BREAKING NEWS: Jed York Creates Committee to Take Over the Santa Clara City Council With a $300,000 Initial Contribution

By Robert Haugh

Looks like Jed York is serious about taking over the Santa Clara City Council.

We’ve been hearing stories for a while that the 49ers’ owner has been telling people that he would make a big move to take over the City. York sure did that yesterday.

York dropped $250,000 into a new committee to elect: Anthony Becker, Harbir Bhatia, Suds Jain and Kevin Park. Last week, he opened the committee with $51,500. Wow.

That’s over 10x the voluntary campaign expenditure limit of $25,000 for Council races. Double wow.

York thinks Becker, Bhatia, Jain and Park will be 49er friendly when it comes to things like lowering stadium rent or changing the curfew that protects our neighborhoods. Both are major things the 49ers have been fighting the City for.

The official name of the Committee is Citizens for Efficient Government and Full Voting Rights. That’s a good clue about their strategy. It fits with a poll conducted in Santa Clara a few weeks ago.

According to some of our neighbors who got emails, texts and calls, pollsters asked a lot of questions about City Manager Deanna Santana’s salary and travel.

The pollsters also tested Santa Clara’s opposition to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit.

We’re glad the City is appealing the CVRA lawsuit. We don’t think Santa Clara voters are racist. 

In fact, a judge had to lower the established threshold for racially polarized voting to create six districts. So we think the City will win the appeal.

But look for York to use the racial argument in the campaign. 

Don’t be surprised if his brochures feature the Asian Law Alliance and the local NAACP, groups the 49ers work closely with.

Both groups were mentioned in a story yesterday by a reporter friendly to the 49ers: Ramona Giwargis of San Jose Spotlight.

Giwargis was critical about the Santa Clara Police Officers Association raising money from the Related Companies to pay for brochures for “all white” candidates.

Carolyn Schuk of the Weekly/SVVoice wrote a similar story yesterday criticizing the POA. Schuk has been a 49er friendly reporter for a long time.

The amount raised by the POA from Related: $25,000.  (yup, not a typo, $25,000).

Schuk and Giwargis did not mention York’s committee or contribution.

This is a developing story that we’ll be following closely.


  1. If Becker, Jain, and Park lose again for their second and third times, will it be due to their minority status?

    We know they are well funded, and with 6 districts!

  2. A lot to unpack here. I feel this is a good article to use to teach my students to look for bias in reporting.

    • Feel free to call in the Movers. Let us all know how you can make any sense of this type of spending. Will this spending be good for the average Santa Clara resident or the Santa Clara based company called the 49ers and their owner?
      I’m also curious as to what you are going to be able to teach your students?
      1. Sit, Stay, Roll Over… dead.

      I’d rather learn how to think for myself and understand why this one Santa Clara based company now wants to run the City as well.

      Is there any other company that we have done more for already? None that I can think of. We handed them the Keys (via Measure J) to a Publicly Financed $1 Billion Stadium, I guess we can always do more. But I guess I am bias.

      Burt Field

  3. Everyone
    There is so much here to digest and to fully understand. If I was employed by Mr. York I could spend my day trying to justify why this Santa Clara based company has now spent in just the last few months a “Reported” $600,000 ($300,000 measure C, and now $300,00 for the City Council race so far) to again effect our life in a less than positive way.
    I also have to get my head around a company that will freely spend the “Reported” $600,000 on trying to effect our elections, while only paying the City $9,000 in “Reported” profits from the running of the Stadium. I didn’t even have to add the unreported “Dark Money” to make this look so bad.

    $600,000 invested… $9,000 return. I do not have a degree in finance, but my simple calculator just told me that this was not a good financial investment. If not financial, then why the influx of money?

    I trust this is the same City that voted almost 90% (Measure R) to protect our parks and open space use just two years ago.
    I don’t care what the San Jose Mercury has to say, I don’t care what anyone outside of our City has to say. We, the voting residents have the final say. If I have anything to say on that matter I will make sure it is well documented.
    Mr. York our City is not for sale..this is not Pottersville, or Yorkville, this is Santa Clara.

    Burt Field

    • Correction, they actually spent nearly $650,000 on defeating Measure C.

      Get ready for them to spend at least $1 million on buying out this council.

      The big question is: how much lube can you buy for $1,000,000?

    • You are correct, I kind of lost track. As for the $1,000,000 estimate on spending for this election, that was my guess as well. Now for the bad news..34 more years of this, that is unless we can get another City to take them off our hands.

      Burt Field

  4. Look I’m ok with people spending as long as I know where the money is coming from. 49ers spending money for people they want to see elected. The developers give money to the SC POA and to Mayor Gilmore for folks they would like to see elected. I’m OK with that as long as it’s out in the open. Finally, can we agree that it makes no sense for Ms Santana to make more money in base pay then the President of the United States? I urge everyone to vote on Nov 3!

  5. Wow, there are some wild, unsubstantiated opinions in this article:

    “We don’t think Santa Clara voters are racist.” –> No one thinks the voters are racists. If the voters were the problem, a lawsuit wouldn’t change anything. It’s the electoral system that is being criticized. Huge difference.

    “In fact, a judge had to lower the established threshold for racially polarized voting to create six districts.” –> What does this refer to? The link doesn’t mention this at all.

    “So we think the City will win the appeal.” –> Santa Clara News is likely the only publication that holds this opinion. The general consensus is that the city will lose the appeal and the entire lawsuit, not to mention the millions in dollars of wasted legal fees.

    • This is from the link. You might have missed it. It’s in the court briefings, too.

      “(Judge) Kuhnle had to lower a statistic from 95 percent probability to 80 percent probability to show that there was racially polarized voting.”

  6. Becker, Bhatia, Jain, and Park sell their souls to the 49ers. Their true colors aren’t one of minority, but one of treasonous sell outs of our Fair City to the 49ers.

    Et tu, Brute?

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