Text Messages from Harbir Bhatia Use Abusive Language

By Robert Haugh

Harbir Bhatia is running for City Council in District 1 against Councilmember Kathy Watanabe.  

Bhatia organized a press conference last week focused on racism and corruption.

Recently, Bhatia was suspended from Nextdoor for violating their policies on abusive language and tone. So was District 6 candidate Anthony Becker

We haven’t seen the posts Bhatia made that got her suspended. But we made a public records act request we made about the City’s investigation of Bhatia potentially violating the lobbyist registration law. From that, we got text messages she sent to City Clerk Hosam Haggag.  

The language that Bhatia used toward Haggag is abusive. We’re reprinting here so readers can see.

Harbir Bhatia texts


  1. Thanks for everyone chiming in. I’m proud everyday to be a Santa Clara resident. My hope is tomorrow we can continue to be run by Santa Clara residents and not some business owner, I don’t care what business it is.
    I’m so tired of all the BS, I think a lot of us are.
    Here is what I know.
    1. The 49ers are a Tenant.
    2. They no longer are allowed to Manage the Stadium
    3. Their monthly rent has been raised at their own request. THANK YOU
    4. Jed York will not stop. We need to be prepared to protect our City for the next 33 to 34 years.

    I will be a young 94. I promise if I can still make any sense I will be there with the rest of you.
    One voice, real loud telling Jed York, “Santa Clara is not for sale”.

    Burt Field

  2. How did the author get a hold of a private text conversation? Request for public records is for access to the city clerk’s emails right? Seems very strange.

    • The City Clerk is an elected public official. The records came via a public records request. Digital communication between elected officials is public record.

    • Thank you for the reply and appreciate the transparency in our city. I looked up the request and found it listed here: https://www.santaclaraca.gov/home/showdocument?id=65254 “Please consider this an official public records act request for all communication between SiliconSage and/or Harbir Bhatia and the City Clerk between October 2nd and today, October 15.” This is a very specific time range to ask when making a records request about a specific conversation between two parties. I’m curious if there is a reason why and also what prompted the request at this time.

    • @Sara – actually, Public Records Request covers all communications. Otherwise politicians will just use private emails and texts all the time. San Jose councilmembers go in trouble for that. Now whether or not they always hand over all records from their private accounts, I don’t know.

    • Good to know and seems like a great way to keep things in check and allow for transparency. Thanks.

    • It’s a shame. There was potential for Ms Bhatia but her elitist attitude seems to be her undoing to handle the pressures of being a public figure. She cannot do anything wrong and is always the victim. Reminds me of another Santa Clara candidate. Dominic Caserta. Ms Bhatia could learn from his demise.

  3. Habir, I should not be surprised you feel that quoting and describing your texts is considered bullying. You and our cohorts are used to being treated with kid gloves, so this might seem rough.
    And feel free to spell my name correctly when calling me a bully, it could hurt my feelings. It is Mr. Howard Myers, not Meyers. And the other bully’s name is Richard Bonito, not Benito. Just being helpful, it’s my nature.

  4. One of the first signs of an abusive person is not being able to understand how your words and actions can come off to others. Harbir you are not perfect in any way. When you speak you sound angry and like a bully. Instead of right fighting your way through why don’t you take a look at yourself and ask how you can do better? How can you make yourself better understood by more people? You always call people out, tell them you “see them”, and try to belittle them. ALL abusive behaviors which are not befitting of someone in power. You literally just attacked Robert for writing an article! It’s a stupid thing to do; when will you learn to shut up and move on?!?! I can already see you right fighting anything and everything written about you if you get elected. Not everyone is going to like you GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON!!

    Instead of explaining yourself and these text messages you went on an angry, tyrant that literally embodies what this article says! It’s disgusting; I hope for everyone’s sake, and yours, you don’t win this seat and you get four years to clean up your behavior and learn how to peacefully disagree with others. Hopefully you can come back with a better attitude and be able to work others in a productive manner.

    It’s so sad that you can’t even explain and give more details about these issues that come up with your involvement in them. You jump straight into being defensive and aggressive. You definitely have things to hide and are hiding them. You don’t sound any better than the current city council members.

  5. Habir seems to have a problem with the truth because nothing I said is untruthful. The truth is not bullying! When things don’t go your way, you blame other people.

    Hosam is legally bound to do his job whether it suits your purposes or not.

  6. Wow Harbir.. the first sign of an abusive person is not being able to see how your words and actions come off to others.. I’m deeply concerned about you being on the city council and how your words, tone, and behavior will run people away. You are blind to anyone’s negative views of you.. and instead of trying to understand and change you fight and fight and your true colors continue to bloom. Keep talking, keep fighting, you just keep digging yourself a deeper and deeper hole. I’ve never met you but based off these text messages, your comments on Nextdoor, and seeing how angry you are when you speak about others, like Kathy Wantanabe, I don’t ever want to meet you or engage with you. Your behavior and words are TOXIC.

    Your actions and words drove people out of Santa Clara’s cultural commission which you list as something for your campaign. Now I can see why. You blatantly asked for someone to overlook something you did that was illegal, scary. You don’t sound any better than the people you attack everyday.

  7. Sad that you call this abusive. when the real abuse here is the abuse of power and misuse of city resources and creation of a narrative to win an election. When in fact we have real issues. Our resources need to be used to serve our seniors, the largest portion of the population growth and the youth the next largest, which require plans to consider their needs and ensuring the city can sustain the quality of life for the longer term. Our city coffers are running out of money, huge population growth for the northside of the city that will impact the lives of thousands and thousands of residents, especially seniors, because there is no area plan. And counting on a transit occupancy tax to fix all the problems is not reasonable when hotels will not be able to return completely quickly. So how else do we do it. We need more qualified individuals who can plan better and ensure the future is sustainable. Especially for the same folks in this thread of side commentary like Mr> Howard Meyers, Richard Benito, and others. My spirit of service will not be done by the bullying on this news blog and comments of the same dozen. Best of luck to you because at the end you are the recipients of the city council policies.

    • It’s sad that you find your abusive behaviors more “qualified” when you can’t even accept that not everyone is going to like you. Grow up. I’d rather have someone in office with thick skin who can look past all the negativity versus someone like you who right fights every dang step of the way!!!

  8. Suds has the Mercury news, the San Jose Spotlight, and the Santa Clara Weekly all completely biased against the mayor and most of the city council writing hit pieces funded with the $3 millions by the 49ers. Advertising dollar$$$$

    Suds is still whining and claiming racism.

    • Good point. Does Suds complain that the SC Weakly, Murky News and SJ Spotty are biased against the mayor and her supporters? I haven’t heard it.

  9. I didn’t realize Habir was such a ranting lunatic. Not understanding that Hosam had to take action once a complaint was filed. She must think Hosam should have risked his position to protect her. Pushing her privilege while accusing the city of being racist is completely hypocritical.

    Habir is not fit for office…

  10. I kept expecting the dialogue to end, but it didn’t, it kept going. I feel for Hosam, he was just doing his job as his job description calls for. It is easy to see why Habir was bounced from Nextdoor.
    But some MIGHT ask, how DID Robert get his inside info? Does he reveal his sources? My guess is, no.

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