By Tim Hunt
49er owner Jed York pours millions into Santa Clara council raceUploaded: Oct 22, 2020
Voting already has started for the Nov. 3 general election, but that hasn’t slowed the flood of political spending.
Hundreds of millions are being spent on the presidential campaign, while the statewide propositions in California also are pouring money into media.
One Bay Area City Council election caught my eye—the city of Santa Clara’s council campaign. You might remember that Santa Clara is the home of Levi’s Stadium and the city holds title to the stadium. The 49ers football team manages the stadium. The relationship between its operator, the 49ers, and city leaders is frayed to say the least.
Jody Meacham of the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported this week that 49er owner Jed York already has spent $2.35 million through an independent campaign committee to try and elect his favored candidates. Santa Clara is voting in district elections. Going to district elections ended the nearly all-white council members and a team spokesman has strongly backed the continuation of the district elections.
That’s a stunning amount of money for a local council election, but it points out the stakes for York and his team. They have been battling with the city for several years in financial disputes and court actions. The committee is backing two candidates running against incumbents and two others running for open seats. Stay tuned to see whether York’s huge investment pays off—and, with nearly two weeks left to go—more money may flow.
It no surprise that the Danville Town Council voted 4-1 to formally oppose the Tassajara Parks development next to the town on its eastside.
It’s in Contra Costa County so jurisdiction belongs to the Board of Supervisors. The planning commission and supervisors are expected to consider the project in the coming weeks.
An approval will require moving the county’s urban limit line to accommodate the project.
Danville has long opposed any development in the Tassajara Valley so this is not a new position. The developers, who have been working for six years on the current project, have tried to sweeten the pie for the supervisors in a few ways.
The northern parcel that would contain the 125 single-family homes abuts Tassajara Hills Elementary School. The school has challenging traffic flow during drop-off and pick-up hours, so the proponents have included major improvements and a redesign of the parking lot to move cars more efficiently.
The big sweetener is open space permanently dedicated to the East Bay Regional Parks District. The northern parcel totals 155 acres with a 30-acre parcel set for the residential development. The rest would be open space. The 616-acre southern parcel will be entirely dedicated to open space and create a barrier to any further significant residential development in the Tassajara Valley.
Notably, the project, being outside of the East Bay Municipal Utility District boundaries, does not have an identified source of water. The project website indicates the developers, should the project be approved, will purchase water rights from another water agency. That’s the approach the Dougherty Valley developers took, buying water out of the San Joaquin Valley and then convincing the Dublin San Ramon Services District to serve the area with that water.
Unlike the Dougherty project, which had a significant affordable housing element, Tassajara will be market-rate housing and almost certainly will be in seven figures if it can clear all the hurdles to approval.