By Robert Haugh
From the political mail we’ve seen, all the candidates think they’re well qualified. Some of them have more experience than others. Some of them have lived in the district longer than their opponents.
One major issue that divides them all is the weekday stadium curfew that Jed York and the 49ers want to change. They want more revenue from concerts that go past 10 p.m. on the weekday. That’s something that’s been in place since the stadium opened to protect neighborhoods.
The team and candidates Jed is supporting says it means more revenue for the City. The problem is that it doesn’t. We’ve written about this before. The 49ers won’t give the city info they’re legally required to by agreements. So no one knows if an event makes money.
Here’s our breakdown of each race.
Kathy Watanabe — ballot statement
Harbir Bhatia — ballot statement
The choice is clear. Kathy Watanabe is the first person to represent the Northside. Watanabe has really delivered a lot when it comes to parks, libraries and protecting neighborhoods around the stadium.
The challenger, Harbir Bhatia, is currently being investigated for failing to register as a lobbyist for developer SiliconSage and other Santa Clara developments. (We’ve written about it before). Bhatia supports York’s plan to get rid of the curfew. That would hurt Northside neighborhoods.
Teresa O’Neill — ballot statement
Kevin Park — ballot statement
Teresa O’Neill has been a leader on both City issues and regional issues. She was the first Santa Claran to chair the VTA. She’s really pushed for affordable housing and help for residents during the pandemic.
Kevin Park is running again. He runs every couple of years. But Park hasn’t done much in the community. There are no reports of him helping people during the pandemic. Park supports York’s plan to get rid of the curfew.
Bob O’Keefe — ballot statement
Suds Jain — ballot statement
Bob O’Keefe has been an active leader in the Old Quad for a long time. O’Keefe is the only candidate who can legally vote on downtown developments and Santa Clara University issues.
Suds Jain has been dishonest with voters. Suds wrote an email on October 5 to the City saying he knew he could not vote on downtown issues. Three days later, in a videotaped forum, he told the public he could … Jain supports York’s plan to get rid of the curfew.
Gautam “Gary” Barve — ballot statement
Anthony Becker — ballot statement
Rob Mezzetti — ballot statement
Gary Barve has never run for office before and he’s only lived in the district about five months. He hasn’t done much in the community.
This is Anthony Becker’s third run for office in three election cycles. Becker moved into District 6 to run. He’s only lived in the district for about seven months and doesn’t have deep roots. Becker supports York on his plan to get rid of the curfew.
Rob Mezzetti is known for representing his clients well, especially survivors of sexual abuse. His professional expertise will come in handy, especially since the 49ers have sued the City seven times.
I am a resident of San Jose and have been following the intensifying battle between the current Santa Clara Council majority and John David (Jed) York, the owner of the San Francisco 49ers. I’m sure other observers have noted that the City’s decision to “partner” with the 49ers may have been a bite too large to chew or digest for the City or maybe it was just a poison pill–the wrong partner or the wrong project–given what has transpired in the past 6 years.
The more I learn about the council majority, the more it appears how wedded they were (and are) to cementing the destiny of the City and its residents to the vicissitudes of big corporate players. That neoliberal addiction is a general problem in the U.S. For Santa Clara specifically, however, the problem is that not all corporations follow the same code of conduct in their “government relations” departments. Intel, Nvidia, Applied Materials and other big tech firms in the City are one thing; the 49ers organization is a different creature with a different type of “partnership” with the City.
While the council members of the “anti-49er” majority no doubt have their negatives, and while the lack of ethnic diversity on the Council is a real problem for a City that is about two-thirds “non-White” (https://www.santaclaraca.gov/our-city/about-santa-clara/demographics), let’s bear in mind that the Council presently confronts what amounts to a hostile takeover attempt by a billionaire bully with dubious intentions. York has brazenly intervened with more than $2.4 million in support for four council candidate challengers (see https://santaclaranews.org/ 2020/10/19/will-jed-york-want-something-for-his-2-4-million-political-spending-he-has-before/; https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/ 2020/10/06/49ers-donate-money-santa-clara-council-election.html).
To put the scale of York’s plot in perspective, $2.4 million in campaign contributions would be the equivalent of a single corporate interest or group spending $18.5 million in San Jose’s municipal elections process, a city that is about 7.7 times the size of Santa Clara. This compares to the actual San Jose 2018 municipal elections cycle when candidates for mayor and for five city council seats brought in a combined total of $1.9 million in contributions (https://maplight.org/story/campaign-funding-in-silicon-valley-spotlight-on-san-jose/). Thus, York’s power play constitutes a massive, probably unparalleled, incursion into Santa Clara’s politics and governance.
York and his allies are camouflaging their obvious business motives and interests with the very serious issue of the lack of diversity on the council (https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2020/10/06/ 49ers-donate-money-santa-clara-council-election.html). York’s support for three ethnic South and East Asian candidates is a cynical and opportunistic ploy to use identity politics to advance clear business objectives: namely, to create a subservient Santa Clara City that will valorize, i.e. use its resources to subsidize and otherwise support, his multi-billion-dollar 49er organization.
