Santa Clara Chamber PAC Seems to Follow Chamber’s Malfeasance

By Robert Haugh

The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC doesn’t seem to be doing much better than it’s “host”: the Chamber of Commerce.

According to the PAC’s semi-annual financial report, the organization raised $17,190. Really not much.

The donations were dominated by a few larger donors, including some familiar and controversial faces:

  • Jed York – the 49ers CEO gave $3,000. He was the largest donor. It would be smarter of him to give the money the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League.
  • John Elwood, Rudolph & Sletten – $2,250.
  • Lou Mariani – $1,580. He’s taking over the PAC and  has been lobbying for a massive development at the Mariani’s Inn properties owned by his family.
  • Santa Clara Weekly – $1,350 plus $100 from its Publisher/lobbyist Miles Barber.  Interesting. How can the “official” newspaper of the city of Santa Clara make political contributions. If they haven’t crossed a legal line, they’ve certainly crossed an ethical one.
  • Slatter Construction – $1,290. A Santa Cruz contractor.
  • Mlnarik Law Group – $1,000. They’re the firm that represents disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta.

Things are even more revealing when looking at the organizations expenditures:

  • $3,564 to “Pruneyard Golf” who hosted a PAC fundraiser event. We believe they mean the nine-hole Pruneridge Golf Course.
  • $1,000 to Caserta for Supervisor. Yep. Need we say more.
  • $1,352.50 to Dave Tobkin. Self-dealing? Tobkin is also the PAC and the Chamber’s treasurer.
  • $720 to the Santa Clara Weekly. Self dealing again?

This information comes from the organizations report for the period from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018. Also, the group uses the Chamber’s office address at 1850 Warburton as their mailing address. For that honor it looks like the PAC pays the Chamber $16 a month. That’s pretty cheap rent.



  1. Henry’s and Anthony Becker’s continued hysterical rants against Mayor Gillmor do not resonate with this lifetime resident.

    Yes, Mayor Gillmor along with Kolstad and Mahan (who Henry conveniently forgot to mention) pushed for passage of Measure J. However, the 49ers (NOT Mayor Gillmor or the city) were the ones who destroyed the relationship with the city and our residents by their backroom deals with former city manager Fuentes and his council lapdogs Kolstad, Mathews, & Caserta, their attempt to hijack our youth soccer park, their refusal to provide detailed information on stadium events, and their continual attempts to control our city, our council and our election process through shady dealings and donations.

    Neither Henry nor Anthony have spoken to anyone in my neighborhood or circle of friends about city leadership. If they did, they would realize that there are a huge number of us residents who are grateful that Mayor Gillmor had the guts to admit there was something wrong with how the 49ers were operating (even though she supported Measure J) and the bravery and integrity to push for reforms even though she knew it would put her in the crosshairs of them and their cohorts. Thankfully, she and the current council continue to try to clean up the gargantuan mess left by Fuentes and the former council.

    As to the chamber of commerce and PAC, as a resident I don’t care when financial problems are unearthed; it’s not the timing that worries me, but that anything problematic is going on at all. Apparently, Henry and Anthony think that audits (and actions to uncover dishonesty, financial scams, and fraud) are a “witch hunt” – as Anthony and Trump put it.

    And regarding Anthony Becker’s last statement about being a leader on the council? Anthony, you’ve already shown that you’re not a leader – just a mouthpiece for the people who want to tear down Santa Clara and hand it over to whoever pays the highest price. You will not be getting my vote.

    • Dear Lifer … you really need to get your facts straight — Gilmore was the CO-LEADER of the group that brought us Measure J — Santa Clarans for Economic Progress (with Kolstad) NOT Mahan. And Lisa was on the Council and could have and should have spoken up to clean up all the contracts she so overwhelmingly supported by/for the 49ers. Lisa also supported Fuentes and Matthews and the other crooks too … why didn’t she speak up and insist something be done before we needed to spend millions to fix it or get rid of them? And, finally She didn’t just “support” Measure J … she SPONSORED it … huge difference for anyone who wants the clear history of why we are in the mess we are in today.

      I hope you really think about how you vote this November … Santa Clara really needs some new leadership. We keep seeing the same names and faces over and over again … Santa Clara needs change. We are being over-run with cars, sitting in deadlock traffic and every single bare spot of land is being covered with yet another building … it is ridulous and I, for one, would like to see it finally stopped. It is not doing Santa Clara any good ..l it is ruining the spirit and composition of our precious city. Lisa has talked about changing development, but has done nothing except approve more and more and more! She talks a good story, but talk is cheap and she started strong but has not followed and even dropped many of her promises too. I’m waiting to see who runs, but Santa Clara DOES need leadership and leadership that actually represents the PEOPLE too!

  2. Mr. Becker, Before you go spouting nonsense, do some homework. Don’t use the Weekly as you would Wikipedia on your fact finding mission. Most important, the only reason you might think about challenging Lisa to not take money is because in your last campaign you didn’t receive any. These are the same smear tactics you used to no avail in the last campaign. Sighhh… More of the same in SC…

  3. WTH! I am ex chamber and pac and chamber never endorsed Gilmore. Only girls endorsed are Oneill and Mahan. Stop deflecting real issue. Pac and chamber are alike because they are run alike. Same leadership. Keep investigating! What happened before 2018!

  4. I am gonna have to agree with Henry a lot. It is a joke that suddenly there is action on city council . For years no one is a stranger to if it’s not Lisa’s way your on the chopping block.
    This is history repeating herself, Gillmor wasted taxpayers dollars in the nineties going after the chamber. Many on this council have taken money from the chamber.
    This is a witch hunt at the cost of the taxpayers. I hear from so many people how very unhappy they are with current leadership.
    Gillmor ruined a relationship with the niners then spends taxpayers money for Public Relations firm to fix ties after he audit proved what was owed was less that what the audit cost taxpayers.

    Waste of money and time all In the name of politics and political campaigning

    Maybe the grand jury should investigate our current council and mayor . Seems like the San Jose mercury news published the letters calling for this on Sunday.

    I challenge Mayor Gillmor not to accept money from any special interests, no money from developers, no money from her police and firefighter union PACS
    If she accepts this challenge I will follow the same rules. Only donations from our residents and members of our state, family and friends. Will she accept this challenge? Or will she only care about the money and continue to be a hypocrite by calling out the niners on dark money when she herself funneled dark money in 2016 elections and the 2018 Measure A campaign. Explain that one !

    She is a millionaire that tries to buy up the council seats do you think that is fair ?

    If I am leader there would be no wrong doing on council, by the niners, by the chamber in fact the people would be more in power with someone like me leading. No more agendas

  5. Pretty pathetic that the Mayor and Council didn’t look into their malfeasance until political season. These shenanigans have been obvious since the PAC was started. But wait … the Mayor and her girls were happy with the Chamber and their PAC when they endorsed them and gave them all money. Doesn’t that make them hypocrites and guilty of malfeasance too?

    Funny how NOW the Chamber and PAC and all these people are so evil … when, not so long ago, Mayor Lisa was singing them praises and ushering them (and Measure J) into Santa Clara. Let’s not forget exactly WHO sponsored Measure J … Lisa Gilmore and Pat Kolstad, They are very responsible for the 49er mess … and never spoke up when they could have …

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