Santa Clara City Council District 5 candidate Suds Jain can participate in decisions about redeveloping downtown Santa Clara, said Assistant City Attorney Alexander Abbe in an Oct. 30 letter. [Letter]
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Jain’s District 5 opponent Bob O’Keefe have wrongly and repeatedly asserted that Jain can’t participate in discussions and votes on downtown — a project that has a lot of emotional significance for residents — because he lives within 1,000 feet (920 feet) of the planning area.
In September, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) ruled that public officials whose primary residence is within 1,000 feet of a project don’t have to recuse themselves if 15 percent of the residents of the district would be similarly affected.
The City Planning Department originally calculated that 14.7 percent of the parcels in the district would be affected. Jain asked the City to recalculate that percentage on Oct. 2.
This time Planning included all residences in the district instead of only those zoned residential, excluding residences that were on parcels zoned PD, Historic or non-residential parcels that had legal but “non-conforming” residences.
After examining each of these parcels, Planning’s new calculation found that 16.34 percent of the district’s residential parcels were within 1,000 feet of the plan.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor, however, will still have to recuse herself from decisions about downtown and El Camino Real plans.
The Mayor owns property in the Franklin Mall, where her office is, and has business interests with a property owner on El Camino: John Vidovich, owner of De Anza Builders.