Santa Clara City Council Majority Moves to Eliminate Voters Right to Elect Police Chief and City Clerk

By Robert Haugh

Last night, the Santa Clara City Council majority decided to move forward with an effort to eliminate the right of Mission City voters to elect the Police Chief and City Clerk.

The vote was split, 4-3. 

Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, and Suds Jain voted in the majority.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilmembers Kevin Park, and Kathy Watanabe voted against it.

The right of Santa Clarans to elect the Police Chief and the City Clerk is enshrined in the City Charter.  So, it will have to be put on the ballot to change it.

First, the Council will appoint a 7-member Charter Review Commission that will make a recommendation in the Fall.

Then the Council must decide by November if they want to put it on the March 2024 ballot.

It’ll cost the City approximately $432,000 to do so. That doesn’t include City staff time. Wow.

The Council vote was divided. But the public who spoke on the issue was unanimously opposed.

Santa Clara Police Officer Association (POA) President Jeremy Schmidt shared with the Council a survey commissioned by the POA of Santa Clara voters.

According to the survey, 66 percent of voters didn’t know the Chief was elected. After they learned that information, 73 percent wanted to keep the right.

A few speakers raised the issue of the 49ers pushing the Council majority that they elected to remove the Police Chief so the team can lower its public safety cost. The 49ers are currently suing the City for that reason. 

Jed York wants to pick our Police Chief,” said community leader Debbie Tryforos.

A few speakers criticized Becker for aggressively pushing the issue when he is under criminal indictment for leaking a Grand Jury report and lying about it.

“Councilmember Becker has been indicted for giving confidential, sensitive, embargoed data to the 49er lobbyist,” said Santa Clara business leader Kirk Vartan.

“I mean it’s absurd. And this is the person that’s pushing [the proposal]. 

No members of the public spoke in favor of the proposal.

Editor’s Note: Other major issues from the Council meeting will be covered in the coming days. Stay tuned.


  1. Response to “so-called” Suds Jain.

    Santa Claran’s position: a police chief and any executive officer that wields weaponry to protect and defend the citizens of the City of Santa Clara MUST be FOR the PEOPLE and not for the bureaucratic city COUNCIL! (Else Santa Clara turns into San Francisco, LA, Chicago, New York city, and any other city in which the police are NOT accountable to its citizenry).

    In deference to the “real” Suds Jain, I respond to the quality of the argument rather attack a person. This approach is counter to what I believe a poster under the name “Suds Jain” in the past, in which the poster demanded non-anonymity and that a person attach an actual name to a thought. BS. The content of the post (i.e., the content of the argument) means more than a name. Sadly, “so-called” Suds Jain attaches a name to a dumpster fire of a position.

    “Real” Suds Jain is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”), a college that likely little to no Santa Clarans can attend due its rigorous requirements for entry. The “real” Suds Jain, as an MIT engineer, ought to be driven by the truth. Yet, Suds is easily deceived into taking a position based on a politician’s view ( Wow. Now he applies his gullibility to our beloved City of Santa Clara an no longer seeks truth. This is after he admits to “retiring” from a fossil-fuel based industry (i.e., semiconductor industry) that poisoned the planet with semiconductor chemicals that pollute our ground water to this day as “Superfund” sites.

    OK, “so-called” Suds Jain states “Santa Clara is the ONLY city in the entire State of California to have an elected Chief of Police.”

    Response: “Everyone else is jumping off a bridge, and Santa Clara is the ONLY one not jumping.” Sounds irrational. Not sure why an MIT graduate would resort to juvenile arguments, but Suds as a former truther-seeker (i.e., now a liar by trade) it is not surprising.

    Next, “so-called” Suds Jain rests their argument based on sources “Scott Herhold from the Mercury News,” “Santa Clara Weekly,” and “SV-VOICE.” Those sources, as most Santa Clarans know, are NOT trustworthy. Yet, “so-called” Suds Jain relies on that bull malarkey to advance a weak and pathetic viewpoint.

    I cannot believe that an MIT graduate wrote that diatribe. Therefore, “so-called” Suds Jain hopefully is NOT the “real” Suds Jain.

    Otherwise, if the same, no wonder why Santa Clara is bleeding.

    • Oh my gosh. The reference to “so-called” Suds Jain is ACTUALLY the “real” Suds Jain. I listened to his comments at the below link. There ought to be some concern. Suds looks to me as a hostage reading some sort of demands. Who wrote those words that Suds mouthed? Jed? Seriously, as much as I am not inclined to support Park, at least Park seems to convey some sort of autonomy in this session, whether right or wrong.

