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November 16, 2009

Santa Clara on 49ers: Gah, the cars!

With Santa Clara set to hold two meetings on its $937 million San Francisco 49ers stadium proposal (most of which would be paid for by the team, though it's a matter of some dispute exactly how much) today and Wednesday, the city released its revised environmental impact report on Friday, including 160 pages of public comments. As the San Francisco Examiner sums them up:

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is worried about greenhouse gasses and dust emitted during construction. The Santa Clara County Water District wanted more assurance about bridges and levees. And local residents said they feared the value of their homes will plummet.
But the most concern was saved for transportation impacts. Whether it's streetcars, BART, busses or cars, just about every agency within earshot of Santa Clara City Hall said they were concerned about traffic, traffic and more traffic.

The report indicates that the 49ers are willing to avoid scheduling weeknight games (including Monday nights) if there are insurmountable traffic problems, something that could raise eyebrows among the NFL schedule makers. Though I suppose if the league wants to get the 49ers into a new stadium that badly, it's cheaper than funding it themselves.


Neil-It is incorrect to say that most of the stadium will be paid for by the 49ers. Santa Clara will pay $114 million direct subsidy, $35 million in interest on RDA bonds, which is not included in that subsidy, plus the land for free, plus another $330 million from an agency owned by Santa Clara, The Stadium Authority. That $330 million includes bonds, which will have tens of millions of dollars in interest and taxes. The Stadium Authority will be managed by the Santa Clara city council and city manager. Anyone who thinks that Stadium Authority debt won't impact the city of Santa Clara is fooling himself/herself. The $330 million is supposed to be raised through naming rights, seat licenses, and vendors contracts. How has that been going for stadiums around the country? Not well. If you add $114 mil plus $330 mil = $444 mil (47% of the total construction cost). Now add in interest and taxes, and the value of the land, and Santa Clara is footing more than 1/2 of the cost of the stadium. This will be a financial disaster for Santa Clara, as well as a traffic and pollution nightmare.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 16, 2009 11:01 AM

You can't add future interest payments to present nominal costs - that's like saying your $400,000 house is really a $1 million house because that's how much all your mortgage payments will add up to. Interest costs are just a financing cost - it wouldn't be "cheaper" if the city were putting up the money in cash rather than bonds, after all.

Also, at least some of that $330 million will be repaid by ticket and venue revenue. I absolutely agree with you that it's uncertain how much will ultimately be repaid, and that's a risk the city would be taking on. But I don't see the public ending up with more than 50% of the costs.

Posted by Neil on November 16, 2009 11:36 AM

When the interest must also come out of our RDA funds it would be foolish to ignore the amount of interest payments. That's still money that the city has to come up with. People who ignore the effects of interest rates and interest payments have gotten themselves into huge trouble with home mortgages-take a look at the foreclosure crisis. Homeowners know the importance of adding up all of the costs (principal, interest, and taxes) to see if they can afford a mortgage. My point is that Santa Clara city officials are ignoring the costs of interest and taxes on bonds when presenting the costs to the public. They're also ignoring (and so is the San Jose Mercury News) the financial risk of the Stadium Authority. If Santa Clara taxpayers can't afford a small parcel tax for the schools(Measure C which would have taxed each parcel at $138/year for 4 years), then we can't afford the stadium. And Neil, no where in the Term Sheet or other documents does it say that NFL ticket revenue will go to pay off the Stadium Authority debt. The city of Santa Clara alone will be on the hook for Stadium Authority debt, not the 49ers. The city's own analysis of income from other non-NFL venues is dismal.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 16, 2009 12:23 PM

No, it's not "still money that the city has to come up with." You can either count the initial cost of the bonds, or you can count the annual payments made over time - you can't add them both together.

Let me put this another way: If the 49ers finance their share by selling bonds - and paying interest on those bonds - would you let them count that as an added "cost" on their side of the ledger?

Finally, the term sheet says the Stadium Authority gets money from PSLs and ticket surcharges, both of which are effectively ticket revenues. (If a team doesn't have surcharges or PSLs, it can charge higher prices.) Is there reason to worry that these won't be enough to pay off all $330 million? You betcha. Will these amount to $0? No way.

