By Debbie Tryforos
Santa Clara finally has a new City Attorney. It took us a long time to find one. That’s really no surprise.
Since the 49er Five fired former City Attorney Brian Doyle without cause, any serious professional who wanted the job had to be nervous. After all, the 49er Five still make up a “City Council Voting Bloc,” as the Grand Jury calls them. They could easily fire the next City Attorney without cause again.
So what did it take to finally hire a City Attorney? It looks like a lot of Santa Clara taxpayers’ money.
According to news reports, our new City Attorney Glen Googins will be getting $114,000 more than at his last job as Chula Vista’s City Attorney. That’s a dramatically large raise. He’ll be making $345,000 in annual salary in Santa Clara.
But that’s not all. He will also get benefits. But the City Council vote to hire him on January 10 did not state the cost of his benefits package. This is irresponsible and not transparent. Santa Clarans have a right to know the full cost of hiring our new City Attorney.
Also, on January 10, we saw some real hypocrisy. The 49er Five benefited from the 49ers‘ multimillion-dollar independent expenditure campaigns that essentially got them each elected in 2020 and 2022. The team produced slick TV ads and political mailers that criticized the high salaries of City employees.
So when the 49er Five had a chance to reign in at least one City employee’s salary, did they? Absolutely not. In fact, Councilman Anthony Becker said during the meeting that he had no choice but to continue to vote for high salaries because that’s the precedent that was set in the past. That type of thinking and statement is illogical and silly.
If Becker and his colleagues want to be fiscally responsible, they can do it. They chose not to with the City Attorney’s salary. Santa Clara taxpayers and voters will remember that.
Editor’s Note: The 49er Five are Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.
Jed York spent $3 million in November 2020 to elect Becker, Jain and Park. They were previously 0-6 in Santa Clara elections. Chahal and Hardy have received gifts from the team without reporting them and received $1 million each for their elections in November 2022.
The 49er Five meet with the team on an almost weekly basis and have voted to help the team win millions of dollars in concessions from the City since December 2020.