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June 11, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, June 11, 2004

Council member wants to sell concert tickets Council member wants to sell concert tickets (June 11, 2004)

Galiotto says Shoreline perk can be used to generate city revenue

By Corey Pride

The second member of the Mountain View City Council to refuse his VIP tickets to Shoreline Amphitheatre, Nick Galiotto, has announced he wants them to be sold for city profit.

Although he stated earlier that he doesn't believe he can get a majority of the council to agree with him, his plan was forwarded on Tuesday to the council procedures committee for consideration.

Council member Greg Perry first refused to use the tickets, worth about $8,750 for the season, which have been given to council members for the past 18 years. He has said the tickets create a conflict of interest because the council regularly votes on Shoreline matters.

As stipulated in the city's contract with Shoreline, each council member receives two tickets to the box seats each season.

Under Galiotto's plan, the city would sell the luxury box seats through the Center of Performing Arts box office and have the profits deposited in Mountain View's general fund. Tickets that are not sold within four days of an event would then be offered to city employees and volunteers in a random drawing.

Galiotto said even if his proposal isn't passed by the council, he is making an important statement.

"I think it's a point that needs to be made. We were trying to find money to expand after-school programs and wondering where it would come from. Well, if there's all this fuss going on about tickets, here's a way to solve that problem and create continuous revenue," he said.

The tickets create an "appearance problem" and he does not use them, Galiotto added. He said he has given his tickets back to the city for Mountain View employees to use or donated them to the Kiwanis Club. He has also let his son use a couple of tickets this concert season.

Council member Mike Kasperzak said he believes the current system is fine and Galiotto's plan may cause legal issues to spring up.

"I think there are logistical issues with this proposal," Kasperzak said. "I don't know if it's against the lease or, since we are talking about selling box seats to the public, if there are liability concerns."

Council member Rosemary Stasek said the entire ticket issue has been mischaracterized.

"Everyone is missing the point," Stasek said. "Shoreline has no say in whether we get those tickets. It's required in the contract. So the idea that somehow they use those tickets to sway votes is ridiculous."

Stasek has used the tickets for eight concert seasons and considers attending Shoreline events part of her job.

She also pointed to the current litigation Mountain View is engaged in with Shoreline as proof the council is not swayed by the tickets. The city is in a lawsuit with Clear Channel -- the media giant that manages Shoreline -- about parking fees that Mountain View officials believe should be shared.

Vice Mayor Matt Neely said since the city attorney told him there is no conflict in using the tickets, that's what he believes. He said the tickets have no effect on him.

"When we are dealing with Shoreline, we are dealing with weighty issues of land use, traffic and parking," he said. "Those tickets never even enter into the conversation."

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