Posted by Neil on November 16, 2009 12:31 PM

Here's more info from the City of Santa Clara documents (on their website). The info is from the Term Sheet, and 49ers-20070424-stadium-proposal.pdf.
Here are the ways the Stadium Authority will raise money: Naming Rights, Corporate Founding Partners, a small Ticket Tax , Stadium Builders Licenses (seat licenses), Concessionaire Equity (concession contracts), and Pouring Rights. According to the city's consultant, NFL events will NOT yield positive income to the city. The Stadium Authority will incur numerous costs, including: Operations and maintenance-40 full time employees at a cost of 5.6 million/year; Non-game day security, 24/7/365-10 full time employees, cost $657,000/year; Utilities estimated at $2.7 million/year; Insurance $6.2 million/year; Possessory Interest Tax-$2.6 million/year-the 49ers will present the bill to the Stadium Authority; Police/Fire $1.3 million/year plus game day security of $650,000 for 330 part-time employees; 16 full time staff and 1274 part time staff at $1.5 million/year. The Stadium Authority is supposed to schedule non-NFL events in order to break even. The 49ers will be reaping profit off of stadium ticket sales which they will not share with their host city, Santa Clara. This deal stinks for Santa Clara.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 16, 2009 12:44 PM

While I understand objecting to the Niners stadium on financial grounds (and indeed if I still lived in Santa Clara that would be my objection), I find the majority of the objections the papers summarized laughable.

Traffic, first of all, will barely impact the city. The majority of the gameday traffic will be confined to Great America Pkwy and will be heading straight to 101 and 237. It would not be hard for the local PD to restrict the traffic movement in those two directions (that's why cones were invented). And if a third avenue is needed Tasman Dr to the east is almost entirely half empty business parks. The only residential areas that would be effected are to the west and traffic cones placed on Tasman at Great America and Mission College at the Mercado shopping center negate any traffic flow into those neighborhoods.

As for the other objections such as "greenhouse gas" concerns, and levee issues. The first would only be an objection in the Bay Area, and if we were to stop construction because "greenhouse gases" might be released into the atmosphere we might as well go back to living in huts made of reeds (but they might object to that since the reeds were helping take CO2 out of the atmosphere until you killed them). As for the levee issue, I can only assume that it's an unrelated issue that for some reason some wayward citizen brought up thinking it was a great way to get 5 minutes of press coverage.

Posted by Dan on November 16, 2009 12:52 PM

SantaClaraTaxpayer, you left out the rent payments that the 49ers will make to the Stadium Authority: "Following completion of the Stadium, 49ers Stadium Company will pay to the Stadium
Authority, as rent for the Stadium: (i) an amount equal to Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000) per
year (�Facility Rent�); plus (ii) all Net Operating Expenses of the Stadium, as more particularly
described in Article 9 below."

Posted by Neil on November 16, 2009 12:59 PM

Ahhhh.... the UGLY hidden word arises again... "The $330 million is supposed to be raised through naming rights, seat licenses, and vendors contracts."

SEAT LICENSES... is there some reason that NOTHING has been said about this evil beast that has led to Raider blackouts?

A Concerned Season Ticket Holder

Posted by A Concerned Season Ticket Holder on November 17, 2009 02:35 AM

I just have to chime in on this debate ... there is NOTHING in this deal for the Taxpayers/Residents of Santa Clara! They will be burdened with the COST of the stadium, while not getting all the revenue from it. In fact, they will get 1/2 (yes one-half) of the non-NFL income.

Santa Clara will OWN it ... but they have no say on what IT is! Nor, who will build it (thanks Sen. Alquist for hijacking the rights of Santa Clara voters!) nor when SC can use it.

