By Kirk Vartan
Editor’s Note: This is a transcript of a statement Santa Clara businessman and community leader Kirk Vartan made at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 13.
Good evening Elected Mayor and Council. I feel it is important to say “elected” because of all the petty nonsense using the term “appointed”. It wasn’t just used by her opponent, but also a minority voice on this council. It was disheartening to see a former Mayor and current council member, albeit an admonished council member, lash out and champion an opponent whose team created frivolous and unsubstantiated lawsuits and fairytales.
What is great to see is the Dark Money ordinance that the previously appointed Mayor Lisa Gillmor led worked. It worked so well that the lawyers had to find new ways to funnel dark money. All this to try to take down the Mayor. Call her “appointed.” Call her “elected.” Either way, she has led Santa Clara in transparency, fiscal responsibility, park fee creation, stadium management, and citizen engagement. This election showed the current direction the City is heading is the right way and has the support of an overwhelming majority of the people.
I hope this sends a clear message to the council members that the time for division is over. Put the City first, not other groups or personal issues. If you have a problem with your Mayor, step down and do something else. We have wasted enough time bickering, fighting, and talking about the 49ers. Let’s all get behind managing the team, getting the financial stuff sorted out, and come up with a plan that makes the area thrive. With a unified council/Stadium Authority, the 49ers will cooperate and collaborate.
Here is my request for this Council over the next two years: Look at your opportunities, needs, and goals. Make decisions with the future in mind, not just the next 2-4 years, but the next 2-4 decades. There are many things that the City can do to help the community, whether it is affordable housing, supporting mom-and-pop shops, or creating vibrant places for people and placemaking. Working with other cities in the region is critical, and working with Cupertino and San Jose on the Stevens Creek Transportation Innovation Zone is a great example of this collaboration, so keep it going!
I would like to ask that we look at ways to help the small businesses in the area, specifically reviewing and studying the employee-owned worker cooperative model. We don’t want to lose more businesses like Wilson’s Bakery, By Th’ Bucket, or 456 Chinese Restaurant. And I am sure you know many more that have just disappeared over the years.
There’s a lot to do and we need to focus our energies on solving these problems, not fighting with each other or our stadium partner. It doesn’t really matter what the past issues were anymore. The people have voted. This is your Mayor. These are your council members. This is a great team. The people resisting the Mayor-led vision for Santa Clara need to get on board OR go away. Gone are the days of the Santa Clara “Old Guard.”
Congratulations, Mayor Lisa Gillmor.
You more than earned that seat and that title. Thank you for putting up with all the attacks, cheap shots, and lies. Thank you for leading this City with enthusiasm.