Nancy Biagini Appointed to Planning Commission

By Robert Haugh

Last night, the Council interviewed 15 applicants for the Planning Commission. Wow. There were a lot of good candidates.  They applied to fill the seat vacated by Councilman Raj Chahal when he got elected.

Each Councilmember voted for four then it was whittled down to one candidate. Here’s the “bracket” results. It was an all-female “Final Four.”

The Final Four

  • Nancy Biagini

  • Jayapriya Cherukuru

  • Megan Swartzwelder

  • Vandana Upadhyay

The Final Two

  • Biagini

  • Cherukuru

The Winner

  • Biagini

Biagini got the support of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilwoman Debi Davis,  Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill and Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe.

Nancy Biagini

Santa Clarans may remember that Biagini lost a Council race to Chahal last November. She now takes his empty seat on the Planning Commission. Chahal did not vote for Biagini in any round.

Eligibility List

The remaining top three candidates will be put on an “eligibility list.” That’s a new thing. The vote to create it was 5-1. Chahal voted against it.

If there are any new openings for the Planning Commission during the next year, the council will interview only the candidates from the eligibility list. The Council won’t open a new application process. Here’s the eligibility list:

  • Cherukuru

  • Upadhyay

  • Swartzwelder

Councilwoman Patty Mahan was absent.


  1. A big congrats to Nancy Biagini, on her appointment to the Planning Commission, I welcome her and excited for her ideas and great energy she brings. She is a seasoned public servant who is dedicated and last night she was ready to hit the ground running. Hope to see her on the April 10th meeting.

    There were so many great applicants and the top 4 truly deserved their high ranking. Each truly impressive in their own right. I was blown away by Megan Swartzwelder, she brought her millennial approach which sooner or later will take more seats on the commission or council one day (we already have a millennial City Clerk). Jayapriya Cherukuru was truly knowledgable and had a strong planning background and also a HLC member like Nancy, while Vandana Upadhyay gave us great insight into her ideas for the future of planning generally around transportation. All three of these wonderful ladies deserve a place on this commission and I can see all of them serving on Planning Commission or any other Santa Clara bodies soon. Glad to see the strong field of women that applied and the large number of diverse candidates. Ultimately, glad to see another woman on the Planning Commission, currently Commissioner Ikezi is the lone female.

    Lots of work ahead to give recommendations to council.

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