And, to add insult to injury ... the 49ers aren't even on the hook for ANYTHING. They have created a shell (or should I say shill) -- 49er Company LLC (limited liability corporation) to insulate their MILLIONS from the state, county, city, taxpayers, fans, etc. The actual team doesn't have a dog in the hunt AT ALL! Yeap ... they will rake in the money, but have NOTHING at risk. The 49ers will profit by adding a new stadium ... but they won't pay for it!! What a joke!!

There is nothing in this for Santa Clara ... except higher costs #how do you think the bonds will be paid#, traffic #49ers - are you going to improve ANY intersections), puke, pollution and problems in the police-state neighborhoods.

Fans ... no tailgating ... no parking ... and HOURS of traffic with no way out!! Take light rail ... yeah, where are you going to park and VTA has already said they don't have enough capacity? But, you will have a "view" from your seat ... what view?? The designers must still be in SF because there is NOTHING to view.

This project is a nightmare for everyone ... especially fans and the citizens of Santa Clara. It makes NO sense ... why are the politicans pushing so hard for something that JUST doesn't fit???? Ask yourself ... WHY??? Someone must be getting payola somewhere?? Unions aren't even guaranteed that local talent will be used.

I'll save more for later ...

Posted by Dee Brodie on November 19, 2009 05:08 PM

Hey Dee--what is the unemployment rate in SCC--10.2%---what is a peice of vacant land currently used as a parking lot making for the city-- nothing--a $1B capital investment in the city of Santa Clara amounts to a bit more than nothing!! Not to mention revenue that is generated game day from restuarants and hotels--and other big a Super Bowl---IAs a resident of Santa Clara I haven't decided if I vote for or against the project but ridiculous claims like yours definetely are pushing me towards a YES vote---doing nothing is just that---doing nothing---

Posted by SanJoseA's on November 19, 2009 05:46 PM

SAnJoseA's -- Cedar Fair currently pays $5 million/year for that parking lot, so the city is getting something.

Posted by SantaClaraTAxpayer on November 19, 2009 08:27 PM

And, reading the Term Sheet, if Santa Clarans vote 'yes' on the stadium, they will give up the right to decide if the Raiders can also use the stadium. The way the term sheet is written, and in the words of a city council member I spoke with personally, the 49ers alone will get to make that decision, together with the Raiders. Citizens in Santa Clara affected by 8 to 10 more home games/year will have no say in whether or not many more of their weekends are impacted by game day traffic.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 20, 2009 02:13 AM

Impacted by traffic??--16-20 days of a 365 calendar year--typically on a Sunday when there is no traffic to begin with---someone explain to me the logic that this is a major concern--I think I can plan ahead 16-20 days out of a year so that I am not impacted by traffic---this is the least of my concerns as I consider the stadium!

BTW--have you been to Great America recently?? The $5M rent payment wont last long---the place is ready to go out at any moment which is why they are trying to force the '9ers hand into buying it--

Posted by SanJoseA's on November 20, 2009 02:24 AM

See today's SFgate (Friday Nov. 20th) for an article on how the 49ers are going to try to buy this election.

They won't just send their own slick misleading mailers, like they did at the start of this project, or buy inserts in the Santa Clara Weekly, like they did last August, now they are funding a 'citizens group' to provide fliers sent to the homes of registered voters. If this project was so good, they wouldn't have to spend so much money convincing us to vote for it. "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.

"We have to disclose that at the appropriate time," Gillmor said. That information is required in campaign finance disclosure filings, which aren't due until January."

Expect the advertising from the 49ers to conveniently not mention the enormous contribution expected from Santa Clara's agency, the Stadium Authority ($330 million, plus interest and taxes on bonds that will comprise most of that $330 million). The 49ers, and stadium proponents, our mayor, and 4 city council members, don't want Santa Clarans to know about the risks inherent in the Stadium Authority portion of Santa Clara's contribution. In fact, by repeatedly saying that Santa Clara is only contributing $114 million in a direct subsidy, the 49ers and their supporters want everyone to not pay any attention to the other $330 million.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 20, 2009 10:15 AM

Wow--what a concept--a SF based paper bashing what is going on in Santa Clara--think that they may have an alterior motive??

