City Council Review: Santa Clara City Council Called “Dysfunctional”, Will Keep Cannabis Ban in Place

By Robert Haugh

An unusual thing happened with appointments to Boards and Commissions. This is something that Mayor Lisa Gillmor typically does just like other mayors have done before her.

But Councilmember Suds Jain objected and created his own list giving himself and the new 49ers-backed councilmembers more appointments.

Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe objected and voted against it. But it passed 5-2.

Resident Debbie Algieri called in to comment on the process. She said that the new Councilmembers have made this “the most dysfunctional council I have ever seen.”

We’re hearing this from others, too. It reminds us of the Santa Clara Unified School Board meetings years ago when Chris Stampolis and Ina Bendis created havoc.

As we’ve written a few times already, it’s going to be a long year. And it’s only February.

Cannabis Ban

Councilmember Anthony Becker proposed that Santa Clara get rid of the cannabis ban that the City Council instituted initially in 2019. It was made permanent last year.

Becker argued that the city should lift the ban. He believes marijuana sales could generate much-needed revenue and it would be more convenient for Mission City residents who want it.  

Becker also cited his experience working at a dispensary years ago. Councilmember Jain seconded his motion.

But Councilmembers Watanabe, Karen Hardy and Raj Chahal spoke against lifting the ban.

They believe the revenue projections were too optimistic and have not benefited most cities. And they cited negative impacts on the community, particularly children.

Councilmember Kevin Park made a long rambling statement. Eventually, he said that the issue should be studied.

Mayor Gillmor said the revenue generation would be minimal compared to the city’s cost and opposed lifting the ban.

The measure failed 4-3 with Becker, Jain and Park voting to lift the cannabis ban.


  1. The dysfunction on the council that you’re seeing—— it is typical when you have district elections. The overall good of the city is secondary, and there’s no spirit of compromise.
    Easy to see why the 49ers loved the change to districts, 80% of the residents in that district oppose them, and in city-wide elections no candidate could afford to to ignore a voting block that big. In district elections, that’s just one seat on the council, and the rest of the council members can ignore that voting block. It will be that way on very many issues going forward, district elections play into the hands of big special interests.

    • Hey Ttomm,

      If you live in 95054 I hope you will help and speak for residents.

      I see the area as the most needy to stay strong. Watanabe seems to know to listen to residents.

      Time to stick together.

    • Guys, I live near Lawrence / Kiely (95051) area, so that puts me about as far away from the Stadium as you can get. Your fight is my fight.
      We are all Santa Clara residents. Count me in. I don’t care where you live, where you work. I’m here to help put an end to this one company’s growing shadow over our City.
      You are not alone, lots of other Santa Clara residents have seen and heard enough. More are waking up everyday to what has happened when they weren’t looking.
      Apathy is now being replaced with concern. That’s huge. Most people are so busy with life, they gloss over many issues which at the time seem trivial. Easy to do, when you are force fed $3 Million dollars of misinformation all over just a few weeks of time.
      That’s why I love to ask this one question.

      “Do you know the difference between ignorance and stupidity?”

      Answer is so simple.
      One is temporary.
      Give me a call, text or email, you have lots of friends who live no where near you, but want to help where we can.
      Burt Field

  2. The only thing more sad is the negative result on our City for the sake of Jed’s empire. It’s very hard for me not to see Raj and the new Council members as traitors to our (residents) best interests.

    Raj does a lot of talking and I wish he would do more writing as I only understand every third or fourth word. Very frustrating.

    Please step back and look at what they are doing to the City they represent and what they are doing for the billionaire Jed York. Seems criminal.

    I hope we now know it’s obvious we need 2 new council members in 2022! Of course we will up against Jed and his billions of dollars.

    • i Hope Santa Clarans are seeing what kind of people were voted for in 2020 election and 2018. at least one council was elected to support mayor Lisa.

  3. Comparing these clowns to stampoils and bindis is an insult.They didn’t take $$ from 49ers!! They wrecked havoc on their own. Don’t need to be told what to do. Original masterminds of their own fates.

    • This is actually really funny, and you may be right. As bad as it is right now with our newly elected 49er City Council, it was really… really bad with the Santa Clara School Board just a few years ago. Those Clowns had no one to blame but themselves. Kudos for you to point that out to us.

