By Tino Silva
At recent city council meetings, some council members have railed against how our city council is divided.
And the Santa Clara Weekly regularly regurgitates the same horrible criticism. But it’s not a respected publication in our community — and it’s not really even a weekly. My neighbors and I receive it about once a month. Their criticism of Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her council allies is an annoying drumbeat.
I believe the negativity coming from certain council members and the Weekly is purposeful. It’s an attempt to divide our city. Because if you can divide, you can conquer.
But, fortunately, it’s not working. Since Mayor Gillmor took over, things have been different. City Hall has become more transparent, the newly hired staff is more skilled, and — most importantly — the 49ers are not calling the shots at City Hall.
So what’s causing the division? Let’s be honest. The mayor and the majority of the council are representing the interests of Santa Clara first. A minority of the council is representing the 49ers, a corporate interest first. We’ve seen this play out from the fight over the Youth Soccer Park, to the Measure J audit, to the weekday stadium curfew. We’ll probably continue to see it play out because there’s a lot of money at stake.
I know the mayor and all the councilmembers well. I’ve had breakfast, lunches, and dinner with them and I believe deep down they are all of good character.
But when you consistently side with financial contributors instead of putting what’s best for Santa Clara first, citizens progressively become disgruntled. Unfortunately, that’s the way politics works. I know a little about it. I’ve run for city council. Campaigns are a tough — and sometimes dirty — business. Financial contributors expect a return on their investment.
So when you see the division on the city council, remember that it’s not necessarily all about personality or character. It’s often times about money!