So lets see---opponents are screaming that the voters in Santa Clara don't understand this deal and now their screaming at the attempts to educate the voters on the deal---wow--grasping for straws to try and find problems in the proposal-

Posted by SanJoseA's on November 20, 2009 10:49 AM

Neil-you need to see the mailer mentioned in the SFgate article today. As expected, the financial information from the 49ers is loaded with mistakes on purpose, to obscure the debt that Santa Clara's agency, the Stadium Authority, will take on. The 49ers pie chart shows that Santa Clara only pays $79 mil (showing the hotel taxes the city will collect and turn over to the stadium as a separate 'hotel investment' to diminish the $114 mil direct subsidy), and lumps together the 49ers, NFL, and stadium project revenues such as naming rights as $823 million. In other words, the $330 mil the Stadium Authority is responsible for isn't mentioned. (The Stadium Authority isn't included in the pie chart). Isn't it a lie to pretend the Stadium Authority will not exist? And to pretend that Santa Clara's agency isn't going to take on $330 mil in debt?And that Santa Clara isn't responsible for selling seat licenses, naming rights etc.? And this must have been an expensive letter-First, it is in a big envelope. Second, there are 2 pages in color with photos of supporters, and a third page - an info sheet from the 49ers. And then there is a reply postcard, with the postage prepaid, asking people to sign up to host a small gathering, volunteer, put up a sign in their yard etc. What is wholly inappropriate is that Santa Clara mayor Patti Mahan let her face/name be used. Who does she represent? Ditto for our state senator Elaine Alquist. Clearly they don't represent the citizens of Santa Clara. There is also a Santa Clara city attorney's face/name on the mailer (Nick Livak). Isn't it inappropriate for people who are elected by the citizens of Santa Clara, or who are supposed to be working for the same citizens, to lend their faces/names to such a mailer?

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 21, 2009 01:46 AM

Time for Fact-Check of the 49er LLC "Answers" (Which should say manipulated statements!)

Stadium Financed by the team, the NFL and the Stadium Authority ... NOT!! The team will give a LITTLE (and GAIN millions! And be GUARANTEED a return on their money!)... The NFL has made a commitment to kick in ZERO dollars and the City of Santa Clara will contribute AT LEAST $330 million. READ the Term Sheet ...

Wow ... what a bunch of liars!! "no use of general fund money" ... Half right, BUT ... there are lots of "funds" that ARE included in the Santa Clara budget. It WILL IMPACT LOTS of other funds. And the General Fund COULD be obligated ... who's going to pay if the 49ers don't agree to something?? And, they need to agree with EVERYTHING relative to the Stadium! Think folks ... where WILL the money coming from?? The General Fund can be manipulated to MOVE the money from one fund to the other � just like they are trying to manipulate SC taxpayers!! Who�s paying for the interest on the bonds?? Specifically, NOT the LLC!! Who then � US the Taxpayers!! Call it an assessment or higher utility rates or higher sales tax or reduced services!! It HAS to come from somewhere �
"No! to will I have to pay any money?... there will be no new laws on local residents and no negative impact on Santa Clara's general fund." ... Liar, liar, pants on fire!! Please show me exactly WHERE it says in the term sheet that there will be NO NEW TAXES ... FOREVER for FORTY YEARS to pay for the stadium OR ITS EXPENSES!! Do you know that the 49ers (really the LLC) will only pay $170,000/year for Police services!! Yep ... no matter how much it actually costs to attempt to deal with the mess ... they have included a $170,000 cap on their reimbursement!! Pretty slick ... huh?
There are SOOOO many statements in this flyer that I could type until tomorrow fact checking this BS and correcting all the lies. Many of the "facts" are absolutely FALSE!!! Hands-down FALSE!! They are pulling numbers out of thin air ... and no matter how many times you tell the same lie ... it is still a LIE! Soccer on Sunday ... HOW in the H#!! will anyone get there? And, where do you think THEY will park?? Read the Draft EIR and the Final EIR. Public transportation ... WHO'S going to pay to make that possible?? The VTA #light-rail# has ALREADY pointed out that they can only provide TWO-CAR trains!! Honest ... read their letter in the FEIR! I can't make these things up ... it is TRUE!! Traffic ... noise ... pollution ... parking ... no tailgating ... airplane noise!! What a nightmare. And, did anyone mention that if the game is not sold out 48-72 hours (I'm not certain of the exact timeframe) before the game, it WILL NOT be telecast locally. Translate: You are going to be inconvenienced ... but you may not even see the damn game!! This entire deal is only good for the Yorks!! And whomever they are paying off!! This project doesn't even physically FIT on the footprint available ... hence, the majority of the parking will be OFF-SITE and at the mercy of the businesses in the area to ALLOW the SA to use it.

