Santa Clara Wins One Legal Fight with San Jose (Opinion)

Santa Clara Wins One Legal Fight with San Jose

By Robert Haugh

The Mission City beat the Garden City. It’s just one small legal battle, but it’s a nice victory for Santa Clara. It’s like when the underdog 1-2-3 Kid defeated Razor Ramon.

Mercury News reporter Ramona Giwargis wrote about the victory in the battle over the Santana West development near Santana Row.

“San Jose sought to dismiss the case because Santa Clara didn’t fill out a required form that asks the San Jose City Council to reconsider its approval of the project’s environmental report. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Marie S. Wiener denied San Jose’s request and the case continues.”

They tried to dismiss the case because of a blank form? Sounds weak. Apparently, it was.

Later in the story, Giwargis reports that San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle “also filed an anti-SLAPP motion against Santa Clara, saying it attempted to chill San Jose’s ability to exercise its First Amendment rights by filing a ‘retaliatory’ lawsuit.”

I’m not a lawyer, but I have recent personal experience with with winning an anti-SLAPP motion and know a lot about it.

I don’t see how San Jose wins with anti-SLAPP. This is about development, not the First Amendment.

If San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle thinks this is a good strategy and he loses again, he should be replaced. Maybe Interim Santa Clara City Attorney Brian Doyle (no relation) could be the City Attorney for both cities. That way they won’t have to change the nameplates on the office door.


By the way, the “retaliatory” lawsuit mentioned in the story is a suggestion that Santa Clara sued San Jose in retaliation for San Jose suing Santa Clara about the CityPlace development. Giwargis also reported how San Jose started this “border war” last year.

Local government people in Santa Clara and other neighboring cities tell me that San Jose has a terrible record when it comes to winning lawsuits.  Let’s hope they don’t get better.




  1. Placemaling sounds great in theory, but not when it destroys the goal, flavor, and intent of a long awaited and long overdue project, like 90 W Winchester. People need to finally realize this is *not* New York and we do not have a public transportation system worth a damn. Stop pretending we have have public transportation and please, do not plan a project as if one exists, like is being done now.

    The original,plan for the BAREC project has already suffered lots of damage because the City of Santa Clara dropped the ball on deadlines and lost funding for Senior and Low-Cost housing. But that does mean the project should be another “Santana Row”. We do not need one and never wanted one at that location … Get real Casserta! That’s what you voted to be done at the dump – go play your games and strut your politics there!

    Go back to the plan for an AgriHood and stop trying to be so darn fancy with Placemaking. PLAN for traffic! PLAN for parking! It isn’t about participating m it is about reality and we are not in New York, and must deal with automobiles! People do participate, certain people just refuse to listen to reality. People want an AgriHood not a showplace.

    Perhaps some people need to move back to NY and take the Placemaking crew with them … They don’t seem to understand what this area is like, and what this area needs and demands either.

  2. What we really need to do is to STOP suing anyone and start trying to solve the many challenges of the area. If we don’t and the community just shows up to complain or halt any proposed development, this area will probably get a pretty big wake-up call when small business has to leave because they have no workers…or patrons won’t come anymore because the prices are too high.

    We need to create great places in our cities. I’m not suggesting that many of the developments we have seen are good…they are not. Many of the finished projects are pretty ugly and not place-focused. But we as a community can change that if we are willing to work with the development community and local government to create great places. Everyone wants to create a great place. If we can do that, developers make more money (a good thing) and the community gets incredible value (a great thing) and the cities get great places (an awesome thing).

    We need to change the way we are behaving. No one is talking anymore. We are all just showing up and shouting NO! We want developers to be successful, or else we don’t get all the good stuff we want. The past is the past. We are in the present and need to look at the future.

    The jobs are already here. The people are already here. What are we doing to create solutions to fix the problems we face? Placemaking is part of the answer, but the community needs to participate!

  3. Good for Santa Clara. We should be suing San Jose for a lot of things. Traffic on Stevens Creek is a nightmare because of Santana Row and Valley Fair.

Leave a Reply