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Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA June 8, 2010 Election
Measure J
Lease of City Land
City of Santa Clara

Lease of City Land - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 14,628 / 58.20% Yes votes ...... 10,505 / 41.80% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jun 23 2:21pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (58/58)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the City of Santa Clara adopt Ordinance 17.20 leasing City property for a professional football stadium and other events; no use of City General or Enterprise finds [sic] for construction; no new taxes for residents for stadium; Redevelopment Agency funds capped for construction; private party pays all construction cost overruns; no City/Agency obligation for stadium operating/maintenance; private party payment of projected fair market rent; and additional funds for senior/youth/library/recreation to City's General Fund?

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
A yes vote would add Chapter 17.20, entitled "Professional Football Stadium Ground Lease," to the Code of the City of Santa Clara.

A NO vote on this measure means:
A no vote would not add Chapter 17.20, entitled "Professional Football Stadium Ground Lease," to the Code of the City of Santa Clara.

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
This measure would add Chapter 17.20, entitled "Professional Football Stadium Ground Lease," to the Code of the City of Santa Clara.

Under existing law, the City Council can lease City-owned land for any public purpose. A long term lease of land is called a "ground lease."

If approved by majority vote, Chapter 17.20 would require any ground lease of City property for a stadium suitable for professional football to include these requirements:

  • The ground lease would be to a new legal entity created by the City and its Redevelopment Agency called the "Santa Clara Stadium Authority."
  • Neither the City nor its Redevelopment Agency would be liable for Stadium Authority obligations although the City could elect to pay operating and maintenance expenses of certain events it conducts or approves.
  • The initial ground lease term would be 40 years.
  • The ground lease would require the Stadium Authority pay the City "base rent" totaling $40,875,000 in nominal dollars over the 40-year term and would require the Stadium Authority pay the City "performance based rent" pursuant to a formula. Together, the "base rent" and "performance based rent" are called "ground rent."
  • The ground lease would also require payment of a $0.35 fee per football ticket, to a maximum of $250,000/year, for City senior and youth park, recreation and library programs, such as the "Youth Championship Team Fund."
  • The ground lease would require the Stadium Authority lease the property or stadium to a private tenant who would use the stadium for one or two professional football teams and other events.
  • The tenant's lease would require the tenant pay rent to the Stadium Authority sufficient to pay the "ground rent" to the City and stadium operating/maintenance expenses, a capital improvements reserve, and to reimburse reasonable City public safety and traffic management costs.
  • The tenant's lease would require it pay stadium construction cost overruns.
  • The City could not use or pledge any general funds or enterprise funds (electric, water, sewer) for stadium financing or development, except if the City opts to relocate/reconfigure an electrical substation.
  • The City could not allow its ownership interest of the property, in any other property or in the "ground rent" to be used to secure stadium financing.
  • The ground lease would limit Redevelopment Agency funding for stadium construction to $40,000,000 (exclusive of debt service, financing costs and payments for development fees). The tenant would be required to repay amounts the Agency actually contributed to construction costs and development fees if a second team occupies the stadium.
  • The ground lease would not rely on any new or increased taxes for stadium development, operation or maintenance except a possible special tax imposed upon hotels, with consent of the landowners, to fund up to $35,000,000 for stadium development and infrastructure.

Measure J also contains statements of purposes, findings and declarations that would not be added to the City's Code.

Measure J requires a majority vote. If approved, only the voters could amend Chapter 17.20.

/s/ Elizabeth H. Silver
Interim City Attorney
City of Santa Clara

March 3, 2010

  Official Information

N.B. This is not an official version of the measure. For the official wording contact the Registrar of Voters or the district sponsoring the measure.

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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
YES on Measure J. YES for the stadium. YES for Santa Clara.

Measure J is more than just a tremendous economic opportunity for Santa Clara. It makes our city an even better place to live, work and play.

Yes on Measure J brings $249 million in annual economic activity, creating thousands of desperately needed new jobs for local workers who are bearing the brunt of the recession and are struggling to get back to work.

Yes on Measure J provides $26 million that our schools urgently need to battle a crippling deficit that's costing teacher and staff jobs. It contributes tens of millions to the city's General Fund, which funds vital services including police, fire, library, senior and youth programs.

And we can achieve these tremendous benefits without putting the city at risk. Our City Council and budget staff insisted that the legal ordinance text contain ironclad taxpayer protections that completely safeguard our General Fund and our residents from stadium costs. Everything is covered, including construction costs, operating costs and bond payments. NO NEW OR INCREASED TAXES on city residents. Our General Fund collects at least $40 million in rent AND the City maintains ownership of the land.

The stadium will be a community asset that creates new entertainment options for residents. Plus, national broadcast of stadium events will be a potent marketing tool to showcase Santa Clara.

That's why Measure J is enthusiastically supported by a coalition of leaders who understand and believe in Santa Clara including four past Mayors and seventeen former and current City Councilmembers; Sheriff Laurie Smith; the Santa Clara Unified School District Board; the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce; Santa Clara Police and Firefighters Associations; and thousands of residents.

Please join us in putting the power of YES to work for Santa Clara. Yes on Measure J.

