Dueling Mercury News Opeds: Gillmor and Nikolai vs. Hardy and Chahal

By Robert Haugh

Yesterday, the Mercury News posted online an oped co-authored by Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Pat Nikolai. It should be in print this coming week.

Unless you subscribe to the paper, it may be behind a paywall. But here’s the link.

Here are some key sections from their piece:

We believe Santa Clara has done more for our residents than any other Bay Area city during the pandemic. We’ve provided millions to struggling families with rental assistance and small businesses with grants. We’ve helped feed our schoolchildren on the weekends.

We can continue to meet today’s challenges because in the past few years we saved for the proverbial rainy day. Santa Clara and our city-owned electric company, Silicon Valley Power, currently have historically high financial reserves. Our financial resources, combined with steady civic leadership and residents who help their neighbors, put Santa Clara in a strong position to handle any crisis.

But today our Mission City also faces a unique and major political challenge.

NFL owner Jed York is spending an unprecedented $3 million to support his four chosen candidates and oppose four others for the City Council. Four votes represent a majority of the City Council.

As Santa Clarans, we must decide if we want to be managed by an NFL owner.

We’re endorsing two incumbent councilmembers: Teresa O’Neill and Kathy Watanabe. They have done a stellar job creating our fiscal reserves and responding to the pandemic. We’re supporting two others who have deep roots in the community and can be trusted to put our residents first: Bob O’Keefe and Rob Mezzetti.

We sincerely ask our residents to vote for the candidates who will represent Santa Clara’s interests, not those of an NFL owner seeking more revenue. Your choice will help determine Santa Clara’s future.

On Friday, the Mercury News printed an oped co-authored by Councilmembers Karen Hardy and Raj Chahal. Here’s the link that’s behind a paywall.

Here are some key sections from their piece:

We are urging Santa Clarans to vote for independent thinkers, free from special interests, collaborative, and have a track record of making fiscally responsible decisions. Candidates Anthony Becker, Harbir Bhatia, Suds Jain and Kevin Park all fit this bill and could bring the change we desperately need.

Let’s talk about garbage rate hike. How did we get into a situation where the council voted to hike garbage rates for residents 28% to 68% depending on the size of your bin? This happened because of politics and irresponsible decision making.

When the two of us voted against this contract and instead recommended exploring alternatives, including working with residents to improve the split bin program — which would have saved residents $1.9 million annually (or $28 million over the next 15 years) — the council majority refused to analyze the data and awarded the contract to GWR.

That is just one example of the council majority’s track record of poor financial decisions that are disrespectful to our hardworking taxpayers. These same council members decided to spend over $4 million of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary lawsuits to fight the California Voting Rights Act. That cost may also rise depending on the appeal they filed.


  1. Lets allow the adults to run the city. Jed has pulled together a bunch of whiney unhappy babies that won’t really help the city residents. If you want ultra high density housing everywhere and the destruction of our suburban lifestyle, Jed had your candidates.

    Please vote for:
    Rob Mezzetti
    Bob O’Keefe
    Teresa O’Neill
    Kathy Watanabe

  2. I don’t get the newspaper. But I got a nice letter from the Mayor and Police Chief this weekend. I’ll be supporting their candidates and not Jed York.

  3. Thanks for sending this out. If this wasn’t such a serious time for our City, I would be laughing.
    In this article, the Mayor and Police Chief are talking about the future of the City.
    The other people, both newly elected City Council member are showcasing a proposed garbage rate hike?
    This is where I would normally laugh. That’s how different these two views are.

    Also, weren’t these the same two newly elected City Council members who took it upon themselves to hold up the appointment of a vacant City Council Seat earlier this year?

    In March 8 residents applied. 8 residents took the time out of their life, and prepared to speak in front of the City Council and Mayor. Each hoping to fill the vacated City Council seat.
    In the audience was nervous, excited friends, family, as well as other interested residents.

    This was the method that ALL of the Council Members and Mayor agreed upon just weeks previous.
    All system’s go, big night about to kick off, residents will be heard, residents will be part of the process.

    Time out, these two City Council members decided upon themselves that the only person they would vote for that night would be Mr. Jain.
    That’s it…
    No one was allowed to speak, not even Mr. Jain.
    No one was able to share their story, or showcase what talents they could have brought to the city, not even Mr. Jain.
    These two Council Members decided by themselves that they knew what would be best for our City now and in the immediate future.
    No one else’s opinion mattered, only theirs.
    End of discussion.
    Yes this really happened.
    Is this how we want our City represented?
    Do these two have our City’s best interest at heart?

    Go back and look up what they supported before they were elected to our City Council. You might be surprised that they have since changed their tune. They are now saying, and supporting exactly what they said they would be against.

    No one company should own or run our town. I don’t care what that company is called, I really don’t. I would be against any company trying to do what is being attempted right now. The good news is we are smart and willing to fight. The bad news is we have 34 more years of this.
    Ultimately it’s still our choice, no one can make it for us.
    Just vote, your opinion matters and I trust you, you are my neighbors.

    Burt Field

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