By Robert Haugh
Last night, indicted Santa Clara City Councilmember Anthony Becker was challenged again by Santa Clarans to resign.
Becker refused and remained silent.
But he was not silent when it came to a reappointment of a Parks and Recreation Commissioner.
Becker singled out Burt Field from the list of eight other commission appointments that happen routinely. Field started a recall effort against Becker last year and has been outspoken about his opposition to the 49er Five.
After the eight other commissioners were reappointed, Becker made a motion to reject Field’s appointment. When Mayor Lisa Gillmor asked him why he opposed Field, Becker repeatedly shook his head and wouldn’t speak.
Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Kelly Cox was at the meeting and said she was not planning to speak, but felt she had to because Field was being persecuted by Councilmembers.
“I would very much like to discourage the removal of a commission member because you don’t like what they say. That’s schoolyard play,” Cox said.
“I want to be better than that and I want to believe that Santa Clara is better than that.”
Becker’s motion to reject Field did not get a second and died.
Then Councilmember Kathy Watanabe made a motion to appoint Field. Gillmor seconded it.
That vote failed 3-3-1 and Field will not be reappointed.
In a highly unusual move, Councilmember Raj Chahal abstained but would not say why when asked by Gillmor.
A longtime Santa Clara City Hall veteran said the votes and the lack of discussion were highly unusual.
“Becker and Chahal never shut up. When they pass on an opportunity to talk, it’s really suspicious. They’re clearly hiding something.” the source said.
The deadlocked vote also suggests some type of coordination and possibly a Brown Act violation.