By Robert Haugh
Here are some really strong statements made against two Santa Clara elected officials:
“They have shown a pattern of unduly interfering, sowing retribution and creating a difficult collegial atmosphere.”
“behavior was … unprofessional, inappropriate and gave rise to a hostile environment in which to work.”
“it is clear he has an anger problem. He should resign and seek help for his obvious anger management issues.”
“It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out when individuals openly exhibit hostile behavior on a repeated basis … We should all encourage him to get it before his anger gets someone hurt.”
“It seemed as if the only opinion that mattered was her own. She would constantly interrupt not only guest speakers … The more controversial the issue the more out of hand meetings would get.”
“Over the last five months, I have watched with great sadness as talented and dedicated employees, who have spent their careers at Santa Clara, leave to find other districts where they feel valued and safe.”
If you guessed these were comments made about Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta and Councilwoman Patty Mahan, you’re wrong.
These were statements written about former School Board Trustees Christopher Stampolis and Ina K. Bendis – both of whom were censured by their colleagues in 2014 and 2010, respectively. One resolution stated, “censure, repudiate, disavow and formally express its disapproval” of the behavior of an elected official.
Recently, a lot of people inside and outside of City Hall have compared the demeanor of Caserta and Mahan to Stampolis and Bendis.
We’ve documented how Mahan and Caserta were abusive to a commission candidate and community leader, too, and how they both repeatedly interrupt staff.
Multiple sources say that councilmembers and City staff won’t work with Caserta in particular. The language of the Stampolis censure permitted SCUSD employees to refuse to meet with Stampolis or respond to his emails and phone calls.
Could history repeat itself? Could there be a censure in Santa Clara soon?
Editor’s Note: I covered some school board meetings for the Santa Clara Weekly.The dynamic back then with Stampolis and Bendis is similar to the what’s happening now on the council with Caserta and Mahan.