Santa Clara Focus – OPINION

Santa Clara Focus

By Robert Haugh

As the gun slinging continues with a plethora of election mailers, we continue to focus on finding truths in what’s being disseminated. Unfortunately, some media outlets continue using their publications as an outlet to support certain candidates and local businesses.

While many community members have voiced their displeasure at the Santa Clara Weekly being a mouthpiece for its publisher Miles Barber and candidates and issues of his liking, there are also concerns that the newspaper is also serving the needs of the San Francisco 49ers.

Last week, we raised a red flag about Mr. Barber’s self-dealing practices (which the IRS prohibits) as a member of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce, Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Committee and Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (

* We were recently given a tip regarding  a Sept. 23, 2016 email from Santa Clara City Council candidate John McLemore to Barber and other Chamber members (see photo below).

A portion of the email read: “Miles- Here is the very latest polling breakdown for the City of Santa Clara….Hope you can plan around some of these numbers. This data is from a California Company that deals with selling the data/addresses to you once you decide how you want to cut the voters up… These numbers are through the June 2016 primary election.”

We have talked to a variety of people involved in the landscape of politics and ethical campaigning, and some believe this to be obvious illegal coordination. Others think it falls into a grey area.  Further, McLemore has bought a number of ads in Barber’s publication, with multiple ads appearing in last week’s (Oct. 19, 2016) publication alone. We believe the best referee in this matter is the FPPC, so we will be filing a complaint with the FPPC to find out if this is illegal coordination between John McLemore and Miles Barber and the Chamber of Commerce.

* We reached out to Chris Horton, Chairman of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and are waiting for a response. We’ve  also sent e-mails to other local Chambers asking if they have self-dealing policies for their board members or PAC members.

Santa Clarans deserve better. Follow the money and do your homework. I won’t say who to vote for, but you can easily see who has Santa Clara’s best interest in mind.Microsoft Outlook - Memo Style

Robert Haugh’s column will appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays.



    Out of college I sold ads for a small weekly in the midwest. I kinda get what the Santa Clara Weekly is doing. You see, small papers operate on thin margins. One full page ad can make or break the week. We used to call it pay to publish. All weeklies do it to some degree. Looks like this publisher does it in a big way. And he’s figured out how to dupe the local Chamber into paying him. Power to him, even if its kinda sleazy.

  2. This columnist seems to be doing the right thing. He’s asking people for comment on an email. It’s interesting that some people haven’t responded. Hope the true facts come out.

    I stopped reading the Weekly years ago because the writing was so poor, particularly the columnists. I don’t know anyone who reads it. They certainly aren’t winning any awards.

    It’s delivered, sometimes and infrequently to our home. Basically, my neighbors and I are the middlemen between the person who delivers the Weekly and the recycling bin. It would be more efficient for them just to deliver it directly to the recycling bin and save us the hassle.

  3. Robert- You must really be scraping the bottom. You e-mailed me and I wrote you and told you this was a general e-mail showing the current demographics of Santa Clara. You’ve made no reference to the fact that you contacted me in your blog report and I explained this to you!! This information cannot be manipulated to anyone’s political advantage. It was simply a statement of facts about Santa Clara.

    This same e-mail and its information was sent to the majority of Santa Clara City Council candidates that are running so they also could be aware of the voting demographics of Santa Clara voters. As I explained this data had no connections to precinct information, personal addresses, their personal political party affiliation, and/or phone numbers.

    Additionally, I’m sorry you are not aware that I am a member of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce…… so if I want to pass simple facts regarding Santa Clara info to other Chamber of Commerce people that is my free speech right to do. There was absolutely no nefarious activity behind this informational e-mail….no matter how much you want to speculate that there might be.

    “Follow the Money???” Get real! Please don’t wrap your personal anger you might have with other people into my e-mails that are sent to multiple Santa Clara citizens…… there is no smoking gun here with this Santa Clara demographic information!!!!

    • John, you have the right to disseminate information to who you please. That is indeed a right you have. The timing and the wording is suspicious. I don’t believe your response needed to be included in my column – that is my choice. Please note, this was my opinion – not a news article. I too, have a right to have an educated opinion – it is something often taken for granted. Despite what some may state, I have zero anger with anyone mentioned in columns here. In fact, for several months after departing the weekly, I helped them indirectly by sending a few advertisers their way, and also sent news tips to some of the staff there – which resulted in several featured stories – so don’t jump the gun on that aspect. Unlike some publications, I gave you an opportunity to respond, and I also am allowing you the time and space here to write as you wish. I could easily delete your comment, but I feel people have a right to see your opinion(s) and thoughts. That is excellent that you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for your comments – I am glad you took the time to read. In addition to my column, this site features much more. Stay tuned for a lot more news and event coverage. Best of luck with your campaign.

  4. Robert, media bias isn’t anything new. Are you trying to say that Lisa Gillmor couldn’t get Barber to print what she wanted him to in his newspaper and now he’s printing what he likes?
    Our Mayor continues to lend her title and her office to our local Police Officer’s Association. That seems like a bigger breach of public trust and transparency than an email from a candidate to members of our Chamber PAC.

    • There is a fine line between media bias and being super biased. It is the job of newspapers to publish news from multiple sources, and to provide their communities with news that presents multiple viewpoints and sides of the issues, not just from one that the Publisher agrees with. It is one thing to have an opinion and/or editorial published, but it is the job of a newspaper of general interest to have ethics and provide unbiased news coverage. Stay tuned on the site for more news, and more information. This election has not been pretty, and there are is much more to be discussed.

    • Super biased like Fox News? or so many of our other “news” outlets?
      A reader may have come across your blog post and come to the conclusion that you were being super biased. Is there any reason to believe that you aren’t just a disgruntled former employee of the Weekly?

    • Absolutely. And if you look, it is very apparent “Santa Clara Focus” is an opinion, it is labeled an opinion and also labeled as a column. Every news media outlet has the right to opinion(s), as long as opinion isn’t convoluted by false information and lack of fact-checking. It is well-known I am a former employee, and I actually was helping the staff of that publication with story ideas and leads well after my departure, so I am unsure how that would make me disgruntled. I have long wanted to launch my own publication, and after some various personal setbacks, here I am. You can feel free to also look at the other articles posted to this site. You, or any other reader can form their opinion as they would like, that is the beauty of having the right to free speech. If you haven’t noticed, I have already covered a wide array of things in and around Santa Clara. Stay tuned for much more news, sports, arts and, yes, even opinions!

    • Folks should read, watch & listen to multiple sources. (Hopefully, they will appreciate the perspectives and biases of each, and weight those in their evaluations & use them as 2nd and 3rd checks.)

    • Thanks Mike – indeed, folks should have multiple sources of information. In addition my my opinions share here, there will be a lot of news coverage, sports, entertainment, education, etc.

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