Who will own the stadium? SA and managed by Santa Clara's City Council members. Whoever wrote this should learn to read. The SA will own it, BUT it will be managed by an outside firm that the LLC MUST agree too. The author of this BS (Lisa?) should really read the documents BEFORE you portray yourself as the 'expert' on this!! Shame on you and the 49ers and the majority of the pictured people (who also happen to be sucking up to and puppets of Gary Gillmor and his "red machine" ... this must be costing the Gillmors a mint to pay off so many people including the revolving door of union members that show up with their scripts!). Curious, how much all these people are being paid or will be getting out of this deal!!
There are NOT THOUSANDS of jobs ... There are NOT HUNDREDS of millions of dollars in economic impact to SC and the region!! Unless you�re ACTUALLY admitting that it will have an economic impact ON Santa Clara and the region of hundreds of millions of dollars!! Which it very well could!! The stadium IS NOT triggering tens of millions of dollars in new funding for SC Unified!! This is ridiculous ... the schools would make MORE IF THE stadium fiasco would go away!!! There are 518 FTE jobs being created (read the Financial impact reports)!! There is NO guarantee that any of the construction jobs will be from Santa Clara or even NoCal! (The 49ers have already said they will be bringing in 'specialized talent' for this special project!). Enhance the quality of life ... HOW!! If the 49ers and all these puppets believe this is true ... STATE the specific source of your statements!! They won't because they CAN'T!!! They CAN'T because they are misleading the public with out-of-context sound bites!! NOT FACTS!! Finally ... if this is such a good deal ... ask yourself ... WHY aren't the Yorks paying for it ALL themselves instead of putting an unbearable burden on the taxpayers of Santa Clara and PROTECTING themselves by HIDING behind their "affiliate" the LLC??? Read the Term Sheet ... Read the Draft Environmental Impact Report ... Read the Final Environmental Impact Report ... and while you're at it ... read the Yahoo Draft EIR too!! Yahoo is building a 3 MILLION square foot complex with 12,000 employees JUST across Great America Pkwy. You should be entertained that the traffic for that project is VERY different from the one for the niners!!?? Why is that Patty? Jennifer? Dom? Kevin?? Your little field of schemes is showing some serious cracks ... Read people ... the actual FACTS are not in this flyer ... we�ve paid MILLIONS for the documents � Please read them!!

Posted by Dee Brodie on November 22, 2009 01:07 AM

Dee---Why are you "screaming" in your email--if you have important points to make--state them succinctly and without the CAPS---people that scream loud, whether in person or email are typically the ones trying to hide something--and let me get this straight-12,000 employees of Yahoo will be going to work on Sunday afternoon when it is gameday in the NFL?

Frankly I see so much bs in your response that I actually find it humurous-

Posted by SanJoseA's on November 23, 2009 05:55 PM

Dee-please go to the website and join the mailing list to find out how to help defeat the stadium. We kept the Giants out 20 years ago through a grass roots effort of local citizens. I know many people who live here through the schools, sports leagues, church, etc. and I do not know one person who supports the stadium. We can do this. Please join us.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on November 23, 2009 11:05 PM

If you don't know of one person who supports it why worry--sounds as if you have a slam dunk on defeating it--unless of course you limit your circles to others who like to confuse facts with theories--

Posted by SanJoseA's on November 24, 2009 11:21 AM

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