By Robert Haugh
At tomorrow’s Council meeting, we may see an appointment to fill disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta’s vacated seat.
The Council will need a supermajority five votes for an appointment. This is because of a Charter amendment approved by voters in 2016 to find someone who is a “consensus” candidate, not just someone who gets a majority vote of the council. The Council will interview he following 24 applicants: David Ladd Anderson; Nancy A. Biagini (Serrano); Andrew Chan; Christina Cielusniak; Noah Clemons; Abhik Dutta; Susan Ellefson; Eversley Forte; Hosam Haggag; Kevin Heller; Sudhanshu (Suds) Jain; Sowmya Krishnan; Joie Le; Ashish Mangla; Kevin M. McMahon; Robert Meier; Mohammed Nadeem; Vincent Navarro; Kevin Park; Lara Ruffolo; Frederick Armstrong Shaul; Chris Stampolis; Susan Beth Tsolinas; and Sara Yoders.
We’ll write more about these candidates and process tomorrow.
Franklin Street Easement and Downtown Plans
Council starts with a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. for consideration of an option agreement with Park Central Apartments L.P., owned by Prometheus for the Franklin and Washington Street right-of-ways. Reclaiming Our Downtown and the Santa Clara Old Quad Resident Association have been building momentum to bring back a “new” Downtown Santa Clara. They are the most passionate group for the redevelopment of the Downtown area in decades. However, there are some pretty big hurdles such as existing leases and contracts for key downtown properties. We would love seeing a Downtown destination area near the Old Quad.
The Council will approve the City’s 2018-2019 operating budget of nearly $861 million. Let’s hope there are no secretly approved line items, like the Chamber management fee.
Convention Center and Chamber Update
Council will receive an update on the lack of updates on the Convention Center management contract with the Chamber and the Convention-Visitors Bureau.
A letter from City Manager Deanna Santana to the Chamber Board shows that the Chamber isn’t cooperating with the City and says the Chamber is withholding information from City staff, dating back months:
“On a quarterly basis, Chamber shall provide to the City … a detailed statement showing the performance of this Agreement by Chamber, an itemized statement of each expenditure made by Chamber … and any other documentation which City may request to enable City to determine whether any expenditure made in performing this Agreement is necessary, reasonable, and/or not funded in whole or in part under any other agreement or from any other source of income …. Chamber shall maintain books and records adequate to disclose receipts and payments of the contribution by City and such books and records shall be available for inspection at reasonable times for the terms of this Agreement and for three years following by authorized city employees or an auditor designated by City …”
I also want to take this opportunity to note that in addition to our new audit request, the City has made other requests for information dating back to April 19 which to date have not yet been provided.
The Chamber’s actions suggest they are hiding something. Let’s hope an audit brings out the facts. If there’s been mismanagement of city funds, the Chamber may have to pay back some serious dough to the City. The Chamber directors who have been critical of the City may have a lot of egg on their faces.