By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara City Councilmember Suds Jain pushed to allocate money for a special election in March 2024.
But a Charter Review Committee hasn’t met yet and hasn’t recommended any election.
It appears Jain may lose a key vote to fund the election if indicted Councilmember Anthony Becker leaves the City Council by resigning or being convicted.
Jain and his 49er Five colleagues want to get rid of the elected Police Chief and City Clerk.
Tuesday night, the Council appointed a seven-member Charter Review Committee to evaluate that possibility.
That same night, Jain moved that Council allocate approximately $587,000 for an election that may not happen.
The Charter Review Committee won’t begin meeting until next month.
And the Council won’t make a decision until November about placing any items on the March 2024 election ballot.
According to the City Charter, five Council votes are required to allocate money that hasn’t been allocated during the regular June budget process.
No money was allocated during last month’s regular budget sessions for a March special election that would take away Santa Clarans right to elect our Police Chief and City Clerk.
Before the vote, Jain asked questions to City staff that revealed his motivation.
“Suppose for whatever reason, there are six members on this City Council, said Jain. “Would that still require five votes … meaning it would take two votes to block any budget amendment if there happen to be six Councilmembers?”
It sounds like Jain is worried Becker may resign or not be on the Council if he’s convicted of leaking (misdemeanor) a Grand Jury report and lying (felony) about it.
Becker could serve prison time for the felony charge.
You can watch Jain ask his questions here.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor thanked Jain for admitting his motivation.
“I really want to thank Councilmember Jain for telling us why he put this on the agenda in the first place,” said Gillmor.
“He’s worried that the Council will be reduced to six votes. And I want to assure him that I don’t believe we’ll get to six votes because, at the last meeting, Councilmember Becker said he will not resign.”
Last week, Becker lashed out at Santa Clarans who asked him to resign by saying he’s not going anywhere.
“This has never been done before,” Gillmor said about Jain’s effort. “It’s unprecedented. And it’s financially irresponsible.”
You can watch Gillmor’s statement here.
Councilmember Kathy Watanabe agreed with Gillmor.
But the 49er Five united again and passed the motion 5-2.