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.
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.
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).