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Council Fills Seat of Ousted Parks And Recreation Commissioner

After a controversial decision to block the reappointment of a parks and recreation commissioner, the Council has decided on his replacement.

At a meeting in May, a routine reappointment spurred Council division and public outcry when the Council opted to disallow Burt Field from continuing to serve on the commission. Council Member Anthony Becker pulled the item from the consent calendar — a series of supposedly mundane items voted on in a single motion without discussion —to deny Field’s reappointment to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Becker did not explain why he didn’t want Field reappointed, causing many to speculate as to his reasoning. Many public commenters saw the move as petty and an attack on free speech, claiming it will have a chilling effect on people applying for the City’s boards and commissions. Several commenters said the move had more to do with Field’s opinions than his ability to serve the City.

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During a special meeting Monday night, the Council interviewed three applicants for the vacant seat: Peter Delaney, Vikas Gupta and Kiran Shinde. The Council took turns asking the applicants the same five questions.

While none of the three candidates had experience volunteering or working at any City events, all three said they frequently attend them, specifically the July 4 fireworks display and the Art and Wine Festival. All the candidates agreed that the closing of the City’s swim center is an issue that needs addressing.

Gupta won over the Council with his interview. During his comments, he vowed to base his decisions on data and rationale for the betterment of Santa Clarans, something he said his job as a software engineer has poised him to do.

“What matters is what the community wants, not what I want,” he said. “A lot of people have a lot of ideas, but what matters is action.”

But Gupta also brought ideas to the table, saying he would like to see a trail that connects many of the parks in the City and partnerships with big companies to bring more community gardens to Santa Clara.

An avid hiker and runner, Gupta is also a founding member of Catalyze SV and has previously served on Santa Clara Swim Center’s board, where he now volunteers.

Four members of the Council — Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Vice Mayor Kevin Park — nominated Gupta for the commission. In a 6-0 vote, the Council approved Gupta’s appointment. Council Member Kathy Watanabe abstained from voting and questioning in protest of Council’s decision to not reappoint Field to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The Council did not appoint anyone to an eligibility list for lack of a motion to do so. Becker said he was not in favor of an eligibility list should a vacancy occur for the appointment, but, again, did not explain why.

Other Appointments Prove Less Divisive

A resignation also forced the Council to appoint Betsy Megas to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The Council unanimously appointed Megas to a partial term — ending in June 2024 — and James Parissenti, Ashish Joshi and Clark Seninger to full terms — ending in June 2027.

Megas will serve the longest term since she will serve a partial term prior to her serving. The Council placed Ken Kratz to the eligibility list.

Similarly, the Council appointed a Civil Service Commissioner to a partial term and two commissioners to full terms. Wesley Dudzinksky got a majority of Council first-choice votes and will serve the longest term on the commission while Ron Billingsly and Arti Purohit will serve the shorter of the terms.

The Council meets again Tuesday.

Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov.

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24 Comments
  1. Buchser Alum 10 months ago
    Reply

    It will always be hard to not remember this council majority for making volunteering on the Parks and Rec Commission a political position. And being too cowardly to state this as the reason or give any reason at all for refusing to reappoint a commissioner.
    .
    Putting aside the unproductive and political squabbling on the city council that everyone on the council shares blame in it is a new low to impose a political loyalty test for being a volunteer commissioner.
    .
    And it is especially low and shameful and downright cowardly to do this in silence. Anthony Becker is a coward for voting against reappointing Burt Field without giving any reason why. Karen Hardy is a coward. Kevin Park is a coward. And Raj Chahal is a coward for abstaining without giving any reason why.
    .
    In this matter they have acted like spineless cowardly little snakes.

  2. Buchser 2 10 months ago
    Reply

    Buchser Alum-hole,
    You are the unnamed coward for attacking our Council Members for representing our city. They all have their reasons. They have no need to express them verbally to you. Each Council Member has been duly elected by their District voters to speak for them and cast their vote accordingly. On the other hand, Buchser Alum-hole is no more than a lonely self appointed spineless shameful and downright cowardly little snake spouting a stream of endless venom. As already confirmed by Miles Barber: you are nothing but a little lowly spineless devoted water boy for Lisa Gillmor.

