City Council Preview – Money, Money, Money

By Robert Haugh

Police Chief Mike Sellers is back for more money for himself.  As our readers will remember, Sellers got a controversial retroactive pay bump in March.  It was a 4-3 vote.

Sellers is asking to receive Unit 9A enhanced benefits (paid leave, healthcare, vision, management leave) totaling $14,528.69. Wow. This was apparently discovered after the March meeting. Wow. Is this double dipping on increased benefits? Sellers is already one of the highest paid police chiefs in the state. In 2016, he was the 7th highest paid police chief in the state, according to Transparent California.  Will the people who voted for Sellers retroactive pay increase in March do so with his benefits? They were: Dominic Caserta, Patty Mahan, Pat Kolstad and Teresa O’Neill.

Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and CVB Management Fee

Since 1984, the Chamber of Commerce was paid an annual fixed management fee of $45,000 to manage the Convention-Visitors Bureau. That amount increased to $136,699 and then to $145,292 the past two years (and more in the 2018-19 budget as well) without proper disclosure to the City Council nor required legal agreements.

City staff has given Council several options, two with performance-based management fees.  We wonder if the new agreements allow the CVB to continue spending public funds on ads promoting their “success” in bringing in events like WrestleMania 31 and Super Bowl 50 in the Santa Clara Weekly.  We don’t know a lot of potential tourists who read the “paper.”

49ers Guarantee $12 Million to Host College Football Playoff National Championship Game

The Stadium Authority will authorize an agreement with the Bay Area Host Committee that will remove the City and Stadium Authority from all financial risks associated with hosting the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

This is the first time a city has completely protected themselves from paying for the game. Kudos to the Mission City.

Possible Sale of Convention Center Property

One of the items on the closed session agenda is negotiation between the City and the Related Company over the possible sale/lease of the Santa Clara Convention Center properties (5001 to 5201 Great America Parkway). Related is the developer behind the City Place development – the new “uptown” in the City’s Northside. Is the City considering leasing or selling the property? Is Related interested in managing the properties? How much is at stake? We hope this info will be public soon.

Appointment of a Planning Commissioner

The Council will finally appoint a new Planning Commissioner.  Jeremy Hicks and Anthony Becker “tied” at a prior meeting, and Council wasn’t whole because Mayor Lisa Gillmor was out of town. So there was no way to break the tie. Hicks received the majority votes initially, and should have been appointed to the Commission. But Councilwoman Patricia Mahan and Councilman Dominic Caserta pushed for a “tiebreaker” for the second-place vote-getters. Becker “won” that. Hicks and Becker each then received three votes, leaving the Council at a standstill. So Gillmor should be the tie breaking vote this time.

Council District Boundaries

The Council will introduce an ordinance establishing new district boundaries in Santa Clara for council seats. They will consider endorsing Measure A for the June ballot. Measure A would change Santa Clara’s Council format into a two-district system and implement single-transferable ranked-choice voting as soon as it is available.


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