City Council Review: Charter Amendment Vote on Districts Moved to March and Parade of Champions Will Return to the Mission City

By Robert Haugh

Measure N and District Elections

At the May 7, 2019, meeting, the City Council decided to put a proposed charter amendment on the November 3, 2020, general election ballot. This was because last November, 70 percent of Santa Clarans voted and said they should decide if and how districts are created in our city.  We prefer that to Judge Thomas Kuhnle’s decision that concluded that Mission City voters are racist.

Since the May 7, 2019, City Council meeting, the plaintiffs in the case against Santa Clara are trying to accelerate a final decision from the Court of Appeals, according to City Staff. So staff recommends a change to place the charter amendment on the March 3, 2020, primary election ballot.

The vote was unanimous to do it. City Councilwoman Debi Davis was absent. The presentation was made by City Clerk Hosam Haggag. And he was wearing a tie! Wow. It was not announced if the tie was borrowed or owned by him.

Parade of Champions Update

In March, 2019, the Santa Clara Parade of Champions (SCPOC) asked the City for financial support to bring back a beloved Mission City tradition. The Council asked the organizers to get an IRS non-profit tax status and raise sufficient funds for the event. Then the City would provide services in the amount of $71,028.

According to City Staff, the SCPOC has raised about $78,000. Kudos to the Parade leadership Ana Vargas Smith, Mary Grizzle, Nancy Biagini and others who made this happen in a really short period of time.

The entire Council is in support, so it looks like we’ll have a parade in the Fall.

Here’s the group’s website if you want to contribute or help. It should be a great event and day.

Here are some details:

  • On October 19, 2018, the SCPOC created as a non-profit corporation with the State of California (Entity # C4205627)

  • The Parade will take place in Santa Clara’s historic downtown area on Saturday, September 28, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Other Items:

  • Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill proposed an Innovation Zone along Stevens Creek Boulevard that San Jose is proposing. The majority of the Council agreed to take a look at it in July.  But the majority did not seem too happy with the idea. Mayor Lisa Gillmor mentioned how San Jose waives millions of dollars in traffic impact fees in the area creating many traffic problems. Councilwoman Karen Hardy worried about the neighborhood impacts. Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe was concerned about those issues and pulling City Staff away from other more important projects.

  • City Staff is still working on regulations and outreach for scooter and bike share programs. The plan is to have something in place early next year.


  1. Glad they moved it from November to March. I was about to ask why they moved it from a normal voting period when more people would show up and it would have the ring of a true endorsement and then I realized the new date coincides with an open presidential primary. The opportunities don’t get much better than that in terms of an endorsement by the people.

  2. “Judge Thomas Kuhnle’s decision that concluded that Mission City voters are racist.” Obviously that is an editorial comment and not the judge’s words. And of course, the judge’s decision didn’t say that the voters are racist. If the voters were racist, there would be no use in trying to change the electoral system since the system wouldn’t matter.

    What the decision said was that the system was de facto racially biased. The term bias has an emotional stigma that sometimes prompts defensive confrontation, but it also has a mathematical, statistical meaning and it’s the mathematical meaning that is important for this court decision. We can do the math calculations based on past historical data to quantitatively evaluate the presence of statistical bias.

    Imagine if all 435 voting members of the US House of Representatives were elected based on at-large elections, with the entire US as one large district. It’s likely that the entire house would consist almost entirely of one party with one ideology. There would also likely be less racial diversity, with impacts on “fairness”. But the more important danger would be that the homogeneous body would pass laws to favor the the majority at the expense of minority economic interests, geographies, religions, political parties, etc. as well as minority races.

  3. That was pretty cold about Hosam’s tie. I didn’t make it to the meeting, was it a bow tie?
    I am very resentful that the judge agreed SC voters are racists but I do like the idea of districts. I think we can do a better job than the judge did.

Leave a Reply