    • Buchser Alum 10 months ago
      Reply

      Buchser 2,
      .
      You should try to take a few deep breaths after reading any of my comments before you start typing out your reactions. A calmer state of mind surely would help you write less frenzied thoughts.
      .
      The fact that you keep ranting about how you think I am carrying water for Lisa Gillmor shows that you should also take a deep breath and slow down when you read what I write because you clearly are not comprehending much of it. I have written many times about multiple issues that I disagree with Gillmor on. If you ask nicely I will repeat a few of these issues for you.
      .
      Finally if you think that an elected representative has no obligation to explain the votes they cast to their constituents then you have a very different sense of how representative democracy should work compared to me and to most other people.
      .
      But I do not think that you actually believe this. You just need to pause and take a deep breath before writing things you do not really mean because you are so emotional.

      • Buchser 2 10 months ago
        Reply

        Buchser Alum-hole,
        Perhaps it is you who needs to take a deep breath and stop being so emotional before casting and ranting all your nasty and frenzied comments. Actually, it is Miles Barber who implies you have been carrying water for Lisa Gillmor for many years. If not asked, an elected representative has no obligation to explain their vote. If you notice carefully, I am only repeating the same nasty language you have used so regularly and carelessly to hurling them back at you.

  3. Buchser Alum 10 months ago
    Reply

    Buchser 2,
    .
    I’m glad that you can think for yourself and understand that Miles was confused in thinking I carry water for Lisa Gillmor as he was confused in thinking I have commented here for years as he was confused in thinking I only make negative comments here.
    .
    I can only imagine how easy it is for Miles to get confused and see proverbial watercarrying everywhere since his normal day to day is to serve as a Forty Niners waterboy.
    .
    I hope that was not so caustic or nasty and does not spin you up too much. Remember to take deep breaths before replying.

    • Buchser 2 10 months ago
      Reply

      Buchser Alum-hole,
      I believe Miles and his publications greatly supports our City of Santa Clara. Granted some of his views are different than yours. He “carries water” for the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium, as he feels each one has provided significant benefits for our city. Personally, I do too. However, it’s obvious you are not a fan of the 49ers. That’s ok. My wife is not a fan either.
      As for taking deep breaths, I suggest you to do the same. But please turn your head when you exhale. “Bad breath”, you know. Also please do not turn your back towards me. “Farting” is worse.

      • Buchser Alum 10 months ago
        Reply

        Buchser 2,
        .
        Thank you for confirming that Miles carries water for the Forty Niners and that your attempts at insult are literally fart jokes.
        .
        By the way I am a huge fan of the Forty Niners football team. I am not a fan of the Forty Niners corporate special interest and how it has bought influence and used it for their own financial interests counter to those of the city of Santa Clara.

        • Buchser 2 10 months ago
          Reply

          Buchser Alum-hole,
          Please put yourself in Jeb’s position. You have a business to attend to. However, you find one or more of the City’s Council Members are damaging and degrading his business. Now, you have in your possession lots and lots of extra spare dollars. You see an opportunity to possibly sway the voters in the upcoming election by investing your extra dollars to defeating the Council Members who are obstructing your business. I believe he made a reasonable choice. He certainly did not break any laws. If I were in his position, I likely would have made the same choice. I am certain he is not the first or will he be the last business man to make that same decision. Wealthy businesses and wealthy individuals have often invested money to buy influence and sway the public voters. Jeb is no different.

          • Buchser 2 10 months ago

            Buchser Alum-hole,
            Wealthy individuals and companies have been spending large amounts of money for years to promote propositions or favorable candidates. Jeb is just following the norm. For myself, I am a registered Republican and my wife is a registered Democrat. We did this so that we would receive news from both parties. Actually, the Republicans provide much more mailings and requests for donation. I did donate a few dollars to Trump, and in return they mailed me a red MAGA cap (made in China), which I keep as a memento. When we first arrived in Santa Clara about 4 years ago, we started receiving phone requests to support the Police Department candidates. My wife sent them a $10 contribution. Since then, we have stopped. One reason is they began calling us every two or three months requesting more donations. The second reason is that after reading Miles news columns, they firmly support Lisa Gillmor and her candidates, which Miles appears to have a great dislike for. Instead he favors those whom candidates whom you’ve often referred to as the 49er’s five. Which I believe Miles labels as the “anti-Gillmor” five. One thing I’m glad I did after moving here was to purchasing a home for my family in District 1. The value of our home has doubled. When growing up, my far-off dream was to someday become a millionaire. Yesterday, my son said to me, “Papa, you own a home here in Santa Clara. You’re already a millionaire.” I voted for Kathy during the first election here. I will likely be voting for her opponent next year. Anyways, I enjoy reading Miles opinion columns, and firmly believe he has our city’s best interests at heart.

