Millions continue to pour in from the 49ers to get public money for their stadium

money tree
Contributions for 3/18/2010 to 5/22/2010 to
their front group
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC $2,605,657.84
Joint Electrical Industry Fund (JEIF)$10,000
These latest contributions bring the total contributions of the San Francisco 49ers to winning the Measure J election to $4,010,345.49. Sounds like a lot of money, but the 49ers paid at least 9 of their players over $4 million each in 2009. But the question is...

Are the 49ers millions buying votes??

At the time that the Stadium Five decided to subsidize and own an NFL football stadium for the benefit of the San Francisco 49ers the public was firmly against the idea. Even in January 2010, almost two months into the 49ers campaign to convince them it was a good idea, Santa Clara voters were still firmly against it. But eventually, over a dozen brochures, innumerable yard signs, and countless commercials bought with millions of dollars have convinced a majority of Santa Clarans that subsidizing an NFL stadium is a good idea.

shill warning alert sign

Of course it takes more than money to convince people that a money losing stadium is a good idea. It takes lies, gross exaggeration and most important of all, leaving out the negatives. And the Stadium Five, rather than represent the people of Santa Clara - as is their responsibility as elected officials - and give an honest picture of the situation, they chose instead to shill for the 49ers. The Santa Clara 49ers stadium has an incredible negative that is baked into it right from the start. Per a presentation from city staff, the city's General Fund loses $67 million from a one-team stadium. But you won't hear about that from the 49ers or their political shills. Incredibly, while a homeowner must disclose all the negatives of their home to potential buyers, politicians and sports teams are under no obligation to detail the negatives of a sports stadium when they try and sell it to the public. And they do not have to exercise any restraint in overstating and distorting positives. For example, jobs can be spoken about in the most general terms - without giving hours, pay or duties. To give the details of the jobs would completely burst the "NFL stadiums bring jobs" bubble. So the 49ers and their shills were careful not to do it. And they were very careful to mention the public costs as little as possible. And they used a convenient fact - that the State of California is so broke it has sometimes claimed some redevelopment funds from California cities, to lie that the State would take ALL redevelopment funds if they weren't used for the stadium. Mayor Patricia Mahan is particularly fond of spreading that lie - "Use it or lose it" - is the phrase she uses to do it.

Santa Clara Measure J polls
PeriodPollsterForAgainstNumber Polled
May 22-24 2010SurveyUSA for KPIX-TV56%40%577
April 2010ABC 7 News/SJ Mercury News52%36% 614
February 15-16, 2010Lindholm Research of Oregon45%45%200
Jan. 2010Survey USA40%54%500
June 2009Survey USA30%62%500

San Francisco 49ers continue to try and buy the Santa Clara Measure J election

green money bag The San Francisco 49ers via their front group Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, continue to pour money into the Santa Clara Measure J election. And why not spend a few million when you are going to get hundreds of millions from your subsidy city? Their Form 460 for the period 1/1/2010 to 3/17/2010 reveals that the San Francisco 49ers and their firewall entity gave an additional $1,042,037.40 in cash and services to try and buy the June 10, 2010 Measure J election. Bringing their total so far to $1,404,687.65 in less than five months. Again, a little price to pay for getting a small city to take on the financial burden of helping to fund construction and then owning and paying the bills for a money losing NFL stadium for 40 or more years.

Who funds Santa Clarans for Economic Progress?

San Francisco 49ers logo

A required campaign document reveals the truth. The San Francisco 49ers front group Santa Clarans for Economic Progress filed their required Form 460 (Recipient Committee Campaign Statement) with the City of Santa Clara Clerk's Office on 2/1/2010 to detail their contributions and expenditures for 2009. Although they had been touting themselves as a "grassroots organization", the Form 460 revealed that to be a lie. 99.73% of their contributions ( $362,650.25 ) came from the San Francisco 49ers or the 49ers firewall entity Forty Niners Stadium, LLC. Only 13 people living in Santa Clara gave money to the group totaling $725. Four people living outside of Santa Clara contributed an additional $240 dollars and one company in Santa Clara contributed $20. A box labeled "Sponsored" was also checked (there was no box for "front group"). Where the form asked for Committee Name they wrote:

Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, sponsored by and major funding by Forty Niners Stadium, LLC and a coalition of local residents, business owners, retirees, homeowners, civic leaders and native Santa Clarans.

