By Robert Haugh
I’m as proud of the Mission City as anyone. So when I heard someone say that we are becoming “Sunnyvale South,” I thought those were fighting words.
Recently, Santa Clara hired a lot of top staff from “The Heart of Silicon Valley” — Sunnyvale’s nickname. Most notably, as we previously reported, the new hires are:
- City Manager Deanna Santana
- Assistant City Manager Manuel Pineda
- Chief Operating Officer Walter Rossmann
The new hires have received excellent early reviews. Santana has been particularly effective. She sent a clear message to the 49ers that the city is serious about the curfew and that it’s not business as usual. We also like the fact that she writes a weekly city manager’s blog.
Pineda and Rossman have also impressed with their ability to quickly hit the ground running. The majority of council members seem to trust and like all of them. We’re also hearing from reporters and sources in other local cities that Santa Clara hired top-notch people. It’s a big step up from the previous administrators who did not have great reputations and left in the last 20 months.
One person in another city hall marveled at how Santa Clara changed over the entire top administration (and mayor) without having to fire anyone or pay any severance.
So, we’re okay with being known as Sunnyvale South — for now.
One That Got Away
We reported that Santa Clara had hired Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben to become Chief Stadium Authority Officer. But McKibben decided to stay put and got more money. Here, the position is still unfilled.
Recently, we saw that McKibben made a statement that he wants to lure the Tennessee Titans or Jacksonville Jaguars to play at the Oakland Coliseum to replace the Raiders.
But the people in Tennessee don’t think much of that rumor.
Maybe it’s good that Santa Clara didn’t hire McKibben. He might have brought in another NFL team. And most residents think one is enough — or one too many.