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September 11, 2009
One step forward, one back for Santa Clara 49ers stadium
It was a good news/bad news day for the San Francisco 49ers: The bill to allow them to evade public bidding rules in selecting a stadium contractor without going before a public referendum passed the state senate last night, but Cedar Fair is getting uppity again about allowing a stadium to be built on one of its parking lots. (The city owns the land, but Cedar Fair has a long-term lease for its Great America amusement park.) "Cedar Fair does not believe that the proposed stadium and Great America can coexist without overcoming significant legal and operational issues," Cedar Fair attorney Geoffrey Etnire wrote in a letter to Santa Clara city manager Jennifer Sparacino. "However, Cedar Fair will come to the table in good faith to explore possible resolution of this conflict." Translation: Give us more money, or we'll sue you so hard your heads will spin. Isn't this where we came in?
Great America is on life support as it is---would love to see their attendance figures over the past 5-years---suspect significant declines as the park is not maintained at a very high level. All about trying to get a pound of flesh or better yet--forcing the '9ers to buy the park. Santa Clara is a very well run city--have to believe they are confident from a legal perspective in how they are managing this relationship as they seem to be unphased by CF threats of lawsuits.
I've lived in Santa Clara for more than 2 decades. Santa Clara used to be a well run city. No More. Our city council members who want the stadium regardless of the debt the city will be taking on (114 mil direct subsidy, 330 mil in promised fundraising via seat licenses and naming rights)and regardless of the facts that 1) our city budget is in the red for this year and next, after which time all reserves will be used up, 2) the state is taking away 11.8 mil in RDA funds that were supposed to be used for the stadium, 3) the state is taking away 3 mil in property taxes from our general fund, 4) our city council has spent 2 mil in studies on the stadium without putting it to a vote yet, and 5) our city has not tracked how much employee time has been spent on stadium issues. The city council is not addressing the debt financing on the bonds for the stadium (many millions) or how the debt financing will be paid for. They vote yes on any big development, regardless of how neighbors feel, regardless of traffic impacts or impacts on the school district. Meanwhile, the blighted areas and empty shopping centers are neglected, aging park equipment is not replaced, etc. We need a change in leadership in Santa Clara.