The City Should Stop Wasting Tax Dollars on a Questionable Publication like the Santa Clara Weekly

By Burt Field, Stand Up for Santa Clara

I had to laugh when I read Miles Barber’s column last week in the Santa Clara Weekly complaining about questions City Attorney Brian Doyle asked him about his publication. Barber apparently doesn’t like scrutiny or criticism, although he loves to dish it out regularly.

As this site regularly points out, Barber makes lots of factual mistakes in his columns and the City has frequently corrected him. His columns are clearly not responsible journalism.

Barber has also been officially chastised in writing by the City for being verbally abusive to City staff at a public meeting. That’s not acceptable behavior in our community. 

Barber, himself, has been a paid lobbyist for a major mixed-use development in Santa Clara and his paper has frequently written about the project. But never have they disclosed to their readers that Barber was a lobbyist. That is a failure of personal and journalistic ethics.

Barber’s publication has major funding from the 49ers and Barber routinely defends the team. He even defends them on things like their refusal to disclose documents or follow city law’s like the curfew. A good community paper wouldn’t do that.

And let’s not forget that Barber touts his publication as the “official” city newspaper. They even claim in their printed version (when you can find one) that they are the “most read publication” in Santa Clara.

So, I think Doyle’s scrutiny is appropriate. In fact, in 2017 I raised issues about Barber and Santa Clara Weekly twice. I made the case that the City is wasting taxpayers’ dollars on a publication that a lot of people believe inflates its numbers and overcharges the City.  

I’m glad the City is finally taking this issue seriously.  And there’s a really easy solution to the problem. It’s in the City Charter: 

Sec. 815 Publishing of legal notices. The City Council shall by resolution designate one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City of Santa Clara as official newspaper for the publication of any legal notice or other matter required to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in said City. If it appears to the City Council that the rates offered are unfair, it need not designate an official newspaper. Upon making a finding to such effect, or if publication of newspapers which have been so designated are suspended, then legal notices, ordinances or other matter required to be published in an official newspaper may be published by posting copies thereof in at least three public places in the City. The places for posting of legal notices shall be fixed by ordinance of the City Council.

Let’s hope the City Attorney and City Council stop the waste of our tax dollars on a questionable publication.


  1. I have an opinion or two.
    Not a fan of Miles since he threatened to crucify me if I blocked a project of his. He and I agree on a number of topics but I don’t find him at all flexible.
    I actually like the format of a small town paper like the SC Weakly but they do seem to have trouble staying within the lines. But in fairness the Milestones is an opinion piece and doesn’t need to be factual. But using it to promote a project he is a lobbyist for is a tad too far. The rest of the paper isn’t all hit pieces on politicians he dislikes but a good part of them are.
    And Suds, quoting the NY SLimes to promote a free press? They are awfully fast and loose with the fake stories to be a good example. They slander people on the front page and later have a correction on the back of section 3. Hate to say it but the Weakly is more accurate than the Slimes w/o setting the bar too high.
    But accurate about circulation? That’s a stretch. Print media in general will continue to have a tough time making it in today’s world.

  2. The growing threat to journalism are journalists. When reporting without facts, their credibility takes a big hit. Political unsubstantiated reporting has been so common it is destroying our freedom of press. Who do you believe?

    And the same goes for climate change, Suds. You live in one of the most progressive areas. What can you over do here that wouldn’t make a giant impact in China or India? China and India are the pigs of the planet. The liberal media will have you believe it is our fault and pushes guilt as a weapon.

    Fake news seems to be the norm.

  3. Clearly these comments are not real people besides Suds
    I thinks its the author that writes his own negative comments under multiple aliases
    the writing style and words like , “wow” and “ouch” are dead giveaways

    • I respond/reply only under my name. I don’t need to create fake accounts. It’s so funny how attention some of you pay to comments and speculate who they are from. All comments require valid emails and I do check to ensure comments are legitimate.

    • Sorry, I am as real as the person sitting in my office chair right now. You just must not like comments that agree with the article. 🙂 So much for a free press, and people free to express their own opinions!

    • “Our mission at The New York Times is to seek the truth and help people understand the world”

      Somehow I don’t think that’s Miles’ exclusive mission at the Weekly.

  4. Miles had been irrelevant for years. Keeping his trashy rag off my walkway is the best thing he has done in ages.

    Don’t forget he gave Mariani business advise. Ouch!

  5. I have noticed that it’s just called “the Weekly” now, no more “Santa Clara” in the title. I have lived in Santa Clara for 20 years now, and I don’t think that any taxpayer money going to this newspaper is appropriate.

  6. We have a crisis of investigative journalism in the US which threatens our very democracy. From all sides we’re hearing from people who bash the media. We need more media outlets, not fewer. I personally think that the SantaClaraNews is biased and think that the Weekly provides good counterpoint — all good. To have the Weekly go out of business would be a real blow to Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. The Weekly covers new restaurants, activities of non-profits and social organizations, Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings and school board meetings. Who else take up the slack if the Weekly were to go out of business? The Weekly actually has paid journalists. I also welcome Spotlight as a “competitor” to the Mercury News.

    • Suds stands up for SCW and Spotlight! What a great guy! It is pretty obvious both are doing the bidding of others and getting paid to debase the local government of Santa Clara. Thankfully, Sudsy isn’t a serious voice in the bigger scheme of things so there is no reason to buy all that nonsense he jibbers on about. Stick with the environment, Sudsy. Better yet, move somewhere else since it seems you like to talk about the benefits of living in other cities except the one you live in. And thanks for reminding me to go change the lining in my cat litter box with the SCW now!

  7. that news paper is a joke and makes our city look like the ‘butt’ of all jokes. I want my money back if my taxes are being used to support them. After all the Niners got their money back because they didn’t use the stadium all the time from the Tax Assessor …. why can’t I?

    • Burt once again you miss the point. The city puts their legal notices in The Weekly because its the cheapest rates they can find. I mean give me a break when you talk about ethics, I still don’t have an answer as to why our City Manager tends to disregard HR hiring policies. In fact I have never heard an answer from the city manager is she is related to our new Fire Chief and if she disclosed that fact before hiring him and giving him a 100,000 raise?????? I would like our city manager to issue a press release if I’m wrong

Leave a Reply