Mahan and Kolstad Slap Applicants and the Public in the Face

By Robert Haugh

Disgraced former Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta’s vacated seat will remain vacant until November.


Councilwoman Patty Mahan and Councilman Pat Kolstad wouldn’t vote for anyone. Seriously. After hours of discussion, they didn’t disclose that they were not voting for anyone — that is until 1:30 a.m. Wow. It was ridiculous, frustrating, unprofessional and a slap in the face to all good Santa Clarans.

This is the first time in the Charter era that the Council has not made an appointment to fill a vacant seat. Mahan and Kolstad are the ones responsible.

The Council concluded their interviews after 1 a.m. Mahan and Kolstad voted against appointing Eversley Forte, Hosam Haggag, Kevin Park, Suds Jain and Mohammed Nadeem.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill, Debi Davis and Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe were willing to appoint any of those candidates. But they lost on a series of 4-2 votes. Five votes were required to make an appointment because of Measure Q passed by voters last year. Maybe it’s time to rethink the measure.

Mahan tried explaining herself in a prepared statement. It was long-winded and not really believable. It should have been made earlier to save everyone time and effort. Kolstad didn’t say a word to explain his votes.

O’Neill was really angry. She lambasted Mahan, saying Mahan insulted the applicants and the public for “pulling a stunt at the last minute.” O’Neill said she “resented Mahan” for wasting the time of the Council, the City staff and residents. Watanabe was also uncharacteristically angry and called the move  “personal politics and said “it was a dark day” for Santa Clara. Davis said “this is not democracy, this is garbage.” Gillmor questioned why Mahan and Kolstad voted to appoint candidates for vacancies in the past but would not do so now. She asked them “did you really have a change of heart or change of politics?”

In a highly unusual move, even City Attorney Brian Doyle spoke up, as a resident, and said to Mahan and Kolstad “I am ashamed to be working for you two.”

Members of the public and several applicants were outraged and felt disrespected also. They too came up to the microphone and criticized Mahan and Kolstad.  Right now, it would be pretty easy to get a recall petition signed for either of them.

After hearing from 19 applicants, the Council whittled that down to a really talented group of seven: Nancy Biagini, Andrew Chan, Forte, Haggag, Jain, Nadeem and Park.

We predicted these seven would be the leading candidates yesterday.

Another weird Mahan move was her initial vote for Chris Stampolis to advance to the finalist stage. Seriously. Mahan voted for the guy who caused major problems at the Santa Clara Unified School District. At least, she didn’t vote for Caserta. But who knows what she would have done if the meeting went on longer.

Downtown Discussion

The good: Prometheus has voluntarily agreed to work with the City to help establish right-of-way options for Franklin Street and Washington Street in the heart of the original 8-block Downtown grid.

The bad: To bring back a 75-foot Franklin Street, it would be necessary to demolish, at least partially, three existing buildings at Park Central Apartments, owned by Prometheus — and that’s probably not feasible.

But City staff and Prometheus are on-track to help make the vision come alive for a bustling new Downtown. This is the most thorough and passionate effort to revitalize Downtown. The vision was initiated and energized by Reclaiming Our Downtown. Assistant City Manager Manuel Pineda made an excellent presentation on the Downtown plans.

We are excited at the dedication, commitment and passion of the people pushing for Downtown revitalization. I too would love to one day have a Downtown district to bring my daughter to shop, dine and hang out. It may be decades away, but it’s exciting nonetheless to think about. Here’s hoping the obstacles can be overcome to make something happen.

Budget – City Staff Cuts $8 Million Deficit From Five-Year Budget Forecast

Lots of numbers and detailed information was presented about the City’s operating budget and general fund. In the five-year forecast, the City had an $8 million deficit. In the past several weeks, City staff has worked to close that deficit, balancing the budget without major service cuts. Kudos to them.

Video Highlights:

Final portion of the Council appointment process

Teresa O’Neill comments at 3:31.50

Brian Doyle comments at 3:32.59

Kathy Watanabe comments at 3:33.08

Debi Davis comments at 3:34.29

Watanabe comments on Kolstad residency at 3:36.35

Public weighs in at 3:37.57

Lisa Gillmor comments at 3:42.38

Discussion ends at 3:51.50.

Editor’s Note: We added video links to the meeting.



  1. I demand mahan and kolstad’s resignatiom from preventing our city from moving forward and diversify. We lost a golden chance to show everyone we are not a exclusive club but an inclusive diversified city

  2. Santa Clara, Mahan & Kolstad are doing a great disservice to our city.
    I just watched the early morning hour of Mahan’s justification. Pitiful to say the least.
    Quote ” I partially did not vote, from the way this resignation (Dominic Caserta) came about! SERIOUSLY
    Dominic Caserta did this to himself, so you blame the other council members for this. Please resign, you are truly
    not the moral compass for the city. Your actions clearly were despicable. This is a sad for Santa Clara and your nasty

  3. RECALL MAHAN, A political stunt at it’s finest hour, happening in the early morning hours sadly. To have Santa Clara residents take their valuable time preparing to fill a position on the city council, YOU stated to having an OPEN MIND! I can not believe that, a true political move and what was your motive ? YOU need to own responsibility for this waste of the people’s time.
    YOU are a selfish, despicable person along with that lump named Kolstad who is your puppet. PLEASE RESIGN, do Santa Clara a service. YOU should have never been elected, YOU are not representing our city. Santa Clara RECALL her if she doesn’t RESIGN.

  4. I just finished watching the recording of last night’s Council meeting. Mahan and Kolstad show how they feel about the candidates and the residents of Santa Clara. More bullshit from the Blu Packers. I hope the voters see their contrived agenda and never support them ever. I doubt either planned to run for different reasons. What a despicable epitaph.

    It is sad Mahan and Kolstad also burned our four hard working and diligent Council members.

  5. I don’t think we should consider changing our charter because of two fools.
    The one hard to figure is Kolstad. For what reason would he endure this kind of pressure? You don’t do that just to be a jerk, there has to be some reason. There is money involved or someone has something on him. JMHO
    Mahan is easier to read, it is ambition. If she doesn’t run for mayor i will be shocked.
    The city is being sued based on the color of our city council. This would have provided the city an opportunity to change the hue of the council and perhaps mitigate their legal position. With that unresolved it might well make for good grist for a nasty campaign blaming the current mayor. Most voters won’t know of her disruptive role. Overall, a nasty piece of work.

  6. Let’s get a recall started.Mahan and Kolstad(who’s home is in Washington,shouldn’t be representing Us.) This is disgusting wasting time at the meeting.

  7. I’m a proud Santa Claran and a person of color. I am not proud of being represented by Patty Mahan and Pat Kolstad. Rather than do something good and diversify our council with people of color who were extremely well qualified, they played a political game.

    • Are you implying that these two voted they way they did because all potential replacements are “of color”?

    • Doesn’t that seem extremely likely? Why else would they refuse to appoint one of five intelligent, motivated, qualified candidates unless it was because they did not want to appoint or work with someone of a different race or background? Whether they are or not, their actions came across as ignorant, racist, and completely disrespectful of the candidates and Santa Clara voters in general.

  8. He and his wife moved to Washington state last year. Why the hell is he still on the council and voting?

    And Mahan voted for Stampolis!!!! That’s the deranged voting for the deranged.

    Seriously, if there’s a recall all you have to do is say please sign this because Mahan voted for Stampolis. Done.

  9. We dealt with Mahan on a land use issue. She’s slippery and dishonest. We discovered years later that she was a lobbyist and didn’t report it. So no surprise on our block. As for Kolstad, he just seems like an amiable dunce who follows her.

Leave a Reply