Censure in Santa Clara?

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 chronicled some of Caserta’s outbursts here and here and here.

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.


  1. Agree 100% with Ms. Grizzled. Council discussion was mostly personal attacks. In fact, Councilmember Mahan deserves the most credit for asking questions re facts and process. She did ultimately vote with the majority, satisfied with response re the invoicing correction being presented by the CM. That said, it was a mangled SA agenda item grouping distinct issues. The note & file was just on the staff presentation. The budget approvals should have been voted separately, each deserving separate discussion. On the prominent PR/Banner issue, in fact the vote and even the discussion was primarily a vote approving the correction and additional PR consultant budget, not much re concerns raised re Council direct access to those staff services. Council votes have become predictable all nay or say based on personal alignments.

  2. Disenguous article. Last night at Council SC Weekly was attacked for similar “articles” when in fact they were quoting the Milestones Opinion column, a small part of community news coverage in that paper. The 2010 and 2014 SCUSD Board censures on Ms. Bendis and Mr. Stampolis were directed to specific incidences. To lay out the photos side by side was cheap theatrics. No specifics, no attributable quotes, simply a general editorial opinion, repeated “here and here and here”.

  3. I think this is a stretch to compare Dominic and Patty to Stampolis and Bendis . I agree that there should not be anything such as a cancer card. Anyone has lost a loved one to cancer knows this. Wrong to say this under any circumstances. I can’t believe that this was ever said. Dominic does have anger issues. He talks to other council members and even citizens as if we are his pupils in a classroom. He needs to figure out how to control that and work with others. Very sad to watch council meetings and see him lashing out at everyone.

  4. “it is clear he has an anger problem. He should resign and seek help for his obvious anger management issues.”

    Yup. You fooled me. I thought this was about Caserta. Could you please send this to everyone who has endorsed Caserta or is even thinking about endorsing him?

  5. Sorry, Ms. Grizzle,

    You got it wrong. At the council meeting, Caserta and Mahan were rude and aggressive. Robert reported it and YouTube documented it. That’s the great thing about having video evidence. And watch how they went after Hosam at another council meeting. It was disgraceful.

    No one has said anything about Mahan and cancer.

    You must be referring to a Santa Clara Weakly story about a private email they got. Mahan was in a campaign. Of course, she was playing her cancer card. She was trying to win votes. Nothing wrong with that. And nothing wrong with someone calling her on it. It’s a campaign. Mahan has done a lot worse stuff in campaigns over the years. Ask McLemore.

    • Sorry my ears did not play tricks on me. The entire city council should apologize. It is unbecoming and unnecessary to act in public like they did. I like each one of them and all have contributed greatly to our beautiful city.

  6. The last meeting I saw televised both groups were out of control. The very worse comments made were the accusation that Mahan was playing a sympathy card with her Cancer. Having known many people with the disease and having lost my sister to it I was disgusted by the comment. It was callus and mean. All the way around, I feel all of the City council should apologize to each other 1st and than to the public. As my mother used to say you can get more done with honey than with vinegar.

  7. Robert your the epitome of fake news. you are acting just like that the democrats do to are President Donald Trump The Peoples Choice. The people chose Mahan and Caserta because they well fight the crap going on in are city government and your not helping. if you feel good with all this negative crap your writing you need professional help.

  8. Folks conned by the 49’ers and their paid-for politicians either can’t admit they were suckered or still believe in the tooth fairy. So, will rage at any critics of the 49’ers with whatever accusations they can come up with. Your city is lucky that the majority of the City Council comprises ethical politicians who represent Santa Clara citizens, not special interests.

  9. There you go again, Robert making things up, the author of Fake News in Santa Clara. Mahan and Caserta will not get censured for fighting for what they believe in. Funny, you again will NOT write about things worthy of censure like getting fined by the FPPC which Davis and Watnabe were or the vile emails by O’Neill and Davis which might get them censured about cancer survivors.

    Caserta and Mahan work well with staff, funny how you don’t mention one name in your sources ever, you are lazy, unprofessional, biased, and simply inaccurate in your reporting.

    Do better!

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