Santa Clara Police Chief Pat Nikolai: An Elected Police Chief Puts Public Safety Ahead of Special Interests

By Police Chief Pat Nikolai

I am adamantly opposed to making the Chief of Police an appointed position. And the residents of Santa Clara agree with my opinion. I base that statement on the following facts:

• The voters have rejected this proposal in two previous elections.

• The last Charter Review Committee decided to not even place it on the ballot.

• A recent survey showed that the vast majority of respondents prefer having an elected Chief.

I find it ironic that the Council Pillar under which this measure is being proposed is “Enhance Community Engagement and Transparency”. Elections are the foundation of Community Engagement. How does taking the vote away from residents “enhance” their engagement?

The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force also looked at this issue. They submitted a letter to the City Council stating, “…having an elected Chief of Police promotes access, accountability, and equity.” 

So again, I ask: How does making the Chief an appointed position “enhance transparency”?

Recent events have shown that an elected Chief is independent, and is willing to call out potential issues, putting public safety ahead of special interests. Would an appointed Chief

have been willing to do the same?

I urge the City Council to focus on issues critical to the City, such as finding a long-term budget solution to our ongoing structural deficit and the critical shortage in our Capital Improvement Budget.

Editor’s Note: Police Chief Pat Nikolai submitted this memo last week to the City Council as they discussed possibly taking away the rights of Santa Clarans to elect a Police Chief. It has been edited slightly for publication.


  1. I AM Ticked Off! Not at the subject matter of this conversation, but the “secret” codes of “Blupac,” “POA” (i.e., SCPOA?), “IE, “FPCC,” CPRA 23 364,” etc.

    I have moved into Santa Clara in ’94 and always loved it but can sense external Bovine Excrement-loving opinions arising in the once Most, Beautiful, Mission city!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, explain to Santa Clarans what the ‘ell you mean in you comments!

    You are more far-reaching than you think! Help educate our citizens!

    Tried to do my own homework. Correct me if there is anything wrong. Interesting that that “Blupuck” only shows up over time “against” certain people…. hmmmm…

    Seriously, these Comments mean more than you think! Help us all learn what is going on other than using “code.”

    • Ie. Independent expenditure
      Cpra california public records act
      Fppc fair political practices commission
      Poa police officers association
      Blupac. Dark money group set up by adsociates of 49ers in 2016

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      April 14, 2023 via web

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      All civil grand jury reports sent by anthony becker to san francisco 49ers staff from january 1, 2022 to march 1, 2023.



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    • Your point is well made.
      Many acronyms are not understood.
      Nothing personal but if you have
      lived in SC since 1994 and aren’t
      aware of the acronyms or what
      they stand for is indicative
      of why the 49ers own the council majority.
      You’re asking good questions and
      more voters are too.

      Go back to 2016 elections. That’s
      when all those acronyms were created.
      And don’t read anything published by
      The Weakly. They backed the efforts
      if ugly campaigning and dark money
      by the 49ers and others.

  2. Santa Clara’s City Council didn’t discuss possibly taking away the rights of Santa Clarans to vote for a Police Chief, they simply want to give residents the opportunity to vote making their voices heard on the topic. If residents vote in favor of continuing to elect a police chief then that’s what the city will do. The City Council cannot take any right away from residents!

    The Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s last meeting was a video conference on February 28, 2022 that included SCPD’s Patrick Nikolai and Cory Morgan. Just four days later on March 4, the SV Voice/SC Weekly posted an Op-Ed directed at the same Task Force delineating roles and responsibilities of a DEI group. That same month, all following calendared meetings of the Task Force were cancelled and they were put on indefinite hiatus. Coincidence?

    Let’s be clear: if the majority of Santa Clarans want to keep an elected police chief, their vote will tell us so. Just like it told us whether the majority were in favor of Gillmor or the other guy for mayor.

    • Just in.

      Blupac spent 3 grand sending out slate mailers opposing suds jain in 2016.
      Burt Field was accused of supporters of blupac of not filing committee paperwork, though he was not running a pac, for defending jain. The POA did a mailer, spent money attacking blupac for attacking jain. They just cant please the guy.

    • This has been tried a few times and lost. So why now with a budget deficit should we spend just shy of $500k to do this again. I know why, because the 49ers want it and the 49er 5 give them everything they want.

  3. The problem is the same problem we have seen plague SC for years now. It’s political meddling in this case the POA and their money and the opposing argument would be the 49ers and their money. It’s the same base argument just replayed with different details and ultimately the same thing at base level. SC is basically for sale and it goes in different areas to the highest bidder and collectively has been accepted as the way to did business in that city at that level is to come with deep pockets and thick skin.

    • 49ers ~POA

      They are in direct proportion.

      If the 49ers stopped writing checks to stupid IE committees, the influence of POA would be reduced.

