Council Sets Top Priorities by Consensus

Council Sets Top Priorities by Consensus

By Robert Haugh

Yesterday’s council’s priority goal setting meeting lasted six hours (ouch!).  We were there the whole time (yawn). We would have been more awake if there were some Tombstone piledrivers, Stone Cold Stunners or flying head butts from the top of a steel cage. But, the council was generally in agreement, although boring, was a good thing.

Here are the major category highlights:

1. General Plan — the council agreed that the general plan needs review. Council member Teresa O’Neill was pushing for this. It’s suppose to start in the next six months. Any big development project in the pipeline may have to wait. That’ll make some neighborhood associations happy.

2. Convention Center — the council agreed to study options about the future of the convention center. It’s our understanding that it’s been a money loser. Paul Dines of the Chamber of Commerce claimed it’s made a profit in six of the last 10 years. We’ll have to double check that.

3. Stadium Authority — Mayor Lisa Gillmor was pretty clear she wants new staff dedicated to the watching the stadium. No surprise.  But no real arguments against it. The most embarrassing moment came when Interim city manager Rajeev Batra said they can’t separate SA meetings, because of city charter issues. But the Mayor said the stadium authority is not in the city charter. We checked. It’s not. Oops.

4. Infrastructure — Everyone hates potholes, especially Council member Dominic Caserta who said he hit one on the way to the meeting.  Santa Clara used to be pothole free. The council wants to figure how big a problem we have with potholes and other needs and then how to fund it.

5. Personnel — City staff is overwhelmed and needs help. Look for the council to try to hire more police officers and external consultants to handle critical projects like all the 49er lawsuits. Batra admitted city staff is over-stretched.

Council Consensus

Those of us who know the council members, know their personalities are very different.

According to one of them yesterday, some won’t even speak to some of the other council members.  But there was a lot of consensus on how to approach problems and challenges. That’s good for the city. That’s changed  from the “boys vs. girls” split we saw during Jamie Matthews’ mayoral reign.

Public Engagement

Mayor Gillmor announced at the beginning of the meeting that hundreds of emails come in daily commenting on a variety of city issues, including suggestions for priorities. Wow. That’s more than the Santa Clara Weekly’s readership according to our sources. (But if we’re wrong, we’ll correct the record).



  1. […] What immediately jumped out is how quickly City Manager Deanna Santana has hit the ground running. She has only been on the job since October, 2017, but she already knows city operations and finances better than either of her two predecessors: Julio Fuentes and Rajeev Batra. Fuentes never showed command of facts and figures and Batra didn’t seem to know basic things about the city charter. […]

  2. […] Batra is genuinely a nice guy, especially in contrast to Fuentes whom he succeeded. But as we’ve reported many times, he never seemed to grow into the job. Maybe that’s why he never got the “Interim” removed from his title. He served just one year. During that time, Batra seemed lost or weak. We reported how he didn’t understand the City Charter when he argued against separating the Stadium Authority from ci…. […]

  3. Great summary Robert … Thanks! The one thing I would like to add is the plea that the Council chose to ignore to PLEASE stop all the building until the infrastructure report and analysis they promised to deliver is actually delivered.

    Mayor Gillmor and council shared budget concerns, and how Santa Clara would fund infrastructure emergencies, but they still want to spend, spend and not take care of what we already have.

    I have heard from many fellow residents that they want the building to stop … They want the parks to be brought up to current standards and repaired and painted … It has been 25 years and our city is still not ADA compliant … WHAT is it going to take to stop building shiny new things and fix what we have??

    Fellow citizens … Please share your feelings … Are you ready to sign a petition and join together and tell our elected officers and our staff to stop the building NOW ??

  4. Good observations, Robert. Thanks for taking the bullet for us and sitting through it.
    Any idea how long it would take to revise the General Plan and who gets to review it before it becomes official?

    • Howard,
      No details as of yet. Will go to Staff (the event facilitator of the event will meet with City manager) and then things can get rolling.
      All agreed more community outreach and engagement was necessary.
      All logistics at this point on planning the GP meetings, outreach, etc.
      Great start as so many have stated the GP needs to be updated, especially looking to the future with sustainability issues.

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