By Robert Haugh
According to most downtown residents, there are two major developments that will shape Santa Clara’s future downtown and the Old Quad area.
First is the work being done by Reclaiming Our Downtown. They have a great vision on their website.
Second is the BART Station Area Plan around the Santa Clara CalTrain Station. That’s a potentially large and expensive project.
Councilman Suds Jain has a conflict of interest with both projects.
It’s clear to the public now that Jain cannot represent his district on the major development projects that will shape downtown and the Old Quad. Wow.
Here’s what we learned yesterday.
Jain made a statement at the beginning of last Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Here’s what he said:
“Because the area encompasses some properties owned by Santa Clara University (SCU) — my wife works for Santa Clara University — I need to recuse myself.”
After the meeting, a few downtown Santa Clara residents contacted us and were pissed. They believe Jain and his wife Lori Jain misled voters last year.
We broke the story that Jain knew he had a conflict of interest when he was on the Planning Commission. He was told that directly by a city attorney on July 27, 2016.
Here’s a link to the video. They were discussing SCU’s 5-year plan. Jain asked his question around the 20:20 mark.
But Jain misled voters at a League of Women’s Voters forum four years later on October 5, 2020 when he was running for City Council.
Jain even asked his wife Lori to email us last October and tell us she was retiring in January, 2021. She did email us. But Lori Jain’s claim turned out to be false. She’s still at SCU today.
Here’s what we wrote on October 15, 2020 after the email exchanges with the two of them:
“In an email exchange, Jain’s wife, Lori, confirmed that she will retire from SCU in January, 2021.
“We asked Jain if that means he believes he can vote on SCU issues as early as February, 2021. He replied by email: ‘Yes, my answer is yes.’”
According to a local attorney, even that last statement is false if Lori had retired in January, 2021.
That’s because a full year has to pass after a conflict has ended before an elected official can even participate on an issue. And Jain should know better.
Editor’s Note: My family and I live in District 5 and not too far from downtown.