SANTA CLARA — The hotly-contested 10 p.m. curfew will remain at Levi’s Stadium — at least for now.
City leaders debated the divisive issue again Tuesday night, one month after lawmakers denied an hourlong extension for a Coldplay concert scheduled Oct. 4 at the billion-dollar venue. The heated talks came a few days after the San Francisco 49ers, who manage the $1.3 billion venue, said pop star Ed Sheeran pulled out of talks for a 2018 tour stop because of the weeknight curfew.
“I can assure you this — there is no money from the Ed Sheeran show as a result of the curfew,” said Jim Mercurio, a top San Francisco 49ers official who manages the stadium. He urged Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her colleagues to “set aside arguments and political agendas” and to become leaders on the issue.
“The fact of the matter remains: Promoters will not come if you have these regulations,” Mercurio continued. “I promise you, mayor, you will not have any additional concerts Sunday through Thursday with a 10 p.m. curfew.”
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to launch an outreach plan, proposed by Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill, to mail letters gathering comment from residents and businesses near the stadium. The plan includes an online survey to gauge residents’ concerns and satisfaction with how Levi’s is operated — giving top priority to those who live within a mile of the stadium.
O’Neill also suggested focus groups and phone surveys of neighboring residents, asking questions about noise, traffic, parking and the curfew. It was unclear who would conduct the surveys or write the questions.
The plan comes after interim City Manager Rajeev Batra canceled a public meeting about the curfew following questions from Gillmor, one of the 49ers’ harshest critics. It was a move Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta called “sheepish” on Tuesday — but blamed a “chilling effect” caused by Gillmor. Anyone who questions the mayor, Caserta said, is ousted. He pointed to three city administrators who left after Gillmor took over.
Batra is also leaving City Hall, attending his final meeting on Tuesday. The new city manager, Deanna Santana, begins next week.
“This is a political vendetta that has nothing to do with following the law,” Caserta said.
Gillmor maintained that Santa Clara promised people living near Levi’s Stadium that noise would be controlled and concerts would end early on weeknights. She said it’s critical for the city to keep those promises.
But most residents at Tuesday’s meeting voiced support for an hour-long extension. Niners officials initially requested four extensions a year, arguing that the amusement park Great America is granted 30 exemptions to its curfew every year. The NFL team offered donations to local nonprofits in exchange for lifting the curfew.
Without easing the restrictions, team officials warned, Santa Clara could lose more major concerts in the future — causing the city to lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue that could fund city services like police, fire and road repairs.
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