Some of the candidates vying for seats on Santa Clara’s City Council continue to try and push for change in the City of Santa Clara. Harbir Bhatia (District 1 candidate), Kevin Park (District 4 candidate) and Suds Jain (District 5 candidate) all took part in a community question and answer session on Zoom on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Anthony Becker, a candidate in District 6, was unable to participate because of a prior work commitment.
During the joint press conference, the candidates took the time to address some of the biggest problems facing the city including affordable housing, public transportation and city salaries. They also addressed accusations that they are backed by special interest groups like the San Francisco 49ers.
All three said adamantly that they have not received any money from the 49ers. As reported earlier by The Weekly, they are supported by the PAC, The Citizens for Efficient Government and Full Voting Rights and that is funded by 49ers CEO Jed York.
None of the candidates have control over who the PAC chooses to support or where the money comes from. They say it’s very telling that the 49ers have chosen to support candidates who have actively spoken against the stadium and the team in the past.
“I fought the 49ers, I fought the stadium, I fought the city proponents of the stadium for so long,” said Park. “It’s interesting to see that now we have those some of those people supporting our campaigns. I’d like to point out, how bad can the relationship with the city be that the people that we opposed for almost a decade, are now coming back to support us?”
Jain and Bhatia both say they were against Measure J, but they say now that the deal is done, the city has to deal with it.
“We have a $325 million outstanding debt to that is backed by the City of Santa Clara,” said Jain. “If we somehow make that relationship completely dead, it doesn’t serve the residents of Santa Clara to be stuck with that debt.”
“Guess what, it’s here. I think it’s really important to understand that either we get rid of it, which we can’t because we have a $325 million loan still left to pay, or we make it work for us,” said Bhatia.
Bhatia was recently suspended from posting on her neighborhood community in the app NextDoor, after she responded to what she calls “politically motivated” posts on the community app. She addressed the issue during the press conference.
“I’m very unhappy, that the platform is being used the way that it is,” said Bhatia. “It is the sad case of the way our city’s politics have turned people against each other and made them very, very, let’s say, unaware of all the facts and acting in maybe inappropriate ways…I have fought back, and I am going to be reinstated today, but I’m probably going to stay off that platform for now. I don’t believe I want to put myself in a situation where that could possibly happen again.”
Bhatia says she will continue to answer questions on other social media platforms like Facebook, ones she feels have better policies than the ones on NextDoor.
Candidates Bhatia, Park, Jain and Becker have worked together in recent months to try an end what they call a “cycle of discrimination” among Santa Clara’s city leaders.