Last week, Santa Clara City Council Member Jamie McLeod hinted at a verdict in the case of City vs. referendum seekers, and it’s here: NO on the referendum. Appeals notwithstanding, there are no obstacles left for the 49ers and City to start building the $1.02 billion stadium on the Great America auxiliary lot.
Taken a week ago: Earth being moved for new sewer lines and utilities to sit under stadium. Note that safety lighting has not yet been removed.
Judge Peter Kirwan clearly sided with the City in his ruling:
In arguing their position, the city and 49ers cited past cases, saying voters only have one shot at deciding “legislative” policy issues, such as stadium construction. Any subsequent issues — like the loan — are only “administrative” acts needed to carry out the wishes of voters who approved the project in June 2010, they maintain.
If there’s a dangerous precedent, it’s that any municipality who chooses to build a stadium in the Bay Area can choose to be purposefully vague or obfuscating when writing up stadium deal terms, get a referendum passed, then fill in the blanks later. Time will tell if others use this as a template. It also remains to be seen if this actually ends up a good deal for Santa Clara years into the lease. Regardless, congratulations are in order to Santa Clara and the San Francisco 49ers, whose diligence (and a lot of help from the NFL) helped make this happen. I look forward to the open house, and will post the occasional picture as construction progresses.