Councilman Anthony Becker Wants City to Apologize for Racist Elections with Error-Filled Apology Letter

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.

6 comments

  1. Listening to some of these council people is listening to nails on a chalkboard.

    They have the hutspa to condemn the city and staff they work with. Makes you wish they would move to the cities they seem to love more than their own homebase.

    To these 5 complainers, PLEASE MOVE!

  2. I’m a resident of District 6. I would like to know what he has done for our district as I see lots of real issues that need addressing here. I’d like to know when will he be holding a meeting with the residents of our district so we can get to know him better and express our real concerns?

    Anonymous

  3. Becker’s strings are being pulled again! Who is it now? A vindictive bunch of a-holes want to keep this racist drum beating. It’s an insult to Santa Clarans. This benefits NO ONE except the old guard who should have grown a pair 20 years ago and make change to the City election system! Are you listening Matthew, Mahan, Kolsted, etc.??

  4. I wish the council would focus on meat and potato issues. Most of us don’t give a damn about social justice issues. We certainly have nothing to apologize for, as it was the will of the people.

  5. Why does Becker think City Hall owes an apology to anyone? District voting has not served our residents well, but has disenfranchised them by insulating district council representatives from caring or serving the city as a whole. As long as their district votes them in, those are the only residents they need worry about. Hence, only one out of six district council people is going to be concerned with the problems of the north of Bayshore area of the city. One out of six district council people is going to be concerned with the Old Quad and the downtown area. I have never and do not plan to vote for council representatives by their ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, gender background, etc. I vote for them based on their experience, knowledge, service to the city and the community at large, etc. Are Becker and Park going to go door to door and demand that people issue individual apologies for not voting the way the two of them deem “correct” ? An unfit politician is an unfit politician – no matter their background. It’s unfortunate that district voting has not only divided our city, but enabled a sports franchise to buy politicians to serve its needs ahead of any individual resident. Becker and Park (and Chahal, Hardy, Jain) how about apologizing to the residents at large in Santa Clara for your foolhardy, selfish shenanigans on behalf of the 49ers and your own self-interest?

  6. Becker wants to be special so bad, but he’s having trouble pulling it off and finding a way to actually contribute.

    Becker couldn’t pull off writing an apology letter, so he needs help from another council person. Just goes to show you why we need more election reform.

    So Becker isn’t the first gay City Councilman, but perhaps the first special needs City Councilman.

    If you’re a fan of the Simpsons, please check out the many similarities between Anthony Becker and Homer Simpson. DOH!

    Thanks Jed.

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