Short Answers to Your Top 10 Election Questions

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 the 49er exec Rahul Chandhok. That’s something we’ve written about in the past.

  1. 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.

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Editor’s Note: we’ve had a lot of great feedback on this, so we are re-publishing this today. We will have another breaking story later today.


  1. Robert, Did you repost this to emphasize your biased points or to hide the comments from your previous post? In any case, I’m reposting my response to your “Special Sunday Edition”.

    Once again we have an incredibly biased piece by Robert Haugh.

    He says that I, Becker, Park and Bhatia were recruited by Rahul Chandhok. Given that I, Becker and Park have run for City Council in the past does it seem unlikely that we would run again, especially in an open seat election.

    Bob O’Keefe and Robert Mezzetti have never run for council before and the have not even served on any City commissions. Rather Lisa Gillmor has recruited people for years to run for City Council and, like this time, she has heavily supported her candidates so she can maintain her lock on City Council. Just think about how many City Council candidates in the past have worked for the Gillmors. Even this time, Robert Mezzetti has worked for the Gillmor family.

    I’m glad that you talk about Mike Sellers total compensation. We have a $555 million dollar unfunded pension liability and our top management and top police and fire are paid more than San Jose’s top employees. That’s why POA has always spent so much money on our elections. POA is a special interest.

    Stop calling it Santa Clara “News”. Certainly not “fair and balanced”

    • Suds, as a former San Jose resident, I have no problem with our city’s police officers and fire fighters being paid more than San Jose’s. Part of the reason why I moved to Santa Clara is because city services here are better, but we have to be willing to pay for it as well.

      But thanks for clarifying that you don’t stand with our police and fire departments.

      Sadly, you might get elected just because you’ve run so many times and have the 49ers backing you, so you have more name recognition than O’Keefe.

    • I have run only once before — in 2016.
      I have done Citizen’s Police Academy, CERT training and currently serve on the Chief of Police Advisory Committee.
      I have been endorsed by former Chief of Police, Mike Sellers in this election.
      I fully support our public safety departments but I worry about the POA historically spending so much money on our elections. Wouldn’t it be nice to pay each police officer a million dollars but we have to live within our means. We have an unfunded pension liability of $555 million. The higher the pension liability, the less money we have for our parks, our roads, and our infrastructure like sewers.
      Interesting that all my supporters use their real names but my critics usually hide their names.

  2. Thanks for the summary. There are some on Jed’s side that might complain about you seeming taking sides but I don’t see anything there that is not factual.

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