By Robert Haugh
There you go again, Miles.
Last week’s Milestones column, was a great example of someone trying to revise history.
In case you haven’t read it or don’t want to, here’s a quick summary:
- Former Mayor Jamie Matthews and Former City Manager Julio Fuentes saved the city from ruin.
- They did it by increasing city reserves and pushing new developments.
- Now, the new mayor and council have put the brakes on development.
- Miles is not happy.
Here’s the real story.
- The sudden departure of both Matthews and Fuentes tarnished their reputations and tainted their records, unfortunately. Matthews, who is a really nice and friendly guy, hasn’t been seen around town much since he stepped down the day after Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. He made brief public appearances at two funerals. Fuentes resigned a few months later. He was not “asked to leave” as Miles writes without any supporting evidence. Fuentes in his own words said he decided to resign and move back to Southern California.
- The city did increase reserves during Fuentes’ time. But most experts will tell you that has to do with the upturn in economic activity and sales tax because that’s what accounts for the most revenue for cities like Santa Clara during boom times. (Note to Miles: see city budget brochure for basic city revenue info). The developments that were approved will help the city in the long term.
- Perhaps all the approved development has created a backlash. And that’s why the Mayor and Council are hitting the brakes. In reality, they may only be tapping the brakes. That’s because Miles inaccurately writes that five major developments have been “rejected by our council.” The fact is, that only the SummerHill proposal was turned down by the council. And SummerHill is coming back with a revised proposal. The other projects were pulled by the developers because of serious neighborhood opposition. Is that because so much was approved before that residents throughout the city feel overwhelmed now?
- Miles is really pushing development in many of his columns. He’s dismissing neighborhood concerns. Why? He’s never told his readers that he was a registered lobbyist for the massive Mariani’s development project. That’s unethical. But if he’s really upset that the council is listening to the residents of the city who believe there’s been too much development, maybe Miles should credit or blame the former city manager. Fuentes approved all the previous developments. Maybe that’s what created the problem for today’s developments in Santa Clara that the mayor and council have to deal with.
So which is it, Miles? Lack of transparency or giving the residents a voice? You accuse the mayor/council of both.
After reading your column and reading Mr. Barber’s column, I have concluded that Mr. Barber needs to find a new job. He’s a pretty lousy writer.
Mr. Barber is clueless about the impact about development in our great city. If the city council approves one more big development that makes traffic worse, they will all be recalled. I’ll even vote against them and I like most of them. The former city manager may have created the mess but they are now responsible. Good luck to them if they believe Mr. Barber’s silly nonsense.