Councilman Suds Jain Cannot Vote on BART Station Area Plan, Misled Voters Last Year About His Conflict of Interest

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.

11 comments

  1. After a short time in office one must ask themselves if district 5 voters have elected themselves a full blown lying criminal in Suds Jain, or just an incompetent idiot. Jain claims to have two degrees from the well respected M.I.T., so I find it hard to believe that he is an idiot. Despite the fact that he lied about his ability to vote on the new downtown to gain the votes of the Old Quad Assoc folks and the Reclaim Downtown folks, he also lied about a financial source of income he has with his wifes employment at Santa Clara University, stating that she was retiring in January 2021 which she never did (or ever planned to). Now he admits that cannot vote on any issues regarding SCU, including campus expansion and neighborhood issues. Two weeks ago Jain admitted at the public council meeting that he would also have to recuse himself on the eagerly anticipated train station specific plan which includes thousands of residential units along with bringing BART to Santa Clara. But Last nights City Council Meeting takes the cake, on the last item after another marathon session Jain did a full blown presentation on his desire to have train quiet zones throughout the City. Jain wants to spend $300,000 for a study. A city wide train quiet zone would cost Santa Clara tax payers millions of dollars because the municipality has to pay the cost of crossing safety upgrades along with all other associated costs, not the railroad. Well that’s ok some might say, except all public officials must not participate in any official conversations or other actions if they have a financial interest in that issue, it’s the law. The latest financial form Jain has on file (FPPC form 700) with the city shows Jain has an estimated $100,000 in Union Pacific Railroad stock, the railroad that owns all of the track involved. Jains actions in bringing the item forward at the council meeting was in clear violation of the law. So the question remains is Suds Jain a criminal or an idiot!

  2. Jain lied to the public on downtown! Jain lied to the public on Santa Clara University! Jain must recuse on any future BART development and Santa Clara Station Precise Plan. Jain cannot be an effective leader for Santa Clara or District 5. If allowed to continue in office, Jain will cause great damage to our City. Suds Jain must resign or be removed immediately. NO MORE LIES!!!!!

      • If he were to resign the current 49er installed majority would not have enough votes to appoint. Per City Charter it takes a 4/5th super majority to appoint or then it must go to a special election. I don’t know about you but I feel like voting. With the absolute failure of Jain and Park, anybody backed by 49er money is a sure loser, bad news for Chalal and Hardy in 2022 but great news for Santa Clara.

        One thing is for sure, Resignation or Recall The LIAR Jain must go!!!

  3. I agree that this is good reporting. But the real story is that Jain can’t vote on Santa Clara University matters for a long time, including their much hoped for expansion that will seriously change the look and feel of the Old Quad. That’s what’s important to our neighborhoods now and for the next 20+ years. There will be no representation against university expansion and college kids overrunning downtown Santa Clara.

    If Jain does vote on University issues years from now, will he side with his wife’s employer over the neighborhoods?

    The new downtown and BART station are great things. But the odds of them happening at all are long. And if they happen, they won’t happen in the next 20 years.

  4. Bob O’Keefe was the champion we needed for District 5. Too many people drank the Jain kool-aid and followed that shiny carrot in front of them.

    Too many plans that are punked because of Jain and his buddies! Backroom deals! Whatta’ ya’ say now Adam, Rob, Mary, Jonothon, Patricia and all the rest? You helped screw District 5 listening to this jerk’s drivel!

    And let’s not forget the slimy attorney Baron von Fleck who wrote the famous letter saying Suds could vote on District 5 issues! That thing should be framed!

    Hope you find a new champion, Mary! Maybe you should start a recall and speed up the process and not wait until 2024! Just a thought.

    Oh, and thanks again for nothing, Suds and Laurie!

    • Well said, ‘Where’. I wonder if BJ Fleck will use his letter to promote new law business. About what it is worth. And the rest of you establishment people named, what were you thinking? Because he is on a lot of committees and wants to be mayor we should support him? Hell no. Many of us did what we could to support Bob O’Keefe, an honest person, but you and Jed’s money were too much and that’s too bad.

  5. Suds is very comfortable lying to get what he wants. This gets easier for such as his political power grows. Suds has aspiration Way beyond Santa Clara as we are just a stepping stone for his green New deal agenda. 4 years ago since told me that the world was going to end in 8 years. He’s still lying today.

  6. Man, did you nail this. Great reporting with facts. Suds Jain reminds me a Richard Nixon. Younger people may not remember. My generation used to call him “Tricky Dick.” As the President, Nixon would get his staff and family to lie for him. Suds even looks a little like Nixon. More importantly, he acts like him. Keep up the good work. Maybe by covering Jain’s lies you’ll end up being the next Bob Woodward.

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