June proved to be another productive month for Santa Clara Council and City staff, but curious findings on their calendars are cause for question.
One of the most problematic meetings popping up on the public calendars is that of City Attorney Brian Doyle. While the WEEKLY typically covers only the Council calendars, Doyle’s Jun. 21 meeting with Related lobbyist Jude Barry is cause for concern. It’s not that Doyle was meeting with Barry regarding the City Place development, although it’s mentioned within the meeting notes, it’s that Doyle and Barry also discussed stadium issues, which the consultant heavily lobbied for as a paid member of the Measure J campaign and San Francisco 49ers team, and “opioid impact litigation,” which Barry should have no part of unless he’s being paid by the City for his political consulting services. As such, Barry wasn’t listed as part of the Related team, but as part of his own company, Catapult Strategies. This was the first time Barry, who often shows up on Council calendars, has had a meeting listed on Doyle’s calendar.
Also of note was a meeting between Doyle, Assistant City Manager Nadine Nader, Acting City Clerk Jennifer Yamaguma and Lynn Dantzker and Patricia Healy, partner and special advisor, respectively, of San Jose-based Management Partners, “a management consulting firm specializing in helping government organizations improve their operations,” according to the organization’s website, www.managementpartners.com. The City of Santa Clara is listed on the firm’s client list and the group discussed the “dark money ordinance” passed after the infamous 2016 BLUPAC campaign developed to discredit Mayor Lisa Gillmor and most of her slate of candidates.
City Council Members each recorded a meeting with Barry. He attended a meeting with Gillmor, Council Member Teresa O’Neill and Related’s Chairman and CEO Bill Witte and Senior Vice President and COO Nick Vanderboom on Jun. 25, but Barry’s name was questionably left off the Mayor’s calendar. O’Neill’s calendar, however, listed the lobbyist as attending. The Related trio additionally had a meeting with Council Members Patricia Mahan and Pat Kolstad on Jun. 25, although Kolstad was not listed on Mahan’s calendar and Mahan was not listed on Kolstand’s, and a meeting with Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe and Council Member Debi Davis on the same day. Although Related’s team met with Council Members in pairs and on the same day, the meetings took place at different times, with Gillmor and O’Neill sitting down with them at 11:30 a.m., Davis and Watanabe having their meeting with Related at 1:30 p.m. and Mahan and Kolstad seeing the three at 2:30 p.m.
Gillmor and Davis had a meeting with Archie Snider of Snider Properties on Jun. 13 to tour 3565 Victor Ave., which is not an address within the City. Santa Clara has a 3565 Victor St., which Google Maps shows as a warehouse/office complex off De la Cruz Boulevard, but not a Victor Avenue. One day prior, the pair met with Snider to discuss issues regarding the process for business permits.
The Mayor also met with Old Quad Association President Adam Thompson on Jun. 19 regarding the 575 Benton St. project, the 5.7 acre proposed mixed-use project proposed by Prometheus Real Estate Group. Additionally she had a meeting with resident Rick Bertaut regarding “issues in the City” on Jun. 20, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese on Jun. 26 about “Santa Clara City and County issues” and Ken Kim on Jun. 28. Kim is the organizer for the Korea Day event, which Council unanimously approved to sponsor earlier this month.
The Vice Mayor also had a meeting regarding the 575 Benton St. project, but her meeting, recorded on Jun. 12, was with Executive Vice President and Partner of Development Jon Moss and Development Director Marilyn Ponte of Prometheus. The pair additionally met with O’Neill on Jun. 21 and Kolstad on Jun. 25 about the project. Watanabe had a second meeting with Prometheus executives on Jun. 25.
Watanabe had meetings with other developers in June, including a phone call on Jun. 13 with Paul Ring of The Core Companies about the agrihood project on the former BAREC site and meeting John Hyjer of Equity Residential and Davis on Jun. 7. That meeting was listed on each Council Member’s calendar, but Davis’ calendar did not list Watanabe and Watanabe’s calendar did not list Davis. Hyjer, who also met with Mahan on Jun. 7 immediately following his meeting with Watanabe and Davis, is listed as the owner of the Laguna Santa Clara Apartments at 3131 Homestead Rd. on Mahan’s calendar. The developer hopes to demolish a portion of the current complex to build a 407 unit four-story complex in its place, but needs Council to approve the rezoning from medium density residential to high density residential. The public hearing for the project is scheduled for Aug. 21.
A meeting with resident Lavelle Souza about the Pomeroy project took place with the Vice Mayor on Jun. 21. Souza, along with residents Panur Agarway, Cu Nguyen, Goa Nguyen, John Lesnick, Jamie Brick and Hung Le, had a second meeting about the project with Watanabe on Jun. 27, although it’s not clear if the meeting was about the 1075 Pomeroy Ave. project — currently with the Architectural Review Committee — to allow construction of four detached single-family homes or a project not currently listed on the City’s website. Finally, Watanabe met with resident Jonathan Marinaro about the open seat on the Cultural Commission on Jun. 11.
O’Neill continued her monthly Santa Clara resident meeting Q&A on Jun. 3, giving residents the opportunity to meet with the Council Member in a public setting to discuss issues concerning Santa Clarans. She also met with resident Nancy Biagini on Jun. 1 regarding the open Council seat left when former Council Member Dominic Caserta resigned in May over sexual harassment allegations.
On Jun. 22, O’Neill had a phone call with Corrinne Winter, principal at the Los Altos-based Winter Consulting regarding “regional transportation projects.” Winter Consulting, which lists its “newest area of expertise” as “corporate culture consulting, helping increase productivity and happiness of employees at any company” on its LinkedIn profile, claims it’s “changing the world companies market in the new world of social content … [and is] here to help companies harness this new revolution to increase sales and retain customers.” The website listed for the company on its LinkedIn profile is not active, and the website listed on the company’s Facebook page, which is different from the LinkedIn page, is listed as under construction.
O’Neill also met with two Santa Clara residents about elections, recording a lunch meeting with resident David Donaldson about Measure A and the upcoming election on Jun. 28 and with resident Jason Baker about the upcoming election and future plans later on the same day. Although Baker is listed as a resident of Santa Clara, it’s not clear as to if it was a misprint and the Jason Baker who met with the Council Member is actually the former Mayor of Campbell and Santa Clara County Supervisor candidate who O’Neill endorsed throughout the primaries.
In addition to all previously listed meetings, Davis had a lunch meeting regarding “City and Santa Clara University events” with Santa Clara University’s Santa Clara Presents Director Butch Coyne on Jun. 8. There were no other meetings of note on Kolstad or Mahan’s calendars.
The public calendars of Santa Clara officials are available at http://santaclaraca.gov/government/public-calendars-of-certain-city-officials.