Santa Clarans for Economic Progress Funding
San Francisco 49ers and Forty Niners Stadium, LLC$362,650.2599.73%
coalition of local residents, business owners, retirees, homeowners, civic leaders and native Santa Clarans $9850.27%

When you see Santa Clarans for Economic Progress you can substitute San Francisco 49ers. The ballot initiative that the people of Santa Clara are being asked to vote on is an advocacy piece written by the same group that stands to benefit from it - the San Francisco 49ers. The fact that a ballot initiative can be an advocacy piece was one of two reasons the Santa Clara Stadium Five withdrew their own ballot measure (which would have had to have been written in a more objective and truthful way) in deference to the San Francisco 49ers ballot initiative.

While Santa Clara politicians talk about what a great deal owning an NFL football stadium will be, it is important to remember that the San Francisco 49ers have chosen not to own and run an NFL stadium. If football stadiums were profitable enterprises, the billionaire team owners around the country wouldn't bother trying to get local governments to help finance them and run them. They would just finance and run them themselves. And there would be no need for books like Field of Schemes.

PyramidProposed Santa Clara 49ers Pyramid

Why politicians are so anxious to use public funds to subsidize billionaires in the unprofitable enterprise of running a football stadium is partly revealed in the statements "it will put us on the map" (which it doesn't do - the team retains it's name - "San Francisco 49ers") and the phrase that an ex-politician shouted into the public microphone at a Santa Clara city council meeting - "great leaders build!". A football stadium to them is what the Pyramids were to the Pharoahs. A monument to their greatness. But while a Pyramid cost a lot of money to build, it didn't require bonds to be issued with 30 years of interest payment and a lump sum repayment of principle, didn't steal money from the Redevelopment Agency that would have gone to the city General Fund, and they didn't perennially lose money like an NFL football stadium. Wouldn't it be nice if they just built a pyramid? They could call it the Santa Clara San Francisco 49ers Pyramid. It would cost less to build, lose less money, and actually would "put us on the map".

Santa Clarans for Economic Progress - A San Francisco 49ers Front Organization

Lisa LangLang

Lisa Lang, vice president of communications for the San Francisco 49ers said that the team would fund the effort to gather the 4,640 signatures (10% of registered Santa Clara voters) required to put the stadium initiative on the June 2010 ballot. In addition to funding the signature gathering, ex-politician Lisa Gillmor has stated that the San Francisco 49ers provided funding for the first mass mailing sent to registered Santa Clara voters in November, 2009. It is typical in situations like this for a wealthy corporation to fund a "citizens group" to give the appearance that there is a grassroots movement of the people taking place. So when you see "Santa Clarans for Economic Progress" you can subsitute "San Francisco 49ers".

An organization using a "grassroots group" to campaign for it in order to mask who is really behind the activity is known as Astroturfing. The name comes from the fact that Astroturf is plastic designed to appear to be something else - grass.

2009 Funding

From the California Form 460 (Recipient Committee Campaign Statement) for 2009 that they were required to file by February 1st, 2010:

Monetary Contributions

NameDateAmountNotesZip Code
Donald J. Callejon11/14/2009$20co-signer95050
Lawrence R. Wolfe11/16/2009$20San Jose resident95126
Stephen A. Ricossa11/16/2009$2095051
Jose E. Solis Jr.11/18/2009$20San Jose resident95118
Maureen A. Standifer12/28/2009$2095050
Buck Polk11/14/2009$2595051
George A. Netto11/18/2009$2595050
Del Fontana12/03/2009$2595050
James E. Lee11/14/2009$4095051
Jerry Marsalli11/18/2009$5095051
Larry Marsalli11/21/2009$5095050
Aldyth Parle12/14/2009$50co-signer but withdrew support95050
Theodore M. Keech11/16/2009$100San Jose resident95130
Elaine Alquist11/20/2009$10095050
Larry E. Stone11/21/2009$100Sunnyvale resident94087
Patrick Kolstad12/29/2009$100co-signer95051
Lisa M. Gillmor11/20/2009$200spokesperson95051
Total Individual Contributions$965
Total Santa Clara Individuals$725
Total Santa Clara in 95054 Zip$0

