The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

2020 Election: Santa Clara City Council Candidates

This year four Santa Clara districts will elect their first-ever district representatives. Two incumbents, Kathy Watanabe and Teresa O’Neill are running for their second and third* terms respectively.


District 1

Harbir Bhatia


Bhatia has served as President of the SC Library Foundation and Friends Board and chair for Strategic Planning. A Santa Clara Cultural Commissioner, she is the Founder and Chair of SC Community Coalition for COVID Relief. As a community benefits consultant, developed corporate community relations programs.

Bhatia’s awards include California State Assembly honors for Leadership in Business and A Community Hero, Junior League of San Jose 51st Annual Tiffany Bowl Awardee for Volunteerism, and the Women’s Empowerment: Inspiring Achievements Award.

She currently serves as a Deputy board member at Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Chair of TIETV Startup Stories for international tech and business conference TiE Con, and as an advisor to the JOY of Sewa nonprofit.


Kathy Watanabe – Incumbent

Appointed to the seat in early 2016 and she won later that year, Watanabe is a retired legal assistant. She represents the City on the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), San Jose/Santa Clara Treatment Plant Advisory Committee, Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Counties Airport/Community Roundtable and the Grand Boulevard Task Force/El Camino Real.

Before joining the City Council, Watanabe worked to pass the Community College District Measure A parcel tax and the City referendum to build Levi’s Stadium, Measure J. She has served as Sister Cities Association president and on the Santa Clara Board of Library Trustees.


District 4

Teresa O’Neill – Incumbent

A retired contracts manager for a tech company and a Santa Clara native, O’Neill was first elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016. O’Neill represents the City at the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) Board of Directors and Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA).

Before being elected to the Council, O’Neill served on the City Planning Commission, Santa Clara Unified Board of Trustees, 2011 Charter Review Committee, General Plan Steering Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee and the Triton Museum Board. She currently serves on the Santa Clara Schools Foundation Board and is a member of the St. Justin Parish Community Outreach Team.


Kevin Park

A member of Santa Clara’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee, Park has served on the City’s International Commission (since merged into the Cultural Commission) and the General Plan Steering Committee. He has taught at local colleges and, as a volunteer, teaches programming and leadership to grade school and high school students.

Park is an engineer and has served on the Sister Cities Association Board, Silicon Valley Korean-American Federation Board and Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Arts in Education.


A third candidate, John Frazzini, has pulled papers to run in District 4, but has published no information about his campaign.


District 5

Suds Jain

A member and former chair of the City’s Planning Commission, Jain is a retired electrical engineer. He currently serves on the: El Camino Real Citizens Advisory Committee, BART/VTA Santa Clara Community Working Group, Chief of Police Advisory Committee, Santa Clara Affordable Housing Nexus Fee committee and Santa Clara Citizens Advisory Committee. Jain also chaired the 2019 Charter Review Committee.

Co-founder and co-director of the Wilcox High School robotics club, Jain has taught algebra, Climate Change and Hour of Code; and, as a volunteer, maintained Washington Open School’s computers. Jain is an Old Quad Residents Association Board Member and former VP, and Committee Chair of Santa Clara Cub Scout Pack 32.


Bob O’Keefe

Native Santa Claran, Bob O’Keefe is a retired Highway Patrol lieutenant overseeing all CHP patrol operations in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

O’Keefe has served on the residents subcommittee to the Council’s Neighborhood University Relations Committee (NURC) and continues to participate in the NURC. He’s also a Board Member and Treasurer of the Old Quad Resident’s Association and participates as a resident in the Planning Department’s zoning code overhaul.


District 6 

Gautam Barve

A self-employed Software Engineer, Barve is an Ambassador for Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee.


Anthony Becker 

Santa Clara native Becker currently serves on the Planning Commission and just finished a stint as commission chair.

He is also on the Santa Clara County Measure A Citizens’ Oversight Committee and chaired the Santa Clara Architectural Committee. Becker is a Content Moderator Specialist for social media companies, a video producer, and Founder and Board Member of the civil rights non-profit DREAM: Santa Clara.


