By Robert Haugh
Last week, City Manager Deanna Santana had to correct a Miles Barber column with a community letter to Santa Clarans.
This time, Barber really screwed up in his column about recently retired Fire Chief Bill Kelly.
Barber wrote that Santana advertised for Kelly’s replacement without Kelly knowing about it in April 2019. But Barber didn’t fact check anything with the City. Whoops. Looks like Barber didn’t take Journalism 101.
Here’s what Santana writes:
Without any effort to seek the facts from former Fire Chief Kelly’s employer, the City of Santa Clara, Mr. Barber writes about a set of events that did not happen. Mr. Barber is welcome to his opinion but, when he makes up his own set of facts, the City must respond.
The Real Facts
Santana links to attachments to prove her points.
She discloses emails between her and Kelly discussing retirement that goes back to December 2018.
Kelly announced his retirement in January 2019.
Community surveys about the desired characteristics of the next fire chief were sent out in February 2019.
Employee meetings discussing the next fire chief were held in March 2019.
The fire chief application was then circulated with an April 14, 2019 deadline.
Not only did Barber completely screw up the facts of the Kelly retirement, but he also wrote that employee morale is lousy. Santana says she is going to release employee survey data that is positive and shoots down another false Barber claim.
Santana concludes her letter with this:
My hope is that the next time Mr. Barber decides to write an opinion piece about our City employees, that it be data-driven, based on accurate facts, and responsible to our hard-working and committed employees and retirees.
As many of you know, I worked at the Santa Clara Weekly for 10 years. I had a front-row seat to see how Barber wrote his columns. Let’s just say that employees knew that facts and accuracy were not a big deal to him. Barber never let those things get in the way of his opinion. Sometimes those opinions are really extreme. He clearly does not like the female leadership of Santa Clara. That includes the City Manager and Mayor Lisa Gillmor and the female council majority. And his columns show it.
Editor’s Note: Many of you have asked about Barber’s journalism background. He doesn’t have any. In fact, his background is a mystery. He doesn’t list a bio anywhere. No one seems to know much about him. I’d be happy to write about his history. But I need readers to help me with info and facts. The rest of the Weekly staff doesn’t have much journalism background either. That’s something that might be worth writing about, too.