Three members of the Redwood City council accepted free football game tickets from Stanford, which may have created a conflict of interest as the University is currently negotiating with Redwood City on the development of a satellite campus on 35 acres adjacent to Highway 101.
The council members involved – Jeff Ira, Barbara Pierce and John Seybert – listed the football tickets with other gifts on their 2011 economic disclosure forms. State law requires city council members to disclose all gifts received over the course of the year.
Ira and Seybert attended the Card’s November matchup against the University of Oregon with tickets gifted from the University. According to Ira’s disclosure form, the value of the tickets he accepted was $270.
“People always ask me [if I saw a conflict of interest in accepting the tickets],” Ira told the Palo Alto Daily News. “If you have any confusion, I would call [Stanford] up and see how [ticked] off they are at me for all of the things I’m not giving into.”
“It does not impact my decision making at all,” he said.
Pierce accepted one ticket to an October football game against the University of Colorado.
Lisa Lapin, Stanford spokesperson, told the Palo Alto Daily News that tickets to many university events such as football games are regularly offered to local officials.
“We don’t single out any particular entity,” Lapin said. “Stanford is in six different jurisdictions, from Santa Clara County to San Mateo County, so everyone is given the same opportunities.”
The Stanford in Redwood City project was prompted by Stanford’s General Use Permit with Santa Clara County. The permit limits how much Stanford can expand on the main campus, so the University is aiming to relocate administrative buildings to a satellite campus in Redwood City to preserve main campus space for academic uses.
There are presently no plans for the University to locate offices on the site. After construction is complete, Stanford plans to continue leasing office space to third parties.
– Alice Phillips