Council Allocates Another $300,000 for Small Businesses, Raj Chahal Skips Memorial Day Ceremony

By Robert Haugh

The City Council yesterday announced that it will allocate another $300,000 to the Small Business Assistance Grant Program.  The City has distributed almost $800,000. This will bring the total to $1.1 million to help Mission City businesses. Kudos to the City Council and City staff.

The City came up with the additional $300,000 when City staff announced that the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) will reimburse the City for the money it’s been spending to feed SCUSD students on the weekends.

The City will also be reaching out to larger corporations in Santa Clara for help to increase the grant program. The group that was supposed to do that was NOT the Chamber of Commerce. But they have raised only $1,500 in the last month to help small businesses.

Memorial Day Celebration — Where’s Waldo?

This year’s Memorial Day Celebration happened without a crowd because of social distancing guidelines.

On Monday at Central Park’s Veterans Memorial, Mayor Lisa Gillmor, City Councilmembers Kathy Watanabe, Teresa O’Neill, Karen Hardy, and Debi Davis were joined by Fire Chief Ruben Torres and Police Chief Pat Nikolai to remember and honor fallen military heroes who served our country.

But one person was missing. Councilmember Raj Chahal did not show up for the 4-minute video or the flag-raising ceremony. According to a neighbor of Chahal’s, he was in Santa Clara that day. According to Chahal, he skipped the ceremony because of seasonal allergies.

Other Stuff:

  • The Council extended the City’s hotel tax that’s currently $1 per room. It’s supposed to be used for marketing the Convention Center. But there’s no conventions now and some of the North Santa Clara hotels are closed because travel is way down. We’ll write more to explain this in a few days.
  • The Council unanimously voted to go to court to “validate” the Stadium Authority’s budget. We’ll write more about that decision, too.

Editor’s Note: We updated the story at 2:26 p.m., Wednesday to include the reason behind Chahal’s absence.


  1. Memorial Day is not just a white person’s day. I know people of color who gave their lives for this country. It’s their day too. Why would Sudhanshu Jain suggest it’s not?

  2. If I knew they were having the ceremony,I would have gone.there was no communication regarding it.
    I go every year as my two brothers were killed during world war 2

    • Alice, it wasn’t a public ceremony. The City did a small ceremony that was recorded and the City broadcasted. Only those mentioned and in the photo attended, and they practiced social distancing. It wasn’t the ceremony we are accustomed to.

  3. Since the article didn’t mention any specific characteristic of Mr. Chahal, it’s not obvious that the article was referring to race. I also don’t see any implicit references, as Mr. Chahal has other defining characteristics, such as being the only male council member and the only one with a beard. The article points out his absence, notes that we was in town, and says that they will print Mr. Chahal’s comments. That sounds like the proper journalistic approach.

  4. Suds, There is nothing racist or anti immigrant about Roberts comment. Should all immigrants get a pass on everything or is that racist? I believe you are trying to limit free speech for you own benefit.

    If Raj doesn’t want to support our war veterans, that’s his prerogative. Perhaps he doesn’t have any family effected as many of us do.

    Maybe this is for Raj to comment as your comment is against the 1st amendment.

    • I’m all for free speech and the constitution. In fact, I’ve been a member of the ACLU for years because they work so hard to defend free speech. Hope you are a member too. I just believe that journalists should be held to a very high standard of trying to be unbiased.

    • Correct, Suds. Let me make a broader point. It’s disappointing that Robert Haugh is knowingly and willingly following into the trap he ascribes to his bete noir, Miles Barber. Letting personal animus “trump” journalism. Here’s the thing. At the end of the day, we take with us only our integrity, honesty and decency. His post about Raj, who I have never met, fails on all counts.
      Perhaps as a frame of reference, my friend, Lisa Gilmor. I adamantly opposed her gift to the 49ers (as it seems she does now as well). I thought her prompt condemnation of Caserta was the best example of leadership I’ve ever witnessed in Santa Clara.
      It’s not one or the other. Life is dynamic.
      Roberts’s remarks are consistent with his irrational stand promoting discrimination against minorities in Santa Clara. Not my words, but the Court’s.
      Just a suggestion, Robert. Before you hit “send,” next time, ask yourself this. When you’re lovely daughter asks you years from now, “Dad, why did you post that”? I trust you can answer without shame.
      Try that before you post next time. Regardless of issue.
      Just a suggestion.

  5. Suds loves to play the race card. Of course, that’s all he has. Be prepared to play it again in November. Perhaps if you’re so sensitive, you should drop out of the the race and do district 5 a favor.

    It’s nice to see one of Patty’s / Niners minions stick up for one another. Team dark side! I hope that’s not racist.

    I can’t wait for Patty to chime in as Becker, the unaccomplished.

  6. Are you implying that Raj Chahal is not patriotic? Please don’t go there. That could be perceived as racist and anti-immigrant.

    • This is not a racist comment. What it is however is s a commentary of who did and did not show up to a very public display of support for our veterans.
      Mr. Haugh also said he will allow the elected Public Official to comment on why he was a No Show. Maybe there is a good reason. Maybe he just forgot? At that time he would publish the response. Sounds pretty fair to me?
      I’ll say it again… “Santa Clara is not a racially divided City”.

      Burt Field

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