By Robert Haugh
In 2018, Santa Clarans will have a lot to say about the future of our city at the ballot box. Here are the major elections coming up:
Santa Clara Mayor’s Race
Mayor Lisa Gillmor was appointed almost two years ago when former Mayor Jamie Matthews mysteriously stepped down after the 2016 Super Bowl. She will be up for re-election in November. All the political experts think she’s a slam-dunk winner. We’ve been told about some polling over the last two years has her numbers sky high. We believe it. She’s stood up to the 49ers and the city of San Jose — and won every battle. Santa Clarans love someone who stands up for the Mission City — and wins. We haven’t heard names of any credible challengers.
Santa Clara City Council Seats #2 and #5
Councilman Pat Kolstad won’t be running for Seat #2. He’s already moved out of town.
Former Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta is running for County Supervisor. In June, if Caserta fails to make the runoff by finishing in the top two, he can run for his re-election for his current seat: #5. Most people think he won’t make the run-off and will have to settle for a re-election bid. But if Caserta shows poorly in Santa Clara because of his association with developers and the 49ers, he could be vulnerable to a challenge. Some names we’re hearing that may run: Tino Silva, Raj Chahal, Mohammad Nadeem, Harbir Bhatia and Suds Jain.
Santa Clara Charter Election
This will be on the June ballot. Voters will decide if they want to divide the city into two districts with three council members representing each district. The mayor will still be elected city wide. This was done to respond to a lawsuit by San Francisco attorney Robert Rubin who thinks that carving the Mission City into six districts will help elect Asian candidates, even though Santa Clara doesn’t have racially segregated neighborhoods like other cities.
Santa Clara Unified School District Bond Measure
SCUSD is talking about trying to raise $875 million through a parcel tax in 2018. It’ll be the third bond measure in the last eight years for the district. The district has raised over $815 million since 2004. And they want to more than double that this year.
Possible Swim Center Measure
We’re hearing that the council will decide soon if they will put a tax measure on the ballot for a new International Swim Center. This will be interesting and may impact SCUSD’s bond measure.
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Race, District Four
This race has received a lot of attention from us. That’s because there are five credible candidates and one of them is really entertaining. But the reality is that whoever is elected Supervisor won’t have a major impact on most Santa Clarans. County government is responsible for Valley Medical Center, jails and social welfare programs. Those are all important, but they’re not used by most residents.
No Santa Clara candidate has ever won this seat when it was open, and no political experts expect that to change this year. San Jose represents almost 60 percent of the district. So, look for a San Jose candidate to emerge victorious. Right now, we say it’s a horse race between San Jose Unified School District President Susan Ellenberg, Former San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio and San Jose Councilman Don Rocha.
Editor’s Note: Rod Diridon, Sr. was a County Supervisor who lived in Santa Clara. But he was first elected to the board when he was Mayor of Saratoga in 1974.