Grand Jury Recommendation Buried by 49er Five, Then Ignored by Government and Ethics Subcommittee

By Robert Haugh

Last October, the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury put out a major report: Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

They concluded that the 49er Five, who the Grand Jury calls the City Council Voting Bloc was selling out Santa Clara:

“The Civil Grand Jury has serious concerns that the current (Santa Clara) City Council Voting Bloc … is not acting in the best interests of the City (of Santa Clara) or acknowledging the ethical duties owed to their constituents.”

One of the recommendations they made was this one:

On a recent episode of the Public Trust Review, host Kirk Vartan and ethicist Dr. Tom Shanks demonstrate how the 49er Five deflected this recommendation.

Instead of an independent commission, Councilmember Kevin Park suggested the City Council’s Governance and Ethics Committee could handle ethics issues and recommendations.

Councilman Kevin Park

But Shanks points out that the last two Committee meetings did not discuss the issues raised by the Grand Jury. Shanks said, “the Committee focuses on the refinement or establishment of policies and procedures regarding City Council operations and general good government practices, as well as the further implementation of the City’s Code of Ethics & Values program.”  Shanks adds that the Committee has not mentioned the further implementation of the Ethics & Values Program, didn’t deal with any of the on-going ethics issues.

And the Committee’s work plan doesn’t include any Grand Jury recommendations for the rest of the year.

The Governance and Ethics Committee is chaired by Suds Jain who is one the members of the “Voting Bloc” that the Grand Jury identified.

Jain was also accused of being unethical when he ran for City Council in 2020.  

Councilman Suds Jain

Jain lied to voters when he claimed he had no conflicts of interest on downtown property issues.  He was told by City attorneys in 2016 that he had conflicts and had to recuse himself when he was on the Planning Commission.

“It’s a bury-and-kill strategy,” said a former City employee. “Maybe the Grand Jury needs to revisit its report and recommendations.” 

To watch a 5-minute discussion on this issue, you can watch the Public Trust Review’s episode number 22.

Editor’s Note: Minor corrections were made at 1:20 p.m. on Friday, March 24, 2023.


  1. Jain also attempts to evade public record requests, attacks people using medi cal. compares people to assasins.


      What I deeply resent about this triangle of power Jain Becker Park is their arrogance.

      As a former librarian, I hate any action that uses a book as weapon of ridicule. I have known Vartan for decades. He takes to the 9th degree, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT ACTIVISTS DO. He is not receiving millions for his activities, largely what he has done has been for the public good, about 98%. Vartan is a political player, so what! He writes petitions, letters, makes council speeches, nothing Jan 6th about Vartan, just a concerned citizen

      Imagine a heavy set person who writes letters, demonstrates, passes out flyers negative about Park. What will Park do to this person from the chair, hand out a diet book?

      That is Governance commitees chaired by Jain is as thoughtful as having Syria sit on the Human Rights Committee.

    • An independent ethics commission is what is needed. Each member of the council appoints one. Entire council picks chair. Citizens adivisory committe, police chief, makula center picks one each

  2. I remember Steve Ngo talking about deadlines for the city to make official responses to grand jury questions. Did those responses get made? Is there further action to be taken by the grand jury? I would think if the city has made their response it is the grand jury who needs to act next if they see the need.

    I do think that the members of the council need to reckon with the inappropriateness of their meeting with the Forty Niners in ways that blatantly were for keeping those meetings without public records.

    But the grand jury report did not conclude that “the City Council Voting Bloc was selling out Santa Clara.” The passage you quote shows that they did not make that statement and you are exaggerating their carefully worded conclusions.

    And while I do not like a lot about Suds Jain it is exaggeration to label him as having falsely lied about having a conflict of interest on downtown property issues and not specify that this “conflict of interest” was due to his wife being an employee of the university. It seems that he accepted an extremely conservative interpretation of what a conflict of interest could be and that is good but let us not pretend as if he was nefariously hiding some major conflict.

  3. Suds Jain = Macciavelli: Macciavelli = 49er 5

    An effective ruler sometimes needs to be cruel: Machiavelli believes that effective rules must sometimes be cruel, or even evil, to accomplish their means. He argues that rules will come into contact with other evil people and that being conniving will serve them well in maintaining control over their territory.

  4. The GJ should reopen this report. The criticism by the 5 dishonoring the system and accusations made are cause to haul them to jail.

    • Check Suds Jain’s stockholdings. Then look at Jain”s emails to city staff. At least three match Now check Jain’s postings here. At least 2 were abusing disabled people. Now check. No possible way to Cross reference city staff monies spent on cpra requests. Lie

    • Then we have the text of Suds Jain to the weekly accusing gary and lisa gillmor of a conflict of interest about the loyalton property. Sale was in late 1970s. Lisa was in High School,,@@ bill gissler and don von raesfeld pursused the sale. Gary was the owner’s broker, hired after dvr approached him. Gissler was mayor.

    • No doubt the house on GianeraSt. Is part of a conspiracy theory being concocted by The 3 Amigos. Looking for a needle in a haystack to poke the Gillmores with.


  5. COM-03172023-00714 jain tesla investlent. Grand jury advised that park is using books to threaten people while chairing meeting

  6. Jain is currently subject of fppc complaint for owning stock in tesla while bullying city staff to make a deal with tesla.

    • If true, consider how this part of the city charter applies to that situation.

      “Sec. 807 Prohibition against Councilmanic interference.
      Neither the City Council nor any of its members shall order or request the appointment of any person to an office or employment or his/her removal therefrom, by the City Manager, or by any of the department heads in the administrative service of the City. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the City Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service under the City Manager solely through the City Manager and neither the City Council nor any member shall give orders to any subordinates of the City Manager, either publicly or privately.

      Any City Council member violating the provisions of this section, or voting for a resolution or ordinance in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall cease to be a Council Member. (Amended by electors at an election held March 7, 2000, Charter Chapter 11 of the State Statutes of 2000)”

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