49er “Four” Fire Santa Clara City Manager Deanna Santana in A Historic Move

By Robert Haugh

For the first time in Santa Clara history, a city manager has been fired. 

In a closed session meeting last night, the 49er “Four” dismissed Deanna Santana. The reason they cited was “lack of confidence.” But they provided no detail.

Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park voted to oust Santana effective immediately.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe voted against the move. Vice Mayor Suds Jain was absent.

According to a reliable source, the 49ers made Santana the topic of discussion with Councilmembers during multiple recent meetings.

Before the closed session meeting, Assistant City Attorney Su Reuter warned the City Council that she could not help them with legal advice. Reuter technically reports to the City Manager and has a conflict of interest.

“The first step you should take is to go out and retain counsel before you go down this path any more,” Reuter said.

But the 49er Four ignored her advice. Gillmor and Watanabe said they would go into closed session “under protest.”

After the closed session, Gillmor said she questioned “the adherence to the City Charter, the City Manager’s employment agreement, and the Brown Act.”

“The council majority has clearly put themselves and the city of Santa Clara in a really precarious situation,” said Gillmor. 

“No city council has ever gutted City Hall and put our residents in jeopardy. No city council has put private interests above the public interest. I think this is a really, really sad day in Santa Clara history,” said Gillmor.

The Council said they would meet within a week to discuss how to select or find an interim City Manager. That may take awhile.

The 49er Five fired then-City Attorney Brian Doyle without cause at the end of October, 2021. That, too, was a Santa Clara first.

The 49er Five were urged by the 49ers to get rid of Doyle. That position is still unfilled.

According to the City Charter, Santana has a right to a public hearing in the next 30 days. We could learn a lot from that.

This is a developing story.

22 comments

  1. I think we should call the 5 council members, doing Jeb York’s bidding The Jeb York Puppets. The 49er team is not the problem and some folks feel we are blaming the team unduly. Lee Broughman

  2. The Council has made the city liable to multiple wrongful termination lawsuits that we, Santa Clara residents/taxypayers, will have to fund. What a shame. This is what happens when you don’t facilitate the skills to oversee a city and sticks to your morals/ethics and serves the residents (and people that vote for them). Suds, Becker, and Park were desperate to win (after multiple election losses under their belt) and knew the only way they could win was if they acted as Jed York’s puppets. The council majority are dumb and do not facilitate the skills needed to oversee a city, or maybe they are being paid too much to actually care…

  3. Don’t want Chahal and Hardy to not feel left out.
    They also voted to dismiss Deanna. Chahal cannot
    stand strong women and second guesses the city staff.
    Karen likes to publicly shame people while falling
    asleep on camera during council meetings but she’s
    so smart.

    Vote them out in November.

  4. Becker, Hardy, Chahal and Park all voted to fire the City Manager Deanna Santana who happens to be the first female minority city manager in Santa Clara history. As with the firing of the City Attorney Brian Doyle a few months prior, they fired Ms. Santana for no cause, just stating in closed session a “lack of confidence”

    Here is Park’s comment to the Mercury News in a story they reported on 02/24;

    In an interview Friday, Park called the decision “necessary” to return Santa Clara to the city once known for being the “center of what’s possible.”

    “When you get bitten by a dog, you need to heal regardless,” he said. “The teeth may leave holes, but you need to remove the dog. There’s some things you have to do.”

    Yes folks you have read that right, Councilmember Park, the self proclaimed champion against racial hatred, just compared our City Manager Deanna Santana, the first female minority/Hispanic city manager to a DOG! And yes, by his/their vote to fire her and in his own words they “removed the dog”

    We have no room or tolerance for racists in Santa Clara! We have no room for Becker, Park, Chahal, Hardy or Jain on our City Council!!

    • Park is despicable and he is too dumb to realize how racially insensitive his comments are.

  5. It’s sad when Rob’s jabronis of the week would be the citizens of Santa Clara. We are to blame, we put these bickerers in office.

    Any recall efforts need a web page or they’ll die on the vine. There needs to be place where people can find the recall form. I know lots of D6 voters that would sign. Let’s say bye to the bickering. Bye to Bicker.

