By Robert Haugh
City Council candidate Harbir Bhatia worked for local developer SiliconSage until a few months ago.
But that’s not clear on her ballot statement. Bhatia lists a lot of things, except her most recent employer.
Bhatia tells us that she worked for SiliconSage from December, 2018 to May, 2020.
But there’s no mention of her employer in a story that appeared just a few days after she left the developer. That was a profile piece in San Jose Spotlight that called her a “longtime civic entrepreneur.”
Bhatia left SiliconSage days before running for City Council because “I wanted to make sure there was no room for conflict of interest,” Bhatia said.
Bhatia said that she worked “on multiple projects around the Bay Area but not in Santa Clara.”
But Bhatia did work on a Santa Clara development project in 2019. It wasn’t for SiliconSage. She worked on the massive Mariani development project, as we reported back then.
Bhatia’s work for Mariani doesn’t appear on her ballot statement or campaign website even though it’s a major Santa Clara project.
According to multiple sources in the labor movement in the South Bay and East Bay, SiliconSage builds little or no affordable housing units in their projects. They say Bhatia has been involved in these development projects in the South Bay and Fremont.
The South Bay Labor Council interviewed Bhatia earlier this year for the District 1 Council seat. The organization turned down Bhatia and endorsed Kathy Watanabe for re-election.