City Council Recap – New City Clerk to be Elected in November; Council Drafts Ballot Language for New Districts

By Robert Haugh

After reviewing several options, the City Council unanimously voted to keep the elected City Clerk and have a  November election. Acting City Clerk Jennifer Yamaguma will continue serving the role until then.

But there will be a study session sometime in the next 60 days that will review the roles and duties of the City Clerk. It sounds like the City Council may decide to have a more “ceremonial” Clerk, like Morgan Hill. That position would be elected and have some official duties but be considered a part-time position.

The City Council seems happy with Yamaguma’s work after she replaced Rod Diridon, Jr. who suddenly resigned last month. Yamaguma did an excellent job at the meeting last night, especially using the new Granicus system to instantly change and update information for the council and the public. She was also well prepared with background information. That’s not something we’re used to seeing.

The City Council also tweaked language for the ballot question on the new districts that the Charter Review Committee recommended. Here’s the final approved language that voters will see:

shall the City Charter be amended: to establish two districts starting in 2018 to be represented by three council members each; and, when available, use ranked choice voting to allow voters to select candidates in order of choice to determine the winners of elections of all city elected officers?

The City Council voted to have Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilmember Dominic Caserta and Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill draft the ballot argument. It’s due by March 13.

Gatekeeper Process for Two Developments

  • The City Council voted unanimously to direct City staff to continue processing the General Plan amendment for a development on Cheeney Street. The proposal, which we discussed on Monday, proposes changing the half-acre property from very low density to low density. We were not surprised with any 60-story buildings either.
  • The City Council did not approve a proposed development at 1075 Pomeroy and unanimously referred it to the architectural review committee because of neighborhood concerns. The property falls within the current zoning of low density residential and is consistent with the General Plan. According to one speaker, Ken Pratz, over 150 nearby residents signed a statement opposing the project based on the possible historically significant community, which includes Eichler homes. The project site currently has no historical designation.

Other Items

  • The new agenda management software by Granicus debuted last night. Though it had glitches, it seems to be recording minutes more smoothly.
  • During closed session, the Council unanimously approved a settlement with Wells Fargo and the County of Santa Clara over earned interest from 2001 bonds. Wells Fargo will pay approximately $750,000.
  • During the joint City Council and Historic and Landmarks Commission meeting, the Oracle campus theatre and Lick Mill Mansion were brought up. No one seems to have information on the terms of use of the contracts. The Ulistac Natural Area was also discussed as a potential historic site.

Councilwoman Patty Mahan was absent.

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