By Robert Haugh
Tonight, Santa Clara City Councilman Anthony Becker brings back a letter that he wants the City Council to apologize for fighting the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit.
Becker brought a draft letter full of errors to the City Council in July. Becker dropped it on the Council at the last minute, like the kid in school who forgot to turn in his homework on time.
Becker was forced to redo the letter. But he needed the help of an ad hoc committee that included Councilmen Suds Jain and Kevin Park.
They’re bringing back their work tonight for review. Here’s what’s interesting: they included in the council agenda a letter dated February 1, 2020. It’s the letter from Richard Konda of the Asian Law Alliance to Rahul Chandhok of the 49ers.
Konda asks Chandhok for the team’s help to defeat Measure C in June 2020. That was the opportunity for Santa Clarans to create three Council districts with two representatives in each.
The Konda letter arrived after City Clerk Hosam Haggag sent a warning letter to the team. Haggag told the 49ers that if they were behind a poll done in Santa Clara in December 2019, they had broken the law by failing to report it.
Then Konda’s letter came into Haggag and City Hall.
It looked suspicious back then. Here’s what I wrote on February 5, 2020:
“This is weird. It’s also really suspicious. In my two decades of covering local politics, I’ve never seen a letter like the ALA letter. It was also sent on a Saturday — the day before the Super Bowl (that the 49ers played in) — and one calendar day after Haggag’s letters to the 49ers. It looks like someone trying to cover up something.”
Now, we’ve learned that it wasn’t written by Konda. It was a cover up.
It was written by David Beltran, a political consultant who worked for the 49ers to defeat Santa Clara’s Measure C in June, 2020. Wow.
According to our source, Beltran also worked on the independent expenditure campaign to elect Becker, Jain, and Park in November, 2020. Double wow.
The Beltran created letter was created on February 2, 2020 and backdated by one day. Looks like he wanted to make it look like Konda was requesting help before Haggag sent his warning letter.
The 49ers’ Chandhok used the letter to cover up the team’s actions. Chandhok falsely told reporters that the team was asked to help by civil rights groups. Instead it looks like they just wanted to create different districts to help their candidates later that year in November.
That’s when 49ers owner Jed York spent $3 million to elect the three candidates. York picked three people who had never won a race in the Mission City. That would be Becker, Jain, and Park. Those three were a combined 0-6 elections without York’s (and Beltran’s) help.
But all three won in November after York’s unprecedented independent expenditure and in specially drawn districts.
Now, they are the members of the ad hoc committee who want the City to apologize for trying to create districts approved by voters. Instead we got ones drawn by a judge and backed by the 49ers who hid behind the Asian Law Alliance.