      God save Santa Clara!

    • Darn. Sorry. Working late and just listening to the calamity.

      Watanabe (who I can’t endorse personally) said aloud what I am thinking… Becker got “talking points” from his OVERLORD… Jeddy Yorkkyyyy.

      Go Girl!!!!

  2. What right does the 49er’s and a tainted city counsel have to take away our voting rights.
    the 49er’s cost us more money and grief then they are worth thanks to our mayor. They do not want to put support safety at the park. Perhaps our community would be better off this out them.

    • Sylvia Kay, I do hope you mean those thanks for either former Mayor Mahan or it could be former Mayor Matthews who disappeared after Super Bowl 50. Mayor Gillmor wasn’t on the City Council when stadium was approved in 2010 for the 49ers to come to Santa Clara.

  3. I was proud to stand up for my fellow commissioner and friend Burt Field last night. Again the 5 have no credible reason not to reappoint him. It’s a 100% political vendetta. Hardy’s comment that “I was concerned that he recused himself from votes on the commission” WTF? If you have a potential conflict, recusing yourself is the proper and ethical thing to do. The fact that is was ethical probably confused her. Again, Chahal abstained from voting, again no reason why? Is he somehow related to Burt? 😂 These 5 don’t even try to hide their hatred for those that don’t agree with them or challenge them. That is being thin skinned and a weak leader. BTW, Park does not know who Burt Field is? He is in the district you represent and is a valued community member. How out of touch can you be?
    Well, based on being another outspoken member of our city, I guess I should enjoy my last year on the parks & rec commission. I’m betting I’ll face the same fate as Burt next year when I’m up for reappointment.

    Dana Caldwell
    Vice chairman
    Parks & Recreation Commission
    City of Santa Clara

  4. 1.64 million Santa Clara County residents live in cities that have appointed police chiefs – Los Altos, Los Gatos-Monte Sereo, Campbell, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Palo Alto, Milpitas, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and San Jose. Except for maybe San Jose’s Chief of Police Anthony Mata, you’ve probably never heard of Angela Averiett, Jamie Field, Gary Berg, Shane Palsgrove, Pedro Espinoza, Andre Binder, Jared Hernandez, Max Bosel, or Phan Ngo and that’s because none of them have been embroiled in political scandal or engaged in open conflict with elected officials.

    According to 2021 demographics, there are 94,346 persons 18 years or older living in the City of Santa Clara. Three hundred fisfty (350) is less than half-of-one percent (.0037) of the population and while that number might be a good sample size for statistical relevance the big question is whether the sample population was truly representative of the community? Were those asked to participate in the survey adults who previously “liked” the SCPOA’s Facebook page or did the SCPOA commission pollsters to canvas each of the six voting districts and solicit responses from various age brackets, ethnic backgrounds, educational levels, gender diversity, etc?

    Just because a member of the public didn’t speak in person last night doesn’t mean they didn’t speak up. Each council person votes on behalf of their constituents, in Santa Clara that may be approximately 61,000 voices in favor of putting the charter on ballot. Remember prior to 2018 some council members and the SCPOA contended Santa Clarans wanted to keep the at-large voting system in place, but when actually put to a vote 70.4% of residents said otherwise. The only way to really know is to put the measure up for vote.

    • OMG …..
      What I witnessed at Santa Clara city Council meeting last night was a joke. A bunch of useless cowards deciding the fate of a wonderful city ….they want to fire the police chief because nobody ran against him lollllllll ? They already fired the volunteer Parks and Recreation commissioner. What’s next? I think these five clowns need to fire themselves from city Council . Park guy with his over used mask announced that he really doesn’t know much about Burt Field, the commissioner, Then the question is : you clown, how would you vote twice against Burt if you don’t exactly know who he is???
      My father brought me here from Iran many years ago to be away from a dictatorship, and what I saw last night was the true definition of censorship and dictatorship in America. The bald guy who got indicted, had no shame, like nothing ever happened. Hopefully he will be wearing an orange suit very soon. I am surprised that the residence of Santa Clara, who are supposed to be mostly well educated have elected these clowns to represent them. I feel very sorry for the mayor and council woman Kathy W. Since they have to put up with these leftist clowns.

