SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — There’s a nasty showdown on the sidelines of Levi’s Stadium.
The city’s top cop is accusing the Santa Clara mayor of lousy leadership.
Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers is giving full voice to months of frustration, accusing Mayor Lisa Gillmor of putting her ego, her agenda and her personal grievances against the 49ers, ahead of the city’s best interests.
Sellers said, “These politically motivated attacks must stop. They must stop. They’re hurting our city.”
Even in the often-acrimonious politics in the city of Santa Clara, it was an extraordinary moment.
Sellers said, “I have to be honest Mayor. Your rhetoric has unfairly tarnished the reputation of the Santa Clara Police Department and many, many city employees.”
The chief’s comments came at a meeting of the stadium authority to discuss the findings of a controversial audit of Levi’s Stadium.
“Being in law enforcement and for the past year seeing my badge being tarnished with all of the allegations being directed at my department, it was time for me to speak the truth to everybody,” Sellers said.
The audit team estimates the 49ers owe the city roughly $115,000 for unpaid police and fire services at stadium events, although city staff say the actual number could be far lower, closer to $20,000 to $25,000.
But whatever the number, Chief Sellers says the mayor’s claims that the stadium and police department are being mismanaged are inaccurate and unfair.
“There is no corruption, stench or collusion.” Sellers said, “The Mayor has got to start speaking the truth and stop accusing people of misappropriation of funds. Because the morale around this city is at its lowest.”
We tried to repeatedly on Friday to contact the mayor, but she had no comment.
On Thursday night, the mayor and her political allies voted to deny a curfew extension for this fall’s Coldplay concert, suggesting politics in Santa Clara remain as polarized as ever.