      But man what would I give to just have those two idiots to talk about again. This new 49er City Council is like the gift that just keeps giving. Each day we get new chapters that we as residents have to deal with.
      Sadly as someone else said, we are just in the Bottom of the First inning. It’s just going to get worse, before it will get better.
      Think about it. Who in their right mind would ever want to be our Elected Mayor right now? I can’t even listen to the meetings anymore. I pray that Mayor Gillmor stay with the position. Can any of us imagine having to deal day to day with these newly elected City Council members? Thank God Councilperson Watanabe got re-elected!!
      First off, we have to get Hardy and Chahal replaced when they come up for Re-Election. Shouldn’t be that difficult. The more Chahal “Talks”, the easier it is for us to get a much clearer vision of him not coming back. I’m sure he makes sense to himself…. but that’s about as far as that goes.
      So thanks for the good laugh, it has been awhile since I have been able to find any humor with our City.
      Burt Field

  4. You left out the part where Suds was bragging
    why Karen was SUCH
    a wonderful choice to be the council
    water expert since she was a
    (wait for it)
    When Ronald Raegen was President? LOL!

    Does only Suds speak for York’s
    ill gotten gains? Does anyone have an
    original thought? Whose playbook is Suds using?

    It’s bad people.
    Just bad.
    Painful too.

    Listening to Chahal who has diarhhea of the
    mouth makes you feel sorry for the City workers
    who have to listen to that crap that ONLY he seems
    to know the answer to. HE”S ALWAYS RIGHT!
    what a waste of time.
    City workers need to start
    earning hazard pay.

    Anyone watching council meetings needs
    hazard pay to think of it.

    Can’t talk about Becker or Park.
    Just give them a cannabis shop and
    send them off into the sunset.They
    deserve to be with each other.

  5. Debbie Algieri, we need you on City Council to remind everyone not to act like children. But I hate to tell you, this is not anything new. The previous Council acted the same way. Who ever is in the majority, gangs up on the minority. What about working together? Obviously this will not happen with this city council.

    Also what happened about the sewer lines? I couldn’t stay up to watch the entire thing. But let me understand this–if City Trees planted on what the city calls it’s property, ruins the sewer lines going to the street, the homeowner is liable? Ready to have my city trees taken out.

    • Sweet Thought but no way would ever run or want to be part of our City Council! It’s all I can take to be on these Zoom calls right now! I can’t even stay for the hole thing. I still need my beauty sleep.
      My daughter did start a Petition about the Curfew that Suds wants to change. Please sign and forward to your neighbors and friends. There are folks in Sunnyvale and San Jose who are impacted by the curfew and we want as many people to sign as possible.
      By the way, how do we recall these clowns????? 🙂

    • I did sign it. I will forward to my neighbors. We’ve done petitions here also, but we didn’t get ver far with them. Good luck. And I do appreciate it when you call in. You are the sound of reason. Thanks!

  6. Why are some councils person meeting with the 49ers, aren’t we in several lawsuits with them. It seems unethical to be meeting with them until all lawsuits are resolved. Don’t they call that “sleeping with the enemy”. And why council person Suds so concerned about the curfew. I’m sure there more important issue in the city right now. And on the subject of changing the curfew time it should be up to voters that live in the area most affected by the change. Not council people that live far from the weekday noice and disturbance. That what the voters voted on in the ordinance. O my I just forgot there are 3 million reason why. Disgraceful.

  7. These sellouts have four years to pay their debt back. They’re coming out swinging for the fence.

    Must be lucrative. 🙁

    • How bout 5 special retired jerseys at Levi’s?


      And Sleepy for Hardy! 🤣

  8. Lets not forget York” investment and his PAC posy which consist of Mike Honda, Pat Mahan, Mike Sellers. The new Council members deny any connection with York but what about his PAC Posy! Both Pat Mahan and Mike Sellers have been directly involved with the City in the past. I’m sure that the new City Council Members know who these people are and were probably aware of what was going on even though they said they didn’t. But lets not forget that York is sitting back right now getting what he wants. A disorganized Council that he’s probable getting ready to swoop down on soon. These new council members don’t have a clue and are in denial.

    • I hope so! We will keep pushing issues and I will be reporting them on Social Media as quickly as the S*** comes out of there mouth,

  9. Just an FYI as well, Suds wants to change the curfew for Levi Stadium (as he stated in one of his political speeches in front of City Hall)and they were looking at data on noise levels. I had to interject with “why would we be looking right now at noise levels when we are in the middle of a pandemic?” The numbers would not be accurate. If the new City Council members push this issue, we must push a City wide change and that includes the college and anywhere else that has a curfew! Its all or nothing Suds!

  10. So Park wanted to study the ban and lift it while studying it? Is this the same Park that campaigned as a scientist?

    • Scientists need to pay their debts too!

      The cannabis industry has been around for a while and there should be plenty of data to be studied.

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