  6. Kevin ” As an Engineer” Park,
    You should have your quotes vetted before you state them for newspaper articles. Your quote in the Mercury News on 02/24/2022 regarding the City Manager was inappropriate. Any man that would refer to a woman as a dog (b!!!h).confirms that they are okay with abusing women. According to reports, you like to make inappropriate comments (water bottle in my pocket) and engaging in domestic violence towards women. Park focus on completing your long overdue Form 700. STOP VERBALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABUSING WOMEN PARK.

    P.S. As a Santa Clara resident, you are growing potential legal claims against the city. For sake of our city, can you and the pothead stop talking so much.

    • Agreed about Park’s demeaning remarks about the CM and all the other women he has insulted including the mayor and councilwoman. Don’t forget miles barber and his disgusting reference comparing the CM to Simon Legree. This misogynistic behavior is an indication of how threatened these bullies feel towards a strong CM and other women. Time to clean the clocks of these thin skinned men and let the mighty women roar!

  7. Santa Clara sure has changed since I lived and worked there from 1977 to 2007. Sad to see it become so volatile. NO WAY should the police chief be appointed. What’s next, the fire chief?

  8. Did I mention yesterday that I have started the process to get some signatures to help eliminate this type of reckless / reprehensible behavior.
    No modern City should every be subjected to this type of behavior, especially by the people elected to represent their best interests?
    I can’t begin to imagine how anyone can throw a positive spin on this one?
    Reach out to Mr. Haugh, I have given him the Ok to share my email. We will only be able to go after Parks, Becker and Jain this round. By law the other two idiots are untouchable until they have been in office for a few more months.
    Enough is Enough.
    Burt Field

    • Hey Burt, the other two idiots are up for reelection in November.
      need to wait until then and vote them out. Don’t waste money on a
      recall. but make dang sure there are good candidates to replace
      them that will represent the residents and not Jed’s interests.

    • Dave, seriously tough choice. However after this last act of sheer stupidity, many of us have said, enough.
      I can no longer sit and watch my City get torn apart.
      There are things worth fighting for, and there are things you can look the other way on.
      These most recent actions have convinced me waiting was no longer an option.

      I don’t live my life with regret, and if I just stood by and watched this happen, and did nothing, I could never forgive myself.
      Turns out many people are feeling the same way.
      Please feel free to tell your neighbors, don’t sugar coat it, let your neighbor’s know our City is systematically being torn down right in front of us.

      It is not too late, but time is not our friend right now.

      Your neighbor
      District 4 resident, and registered voter

      Burt Field

  9. Becker was probably smirking because he was high on cannabis. He often displays movements of a weed head during meetings. Cannabis is Becker’s brain food. It helps him write a resolution in 30 minutes, but not a letter of apology for the CVRA after 3 months. I guess his Ghost Writers are busy.

    • Word on street is the Pothead lunches
      with the Mahan sisters a lot. Did they
      write resolutions? part of patty’s continued
      attempt to destroy Santa Clara?

  10. While I think it was time for Deanna to move on, the manner in which they did this was reckless. Absolutely reckless. What a vindictive group. Not happy they were called to the carpet by the CM and the Management union at the last meeting. It’s scary to have this vindictive of a group have this much power. Now they have no check against their reign of chaos.

    Not sure what Bicker was smirking about during the meeting. Not a touch of class in him. Didn’t he campaign on bringing decency to the Council? There he was, smiling like a kid at Christmas during the dismissal of an employee.

  11. Good luck finding a new City Manager or new City Attorney. I highly doubt anyone in their right mind would work in such a toxic environment. The truth is despised, and legal advice is ignored. Some council members woefully do not understand issues before them. You desire transparency from others, but not for yourselves. I thought for Anthony Becker. ” Authority, power and wealth doesn’t change a man. It only reveals him.”

  12. I really really hope my fellow Santa Clara residents are taking notes, and vote the 49er council members out next election. The damage they are doing to our beloved city is incalculable.

  13. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    We have an absolutely corrupt council majority.
    And the mayor is right, as usual. The city is in danger.
    It is clear now why the corrupt majority want the police chief to be appointed vs elected. So they can fire the police chief. Why? who knows?

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