Robert Mezzetti

Another Santa Clara native, attorney Mezzetti’s San José-based law firm handles a wide range of general civil litigation and legal representation. Mezzetti serves on City of San Jose Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) and Mitty High School Board of Regents.


*Santa Clara’s lifetime term limits were passed in 2016. Because of state laws about retroactive legislation, the limits only apply to elected terms after 2016.


  1. Bob O'Keefe 4 years ago

    Thank you Carolyn great article, We do have a wonderful mix of highly qualified candidates running for City Council this year. I am running to represent the residents of District 5. We have many exciting projects coming on board for the district, a new revitalized Downtown, a train station specific plan involving, housing, Caltrain and Bart, the El Camino Real specific plan, a comprehensive zoning code update to protect our unique family residential neighborhoods along with a magnificent world class university.

    As a council member we also have city wide issues such as, fiscal management, infrastructure, sustainability, housing, traffic, Levi’s stadium and so much more. If I am fortunate enough to be elected to represent the residents of District 5, I will be laser focused and engage and vote for all of the issues inside the district and city wide.

  2. wesley mukoyama 4 years ago

    We need to make changes in the systemic racism of the Santa Clara City Council. Not one of the candidates that our mayor supports is a person of color. She is also wasting our taxpayers money by appealing the 6 District decision of the California Civil Rights Act Court Action in 2018 which defeated the At Large Voting in Santa Clara City. Even after the City Council tried to pass a referendum Measure A of 2 Districts in 2018, it was defeated and this past February, Measure C of 3 Districts was also defeated by a 2 to 1 margin. The status quo members of the City Council, Kathy Watanabe, District 1 and Teresa O’Neill, District 4 as well as Mayor Liz Gilmor have wasted millions of dollars to preserve this racist system and the status quo. Remember, there had not been a person of color on the city council since 1951 to 2018 when finally, the 6 districts were implemented. In a time when racism has become a major issue due to BLM this is unacceptable. I support Kevin Park for District 4, Suds Jain for District 5, Harbir Bhatia for District 1 and Anthony Becker for District 6 as they all have shown support the movement for 6 Districts.

  3. A District 6 Resident 4 years ago

    When did Anthony Becker move to District 6? Did he just rent a place in District 6 a few months ago with a few of his friends because the seat has opened up, in order to claim residency? As a long-time District 6 resident, I wonder does he really care about District 6 priorities, or is he motivated by political opportunism, after his multiple failed attempts to gain a seat on council?

    And what is “DREAM Santa Clara”? Looking at the website, it’s called “Markus Bracamonte’s Dream Santa Clara” – no joke, it’s named after another former city council candidate. The board is made up of Bracamonte, Kevin Park, and Becker, all former council candidates … seriously? Looks like something made-up to give them some credentials to run for office. I actually voted for Kevin Park at one time, but I’m wondering why he would associate with the others.

    • Ashley Bunting 4 years ago

      Good afternoon Resident of District 6,

      My name is Ashley Bunting, and I am the current President of DREAM Santa Clara. I would like assure you that we are indeed a legitimate organization, and that our nonprofit has no political motives behind its creation.

      We have been working tirelessly this past year to complete our 501(c) application, and we are now just waiting to hear from the agency. Our website was renamed “Markus Bracamonte’s DREAM Santa Clara” after numerous people suggested adding our Founder’s name to the title.

      We have had running booths at a few festivals in Santa Clara in hopes of reaching out to more students in need of financial aid. Our 2020 application has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, and the application is due May 8, 2021 for any student attending a high school in the city of Santa Clara to apply for. We encourage you to send our website application to any students you know attending high school in Santa Clara City for a chance to win a scholarship.

      Furthermore, we are recognized by the Santa Clara Chamber, of Commerce as an organization. If you have any further questions about the legitimacy of our organization, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at

      Ashley Bunting

      • Tom E. 4 years ago

        According to your website, Dream Santa Clara was founded in 2017. And you are still working on your 501(c) application? Is this the level of competence that we can expect from Mr. Becker if he is elected to Council?

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