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April 06, 2010
49ers stadium lawsuit bounced, vote to proceed
So much for that lawsuit to block a June vote on the San Francisco 49ers' planned stadium in Santa Clara: A county judge yesterday dismissed the suit, saying the plaintiff lacked "clear and convincing evidence" that the ballot language was misleading. The June 8 vote will now presumably go ahead, as will all the 49ers' campaign spending.
(UPDATE: The San Francisco Chronicle's John Cote notes that while a 49ers-aligned attorney testified yesterday that the lawsuit's claim of a $114 million stadium subsidy — which is not mentioned in the ballot language — was "plucked out of thin air," the figure in fact appears in the 49ers' own documents.)
In related news, the sale of Cedar Fair, the amusement park company that controls the proposed site of the 49ers stadium and which has opposed it on and off, has fallen through, apparently because the new investors weren't happy with Cedar Fair's revenues. What this means for the stadium deal is uncertain, but then, what the now-aborted sale meant for it was uncertain, too.
The judge said that the test for changing ballot language was 'severe', and he didn't disagree with anything Ms. Bress asked for. We learned that unlike state ballot measures, which require the legislative analyst to prepare a financial summary of the effects of a measure (i.e. disclose the costs), there is no such requirement for city ballot measures.
So we have a ballot initiative written by the 49ers as a advocacy piece ('advocacy piece' comes from our 2 city council members against the stadium, Jamie McLeod and Will Kennedy), with the Term Sheet text appended to it. The text does not describe the costs. The text is 1 Exhibit out of 16 exhibits that comprise the 'term sheet'. The Exhibit 14, the table of costs, was left off of the 49ers ballot measure.
Therefore, the 49ers and our city council majority and city attorney could get away with writing a ballot question and summary that also do not disclose any of the costs. Because the costs aren't included in the ballot measure sponsored by the 49ers. Does this whole thing seem rigged to not let the voters know what the stadium will cost Santa Clara? You bet it does.
And because the table of costs was left off of the ballot measure, it cannot be added in now, nor can the 49ers/city be forced to include the costs in any part of the ballot measure.
The 49ers have political law firms working for them on this. The whole thing seems designed to fool Santa Clarans into thinking the stadium will cost much less than it will, and to hide the true costs from us. The volume of junk mail we're getting from the 49ers on a weekly basis that misrepresents the true costs of the project to Santa Clara is high. They tout the benefits without putting dollar amounts in net present value to compare with construction costs, which are in net present value, and our city council majority and schools superintendent are campaigning for the 49ers and are quoted in campaign mailers backing up the false financial info the 49ers are presenting.
Where is the line for elected officials between freedom of speech in campaign materials, and purposefully misleading voters so that they will vote yes on this project? That line was crossed long ago.
Where do you get your facts? The cancellation of the sale has nothing to do with Apollo's displeasure with CF's revenues? It has everything to do with CF's unitholders voting AGAINST the plan to take the company private.
Here comes the Los Angeles 49ers..
There is an excellent opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News written by 2 Santa Clara city council members, Will Kennedy and Jamie McLeod. It's title is '49ers stadium is not a good deal for Santa Clara'.
The link is:
And now there's another SJ Merc piece that discusses the campaign - the proponents side exaggerating the benefits, and the reporter thinks the opponents are inflating what could happen in Santa Claran and what does happen to NFL host cities in terms of debt etc. The reporter ignores the clause in the Term Sheet which states that the 49ers are not responsible for the bond debt of the Stadium Authority (>$200 million) - the reporter was provided with that exact information.
The reporter also ignores that the ballot question, summary, and measure were purposefully written to not disclose the stadium costs to Santa Clarans. IF this is a good deal, why are the 49ers trying to hide the numbers from us?
When the reporter was asked in person if he'd ever looked up what happens with debt at other NFL stadiums on the Field of Schemes website- he indicated that he hadn't read the book or looked at the website. It would behoove reporters working on Santa Clara stadium stories to read about NFL construction debt and operational debt on the shoulders of taxpayers in NFL host cities around the country. That means looking at your site, Neil.
Neil-did you know that the stadium proponents lawn signs don't mention the 49ers or the stadium? It's all "Measure J is for Jobs" "Measure J is for schools". They are pretending that Measure J is about something other than giving a public subsidy of dollars to a wealthy NFL owner. And their campaign materials are also pretending the same things.
Here's the link to the latest article:
SC taxpayer, your forgot "Yes, for Santa Clara!" lawn signs. Explains everything, right?
Mr. Mintz might think of himself as being unbiased in his reporting, but to us it's very frustrating because we feel he's not telling the "real" story.
Newspapers I thought were supposed to give voice to citizens who didn't have multimillion war chests and politicians in their pocket. But that's not happening with the Mercury.
You would think that Mr. Mintz would familiarize himself with Field of Schemes and The League by David Harris for some background on the NFL stadium game. After all, even in its diminished state, the Mercury still gets read by a lot of people.
It's still pretty pro-stadium and that's disappointing given all the information we must counteract.