Guest Opinion: Mahan and Kolstad Misused Their Power in a Mean and Disrespectful Way

By Howard Myers

Editor’s Note: On July 17, Howard Myers spoke to the Santa Clara City Council along with other residents. They recommended a “censure” of Councilwoman Patty Mahan and Councilman Pat Kolstad because of the way the two declined to vote for qualified candidates to replace disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta. After some discussion, the City Council decided to agendize for action on August 21 an “admonishment” of Mahan and Kolstad. It’s possible for them to be censure at a later date if more information comes out. Myers slightly edited his comments from the council meeting and they are printed below.

Good evening Madam Mayor, council members and staff:

This isn’t about different opinions.

Several years ago, I served on a Charter Review Committee that redefined the provision that allowed council members to select a replacement when there was a vacancy. I promoted a portion of this which required a super majority, thinking it would be important to have more unity than a simple majority might provide.

It never occurred to me it would be so misused.

It would be more understandable if the members had declared at the beginning of the meeting they would not be taking part in the vote for a replacement council member. Even without an explanation, it would have shown more respect for the applicants waiting, eager to serve their city.

There may be some rationale for choosing to not vote. There is a provision in the charter that allows 30 days to select a replacement or it goes vacant until the next election.  So not voting, or voting no is not a crime.

But as for the motive, we are left guessing.

Many of us think this might have been intended to strike back at fellow council members over some disagreement.

If that’s the case, you didn’t strike at them, you struck at us the residents that you are sworn to serve.

You didn’t just prevent a volunteer from serving, you reduced the number of council members available to serve us.

Regardless of the reason for not voting, waiting until the end of the night is unforgivable and showed a complete disregard for others.

It was mean and disrespectful.

It is appropriate for the council to vote to censure these two members. Not just a s gesture of disagreement with what they did but to let us, the residents know you also take it seriously.

This isn’t a matter of disagreeing or voting no. it is a matter of waiting until the end of the evening to say, “Oh, I’m not going to vote”.

No, no, no. That’s not good. If you had just said so at the beginning of the evening we wouldn’t be here.

Some consideration please.


  1. Thanks Howard for making the situation clear. Selfish acts by selfish people. I’m sure they don’t treat their gravy train, the 49ers that way.

  2. Robert, I mentioned my comments varied slightly from my prepared text so I modified the text to conform to what was actually presented. Thanks for running it.

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