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Council Quibbles Over Commissions

A consent item pulled from the calendar proved somewhat contentious. Santa Clara Vice Mayor Karen Hardy pulled an item that required commissions to have City Council approval before taking action from the consent calendar that aimed to hamper how commissions operate.

At Tuesday night’s Council meeting, Hardy and Councilmember Raj Chahal said they had concerns that the item — which requires commissions to submit an annual work plan to the Council — was “micromanaging” the City’s commissions.

But Mayor Lisa Gillmor and others said the issue at hand was commissions, such as the Planning Commission, assigning work to City employees. It was not an attempt to hinder their creativity so much as ensure they are operating under the scope of their authority.

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“We are not that rigid; but we have to follow the charter, though, but when we have commissions that are veering from the charter, for whatever their reasons, we have to make sure that we are following the rules of our city,” Gillmor said.

Two Planning Commissioners — Anthony Becker and Suds Jain — made comments during the public comments section, saying the item seems like it is designed to hamper its authority.

Jain said the commission wanted to be able to agendize an item for Council consideration, but under the Brown Act must get that item on the agenda first. He said the Planning Commission was simply trying to ensure everything was done by the book.

In the end, the Council opted to refer part of the item back to the Governance Committee for further clarification.

 

Vetting ‘Diversity’ Committee At Issue

Another routine item also proved contentious. The Council’s attempt to appoint members to a Diversity and Inclusion Committee was met with resistance from Vice Mayor Hardy and Councilmember Chahal. Those Council members said that the committee was not vetted properly to ensure the best representation of the community.

But Mayor Gillmor said Chahal and Hardy’s concern came at the eleventh hour since they had ample opportunity to be involved in the process.

“I am sorry you didn’t understand what you were doing when you appointed the chief and I, and I am sorry you didn’t read the report. I don’t appreciate the negativity. I am a little bit offended, but it wouldn’t be the first time,” she said.

Councilmember Debi Davis said she “couldn’t believe” what she was hearing, calling Hardy and Chahal’s concerns “whiny.” Even City Attorney Brian Doyle spoke as a member of the public, imploring Hardy and Chahal to “please, please please stop” and to “have compassion and respect.”

The motion to appoint Andrew Knaack, Darius Brown and Dianna Zamora-Marroquin to the Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion passed unanimously.

 

Stadium Lawsuit Updates

Because of “misinformation” surrounding the lawsuits with the 49ers, City Attorney Doyle detailed the specifics of the numerous lawsuits.

The lawsuits deal with allegations against the Forty Niners Management Company (ManCo) and the Stadium Management Company (StadCo) claiming they self-dealt, failed to provide adequate financial records, breached a contract with the City, failed to adhere to California labor laws and were not qualified to run the stadium, resulting in the termination of the contract governing relations between the Stadium Authority and ManCo.

Although ManCo/StadCo initiated all seven suits, the City has countersued.

 

Two Council Items Pushed Back

The Council also voted to continue discussions on the Tasman East Specific Plan until its Nov. 17 meeting.

Further, City Manager Deanna Santana told the Council about the possibility of $34 million in federal money that could be coming to the City. Because the information came to Santana only hours before the Council meeting, she recommended the Council also push back discussions regarding budget amendments until after the City learns whether it will receive those federal dollars.

The Council obliged the request.

The Council meets again Tuesday, Oct. 13 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.

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

For those without the above access, the City cafeteria has been set up to accommodate up to 10 people at a time and public comment will be given from that location.

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