Yes on Measure A — Written by Santa Clarans for Santa Clarans

By Robert Haugh

As a longtime Santa Claran, I happen to think there’s a lot the Mission City is doing right, especially in the last few years. Since Mayor Jamie Matthews mysteriously resigned in February, 2016, there’s been more transparency at City Hall. And a lot of the backroom deals with the 49ers and the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce have stopped.

Since I like the direction of the city, I don’t really like outsiders telling us what to do — especially if they are suing us for millions of dollars.

That’s the situation with Measure A. If you look at the ballot arguments from yesterday’s column, you’ll see that Santa Clarans who have done a lot for the city support Measure A. People who are suing the city or have other interests are opposed.

That’s a good enough reason to vote for Measure A. But here are some other good reasons:

  • It was unanimously recommended by the Charter Review Committee. They were also a diverse group of people. As the ballot argument says: it was written by Santa Clarans for Santa Clarans.
  • Two districts will balance representation in the city between north and south. That’s a good thing, especially the way Santa Clara is developing.
  • Two districts means less money that candidates have to raise to campaign. That will help reduce special interest money. That’s just beginning to become a problem in Santa Clara. Or at least was a problem when the dark money group BluPac (likely a front for the 49ers) tried to take over the council in 2016.
  • There’s no racially polarized voting in the city. I know a judge thinks so, but our legal sources think he had to really stretch the facts to make his case. We know Santa Clara neighborhoods and it’s really hard to show that we have neighborhoods that are being discriminated against.
  • Ranked choice voting is interesting. It’s been used successfully in major cities in the Bay Area and all over the world. Some people think it makes campaigns less negative. If you can’t get someone’s vote, you want to be their second choice. So you’re not likely to attack other candidates.
  • The Mercury News opposes Measure A. They are usually anti-Santa Clara and have a terrible track record on endorsements in our city for decades. Their opposition will likely push Mission City residents to vote for the measure.
  • The Santa Clara Weekly opposes Measure A. Since they are considered opponents of all the reform that’s happened in Santa Clara in the last few years, hardly anyone takes them seriously. And they have few subscribers.

We hope we convinced you with these arguments. If not, watch this excellent 3-minute video. It sums up why you should vote Yes on A.

Yes on Measure A
Yes on Measure A




  1. Someone should let Miles know the The Rules of How to Gain Respect in a Community:

    Rule #31 — Don’t write newspaper columns attacking people who are smarter than you.

    Rule #44 — Don’t drink excessively before speaking at council meetings.

  2. The Weakly is as powerful as Miles’ brilliant speech to the city council. Both a dud.

  3. 2 districts is not enough
    In 2016 elections I stated that there needs to be 6 districts and a mayor, each district elects their member while mayor is elected by all. That is the fairest district elections in my opinion. Take a look at the city of Los Banos Ca (where I lived for short time) the city created districts 4 in fact and it created a wave of diversity never seen in Los Banos , 2 African Americans (2 that are millennials) and 1 Portuguese and 1 Latino
    Before this happened Los Banos had no term limits so esseintially they Mayor was in charge for 14 years 1993-2006. The mayor owned the best restaurant in town. In those years never had new restaurants or business popped up. It was the old boys clubs. As soon as he was gone they elected the first African American mayor. 10 years later in 2016 it became the most diverse council in that cities history.
    So back to Santa Clara
    We can do the same thing, yes 2 can work but I feel 6 divides power so then special interests will be tracked easier
    Kathy Watanabe leading the Northside should be the first district Drawn since other members live close to one another.
    I am not bashing measure A I am saying we can do better and more democratic. It’s like the open seat should be elected not appointed.

  4. The May 15th ruling means we’ll probably pay at least $1M to the plaintiffs in penalties and legal costs.
    The safe harbor limitation is very unlikely to be held to apply.
    Although the City Attorney refuses to reveal cost breakouts of any cases, even in sets, I’d guess we’ve already spent $300k on outside defense lawyers. That amount will increase another $200k as we move forward with scheduled hearings, including the remedy phase. Pursuing an appeal to those rulings might even double those numbers.

    Plaintiffs’ arguments re white bloc voting dominance, unfair to Asians, centered on 4 major points:
    1.)Santa Clara has never elected an Asia candidate, 2.)Council “inaction” on the 2011 CRC recommendation, 3.)the decision in appointing a councilmember in 2016, gave an advantage to a white candidate in a not too distant follow-on election, and 4.)the example in rejecting the request for a Koreaton designation (poorly argued by the defense)
    Although it might have disagreed on each of those specific points on a stand-alone basis, the Court ruled the accumulation of those arguments was sufficient grounds for their ruling.

    • MikeOH. Very good analysis. Point 3 is timely. If the two council members (Mahan and Kolstad) continue to refuse to vote to appoint, presumably an Asian- American, tack on another $million plus to be awarded from Santa Clara taxpayers. Irresponsible, of course. My guess is Mahan and Kolstad are betting Santa Clara residents won’t figure it out while sticking it to them. Interesting to watch if taxpayers wake up.

  5. I disagree with the Superior Court’s decision re the CVRA violation, but I’ve decided to vote No on Measure A.
    I disagree with splitting the City into districts. One of our strengths is having each Council member responsive to all residents. I’m inclined to favor the ranked choice voting proposition, although the earliest it could be implemented is 2020. The recent CRC and Council did supporters of RCV a disservice when they rejected requests to split the Measure into two separate, but non-conflicting measures.

    After the May 15th ruling, it is almost certain the Court will reject Measure A as sufficient remedy. The 2 district split will be considered not only an admission of guilt, but a merely taken response. It’ll be difficult for the judge to separate the RCV solution in the combined measure. If Measure A passes, the Council and City Attorney will, no doubt, given all the personal vitriol, feel compelled to appeal the Court’s rulings. That’ll be good money after bad. If the Council gave some indication otherwise, I would vote Yes. (What the heck?)

  6. Robert, all you had to say to me was that our local publication, the Santa Clara Weakly was against Measure A.
    If they are against it, I’m for it. Sadly I have lost all confidence in this “Newspaper “.
    Just in case you caught the misspelling of their name, it was intentional. I’ve also referred to this “publication” as the Santa Clara Meekly. To be fair, what else should you call a “publication” with less than 100 subscribers? To me that does not even rank as a newsletter?
    I can’t believe how much time, money and space we give to this irrelevant source of information.
    We still ask the question, “If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?”
    I personally believe we are well past that point about asking, those types of questions in regards to this “Newspaper“.

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