By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara and San Jose settled the City Place and Santana West lawsuits yesterday. The Mission City won big. Once again, David beat Goliath.
Here’s the scorecard we compiled from the “joint press release” that the City of Santa Clara sent yesterday.
Given the relative size of the projects, Santa Clara pinned San Jose with a WWE-style top-rope finishing move – such as the Superfly splash. City Place is far bigger and more valuable a project than Santana West.
It looks like the Related Companies had to come up with an additional $10 to $15 million to get San Jose to drop it’s appeal. For the size of their project (estimated $6.5 billion), that’s not a lot of dough. But almost $9 million of that money will go from San Jose’s city coffers back to Santa Clara for Santana West. The Mission City didn’t have to put up anything more to settle the cases. Wow.
This a big win for Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwomen Teresa O’Neill, Debi Davis and Kathy Watanabe who led the effort to sue San Jose after the Garden City sued the City Place project. Kudos to them.
Our sources say that Councilman Pat Kolstad initially wanted to concede to San Jose, but supported the council majority after the City Place legal victory in November. He gets a half kudo.
This is big loss for Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta and Councilwoman Patty Mahan who wanted to drop the Santana West lawsuit and settle for no transportation improvements or cash from San Jose in a settlement, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Santa Clarans should be happy they lost.
We hear from sources in both city halls that San Jose was desperate to settle because the Santana West case was scheduled to be heard yesterday in front of San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Marie S. Weiner — the same judge who ruled decisively against them in the City Place lawsuit last November.
It may have been desperation, but it was probably smart. Santa Clara had beaten San Jose three times in court in the last year:
- San Jose tried to get the Santana West lawsuit dismissed — and failed.
- San Jose filed an anti-SLAPP lawsuit saying the Santana West lawsuit was retaliatory — and failed. (Lawyers I know who are anti-SLAPP experts are still scratching their heads on San Jose’s move).
- San Jose sued City Place — and lost.
It’s pretty obvious that San Jose needs better lawyers or political leadership, especially when going up against Santa Clara. But for now, we’re glad they don’t have either. And Santa Clara has both.
We’re also glad that the Mission City wasn’t afraid to stand up to San Jose on an issue that’s important to our future.
Now, we get to build City Place, creating a world-class destination in North San Clara. And San Jose will build Santana West, creating more traffic jams around Santana Row.
Above: City Place renderings