The San Francisco 49ers Team owner Jed York has spent an astounding $3 million into the 2020 Santa Clara City Council election. He wants to put Anthony Becker, Harbir Bhatia, Suds Jain and Kevin Park on the City Council. You can track the election spending on the City Clerk’s website.
Jed is funding The Citizens for Efficient Government and Full Voting Rights - a political action committee that has blanketed Santa Clara with TV commercials, social media advertising, direct mailers and robocalls.
“It’s shocking and obnoxious. He’s unhappy with the way Santa Clara is holding him accountable and he seems to figure it’s cheaper to buy the city-council seats. Money seems to be no object,” said Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor.
The question for Santa Clara residents is, "what does Jed expect for his $3M investment into these four council seats?"
The on-going battle between York and the City Council started in 2015, when Jed demanded that ex-Mayor Jamie Matthews's City Council sell the 49ers the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park for pennies on the dollar. York used his influence over Mayor Matthews, and council members Dominic Caserta, Pat Kolstad and Jerry Marseli to support the 49ers land grab. Fortunately, their plot failed.
Since then, the 49ers have fought Mayor Gillmor and the city council over rent, the curfew regulation at Levis Stadium, have withheld stadium financial statements, and their mis-management of the stadium led to battles over the control of the stadium authority.
This month, the City of Santa Clara uncovered a possible “dark money” scheme by the San Francisco 49ers.
The team is spending over $300,000 to buy a Santa Clara city election -- and they tried to do it anonymously. They hid the money until the City Clerk caught them. They're opposing Measure C because they don't want the Santa Clarans to create council districts -- a move that'll make it harder for them to control the Council.
Please sign our Change.org petition to support investigations by state and local authorities that will uncover and stop the 49ers' dark money spending in Santa Clara elections.
By Robert Haugh from Santa Clara News
The City warned residents in January about “dark money” efforts in Santa Clara for the 2020 elections. That’s an expenditure that tries to influence Mission City voters but the funder tries to do it anonymously. That’s a big no-no.
Now, it looks like that January warning may have caught a big fish: Jed York and the 49ers.
Yesterday, City Clerk Hosam Haggag released this statement:
As the City’s election official, I recently discovered that San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed York and affiliated entities, including the Forty Niners organization, potentially expended campaign funds, including a sponsored poll in December 2019 designed to influence and affect voters’ decisions to vote against Measure C, but did not report the formation of any political committee to the City until months later. The campaign filing only happened after I, in my official capacity as the elections official, sent these parties a warning letter on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.Read more
Santa Clarans saw through your BS, and are smart enough to see this was simply a nasty politically charged hit on Mayor Gillmor just like the BluPac attacks on City Council candidates in 2016.
Next-up, we will expose the connection between all the parties involved in this failed smear campaign.
Yesterday, a law firm with connections to the 49ers filed a frivolous lawsuit against Mayor Lisa Gillmor about how she files her economic interest forms.
Months ago, the firm was told by the District Attorney that there was no merit to their complaint. Here’s what Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen wrote:
“The Public Integrity Unit investigated whether income to Public Property Advisors was properly reported on Mayor Gillmor’s Forms 700. After reviewing documents, interviewing witnesses, conducting legal research, and consulting an FPPC representative, we concluded that Ms. Gillmor properly reported the income.”
But they filed a lawsuit anyway -- just two weeks before the election when Mayor Gillmor is on the ballot.
This reminds us of 2016 when the dark money group call BluPAC was sending negative mailers and text messages to Santa Clarans to try to buy our city council elections. The dark money group had numerous ties to the 49ers. The team would not deny their involvement in funding BluPAC.
Now, McManis Faulkner, a major San Jose law firm (with annual salaries of approx. $9.3M), is filing the lawsuit against Mayor Gillmor on behalf of Brian Exline -- a Santa Clara University law student. It’s not believable that Mr. Exline is paying the firm. So who is? Is it the 49ers? McManis Faulkner recently worked on a project for Santa Clara City Council Member and former Mayor Patricia Mahan. Is this the equivalent of “dark money” being used in our judicial system?
Let’s hope the true source of funding is uncovered. Above all, let’s hope that voters reject someone using a frivolous lawsuit right before the election. I think they will and Mayor Gillmor will enjoy a big victory on election night.
Stand Up for Santa Clara
We’re not following the Mayor’s race closely. Sorry, but we just don’t think it’ll be a close race. Mayor Lisa Gillmor will cruise to victory. She’s done some great things to turn Santa Clara around. Mission City voters will reward her for it.
Her campaign doesn’t need much help. But she’s getting it anyway from the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Anthony Becker campaign.
It’s like an epic match where James Ellsworth kept making stupid mistakes against the superior AJ Styles. It ended up being a big smackdown. And Styles didn’t really need any extra help to win.
But yesterday, the Chamber PAC filed a report that showed that they contributed $1,000 to Becker for Mayor campaign. Okay, what’s the big deal? They endorsed him.
Well, there’s this funny thing called contribution limits. They’ve existed for decades. It’s clearly spelled out on the City’s website. In Santa Clara, it’s $590 per person, or per PAC. Yup. That’s a lot less than $1,000. So the contribution is illegal and will have to be returned. D‘oh!
We don’t think the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will investigate this action. They have more important and serious Chamber investigations to do.
But this was a mistake the Becker campaign should have caught. (Note to Team Becker: there’s a reason no one else is writing checks for more than $590 to you!)
We’ll look for an explanation next week in the Santa Clara Weekly. Maybe PAC Treasurer Dave Tobkin can justify the $1,000. Maybe Tobkin will come up with an interesting explanation just like he justified not filing campaign reports with the city for four years, from 2010 to 2014.
In a story written by Weekly reporter Carolyn Schuk, Tobkin says that then-City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. told him not to file reports with the City. But Schuk never asked a basic and obvious follow-up question: then why did you file reports with the City before 2010 and after 2014? We bet in an investigation, the City or the FPPC will ask the obvious.