      Jain caused this mess. Actually Nikolai has been successful. Look at SF, Oakland, SJ

      Santa Clara has benefitted from the elected chief

  4. October 2016

    POA did an independent expenditure against BLUPAC from apartment association

    Blupac targeted suds jain!!!

    POA fought for Jain on this mailer

    • Fppc document cites blupac form 496 opposing Jain. There was a POA mailer attacking Blupac. Jain was helped by the very group that helped him

  5. I can’t believe this Council is wasting valuable time on this non-consequential issue. There are so many, many other pressing issues to address and they are totally ignoring them with this smoke screen issue. Really a sad display of leadership (or lack thereof).

    • Both Raj Chahal and Suds Jain contributed heavily in police chief elections. Now they want to change??

  6. I agree with the Chief of Police. Why are our rights to choose being taken away? We don’t need someone in that position that can be bought and pursuaded to do what someone else wants.
    We need to know what our chief is doing and know that he/she is representing the residents of this city.

  7. POA SUPPORTED SELLERS WITH 500 in 2012. Sellers accepted.

    2016, Suds Jain actively campaigned for Sellers, gave substantial contribution.


  8. Thank you Chief Nikolai for weighing in on this underhanded plot to overthrow you. The 49ers failed getting rid of Gillmor so you are the next target. Voters are paying attention. Save the City staff and residents time and money. Focus on what’s good for the City. Not the blathering coming out of the 49er friendly five and their cohorts.

    • I did not support Nikolai before, but despite that he has been very cooperative when I have dealt with him, so I admit I may have been wrong. It is true that the POA grew in influence as result of the 49ers attemptng to buy elections, so those opposed to POA should understand if the 49ers had stayed out, the POA would have not been so active. Chahal and Jain benefitted from POA political mailers in 2016. Jain is so harmful to Santa Clara’s fabric. Mayberry meets Count Dracula.

    • Let us examine how silly Jain and Becker really are using their straw man, Brian Doyle. If Jain and Becker are correct, then Doyle was a tool of a council majority. If the chief were appointed, then a council majority could select a marshal of evil. The present system gives the VOTERS a check. The city manager and council controls the purse

      Nikolai is right. It works.

  9. Mr. Haugh,
    As I spoke the other night to our 2 Santa Clara City Council Members, the new 49er 4, and yes , the one Indicted for Perjury individual who is still sitting in judgment of others….(How messed up is that?)

    I clearly stated that I was a STRONG ADVOCATE for our Santa Clara Police Dept.
    Also to date they have not removed me as a Volunteer Member of the Chief’s Advisory Committee.

    So, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it”. It’s well documented what a respected Police Dept we have. We are the envy of every other City and Town in Northern California.
    So….How is this a good idea?
    How does this make any sense to anyone not directly tied to the 49ers?
    Why would any Santa Clata resident agree to spend $500k to put on a ballot something none of us is concerned with?
    Finally, how is removing our ability to actively participate in a voting process a “Plus” for us?
    Is it possible that the 49ers have a wish list?
    This tired “Dog and Pony” act has got to stop.
    Sending one member of the former 49er 5 off to Jail is just a decent start.
    Now we need to identify who is for us, and who is against us.
    Because if you are not for “Us”, by default you are against “Us”.
    You have been elected by a vote to represent your District.
    Remind me how lucky I am to get Kevin Park to represent me… yes Mr. Park I know who you are even if you claim not to know me. By the way I’m the resident you just voted twice to be removed as a Volunteer Park and Rec Commissioner for….”No Reason”.
    I want Teresa O’Neil back!!
    Please Support our Mayor, Lisa Gillmor, Chief of Police, Pat Nikolai, and our City Council Member Kathy Watanabe.
    They all have my 100% support because they still care about our City.
    Also so far they have not voted to remove me as a Volunteer in our City.

    Former Parks and Recreation Commissioner
    Burt Field

    • Note to Ms Warren

      You are a bright, sincere caring person. You care about your city. The community is better for you.


      In Jewish folklore, a mass of clay and mud, designed to wreak havoc

      The 49ers are a political golem.

      The blupac material lied about Suds Jain.

      All of what it said lied. Jain was a very good commissioner. There. I will tell the truth.

      There a myraid of disagreeents i wth lisa.

      Over the years i have worked in opposition
      To lg candidates 75% of the time.

      I think lg is an Outstanding Mayor.

      I regard kathy as a caring and smart person. Burt and Kirk are outstanding community volunters. But i have been vocal when i think they are wrong.

      I trust karen and raj, but they are very naive.

      Becker, Jain, Park, they are a trio of politucl stooges.

      Five conditions for 49ers

      1) treat lg with respect
      2) cooperate with kw and lg
      3) mcgovern pay what you owe
      4) honor soccer group
      5) lose becker and jain

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