By Robert Haugh
The Mercury News reported that Councilwoman Patty Mahan will be stepping down to battle cancer.
But the headline is misleading. Mahan is only taking time off, as the article later states. She’s expected back in January.
But Mercury News reporter Ramona Giwargis who covers San Jose city hall, got another major thing wrong. She wrote that: “Some at the meeting demanded [Teresa] O’Neill and [Debi] Davis be censured or recalled over the emails.” Huh?
Giwargis clearly wasn’t at the meeting. Neither was I, but I watched it live online and paid attention to the facts and wrote about it yesterday.
Watch the meeting video here (it is about five hours, so have patience).
Only two people mentioned “censure” and “recall.” Mahan brought it up during her announcement when she criticized her council colleagues. Here’s the YouTube link so you can view Mahan’s emotional and at times critical statement at the 53:56 mark.
Then, during public testimony later, Charter Review Committee member Hosam Haggag said that he thought it was odd that Mahan used those words. Haggag was grilled by Mahan and Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta when he applied to the planning commission last month in an unusually aggressive way for “disrespecting” them.
Haggag said that people in person and online were calling for censure or recall to certain elected officials for the way they behave. But Giwargis apparently wasn’t aware of this.
Since Giwargis is a San Jose reporter, she doesn’t pay close attention to the Santa Clara community and has frequently been making major mistakes on Santa Clara stories recently. One story had to be changed three times in a major way before appearing in print.
Another major mistake in her current story is the part about the lawsuit brought by San Francisco attorney Robert Rubin on behalf of Wesley Mukoyama, a Santa Clara resident who believes that at-large elections unfairly hurt minority candidates.
Giwargis writes five paragraphs about it, but failed to mention that the lawsuit was thrown out last week and Santa Clara prevailed. Whoops.
Interim City Attorney Brian Doyle told everyone about this legal victory at the meeting. You can watch it here.
Doyle also said that Rubin filed another lawsuit, but with different plaintiffs.
I like and respect Giwargis and think she has done excellent reporting in the past. But she and her editors have really screwed up recent Santa Clara stories. Let’s hope they get better.
Let me humbly suggest that they start reading SantaClaraNews.org instead of the Santa Clara Weekly whose stories they seem to be chasing. That’s a recipe for disaster.