Rod Diridon wants to represent you as Santa Clara City Clerk.
Diridon has served as Santa Clara City Clerk since 2004. Prior to voters electing him to that position, Diridon served two terms on the Santa Clara City Council. He has also served on the Santa Clara Library Board of Trustees, and has a Bachelor’s degree in political science from San Jose State University.
Diridon said the clerk’s office is unique in that, although it is an elected position, the city clerk is accountable to the public as opposed to the City Manager, City Attorney or the Council.
He said lot of people don’t know what a city clerk does, categorizing the role as a “partner in democracy.”
“We implement things for the government to be run fairly and equitably,” he said. “Regardless of their financial, political or societal status, we are there to ensure they have equal access to government.”
“It is more than just a political position. It is a position that requires competence and the public trust,” he later added.
Diridon said he has a good understanding of the “subtle nuanced elements of government.” Having respect for public service is an important aspect of being city clerk because the clerk’s office is often the first point of contact for citizens reaching out to city hall, he added.
One of the biggest challenges of being city clerk, Diridon said, is not getting drawn into political rhetoric. While the Council is there to “reflect core ideologies” of the city, the clerk’s office is an “independent safeguard for everyone’s rights.”
Diridon pointed to programs he said demonstrate his commitment to nonpartisan transparency in government. The calendar ordinance lets citizens know with whom their government officials are meeting while the lobbyist ordinance helps protect against corruption.
Other measures such as video streaming of planning commission meetings, the creation of programs that help increase voter participation, the pathway to citizenship webpage and better search tools on the city’s website — all of which the city has put in place on Diridon’s watch — go a long way toward increasing transparency, he said.
The clerk’s office is also “working on” getting the City Council agendas published sooner, he said.
Any time a policy is set in city hall, it comes through the clerk’s office, he said. Keeping public documents, including minutes from the City Council meetings, free of political rhetoric is something that requires vigilance.
“The city clerk’s office is obligated not to take positions,” he said. “You have to know what your role is and not overstep the authority given to you by the Council and by the city charter.”
If re-elected, Diridon said he would like to “continue the tradition of excellence” in Santa Clara. Although he wants the city to continue to improve its effort to be accessible, Diridon said he is always looking for ways to put programs in place at little or no cost to the public, saying projects that come out of his department “consistently come in under budget and on time.”
When citizens put their trust in the clerk’s office, he said they are giving up a piece of their sovereignty.
“That sovereignty is something you have to value,” he said. “It is essential to our government.”