I cited the exact PROOF of those numbers – you
    had no credible response except for some irrelevant diversions about the San Francisco “deal.” Tough.

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  15. BB- Back to screaming via CAPS–what do you have to hide to have to rant and rave vs. just stating the facts?? The vote is binding in SF–there was no sunset clause– $100M committed to the project in SF—Mayor Newsome has made it clear he wants to keep the ‘9ers—which is why SF is moving forward on their back-up proposal—state the facts BB–if you are so confident in them being accurate than there is no need to continually bend the truth like you do so often–

  16. Who cares about S.F.? Besides, you’re still wrong about Newsom’s stance on the subsidy – he’s stated publicly that he won’t go for it while his City/County is in the lousy shape it’s in.

    That’s a lot of diversionary nonsense on your part merely to mask your own ignorance of the highly-defective Term Sheet – and the devastating financial consequences – of the “deal” in Santa Clara…

    …Even when the actual City Agenda reports had to be pointed out to you. I note that you still can’t refute any of the actual data.

    Too bad, JoseAs.

    That still too many capitals for you?

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  17. Okay, can you two please try to stick to the actual arguments and drop all the snottiness and innuendo? There are interesting points to be made here, but they’re impossible to follow amid all the personal attacks.

  18. Sorry about the bickering – but after a few comments, threads such as these generally reveal how little that stadium boosters even understand about the so-called “deal” in Santa Clara. When all someone can do is call up stale old details from 12 years ago and from another city, it’s pretty clear that they can’t make their case in Santa Clara.

    The mailer from the booster group is yet more buzz, glitz and hype – and the false claims concerning the (1) Fixed Rent, (2) the actual costs to our City, (3) the dismal job creation AND (4) the unproductive economic activity are mere proof of that.

    The 49ers and the Yorks should be GIVING those crumbs to Santa Clarans for free – not charging us $114,000,000 for them, and then bleeding our General Fund of $67,000,000 over 40 years.

    Again, see the citations above; those figures were generated by our own City Staff.

    As for Ms. Gillmor not being quite ready to tell us Santa Clarans who really paid for the mailer: That speaks volumes in itself. Our group has been recording and reporting donations to the Santa Clara City Clerk since August of 2007. It’s all public information.

    So what do the booster groups have to hide? Plenty, it appears.

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  19. The San Jose Mercury News finally printed something about the 49ers mailer Sunday Nov. 29th. See http://www.mercurynews.com/search/ci_13883383?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

    “The Santa Clara City Council has yet to set a date for a vote on the proposed 49ers stadium project, but the political game has already begun.

    The main group backing the $937 million stadium recently sent out its first political mailer to Santa Clara residents, with a host of city power brokers dotting the pamphlet, including soccer icon Brandi Chastain. The slick six-page mailer urging support for the stadium was put out by Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, which will serve as the political front for the team as the inevitable campaign unfolds.

    Former City Councilwoman Lisa Gillmor is representing the group, co-chaired by former Mayor Larry Marsalli and former schools superintendent Don Callejon. Gillmor says the group has enlisted political consultants Ed McGovern and Jude Barry to head the political campaign.

    Meanwhile, the lead group opposed to the project quickly hit back last week in an e-mail circulated to Santa Clara residents titled, “Let the Games Begin: the slick campaign to make Santa Clarans subsidize a 49ers stadium.” That group, Santa Clara Plays Fair, is depicting itself as the grass-roots Little Guy squaring off against the well-heeled 49ers and their deep-pocketed political campaign.”

    So if this is such a good deal for Santa Clara, why do the 49ers need to hire political consultants? If this is a good deal, it should sell itself to the voters. And if it is a good deal, then the other cities in Santa Clara County should offer to help pay for it.

  20. Another article on the 49ers push for a new stadium in Santa Clara in SFgate today:
    by a former 49ers football player now an attorney,
    Mike Terrizzi. He says that, in regards to SB43 that allows the 49ers to bypass Santa Clara’s city charter requirement for competitive bidding when public funds are used, and the override of a full EIR for the City of Industry stadium (both bills signed by the Cal. Gov.,

    “Are these bills setting an unfair precedent by creating special exemptions for the powerful and well-connected? Or are they streamlining a development process that throws up unnecessary barriers to job and tax-revenue creating development?

    Much of the criticism appears justified. If NFL stadium developers get preferential treatment, others will ask for their own handouts. Public scrutiny often results in projects more responsive to community needs. And it is unfair to give a handful of project developers a free pass to the end zone while everyone else is stuck at the goal line.

    Although both state environmental law and competitive bidding may create barriers to development, the better answer to such development challenges is to ensure rigorous oversight, not free passes to the state’s most well connected.

    When all teams are forced to compete on a level playing field in the public arena, everybody wins.”

  21. SanJoseA’s: First, Bill Bailey hasn’t even mentioned the possibility of what will occur if the de-fact municipal Stadium Authority fails to produce mathching revenues to pay for the stadium’s operating expenses, including an annual debt service of approximately $24 million.
    Second, if an NFL stadium project is such a good investment, why don’t the Yorks/49ers obtain private financing so they can have outright ownership of the facility? After all, Ed Roski is building a privately financed NFL stadium in Los Angeles. Therefore, its not impossible.
    Also, why did the City of San Jose vote not to provide any cash subsidies for Lew Wolff’s potential A’s move to the city?

