Santa Clara News: 2019 — Year in Review

By Robert Haugh

Here’s a list of the major stories that we reported each month in 2019. It was a busy and eventful year.


The State Bar suspended John Mlnarik for practicing law for one year and he’s on probation for three years. Mlnarik admits to bilking a couple of clients. 


The 49ers pay the City over $2 million in legal fees for last year’s rent arbitration case that they lost. It’s the start of a bad year for the team off the field.


The 49ers are warned that they have “breached” state prevailing wage laws. Later, we’ll find out that they actually engaged in wage theft.

Spectra takes over the Convention Center after the City fired the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce for mismanagement and malfeasance. 


We broke the story that 49ers executive Jim Mercurio was getting stock in companies that do business with the stadium. That’s against the law and he was forced to sell.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor won a frivolous lawsuit against her. But no one will reveal who funded it. Everyone believes Santa Clara University Law student Brian Exline was a frontman to hide the true id of the funder. 


County Assessor Larry Stone decides to appeal a huge tax break that the Assessment Appeals Board gave the 49ers. But it’s only after the City threatens to sue Stone.

The Related Companies hires world-famous architect Sir Norman Foster for the major development project in the Northside. 

Disgraced former City Councilman Dominic Caserta sued his former employer the Santa Clara Unified School District. He says they inappropriately released info from his personnel file that showed him doing inappropriate things with students.


Police Chief Mike Sellers announced he won’t finish his term. Some insiders say that Sellers has been Santa Clara’s least popular and worst police chief in recent memory. 

Mayor Lisa Gillmor delivers her State of the City address and announces that Santa Clara is fiscally sound and that reforms will continue. 


Santa Clara Sporting’s 17U 02 Green Boys team played in the prestigious U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kansas.


After losing two lawsuits over development projects, San Jose pays Santa Clara $6.2 million.

The Rolling Stones played a weekday (Sunday) concert and violated the curfew. But they got a pass from City Manager Deanna Santana.  She didn’t inform the Council or the public and gave the 49ers a lower fine. 


The Parade of Champions returns to the Mission City. 

The City sent a termination letter to the 49ers. The team was notified that they will no longer be able to manage non-NFL events because of mismanagement and violation of state wage laws.


The City puts public records requests online. We learned that Santa Clara gets a lot more than larger and neighboring cities. Most requests come from an NFL team and a local publication (not named Santa Clara News Online).


The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce lost control of the Convention Center because of mismanagement and malfeasance. An audit discovers that they owe the city about $500,000.

The Charter Review Committee decides to let Mission City voters (not a judge) determine our districts. In March, we’ll have a chance to create three council districts with two members each.


Lieutenant Pat Nikolai will run unopposed in March to be our next Police Chief. Assistant Police Chief Dan Winter decides not to file after his early campaign faltered.

One comment

  1. Thank you for reminding us about the city’s accomplishments for 2019. We aren’t perfect but it’s obvious effeort is going into making Santa Clara even better. Happy new Year 2020!

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