This poses a potentially mortal danger to the fiscal and governance integrity of a city that has distinguished itself historically by its relatively strong finances. Santa Clara’s fiscal stability, in part, rests on its direct public ownership of business type” assets, e.g. electric utility, water utility, sewer utility, water recycling utility, Mission City Cemetery, Santa Clara Convention Center, sports and recreational facilities and, of course, Levi’s Stadium, among others. These public entities collectively bring in more than twice the revenues collected by the City via taxes and fees. Such publicly-owned enterprises allow that city to maintain superior infrastructure, facilities and services for its 130,000 residents at lower cost (see the easy to follow June 2019 financial report https://www.santaclaraca.gov/home/showdocument? id=65838). In other words, publicly-owned enterprises make Santa Clara a more affordable place to live.
The York campaign to oust the present council majority may endanger these public assets by “raiding” them to funnel their surpluses into subsidies for Levi’s Stadium and the 49er organization, both of which may have overextended themselves. Santa Clara residents and voters should be on guard so as not to “throw out the baby with bathwater.” Without a doubt, ethnic diversity on the council is desirable and necessary and must be addressed but definitely not by means of a corporate coup d’etat against city government.
So, Salem, as a fellow SJ resident, let me ask you. Do you think Measure C would have passed in March if Jed York and his team hadn’t interfered with the SC politics in the ‘so called’ name of diversity? I watched with great interest and was disappointed at the interference just as I am now with this election. Big money has no business in small town politics unless they have an ultimate goal which is now becoming clear to many. I am beginning to see a pattern and feel Jed York has had a scheme in place to overtake the council for quite some time. I hope the residents see through the scheme and save their city. Someone wrote very eloquently today, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. SC doesn’t need to be fooled anymore.
Thank you, Burt Field and Richard, for calling out Suds Jain’s referral to Silicon Valley Voice (aka Santa Clara Weekly). If this blog’s writer is biased, then it only serves to counteract the bias of Miles Barber, who has no regard for our city, its residents or ethics of any kind. I stopped reading Santa Clara Weekly years ago, when it was apparent Mr. Barber was using his publication as a literal “bully” pulpit. That Mr. Jain refers to it as a “legitimate news source” further cements my decision not to vote for him. I hope my District 5 neighbors will join me in voting for Bob O’Keefe.
DON’T HAND CONTROL OF SANTA CLARA TO JED YORK. VOTE FOR:
The Silicon Valley voice? Miles Barber has never been fair or balanced. The old creep hates Lisa. That’s just like Suds, teaming up with the ultimate Worst to get ahead.
It is unbelievable how biased this “news site” is toward Lisa Gillmor’s candidates. No wonder. Take a look at this article from a far more legitimate news outlet: https://www.svvoice.com/santa-clara-spin-docs-fingerprints-on-questionable-news-site/
This opinionated blog has no advertisers. No one knows how it is funded nor how many people get the emails nor how many people write the articles. Robert Haugh has NEVER called me for an interview.
Robert Haugh and Bob O’Keefe know full well that the FPPC never ruled that I cannot vote on the downtown and yet they continue to repeat that falsehood. Furthermore both are fully aware that there are doubts about the City’s counting of residential parcels. Robert even has a copy of a letter I sent to the FPPC outlining inaccuracies in City’s calculations. Remember the FPPC has NOT ruled so his claims are just incorrect.
I have been on the Old Quad Residents Association board longer than my Bob O’Keefe. I worked to get Franklin Street back from Prometheus. Of course, those are just inconvenient facts to Pulitzer aspirer, Robert Haugh.
This is so perfect. You are actually calling out a news source which has just published what you have written. No edits, no censorship even though you are less than friendly to this publication. In the same breath, you also have just advertised for another news source which when I click on it, it showcased…. TA DA!!!! you, and the rest of Jed’s Team, Park, Becker and Bhatia.
If that wasn’t so amusing, or maybe it’s just a strange coincidence on who they do not showcase or even mention.
I’m going to type the names out, but it might be simpler just to say that list is EVERYONE ELSE.
Watanabe, O’Neil, O’Keefe, Mezzetti and Barve.
Please just stop, you are in a hole… stop digging. The more you talk, write or try your best to prove to everyone that you are above us intellectually, your hole just gets deeper.
Robert, I hope you publish my comment ‘this time since you ignored once before. As a District 6 voter my choice comes down to Becker or Mezzetti. I know that Mr Becker has attended two recent Park opening and is a member of the Planning Commission. As a 50 year resident of SantaClara I have Volunteered for many things in that time including: PAL Soccer, Homestead LL, SantaClara Lions snd St Justin School PTA. I also proudly serve on the current Santa Clara Parks and Rec committee. Can you tell me if Mr Mezzetti has every volunteered for anything in Santa Clara before deciding to run for council? I think that would go along way in getting my vote.