  22. SanJoseA’s: You’re wrong about the SF bond money. Its no longer considered an option. In fact, the $100 million is being offered up by Lennar Corp., a private real estate developer, as part of their overall master plan for developing the Hunters Point area.


  23. Like City of Industry’s stadium, the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey is also UNsubsidized.

    At $1.6 Billion, that one costs 60% more than any such stadium in Santa Clara. The NY Jets/Giants/NFL came up with $650M/650M/300M, all of it *private* dough.

    You’re right about our so-called Stadium Authority – it will be under tremendous pressure to produce, in a down market and 40 miles south of S.F.

    But with the 49ers continuing to exploit the Confidentiality Agreement of April of 2007, and very possibly with the bedlam in the municipal bond markets, we residents can’t get any information about the bonds that this agency will be issuing – not the coupon, not the rating, whether taxable/non, insured/un.

    As for the cash subsidy, the 49ers are squeezing my city for that money just because they can. Pie-in-the-sky thinking, plus a very compliant City Council, will do that to taxpayers/ratepayers every time.

    Thanks, Mr. Pardell, for pointing out where San Francisco’s $100M cash subsidy was *really* coming from.

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  24. The New Jersey stadium is not entirely unsubsidized — it’s getting property tax breaks and other goodies:


  25. Neil: On top of the what the 49ers are requesting in upfront taxpayer subsidies of $114 million, in addition to the municipal Stadium Authority’s $330 million of debt instruments, they are also going to pay the lesser share of the stadium’s property taxes. In fact, the term sheet suggests the 49ers will only pay for the few days they’re occupying the stadium. So, how much in property tax is 8-10 days going to cost the 49ers, and who is going to pay the additional property tax for the remaining 355+ days per year?

  26. I’ll concede to Neil the “lieu-of-taxes” payments that the NJSEA is making to the little borough of East Rutherford, New Jersey…


    …but I’ll have to stand by my claim that NO direct cash subsidies are being paid by that New Jersey burg just to have an NFL stadium there. The direct construction costs of the Meadowlands Stadium have indeed been raised privately…


    Here, the demands by the 49ers for a $114,000,000 cash subsidy from a city of 117,000 far outstrips other direct sports subsidies to millionaires on a per-capita basis.

    Not only that: We’re getting peanuts in return for that money.

    And I’ll have to agree with Mr. Pardell: Shoving the legal ownership of the stadium onto a joint-powers authority allows the team to pay only a Possessory Interest Tax (PIT), in large measure based strictly on the number of days a year that they “lease” the stadium from that Stadium Authority. Away games don’t count – so start with 10/365 to get some idea of the basis of that tax.

    It’s pathetic – and certain of our elected leaders are actually going for it…

    Bill Bailey

    Santa Clara Plays Fair


  27. To contrast with the pie chart that the 49ers put out in their misleading mailer, which lumps the $330 million contribution of Santa Clara’s Stadium Authority in with the 49ers contribution to make it look like Santa Clara isn’t putting up 47% of the stadium construction costs, here’s a pie chart that shows the actual costs to Santa Clara:


    This does not include the land, which by itself is very valuable.

    And here’s Mayor Patti Mahan, telling senior citizens at this past week’s city council meeting that the city doesn’t have $60,000/yr to pay for an athletic trainer for the athletic facilities at our new senior citizen center (we have lots of new equipment, but no money to pay someone to teach people how to use the equipment safely):


  28. Juan:

    Correction–it is still an option–but perphaps one that won’t be used—“We know the public would like us to avoid using the approved bonds and we will continue to look at options to see if that is possible.”

    This quote says nothing that it is no longer available—as far as giving a private developer $100M of funding and than having them transfer it over to the “9ers–sure–but that is pretty sneaky—‘9ers have made it very clear they want to be open with the community–

  29. As open as they were on the hijacking of Senate Bill 43?

    Bill Bailey
    Santa Clara Plays Fair

  30. Bill Bailey: What’s amusing is that when San Francisco voters passed Proposition G last year, it rescinded the $100 bond allocation that was approved in 1997. I guess SanJoseA’s forgot that one.

  31. SanJoseA’s: FYI, the $100 million in bond money is no longer an option. And, contrary to what you’ve alleged, there was no transfer of public money to Lennar. If there were, it would be public record.



  32. Bookmarked, and thank you, Mr. Pardell.

    This probably won’t persuade the propagandists, either — But it’s worth noting that Lennar Development apparently felt so bullish on the Hunters Point project that THEY themselves were prepared to put $100,000,000 into the York family’s hands:


    …and to lease the 49ers the land under their stadium for the ungodly sum of $1.00 per year (10/23/08).

    So, why Santa Clara? Only because the Lennar deal would have forced the 49ers to build their OWN stadium and operate it. In Santa Clara, the Yorks get to shove the ownership and tax liabilities off onto a joint-powers authority they want us to form.

    See why Dr. John York is “not in the stadium business”?

    Bill Bailey

    Santa Clara Plays Fair