By Robert Haugh
The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) staff gave an update on the “BART Phase II Project and the associated Transit Oriented Development Corridor Strategies and Access Planning Study.”
The VTA staff gave a lot of interesting info. But they couldn’t answer some big questions.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Karen Hardy raised the issue of how VTA proposed cutting the Santa Clara BART station in the past. So lots of people in this community don’t trust them. (Thanks to the Mayor for referencing the people who read our story on NextDoor.)
The VTA staff said a Santa Clara station was important for lots of reasons. One of them is that they need tracks in Santa Clara for a maintenance facility. But they couldn’t offer any guarantees.
Councilwoman Debi Davis asked about land acquisition and funding. VTA hasn’t purchased a key property on Brokaw for the Santa Clara station. VTA staff said they’ll try and do without it by redesigning the station. They also couldn’t say if we’ll need another tax if federal funds don’t come through.
New Friendship City for the Mission City
Earlier this month, the Cultural Commission recommended Santa Clara become a Friendship City with Icheon City, Republic of Korea. The Council made it official last night. Mayor Gillmor will do a video “signing ceremony” today.
Our current Sister Cities are:
Coimbra, Portugal, established on August 4, 1974;
Izumo, Japan, established on October 11, 1986; and
Limerick, Ireland, established on August 1, 2014.
A “Friendship City” is different from a Sister City. It’s often the first stage before cities become Sister Cities. It’s not required, but Santa Clara has a practice of setting up Friendship City relationships. We did that with Limerick, Ireland and, most recently, Nagpur, India.
Healthier Kids Foundation
The Council decided to withhold a Request for Funding from the Healthier Kids Foundation. They wanted $210,000 for FY2019/20 to FY2021/22 for Dental, Hearing and Vision screenings and Case Management Services.
Some council members asked questions about why this issue was funded in the past without a competitive bid. Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill asked whether or not this was a top city priority. No one really answered.
But they decided to extend the current contract until the end of the year. That will allow City staff to figure out a competitive process.
Editor’s Note: All Council Members were in attendance at this meeting.