    • Cpra 23-364, all grand jury documents sent by becker to 49ers. CITY RESPONSE




  5. Mr. Haugh… last night at the 49er Council Meeting, we had a very packed house, lots of eyeballs, exactly what they don’t want.
    The 49er 5 showed who they were and who they represent, really no hidden agenda.
    I mentioned a proposed time, but I forgot to factor in just how much these 49er 5 love to hear themselves talk and talk, and………….. talk.
    My friends said It didn’t take them long to figure out who really just loves to hear their own voice.
    So I asked, who was the most entertaining to listen too? They then asked, “Do you mean the bald guy under Indictment from the Grand Jury for Perjury, or the idiot on the far right with the mask on”?
    Needless to say, they were not impressed with who we elected to Office.
    I’m was truly embarrassed for our City, and really can only blame the process.
    The reality is, the 49ers needed “Sock Puppets”. These current (5) 49er Council Members had never won even one a Junior High Spelling “B” before the 49ers came to town and spent like drunken sailers to get them elected.
    Now we have Becker, Jain, Hardy, Chahal and wait, the most intelligent man in our City, Mr. Kevin Park. If you don’t think so just ask him, he will gladly tell you just how smart he is.
    By the way, when my name came up, he said, “Who is Burt Field”? I guess he forgot that that just a few days earlier he had voted me off as being a Volunteer Parks and Recreation Commisioner for….”No Reason”.
    To sum it up, all morning I have been getting calls from my friends.
    Many have used the same words over and over again.
    Ironic (Irony), Idiot(s), Narcissistic, Stupid, Childish, Short Sighted….. well you get the idea. Not the traits you want displayed by your Elected Representatives.
    Finally, the best one was from a dear friend. He told me that when he got home he felt really dirty. Just being around those clowns for that length of time, he needed to take a long shower, before he could spend any time with his wife and kids.

    Sad commentary, but I guess that say a lot about politics in general.

    Burt Field
    Former Volunteer Parks and Recreation Commissioner

    • Burt Fields

      Helps kids

      Heavy Kids
      Thin Kids
      Kids who climb on rocks

      Suds Jain
      Kevin Park
      Anthony becker

      Couch potatoe bozos
      The three kids really hate

  6. Sud’s plan is to remove Hossam from office, freeing him to run against Jain (and win) in the next election?? Great plan!

    • Ted, you are smart
      Jain is the most useless coward in elected office. Haggag would win

  7. But Council Member Jain — Why should the City Clerk be appointed? What is the reason? (Does it have anything to do with house painting colors or possibly religion? For those who don’t know, there was a silly neighborhood argument.)

    • Ever since I started paying attention to local politics I’ve been appalled and embarrassed but what us residents have as city council members. There is no shame in their corruption and lust for power. The vindictive, childish pettiness is unbelievable and I’m left wondering how did these people get elected in the first place? It doesn’t take a complex mind to figure out the character of some of these members, Becker, Hardy and Jain just emanate sliminess from merely talking. How they ever convinced anyone in this city to elect them is beyond me. It is clear there is an alliance in place seemingly headed by that crook, Becker. His lapdog Hardy will back him no matter what he proposes. It’s really quite cringe-worthy when you watch it go down in votes. Neither one of those two can formulate a sentence on their own let alone justify their positions in any way that makes an iota of sense. I’d sure love to know which 49er employee is live updating Becker’s ipad on the fly with statements to read off verbatim. It’s clear sometimes Becker doesn’t even understand what he is meant to be reading out loud. But one thing is for sure. These corrupt slime balls won’t get another term. Whether they get termed out or voted out I promise you this. Santa Clara won’t stand for these dirt bags “representing” them so abashedly poorly and selfishly. Enjoy your time in local politics, 49r Five because it’s coming to an end. Sad that the only two people with integrity on our CC is the mayor and Watanabe. Pathetic.

  8. The 49er 5 is a cancer to the City of Santa Clara. They don’t represent the people that voted them in, they represent the 49ers and their own personal agendas. At least Suds tries to legitimize his b*******, the others just don’t care. Nonetheless you don’t want to let his cancer take roost.

    Becker is just the obvious one because he got caught. Every time Karen Hardy speaks one feels that she has special needs due to the fact that she cannot make a point. But Karen is just as diabolical as the rest. And then there’s Kevin Park the biggest wierdo of them all. He doesn’t need to explain himself to his constituency at all, what an arrogant prick. We appreciate the mask. Then there’s Raj Chahal, the biggest ****y of them all, he can’t even vote. Raj must be afraid. Shame on all of you that voted for these cancers.