The proposed Santa Clara San Francisco 49ers stadium site is in the 95054 zip code. It is worth noting that, like the Stadium Five, none of the individual contributors live in 95054 zip code. None will live near the stadium. None will face the devastating traffic, noise and litter that will occur with 68,500 rowdy football fans coming into the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon or Sunday, Monday or Thursday evening. And the Santa Clara city council is hoping to house two NFL teams and hold 40 stadium events a year.

Hoagies Food & Beverage Co. / A Catered Affair11/19/2009$20
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/09/2009$50,000
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC12/11/2009$50,000
Total Company Contributions$100,020

Non-monetary Contributions (Employee Services)

Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/09/2009$3,410.06Committee Legal Compliance Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/09/2009$8,000.00Consulting Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/09/2009$12,000.00Consulting Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/09/2009$22,831.50Legal Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/24/2009$12,000.00Consulting Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/27/2009$8,000.00Consulting Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC11/27/2009$12,742.00Legal Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC12/01/2009$12,000.00Consulting Services
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC12/28/2009$500.00Purchase of List
Forty Niners Stadium, LLC12/31/2009$24,628.25Legal Services
San Francisco 49ers11/09/2009$25,825.63Services of 2 Employees
San Francisco 49ers11/10/2009 to 11/30/2009$47,121.44Services of 2 Employees
San Francisco 49ers12/01/2009 to 12/31/2009$73,591.37Services of 5 Employees
Total Non-Monetary Contributions$262,650.25

Grassroots Organization???

Santa Clarans for Economic Progress Funding
San Francisco 49ers and Forty Niners Stadium, LLC$362,650.2599.73%
coalition of local residents, business owners, retirees, homeowners, civic leaders and native Santa Clarans $9650.27%

San Francisco 49ers and their Political Allies Create a Ballot Initiative to allow an Advocacy Piece

The Santa Clara city council had already decided to do a ballot measure to allow Santa Clara voters to tell them whether they should allow their city of 110,000 to subsidize a San Francisco 49ers football stadium with a capacity of 68,500. However, once the 49ers decided to do a ballot initiative via their front group, Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, the city council - by a 5 to 2 vote - canceled their ballot measure. And it is easy to see why they canceled. The stadium five knew that a ballot measure had to be written with a certain amount of objectivity, had to be somewhat honest with the facts and regarding potential outcomes. With a ballot initiative it is easier to mislead the voters with words that make a stadium deal sound like a can't miss proposition. Words that can ignore the negative impacts of a stadium to the residents who live near a stadium. Words that can talk only about the most rosy possible financial scenario of a stadium. Words that can overlook negative scenarios - ones where the stadium loses money. And it can certainly avoid talking about the least rosy scenario of all - where the stadium loses so much money that the San Francisco 49ers cannot, or will not make up for the losses and the city has to use more taxpayer money to avoid an embarassing Santa Clara Stadium Authority bankrupcty.

San Francisco 49ers and their Political Allies Create a Ballot Initiative to Prevent Legal Challenges

The majority of the city council, in particular Kevin Moore and Patricia Mahan, are pushing hard for a taxpayer subsidized football stadium and had already been pressured enough by concerned citizens such that they had to create a ballot measure to allow Santa Clarans the chance to vote on whether it was a prudent course of action. However, a ballot measure is subject to some environmental reviews and can be challenged in court. The ballot initiative that the San Francisco 49ers created via their front group, will not be subject to the same environmental review or be subject to legal challenge. So the stadium chearleaders on the city council pulled their own ballot measure (by a 5 to 2 vote) in favor of the 49ers ballot initiative. The city council is in 95050 and 95051. Five of them could care less if the environment of 95054 is negatively impacted and thus eagerly allowed the 49ers to write their own ballot statements. Of course, as rabid as most of these politicians are for the taxpayer subsidized stadium, their ballot measure may have been as biased and deceitful in wording as the one the 49ers have drawn up for this ballot initiative.

