By Robert Haugh
I’ve been asked a lot of questions about the election. So here are some brief answers to the top 10 questions I get. Maybe it’ll help anyone who hasn’t filled out a ballot yet.
- Why is Jed York spending $3 million?
Interestingly, Jed York himself has never publicly said why. But he wants a friendlier City Council. That’s why he’s supporting Harbir Bhatia (District 1), Kevin Park (District 4), Suds Jain (District 5), and Anthony Becker (District 6). They’ve all said they’ll be friendlier to Jed than the current City Council.
- Why isn’t the current City Council friendly to Jed?
Maybe because his team has sued the City seven times. Maybe it’s because he broke his promise on soccer fields and tried to steal the Youth Soccer Park? Maybe it’s because the team has intentionally violated the curfew law and got caught violating stage wage laws? But other than that, I don’t know.
- But the “Team Jed” candidates said they’ve never met him. What’s up with that?
This may be true. But they were recruited to run by 49ers exec Rahul Chandhok. That’s something we’ve written about in the past.
- Will Jed York’s spending backfire?
Maybe. Everyone in town is talking about Jed’s spending. The amount of money is so massive that he’s made himself and the money the issue, not the candidates. Becker even complained that his campaign got “hijacked” by Jed.
- Why is the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association PAC spending over $100K to elect four candidates?
The POA PAC has a lot at stake, too. They teamed up with Santa Clara Firefighters to interview all the candidates. The two departments are a big part of the City’s budget. And their jobs have gotten harder during the pandemic.
- Who are police and fire supporting?
The police and firefighters happen to like the incumbents: Kathy Watanabe (District 1) Teresa O’Neill (District 4). And two others: Bob O’Keefe (District 5) and Rob Mezzetti (District 6). They think they’ll continue to be supportive of their departments and the pandemic relief efforts.
- Some of Jed’s candidates say they don’t support changing the curfew. What’s the story?
They’ve all said that they will change the curfew law or be flexible about it. That’s what Jed York wants. That would mean more late-night concerts on the weekday. But that doesn’t mean more revenue for the City. The team won’t share financial info with the City. So no one knows if any concert will yield more revenue to the City, including the “Team Jed” candidates.
- Is it true that the City Manager gets paid over $700K?
Yes, if you include all benefits. Deanna Santana is one of the highest paid City Managers in the state. But she’s also the stadium manager and not many cities have a stadium or a team as difficult to deal with as the 49ers. Santa Clara has always had highly paid city managers. Former Police Chief Mike Sellers was actually paid more than Santana before he retired.
- Is Harbir Bhatia being investigated for being a lobbyist?
Yes. She and her previous employer SiliconSage, a development company, are being investigated. Bhatia also did work for the massive Mariani development project that has drawn complaints from neighborhood residents that she lobbied for Mariani without registering as required.
10. Why Can’t Suds Jain vote on major downtown issues?
This is my district so this issue is important to me. Suds can’t vote on Santa Clara University issues because his wife works there. After she leaves the university, he’ll have to wait a year before he can vote. Suds can’t vote on downtown development issues because the FPPC ruled that he has a conflict. Suds says that will change because of a new formula. But that hasn’t happened. It’s disappointing that Suds isn’t being honest with voters right now.
Bonus Question: What’s the best campaign mailer or ad you’ve seen from either side?
Easy answer: the Jed York Boogie.