    The sheep that follow Jed York’s political ads and don’t look any further is why this city is going to stage five.

    I view these five as enemies to the city.

    • Word on the street according to Mary Grizzly is Raj for Residents wants to be Raj for Mayor!! The same coward that can’t vote his conscience. Even when he was on Planning Commission.

      This guy wants to be Mayor??

  9. It was obvious where this was going no matter what anyone said. The campaign has begun to get rid of our elected police chief.

    And the motion to do this was made by a criminal?




  10. Here are my remarks from the Councilmeeting:
    Santa Clara is the ONLY city in the entire State of California to have an elected Chief of Police.

    I contend that Santa Claran’s don’t actually have a choice in selecting their Chief of Police.

    The current Chief of Police, Pat Nikolai, ran unopposed in his last two elections March 2020 and November 2020. Mike Sellers also ran unopposed when he first got elected in 2012.

    The Police Officer’s Association (POA) has already created a website and is placing Facebook ads to oppose even putting this on the ballot so that voters can decide. The Political Action Committee or PAC run by the POA has spent heavily in every election to help certain candidates get elected.

    On June 18th, 2016, Scott Herhold from the Mercury News wrote: The elected police chief, Mike Sellers, is suddenly facing a serious challenge from the longtime leader of the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association, Pat Nikolai, on the November ballot. Anointed by his predecessors, Sellers was elected without opposition four years ago to his first term. You have to reach back two decades, to the 1996 battle between then-chief Charlie Arolla and Rich Rodriquez, to find a fight of similar dimensions.

    Many believe that Pat Nikolai lost his first election in 2016 against Mike Sellers because Pat was only a sergeant and didn’t have management experience. He probably would not have been hired as Chief of Police in any of our neighboring cities due to lack of management experience.

    Nikolai was then promoted to Lieutenant in 2018

    I hear that Dan Winter decided not to run against Pat Nikolai in 2020 because POA vowed to spend $250K to oppose Dan. Which is why Nikolai ran unopposed and got elected even though Dan Winter had been Assistant Chief of Police and has a B.A. in Management, a J.D. from Santa Clara University and is a member of the California Bar. Nikolai’s main qualification seems to me that he was POA president for 18 years.

    I checked with POA president Jeremy Schmidt and he confirmed that any candidate for Chief of Police must reside in the City of Santa Clara. That severely limits the pool of candidates for Chief of Police.

    I filed a 030 request in June 2022. At the time there were only 12 sworn officers (including the Chief) out of a force of 153 sworn who live in the City.
    At the time the ranks of officers living in the City were as follows:
    Police Chief – 1
    Police Captain – 1
    Police Lieutenant – 2
    Police Sergeant – 1
    Police Officer – 7

    This seems to me to be a very limited pool to draw from and, when considering management experience, the pool shrinks even further.

    I wonder who the POA will pick to be our next elected Chief when Pat Nikolai retires. I fully expect that person will run unopposed.

    From the Santa Clara Weekly on March 30,2022: A survey of 30 representative California cities shows that Santa Clara has one of the least qualified and highest paid police chiefs in California. Whether it’s education, professional certification or public safety management experience, elected Police Chief Patrick Nikolai ranks far from the top.
    At the same time, Santa Clara is in California’s top 10 (of all cities) for police chief salary. And it appears to be one of few cities — perhaps the only one — whose police chief was the long-time president of the police union.

    I believe that Santa Clara should be able to recruit from the best police forces in the Nation for our Police Chief just like all the other cities in California do.

    Also if we switch to an appointed Chief of Police then many of our senior PD management folks with the most experience who don’t live in the City would then eligible to be appointed and serve as Chief.

    SV-VOICE: reported on Aug 12, 2020: Longtime Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) veterans Captains Wahid Kazem and Derek Rush were promoted to the assistant chief positions. Sources close to City Hall, who aren’t authorized to talk to the press, report Police Chief Patrick Nikolai no longer participates in City executive leadership team meetings. Chief Nikolai ran unopposed for his partial term in the March 2020 election. He is up for reelection in November 2020.

    I’ve heard over the years from several prominent people that they don’t even know what Chief Nikolai does while he is in this position. Perhaps that’s why the former City Manager appointed two Assistant Police Chiefs in 2020.