/s/ Patricia Mahan
Mayor, City of Santa Clara

/s/ Elaine Alquist
State Senator

/s/ Don Callejon
Superintendent, Santa Clara Unified School District - Retired

/s/ Barbara E. Ratcliffe
Past Chair, Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Donald "Manny" Ferguson
Police chief, City of Santa Clara - Retired

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The claim that the stadium will not cost Santa Clarans anything just isn't true. The stadium subsidy causes a $67 million net loss to the General Fund. This is after all future stadium revenues are counted (i.e. rent, event profit, additional taxes collected). If this was a good deal for Santa Clara, it wouldn't show an overall negative return on investment.

No new taxes are now proposed, but to cover the $67 million loss we will eventually have to raise taxes or provide less city services. And the $67 million figure doesn't even count the loss caused by the sweetheart rent deal.

The "money for schools" claim is also misleading. While the Santa Clara Unified School District will get an additional $22 million (in today's dollars) the money doesn't come from the 49ers or the stadium. It comes from the city's redevelopment fund - the same fund used to build bike trails, libraries, and fire stations. The loss to the City is three times the benefit to the School District.

Stadium supporters claim that operating costs are "covered" by "ironclad" protections. The fine print shows that the 49ers get to decide how much they pay in operations and maintenance costs. The city cannot force the team to pay more if the maintenance is insufficient. Although the city is not legally obligated to make up the difference, who else will?

Let's use public money for public purposes. Please vote no on Measure J.

/s/ Charles R. "Charlie" Arolla
Former Chief of Police, City of Santa Clara

/s/ Anne Creighton
Commissioner, Santa Clara Senior Advisory Commission

/s/ Mary Emerson
Business Operations Manager

/s/ Doris Modesitt
Former Chairwoman, Santa Clara Senior Advisory Commission

/s/ Karen L. Hardy
Teacher and Former Commissioner, Santa Clara Planning Commission

The city's economic report shows that when all stadium costs and revenues are added up, the costs greatly outweigh the revenues.

$67 Million General Fund Net Loss. The City's economic report shows that our General Fund will lose $67 million as a result of the stadium. This is because money which would otherwise flow into the General Fund is diverted to the stadium. It might be worth dealing with the traffic and parking issues if the stadium were profitable, but why spend money on a deal which is projected to lose money?

Negative Return on Investment. Santa Clara is required to direct $114 million to the stadium project, and provide the land. In return, Santa Clara receives only $57 million from various sources -- less than half our contribution. The 49ers won't lose money on the stadium. Why should we?

Sweetheart Deal on City-owned Land. The stadium deal requires Santa Clara to extend the unbelievably low rent that the 49ers have on their training center. The 49ers only pay Santa Clara about $26,000 per year for 11.2 acres. Three nearby businesses pay Santa Clara $1.4 million, $1 million, and $0.5 million per year for properties less than half as big. Why should the 49ers pay only 1% of what others pay?

Small Economic Impact Doesn't Justify Subsidy. Most stadium jobs will be low-wage and part-time. Only 7% of construction jobs will go to Santa Clarans and about 1% of construction spending will occur in Santa Clara. The stadium will account for only 1/1000 of Santa Clara's economy. Many Santa Clara companies provide much more to our city's economy, and better jobs, without asking for a subsidy.

Football is a great sport, but public safety, streets, libraries, and parks are more important. Please vote no on J

For supporting documents:

/s/ Will Kennedy
Councilman, City of Santa Clara

/s/ Jamie McLeod
Councilwoman, City of Santa Clara

/s/ William A. Gissler
Former Mayor and Councilman, City of Santa Clara

/s/ Judy Boccignone
Former City Clerk, City of Santa Clara

/s/ Michele Ryan
Teacher and Chair, Santa Clara Plays Fair

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Opponent's assertions about Measure J fail to provide a single element of proof. For a clearer picture, please consider the objective facts on Santa Clara's website: and carefully review the strict protections and benefits in the ordinance you are voting on.

Measure J generates $249,000,000 annually in regional economic benefits and 2,200 jobs (CSL study, 4/4/07).

Measure J directly contributes an estimated $155 million in performance rent payments (KMA presentation, 6/2/09) plus $40,000,000 in guaranteed base rent payments (ordinance 17.20.020(f)), plus up to $10,000,000 in new funds for senior, youth and library programs (ordinance 17.20.020(m)).

Measure J triggers $26,000,000 to Santa Clara Schools (City agenda report 6/2/09).

Measure J contains ironclad taxpayer protections that legally protect the City from construction cost overruns (ordinance 17.20.020(k)) and maintenance costs (ordinance 17.20.020(j)) and prohibit new taxes on city residents for the stadium (ordinance 17.20.020(i)). Santa Clara's General Fund is explicitly protected (ordinance 17.20.020(b and c)).

The benefits of Measure J are not speculative. Based on our past successes creating our own utility company; preserving Great America; building our world class Convention Center, and creating economic powerhouses like the North of Bayshore Business District, voters can have confidence that Santa Clara has done it before and will be successful again with this project.

For opponents to suggest that Santa Clara's City Staff, who are fiscally prudent and exacting, would recommend a bad deal for Santa Clara is simply wrong. Please join hundreds of Santa Clarans who've publicly endorsed Yes on J.

See and hear their reasons at

/s/ Donald R Von Raesfeld
Former Santa Clara City Manager (1962-1987)

/s/ Elise DeYoung
Vice President, Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees

/s/ Carl Guardino
President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

/s/ John McLemore
Former City Councilmember, City of Santa Clara

/s/ Dawn Lucero
Parent Teacher Student Association President, Santa Clara High School

Full Text of Measure J
Full Text

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