Putting a 14 acre 68,500 seat stadium on a 17 acre lot within a few blocks of neighborhoods and without any nearby parking, creates some obvious and serious environmental impacts. Serious enough that the city would likely be sued if they built their stadium on a ballot measure of their own creation. So the 49ers have funded this group - Santa Clarans for Economic Progress - to create and push a ballot initiative that will be exempt from any lawsuits from stadium neighbors who are negatively impacted by the noise, traffic and other problems that come with a rowdy group of sports fanatics who will party before and after games in parking lots blocks way and in the streets by the stadium. Unfortunately for the people of 95054 who will be impacted by this massive building crammed onto a tiny lot, they will have to share the polling booth with the people of 95051 and 95050 who will only be financially impacted by the stadium. Not coincidentally, none of the city council live in the 95054 section of Santa Clara - six live in 95050 and one in 95051. But 5 of the 7 city council members - Patricia Mahan, Dominic Caserta, Kevin Moore, Joe Kornder, and Jamie Matthews voted to cancel their ballot measure in favor of the San Francisco 49ers ballot initiative.

Ex-Politicians Tout Seasonal Part-Time Minimum Wage Jobs as Economic Progress

Lisa Gillmor Gillmor

Pat Kolstad Kolstad

Some ex-politicians and high-level bureaucrats like Pat Kolstad , Lisa_Gillmor and Don Callejon have teamed up with the San Francisco 49ers NFL football team and given us their idea of "Economic Progress" - building a 937 million dollar stadium so a small amount of part-time (only 10 partial workdays a year guaranteed) minimum wage jobs can be created:

Don Callejon pictureCallejon

So how does that sound for economic progress? 10 days times 4 or 5 hours a day would be 40 to 50 hours of work. One week of minimum wage work is all they can guarantee people getting "stadium jobs". 937 million - with some of it a subsidy from the taxpayers of Santa Clara, to provide the equivalent of a week of work? Even if their most optimistic dreams come true - that the Oakland Raiders will move to the stadium and provide another week of part-time work, and that they will get 18 other stadium events to provide another 2 weeks of part-time work, for their most optimistic projection of 4 or 5 weeks of temporary part-time work. And how many of these stadium workers will be Santa Clara residents?

Besides stadium jobs, proponents of a stadium will tout jobs related to the stadium event. As they tell it, people will spend money after the games at local restaurants and bars and that will provide more - temporary part-time - jobs. If people go to a bar or restaurant after a 49ers game, will they go to a Santa Clara restaurant or bar? Or will they go to one in San Jose, Campbell, Milpitas, Sunnyvale or Mountain View? Or will they head back to their home town in the north bay, east bay or peninsula before going out to dinner? That would make the most sense since it is likely they just ate at the stadium. In fact, the biggest political cheerleader for the stadium, council member Kevin Moore has touted going to a stadium by saying "'re getting to eat more food than you did in the last two weeks..." And they likely just drank at the stadium as well, if they drink alcohol. Do they want to immediately go to a bar or wait till they get home and go to their neighborhood bar to talk to their friends about the game? Only the taxpayers of the City of Santa Clara will pay for the stadium. The rest of the Bay Area taxpayers will pay nothing. Will people prefer to go to restaurants and bars in Santa Clara - in the 10 to 40 times a year the stadium has an event? Not likely. And if they did go to a bar or restaurant as they left the stadium, would the few temporary part-time bar and restaurant jobs go only to residents of Santa Clara? It seems that economic progress can't be the reason for this push for a city-owned stadium. Shouldn't this group be called Santa Clarans for Stadium Vanity Buys?

Now there are some people who will benefit handsomely from the deal. The former and current Santa Clara politicians will have a great shot of getting high paid Stadium Authority management company jobs. But there are only a few of those to go around for a city of over a hundred thousand people.