By Robert Haugh
I received an issue of the Santa Clara Weekly delivered last Thursday — for the first time in six months on my doorstep! No kidding.
I’ve been hearing lots of people say that they don’t get the publication regularly. That’s true in my neighborhood.
Of course, the most common complaint I hear is about their slanted coverage. This criticism is directed mostly at Lobbyist/Publisher Miles Barber’s columns. He writes regularly attacking Mayor Lisa Gillmor and the women on the council. One of his worst columns was when he insulted them by writing they couldn’t spell their own names. That’s really “Trumpian.”
Barber has not published his column in a couple weeks. As we previously reported, Lou Mariani has told many people that Barber was in the hospital in critical care. Barber apparently had to miss the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce’s special meeting and the Council’s big vote on the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) management. We’re hearing from others that Barber may not have actually gone to the hospital. Either way, we’re sorry that he’s not feeling well and wish him a speedy recovery.
Mariani and Barber are Chamber directors. Barber was also the lobbyist for the massive Mariani development project until he was let go about a year ago.
The Weekly has been in the middle of a lot of controversy recently. They published an ad for the CVB that backfired. The CVB staff spent money to brag about how they brought Wrestlemania to Levi’s Stadium — three years ago! That raised questions about their judgment and performance — and self-dealing since Barber is a Chamber Board member. The CVB management contract was ended at the end of last month.
And, of course, our regular readers will remember that Burt Field of Stand Up for Santa Clara wrote an opinion piece raising a lot of questions over 18 months ago about the Weekly and their number of subscriptions. He thinks the City is wasting tax dollars by using the Weekly.
According to Field, former City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. never did anything about his concerns, even after two meetings. Field recently sent his complaint to City Manager Deanna Santana.
We’re wondering if Barber’s self-dealing will be an issue for the City, since the Weekly publicly says it’s “The Official Newspaper for the City of Santa Clara!”
We know Santana has had her hands full dealing with major issues during her first year. But we hope that City departments pay attention to complaints about our tax dollars and the Weekly’s distribution and numbers — and maybe even ethics.
Then maybe my neighbors and I will get our Weekly regularly — or maybe not.
Editor’s Note: We asked the Weekly for comment about their distribution. They did not respond.