By Robert Haugh
A lot of really important things happened at this council meeting. But it’s late, so we’ll focus on one major item for today. We hope the council members get a good night’s sleep. They earned their pay last night with some important and good votes.
Rajeev Batra’s Pension Spike Request
Former Interim City Manager Rajeev Batra lost his request for a post-retirement pension spike. It would have cost the city an estimated $500,000 to $744,000.
But he lost on a 4-2 vote. Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe, Councilwoman Debi Davis, and Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill denied Batra’s request. (Pat Kolstad was absent).
In the process, Councilman Dominic Caserta erupted again attacking City Attorney Brian Doyle and then later Mayor Lisa Gillmor. No kidding. Caserta lost his cool over a debate to give Batra extra pension money. At one point, Caserta unhappily said that he was not unhappy.
Caserta attacked Doyle, apologizing to Batra “for the way that the City Attorney’s office treated him.” All Doyle really said was that Batra misrepresented the facts in his case. Doyle also said granting Batra’s request would be unconstitutional.
Councilwoman Patty Mahan, who’s also an attorney, tried to be the city attorney on this issue. She made lengthy legal arguments to support Batra’s pension spike. At one point, Doyle said that the council should rely on his legal advice and not Mahan’s.
Gillmor came to Doyle’s defense and said that unfortunately name calling was becoming a regular occurrence at council meetings. Caserta of course took the occasion to erupt again, proving Gillmor’s point.
Other Important Stuff
We’ll write more about these issues in the coming days:
- The Council reviewed a lot of city infrastructure needs for a possible bond measure in November 2018.
- The Stadium Authority had a study session on the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. It’ll be played in Santa Clara in January 2019. The big news is that the 49ers will have to pay for all costs and eat an estimated $12 million loss. Wow. Good for the city. Bad for the team.
- The Council adopted a “Dark Money” ordinance that requires political committees that spend more than $100 in Santa Clara elections to disclose their donors. This will stop BluPAC, the notorious dark money group from doing what they did in 2016. They tried to elect council members and hide the source of their money which many people believe was the 49ers. The team would not deny it back then. They won’t be able to do it again.
- The Council will have a special meeting to review options to change the duties of the City Clerk and Auditor since Rod Diridon, Jr. suddenly resigned in February.