Council Recap – Many Topics Tackled
By Robert Haugh
While sparsely attended compared to many recent meetings, this week’s Council meeting tackled a plethora of items and was mild compared to recent weeks where we could have used a steel cage.
El Camino Real Focus Area Plan
An agreement was unanimously approved for up to $910,000 to prepare an El Camino Real Focus Area Plan and EIR (Environmental Impact Report). The funds come from a Metropolitan Transportation Commission grant. The Council was split on whether to continue current projects on El Camino Real (with the massive Mariani development project the most discussed) or to defer those as the El Camino Real Focus Area Plan is developed.
After an hour of discussion, Council voted unanimously 6-0 to continue the current projects, while deferring new projects until the Focus Area Plan is finalized. (Mayor Lisa Gillmor recused herself on this item due to a potential conflict of interest). However, general plan amendments would not be considered until completion of the Focus Area Plan. This delays consideration of the massive Mariani development project which requires a major general plan amendment. The vote also suggests that it’s D.O.A.
Convention Center and CVB Operating Model Plans
The Council approved $170,000 to initiate engagement of stakeholders and to develop a plan for a new operation model for the Santa Clara Convention Center and the Convention-Visitors Bureau . Surprisingly, there was no discussion on this matter – not even a peep from the Chamber.
- A five-year agreement was approved for a Levi’s Stadium contract with Landmark Event Staffing for security services. The matter was discussed in a special CC/SA meeting Monday night, mostly in closed session. This was a major battle between the 49ers and the labor unions, and the 49ers won. Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta was the swing vote and sided with the team. That combined with the threat of a lawsuit led the council to vote unanimously for the contract even though some councilmembers were holding their noses. We think this issue will surface again in the County Supervisor’s race when Caserta goes through the labor endorsement process and will have to answer some tough questions from Ben Field. It’ll be like a cage match between Hulk Hogan and The Rock.
- Got Cricket? Cupertino resident Rhiannon Paterniti spoke about extending the Council’s goal of “enhancing community sports and recreational assets” to address a need for more cricket facilities. The matter will be referred to City Staff. Director of Parks & Rec Jim Teixeira mentioned cricket is included in the master plan for parks and recreation facilities in Santa Clara.
- Police Matters – Chip Cassin suggested that the Council look into engaging the community and initiating monthly meetings with the Police Chief. Council by consensus referred the matter to staff to follow up on.
- Council directed staff to return with options for waiving $1,500 in encroachment fees for the American Legion Post 419’s annual car show.
- The City is going to reduce subsidies of municipal operations by $3.4 million with increased fees.
- At the joint Civil Service Commission/Council meeting, (Vice Mayor Caserta absent), we heard that City firefighter jobs are in huge demand, with 2,300 applicants for 15 positions. We also heard that many jobs that have been vacant are coming back, with many jobs getting new job descriptions and titles.