  4. CSC 10 months ago
    Reply

    “Council Member Kathy Watanabe abstained from voting and questioning in protest of Council’s decision to not reappoint Field to the Parks and Recreation Commission.”
    .
    While Watanabe’s disappointment about the handling of previous commissioner may be understood, it is a shame she’s not mature enough to regroup after two months and vote on behalf of her constituents. She literally sat there and refused to do her job defying the interest of more than 10,000 Santa Clarans. Hopefully a better resident in District 1 will step up to the plate November 2024 and represent their community.

    • Buchser Alum 10 months ago
      Reply

      CSC,
      .
      The motion passed by six votes to none so Watanabe’s vote was immaterial to the result. It signified much more than being the seventh yes vote or lone no vote would have. I do not see how it defied the interest of her constituents.
      .
      The abstaining that was consequential was Raj Chahal’s abstaining from the vote to reappoint Burt Field or not.
      .
      His vote actually mattered unlike Watanabe’s last night.

      • CSC 10 months ago
        Reply

        Regardless of who it is, what the topic is, or what side the political aisle one stands on…I believe if one wants to represent constituents in a public office they need to always vote. Unless, of course, there is a conflict of interest. The representative may not always get 100% of what they want but this is a participatory government, it’s the only way voices will be heard.

  5. Dedadz 10 months ago
    Reply

    @ Burhser 2, The recess is over and it’s time to come back to your school from the playground. And congratulations once again! Your “-hole” reference with the “bad breath” and “farting” comments shows you’re almost ready for 3rd grade. Keep up the good work.

    • Buchser Alum 10 months ago
      Reply

      Dedadz,
      .
      Perhaps next time “Buchser 2” will entertain us all with a witty pee pee or poo poo joke.

    • Buchser 2 10 months ago
      Reply

      Dedadz,
      You are a fellow of a few ill-chosen words. You’ve obviously been educated well beyond your intelligence.

  6. Dedadz 10 months ago
    Reply

    Buchser 2,
    Oh boy! Recess has begun again? Have fun!

    • Buchser 2 10 months ago
      Reply

      Dedadz,
      Education is the brief interval between ignorance and arrogance.

      • Dedadz 10 months ago
        Reply

        Buchser 2,
        Based upon your previous comments, we all understand where your intelligence level lies. Don’t worry, the tough lessons learned in 3rd grade will become more useful as you mature.

        • Buchser 2 10 months ago
          Reply

          Dedadz-hole,
          And you, sir, remain still stuck in kindergarden, still remain as a fellow of ill choosen words.

          • Dedadz 10 months ago

            Buchser 2,
            Thank you. Straight from the mouth of a true intellectual giant at recess! You can have your ball back now.

          • Buchser 2 10 months ago

            Dedadz-hole,
            Ok. You’ve finally decided to take a U-turn. That’s fine. However, it’s a U-turn of an idiot who has just got himself trapped in a revolving door.

  7. Dedadz 10 months ago
    Reply

    Buchser 2,
    You just can’t give it up, can you. Well, that’s fine. Typical of the schoolyard wanttabe bully that no one ever liked, respected, or feared. The one you thought everyone laughed with and never understood you were being laughed at.

    The one always known as the legend in his own mind. Intellect? BMOC? GOAT? Dream on.

    • Buchser 2 10 months ago
      Reply

      Dedadz-hole,
      I don’t mind your talking as long as you don’t mind my not listening. It must be nice to be free of the burden of any intelligence.

  8. Burt Field 6 months ago
    Reply

    Yes, this is Burt Field…. this is both funny and really sad at the same time. What a waste of time and energy. But I guess that is all part of the plan. You know, chaos creates opportunity. Shine the light elsewhere, not where it needs to be shown.
    Some folks love to live in the chaos. Sadly it does not help our City at all, in any way. But what do I know, I was removed as a volunteer. Kind of both sad and funny as well. Full circle I guess.

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