By Robert Haugh
Suds Jain cannot vote on Santa Clara University (SCU) issues because his wife is employed there. So he has a conflict of interest.
Jain has known about this for four years. The issues came up because he’s a Planning Commissioner and SCU has major issues come before the commission.
But Jain has not discussed it during his City Council campaign, according to numerous people in the district and a review of his website.
We broke the story about his SCU conflict of interest on September 23.
Since then, Jain has been telling people in District 5 that his wife will retire soon and that he will be immediately able to vote after she retires.
In an email exchange, Jain’s wife, Lori, confirmed that she will retire from SCU in January, 2021.
We asked Jain if that means he believes he can vote on SCU issues as early as February, 2021. He replied by email: “Yes, my answer is yes.”
We checked with City Attorney Brian Doyle. He referred us to the State’s Conflict of Interest Code.
And Doyle wrote: “under subsection (c) it is 12 months since they last had a financial interest in the matter.”
So Jain mistakenly claims he can vote in 2021 if he’s elected to the City Council and his wife retires. He cannot do so until 2022.
That would be a big problem for District 5. A lot of decisions will be made involving SCU and the downtown in the next few years.
As we reported last year, SCU plans to expand its undergrads from around 5,500 to 6,000. That means more students in Old Quad neighborhoods.
The only other candidate in the District 5 race is Bob O’Keefe. He’s a board member of the Old Quad Residents Association.
O’Keefe’s home is not in the downtown area.
Downtown Development Conflicts, Too
Jain also has a conflict with downtown development issues because his home is in the area.
On Tuesday, we wrote about how Jain falsely claimed he could vote on downtown issues.
So, O’Keefe is the only candidate in District 5 who is free of conflicts of interest and can legally vote on downtown issues and SCU neighborhood impacts.
Editor’s Note: My family and I live in District 5 and not too far from downtown.
I’ve been reading these stories about Suds including his comments. Frankly, I find the issue a little technical. Perhaps you could put it in better perspective in a future column.
I live in the district, too. I want to know if he can actually vote on issues. I also want to know if he’s being honest about it.
I’m not using my name because I don’t want to get harassed by campaign workers.
But you can email me if you need more information about me.
Suds Jain wrote an email to the City on October 2 saying he could not vote on downtown development issues. But three days later at a League of Women’s Voter forum, he said that he could. It’s pretty obvious. Jain was being dishonest with voters. On the SCU issue, he’s interpreting the law differently than the City Attorney. I’ll give Jain the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t understand the law and is just wrong.
This is why an informed electorate is important. So many only see the flashy TV ads and mailed circulars. Does not matter who finances these, they don’t tell the whole story.
Suds is not making his case very well. God forbid we wait until he is elected to find out he is not allowed to vote. That’s not a forget about the university as well. District 5 needs a council member that can fully represent our dynamic district. Suds has had this issue in his face for years and just now is trying to resolve it. Too late.
We need a city council member that can come in and kick butt right away. That’s Bob O’Keefe!
Maybe Mr. Jain was rounding up to the nearest integer.
First off, no one has formally ruled that I cannot vote on the downtown nor on Santa Clara University as a councilmember. So Bob O’Keefe is wrong in saying he is the only person who can vote.
The FPPC explicitly said that they will not weigh in on the downtown until I am a councilmember because they don’t deal with hypotheticals. The FPPC does not do research and relies on facts presented to them. The City calculated the impact of the downtown project on the residents of District 5 within 1000 feet and missed counting parcels zoned as PD (planned development). The City is now recounting.
The FPPC rule on recusing due to employment is based on these two conditions:
” an official is disqualified from governmental decision if the following two conditions are met:
The financial impact or effect is foreseeable, and
The financial impact or effect is significant enough to be considered material. ”
Since we have zero financial interest in SCU after Lori retires (no stock, no pension, no payments), I believe that there is no impact on our finances from SCU decisions that is specific to us compared to other residents of the Old Quad.
So until, the FPPC or the City officially rule that I must recuse, then I will work under the assumption that I do not have to recuse.
Suds: “Since we have zero financial interest in SCU after Lori retires” -> you’re admitting that you have a financial interest in SCU before she retires.
According to State Law, and as clarified by the City Attorney: “under subsection (c) it is 12 months since they last had a financial interest in the matter.”
Which means that you are prohibited from participating for TWELVE months after she retires. If she had stock or a pension or other income/payments with them, you’d be ineligible PERIOD and the 12 month timer starts ticking as soon as those interests are no longer.
You’d be a terrible legislator.
And your lies make you a perfect politician.