Happy Second Birthday to Santa Clara News!

By Robert Haugh

Last Friday, was the second anniversary for Santa Clara News. It was a good feeling that day — even though I didn’t get a free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s. (Hey, I tried).

I started this site to provide excellent coverage of major political and policy issues in Santa Clara. And to report local news accurately, timely, and independently. I’ve done that according to a lot (not all) of Mission City residents.

Here’s some numbers that might interest you, as of yesterday:

  • 295,894 site views
  • 74,620 unique visitors
  • 2,045 comments

I’m especially proud when people tell me the column is a “must read.” I hear that from people in neighborhood groups, inside City Hall and, yes, even Levi’s Stadium.

My critics say I’m biased. Some don’t understand that I write an opinion column. That means I state my opinion based on facts. Sometimes I do reporting, too.

What’s my Opinion?

I like the reforms happening at City Hall since Mayor Jamie Matthews mysteriously resigned and Lisa Gillmor took the gavel. Finally, the City started managing the 49ers and stopped being pushed around. Most Santa Clarans think that’s a good thing. I agree.

That would not have happened if Jed York didn’t break his promise to the soccer community when the 49ers tried to take the Youth Soccer Park. Those moves broke trust with Mission City residents. The team was once loved. Now, they’re not trusted. They may even be cursed

It’s also my opinion that a lot of city staffers were weak in standing up for the City. The top ones are gone. That’s also a good thing. It happened in less than three years. What’s amazing is that no one got fired and no one sued the City.

Now, we have the most professional and talented staff I’ve seen since I’ve been covering Santa Clara since 2005. Some “old timers” think it’s the best team ever.

With the Convention Center audit, we’re seeing real professionals at City Hall. And the old ways that involved friendly agreements with no accountability are gone.

It’s also my opinion that things have gotten way more civil since disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta resigned. The meetings are shorter without all the arguments he initiated. Councilwoman Patty Mahan still rudely interrupts others a lot. But things are way better.

What’s my Motivation?

It’s not money. I don’t get paid and I don’t have advertising. I did need to raise money to defend myself against a lawsuit by Lobbyist/Publisher Miles Barber who tried to bully and silence me. The community rallied. Together, we beat Barber in a big legal win, including the appeal

My motivation is personal and professional. I wrote for the Santa Clara Weekly from 2005 to 2015. I tried to get back into journalism and recently I was told by local journalists that the Weekly wasn’t considered a serious publication. I needed to get hired by a “real newspaper” or write columns myself to show my talent. I’ve been doing that daily for the last two years.

Santa Clarans tell me they appreciate the site because they can’t count on other sources.  The Mercury News doesn’t really understand the Mission City and they never have. They’ve covered little of the City Hall reforms.

Ironically, the San Francisco Chronicle has a better sense of what’s really happening in Santa Clara.

SanJoseInside.com/Metro News gets major kudos for exposing Caserta, but they don’t have the resources to cover Santa Clara regularly.

The Weekly has really become a defender of the old guard like the Chamber of Commerce. No surprise. Barber is a Chamber director. They’re fighting a losing battle against change, accountability and transparency.

So, that’s why I write and keep this site going. Thank you to the Mission City for all your support.

4 comments

  1. I do appreciate your work. Thank you. I do read the Weekly, too. The paper has really gone down hill. I noticed when the 49ers started advertising, the publication started writing pro-49ers stories and anti-Mayor Gillmor stories. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Maybe you could write about it. Your insights into the Weekly as someone who use to work there is valuable. Keep up the great work.

  2. Kudos. You are filling a gap in local civic news that I noticed when I moved to Santa Clara a decade ago and saw self-dealing at city hall, about which I had been warned, and at the Santa Clara Weekly, for which nothing in my experience prepared me. Thank you for your work.

  3. Happy Birthday Robert!🎂 Thanks for doing the hard work to get the real information out to the residents of Santa Clara. I appreciate your forum and the ability to speak my mind. Your investigative reporting exposes how outside interests in Santa Clara are trying to control our great city.

    Thanks again not only for your time, but your obvious love of Santa Clara.

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