    Nikolai is certainly not impartial.
    1. On October 22, 2020, he participated along with Alex Torke, Burt Field, Lisa Gillmor, Teresa O’Neill in a political press conference that was illegally held within 100 feet of a ballot box in front of City Hall.
    2. In August 2022, there was a closed session meeting where Mayor Gillmor and Kathy Wattanabe accused Anthony Becker of threatening them and the Mayor said she was so worried that she called the police. She actually called her friend, Pat Nikolai. Officers showed up only because Interim CM Rajeev Batra called them due to a potentially unstable attendee at the Council Chambers. An independent investigation subsequently found that Anthony Becker did not act in a threatening manner.
    3. On October 10, 2022 Nikolai penned a public letter to District Attorney Jeff Rosen asking him to investigate findings in the Grand Jury report even though the Grand Jury made no criminal referrals. This was in the middle of a close election battle between Mayor Gillmor and Anthony Becker. It seems that Rosen has chosen not to act on any on the findings in the report despite Nikolai’s urging.

    Please note that the survey included in the packet was commissioned by the POA and surveyed only 350 people. I believe the following question was misleading like: Did you know Santa Clara is one of the last cities in California to “elect” their Chief of Police? Santa Clara is the ONLY city in the State of California to elect its Chief of Police.

    Again, I will be very surprised if there were more than one candidate in the next election for Chief of Police.

    • Nobody cares about what you have to say, Sudsy..Go back to the bathroom with your intestinal issue!

    • Thank you for publishing this, Robert.
      It gives great insight into the diabolical
      mind of Suds Jain. The continued
      Attempt to destroy Santa Clara before
      he gets ousted.

      If Jed”s puppets are hawking this, you
      know there’s a plan. How much money
      is going to get thrown at this so Jed can
      control the police department?

    • Jain again selectively uses data just like the party functionary he is.
      Arolla ran against poa candidate.

      And you, Jain the Bug, should your true colors.

      Time we form





      FOR 2024

    • The chief of Police should reside in the City of Santa Clara. They need to be able to respond to critical incidents in a timely manner. If an incident occurs I don’t want the chief driving from 2 hours away.
      There are only 2 requirements to run for Chief of Police. 1)Resident of Santa Clara and 2)Possess P.O.S.T certification. The candidate pool is larger than you claim. I personally know several individuals that fit the 2 requirements, but are not current SCPD officers.
      Look how long it took to get a CM and CA after you “ fired” the previous ones. I wouldn’t want to put my career in your hands.

    • It’s also a joke that you post a link to the SV Voice. An obvious biased publication that is also controlled by the 49ers just like you are.

    • Suds from his mansion could not face the kids supporting Burt. Like any coward.

    • You’re proud of this, Suds?
      Your speech was disjointed and

      For someone who has advanced
      degrees, you should think about
      a ghostwriter. Maybe Becker
      will loan you, Carolyn Shucky!

    • Having to “reside in the City of Santa Clara” is a requirement to serve, not a requitement to run or be elected. So run, and win, and THEN move to Santa Clara to serve. There are cities who require all police and sometimes fire dept personnel too to reside in the City. The stated reason is to enhance public safety in times of emergency by having personnel close by. If you think it is unreasonable to believe people would run for office from far away locations and have any chance of winning, then you are saying that whether there is a rule or not, the Chief of Police is very likely to reside in the City anyway. Sheriffs of Counties are very often elected. Why the opposition democracy? If you complaint is that the democratic process has been corrupted, welcome to modern America–where every single top elected office in California is held by a democrat and Wyoming gets 2 Senators for fewer people than 1 Californian Representative. Good.

      PS: The Civil Grand Jury CAN NOT make criminal referrals–that is why it is a CIVIL grand jury and not a CRIMINAL grand jury. Do you have any experience with how Government works?

    • PS: The POST certificate is far more limiting then residency requirements. There’s over 100k residents in Santa Clara, but likely less then 5k people with POST certificates. I suppose you would advocate for removal of the POST certificate requirement to greatly increase the number of potential candidates? I suppose that would make sense if public safety were not your primary concern. Could there be an economic component? Could that economic component be associated with who pays the security costs of the Stadium?

  11. Santa Clara is so messy. I started following this site because I was in one “D.Caserta”’s class in 2001 and was following the news about the downfall of that charlatan, but seeing everything else that’s since been covered, I haven’t regretted following this page once. Best reporting about the rot in the Heart of Silicon Valley that one could ask for.

    • To investigate Doyle, 42000

      Amy oppenheimer.

      City hired

      Jain directed.

Leave a Reply