By Burt Field, Stand Up for Santa Clara
Over a year ago, I alerted the City that they may be wasting money by advertising in the Santa Clara Weekly.
City Clerk Rod Diridon was good enough to meet with me. But nothing has happened in over a year. That’s really a shame because the City could have saved money to use for more important things like public safety or parks or library services.
I wrote an op-ed for this site in January, 2017, and asked some simple questions:
1) Is the Santa Clara Weekly a paper of general circulation as is required of publications where the city places legal notices?
2) If so, what is the audited circulation?
3) And is Santa Clara wasting money by advertising in the Weekly when other publications with greater audited circulation may be less expensive?
These questions still have not been answered.
Now, I understand that city staff may be busy and there’s been a lot of transition in the last year. So, to help out city staff I’ve done a little homework. Here’s what the city charter says:
Sec. 815 Publishing of legal notices. The City Council shall by resolution designate one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City of Santa Clara as official newspaper for the publication of any legal notice or other matter required to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in said City. If it appears to the City Council that the rates offered are unfair, it need not designate an official newspaper. Upon making a finding to such effect, or if publication of newspapers which have been so designated are suspended, then legal notices, ordinances or other matter required to be published in an official newspaper may be published by posting copies thereof in at least three public places in the City. The places for posting of legal notices shall be fixed by ordinance of the City Council.
This is not a trivial matter or amount of money. We’ve heard reports that the Weekly has few subscribers (maybe less than 100) and they’ve been billing the city about $100,000 a year for legal notices and other advertising. If these numbers are close to accurate, city staff needs to look closely at how this has all happened, and stop it immediately.
This is also not about politics or free speech. The Weekly has a right to print whatever it pleases, right or wrong. However before this publication gets another nickel from our City, it needs to prove that they are the best, most cost effective use of our hard earned tax dollars.
Editor’s Note: Stand Up for Santa Clara was started in March 2015, when the San Francisco 49ers and the majority of the Santa Clara City Council took action to sell the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park to the NFL Team. It’s a grassroots organization of volunteers. Individuals from the organization have contributed to this website’s legal defense fund.