Council Appoints New City Manager; Prop 64 Recreational Marijuana and More Discussed

Council Appoints New City Manager; Prop 64 Recreational Marijuana and  More Discussed

By Robert Haugh

After a month-long hiatus, the City Council re-convened with few dramatic items at their August 22 meeting. The big news is the Mission City will soon have a new City Manager – one that is highly touted and well-respected.

New City Manager Announced

The City Council appointed current Sunnyvale City Manager Deanna Santana and approved her wage and benefit package with a 6-1 vote (Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta opposed). Caserta does not agree with the “total compensation package,” which totals approximately $700,000, according to him.

Other councilmembers commented that she is a top level city manager and Santa Clara had to pay top dollar to get her. Community activist and Charter Review Committee member Hossam Haggag pointed out that bad city management has cost the city a lot of money and paying for expertise could save Santa Clara money in the short term and long run.

Santana brings years of high level city management experience, including over 23 years of service in San Jose, Oakland and Sunnyvale. She received the VIP Woman of the Year award from the National Association of Professional Women in 2015 and was recipient of the San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women in Business Award in 2012.

Proposition 64 (“Adult Use of Marijuana Act”) Study Session

We heard a lot about marijuana. Currently, medical marijuana dispensaries are banned in Santa Clara, but delivery service exists.

Caserta stated Prop 64 was passed overwhelmingly in Santa Clara with 60 percent in favor and said “we need to tax and regulate this fledgling industry.” Some speakers mentioned the large amount of taxes San Jose generates through marijuana regulation.

After a lot of discussion, the Council asked City Staff to return with more information by the end of the year, with the ban on commercial use (dispensing) to come back sooner.

Other Items

  • Council approved 2018 meeting dates.
  • The minimum wage ordinance was adopted.
  • Mayor Lisa Gillmor should really use her gavel to control the meeting more. One speaker often made personal attacks and commented from the audience. 
  • Caserta and community activist Deborah Bress agreed on two items – we almost fell out of our chair.  It would be like The Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan hugging over dinner.


Yesterday, we reported that the Harvey Rose audit concluded that the 49ers owe $1,951,051 to to the City’s general fund and the stadium’s construction fund. We double counted a number. The total should be $1,842,270.  We regret the error.




  1. Did it occur to you that the severe bias and outright lies from some senior staff, city manager and certain council members might be the REAL problem. When city leaders and elected refuse to acknowledge the truth and there is collusion and malfeasance on the part of the city… what are the options? The only option is sharing your truth.
    You’re confusing the truth with personal attacks Robert.

    What if what she says was 80-100% true?
    What if this is more residue from the corrupt Jamie/Julio team that has infected the city like a virus?
    After the public talks those on the Council and City Staff can (and do) often utter mistruths.
    At Tuesday night’s Study Session and Council Session it was especially pernicious.

    After the public speaks, that’s when the electeds and public leaders can say “their” truths unfettered.
    Sometimes these are outright lies which happen at almost every single Study Session and City Council Meeting.
    Maybe we need a Grand Jury investigation on the electeds and senior city officials!

  2. I don’t know why they can’t just pay a clean salary and then give her the same entitlements as the other employees in the “Unclassified Management Employees’ Unit 9” of which she apparently will be a part. Car allowance I can see, given the job, but why a housing allowance and why 200 hours executive leave on top of her starting 200 hours vacation? Why don’t we say, here take this amount and commit to work 10 ½ months (net vacation), rather than 9 (net leave)? Sell your Sunnyvale home and move (cheaper) here or rent it out if Sunnyvale will let you keep their $1.1M, 0.655% rate, 45 year mortgage.

    I’m not surprised at Dominic’s $700k ballpark. When you take the salary, the allowances and the 2 deferred comp contributions (401 and 457) and assume she cashes out 160 hours of the leave, it calculates to about $494k. I can imagine that the Life & LTD programs + free medical, dental and vision bring us towards that number. The Council memo talked about a benefits increase to this position of $112k per year.

  3. Certainly a big ticket cost, but a tough job. The right person would be worth it. There’s certainly a lot of dollars at stake and this might just be a small offset against those savings.
    Not just talking Stadium, but our City budget in general and the services residents and business expect it to cover. Big plan proposals to consider and decisions to be made for housing and commercial development and traffic management. All come with revenue and cost amounts well into the millions.

    The Council certainly is committed; signing this expensive agreement. That by itself is good; a little commitment between Council and staff, rather than blame & accusations, no finger pointing the other way now. She was reported to have resigned as City Administrator from the City of Oakland in 2014 due to her frustration butting heads with the Council and Mayor. That experience might be helpful. Part of her package is a guaranteed 12 month severance payout. Good move on her part.

    here’s a website that’s gather info on Deanna Santana with links to a variety of articles. Nothing much about her time in Sunnyvale and the similar issues of housing, development and traffic management they have there.

  4. OK. Chronicle story says Santana pay is $424,486 annually, including car and housing allowances.

    So what’s up with the Caserta number?

    • The total comp is over $700,000 that includes much more than just salary, car and housing allowances for example total comp includes deferred comp, management leave. Caserta again is correct!

    • Pump the brakes Caserta. You’re all excited because you correctly read numbers on a paper. LOL Every time you talk on the Dais all I can think about is you as Lance and all your “I love Caserta” alias names on here. You have no chance of winning the election because you are a joke.

    • ABC grow up your name calling and calling people a joke is a poor reflection of you. Dominic has won FOUR races in a row in Santa Clara and will win this race. Grow up! Again, Dominic has a job and I assume he is teaching right now…???

Leave a Reply