Councilmember Anthony Becker urged the City Council to apologize to Santa Clarans for having racist voting systems.
“An apology is due to the residents of Santa Clara, including all the minorities in this city,” said Becker.
But no one saw Becker’s draft letter before the meeting. Becker actually sent his letter after the meeting started at 5:29 pm. Wow.
Yesterday, we pointed out the fact that Becker had not done his homework on an important issue.
After Becker read his letter at last night’s meeting, it was clear that it included a lot of inaccurate information.
For example, Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe corrected the record and said that Roger Martinez was the first minority elected to the Santa Clara City Council. He was elected in the 1970s when districts were citywide.
The errors and omissions in Becker’s letter were also pointed out by other Councilmembers and residents who publicly testified.
Even Councilmember Kevin Park, who supported Becker’s apology, said that Becker’s letter needed to be fixed. Park volunteered to help rewrite it.
The Council passed a motion to publicly apologize and create an ad hoc committee of Becker and Park to fix Becker’s letter. The vote was 4-0 with 2 abstentions.
Becker, Park, Councilman Suds Jain, and Vice Mayor Raj Chahal voted yes.
Watanabe and Mayor Lisa Gillmor abstained.
“Santa Clarans vote for a candidate’s qualifications, not the color of their skin,” said Watanabe.
“Anyone who reads our legal arguments or ballot arguments would clearly see that the City was not racist,” said Gillmor. Anyone who listened to our Charter Commissioners debate this issue would see that they were not racists. Many Santa Clarans believed we had better alternatives like rank choice voting and multi-member districts. That’s not racist.”
Councilwoman Karen Hardy was on vacation and did not attend last night’s meeting.