The Silicon Valley Voice

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Jain OK’ed to Vote on Downtown Development

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.


  1. Sam Yodle 3 years ago

    I have posted this elsewhere, but it is most important to let our neighbors know…. about Suds…. all the following can be verified by accessing EPA records or other publicly-available information…

    Suds Jain, as a son of immigrants, certainly has been blessed by this great country. Most of us children of immigrants are gracious and express gratitude for our good fortune. Suds Jain was fortunate to earn a slot at MIT, one of the best technical schools in this country. Yet, contrary to his views today, he did not step aside and allow less fortunate students, like an African-American or a Hispanic student, to have a better life. Sad! So, Suds Jain received his elite education, and, as he admits, he designed semiconductor integrated circuits for a quarter of a century (i.e., 25 years!). During the later years of his career, the semiconductor industry in which he worked shamelessly dumped toxic waste throughout our beloved Santa Clara, thereby poisoning our ground water. The US Government (i.e., the EPA) identify a number of “SUPERFUND” (danger!!!) sites in Santa Clara, which include toxic waste. Santa Clara city’s district 6 has a toxic plume extending from neighboring Cupertino via Santa Clara into Calabazas Creek, which flows through our city. The plume originates from the old Intersil/Siemens Superfund Site and the plume includes volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) in soil on- and off-site. The primary contaminant is trichloroethene (“TCE”). Santa Clara city’s districts 1 and 2 have other toxic plumes.

    Suds is not directly responsible for the poisonous discharge of the semiconductor industry that provided him his wealth, which, unlike most Santa Clarans, gifted him an early retirement at 50 years old with a $2.5 million house.

    Yet Suds said recently: “In the old days, a plastics factory could set up and dump all their toxic waste into your river. And the justification was its bringing jobs and money to our community so we have to let them do this,” Jain said. “Then we had the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act say ‘This isn’t acceptable.’ I see traffic as a form of pollution.” See

    Sounds like Suds is OK with his semiconductor industry dumping toxic waste into our environment in Santa Clara, just not a plastics factory. Sigh. Transition from engineer to politician is a soul-crushing journey.

    But what crusade would a smart, rich, retired MIT engineer do in “retirement?” Would he expend his skills to help, in any way he can, to help clean up the toxic waste originating in an industry that made him rich? No, he is too smart. So… as a “politician,” he went for the “easy” fixes… he is against climate change and plastic bags. Why? Because he believes that Santa Clarans are dumb enough to agree that his position on climate change and plastic bags are worthy of a vote. He “talks” about fixing climate change, without proposing solutions, just like at his rich, wealthy, Kona Kai Country Club member:

    Question: will Suds, if elected, set a PROVABLE goal measuring a change that improves climate change during his term? I doubt it. But if he is bold enough to commit to us citizens a provable and measurable improvement to climate change that HE ALONE implements, and makes “good” on that promise, I will WHOLE-HEARTEDLY endorse him in a second term. My guess is I’d be holding my breath….. for an abnormal length of time.

    Suds live in District 5, which, coincidentally does not have a Superfund Site! Hmmmm….. what does he know that we don’t? In view of the foregoing, I ask Santa Clarans to now and forever REJECT Suds—allow him to enjoy retirement without meddling in our lives!!!

    • jean 3 years ago

      Sam, you have posted this everywhere. Unfortunately none of this has anything to do with Suds Jain the community member or him as a potential council member.
      What the semiconductor industry did years ago, Suds is not personally responsible for. As a matter of fact, as a kids we all drank out of a hose. You would never hear of that happening anymore. Things, times and the environment has changed over the years. Time to move on. There’s nothing more to discuss.

  2. Bob O'Keefe 3 years ago

    Ooops, The Weekly and Ms. Schuk got it wrong again!

    From Facebook;

    Finally, clarification from the City Attorney’s Office on the subject of Suds Jain’s need for recusal from the downtown precise plan. I would like to thank Suds for sending me a copy of this letter earlier today.

    Upon receipt of this letter Suds posted on numerous Facebook pages that he was now free to vote on the downtown plan. He posted a small snippet of this letter that would lead a reader to believe that the City Attorney’s Office had given him permission to vote on the downtown plan, when in fact nothing can be further from the truth, one might call his posting deceptive.

    I have attached a copy of the full letter along with Government Code section 18703 which clearly states that a government official must recuse themselves from any decision that would have a material affect on their property. There is an exemption in the law if the officials residence is within 1000 ft of the item to be voted on and 15% or more of the residential properties in the city are also within that 1000ft buffer zone.

    In Suds case his residence is 920ft from the edge of the downtown plan and within the 1000 ft buffer zone but only 2.5% of the city’s residential properties are within buffer zone, woefully short of the required 15% for the exemption. This is clearly explained in the letter furnished to Suds and in fact states that the 14.7% or the updated 16.4% number of residences in district 5 is “irrelevant.”

    18703 G.C. also defines that the rules apply to the government officials “Jurisdiction” in Santa Clara a Planning Commissioner and or a City Council Members jurisdiction is city wide irregardless if they were appointed, elected at large or by district.

    Suds statement that he can vote on the downtown plan is factually incorrect. By Law Suds must recuse himself from the downtown plan both as a planning commissioner and if elected as a council member.

    I do not get any joy out of this decision, but as I have stated on numerous occasions District 5 has been to long without representation on our downtown due to the need of previous council members need of recusal. We must elect a council member that can engage and vote on all issues in district 5 including our downtown.

    I am the only district 5 candidate that can vote on downtown.

    Bob O’Keefe

  3. Davy L. 3 years ago

    Here is a quote from the Mercury News: “Few people in Santa Clara are as well-informed and as engaged in Santa Clara politics as Jain. He has attended every goal-setting session the city has had and his five years on the Planning Commission would make him an invaluable addition to the council on housing and land use issues. His knowledge of the council’s financial and housing challenges dwarfs that of his challenger, Bob O’Keefe, who is backed by Gilllmor.” As for myself, I am a resident in District 6. My vote goes to Anthony Becker. His opponent, Robert Mezetti is a carpetbagger and a puppet of Gillmor.

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  4. SC Resident 3 years ago

    One point that should be of great concern for those who want to develop downtown in any sensible way, is that Suds Jain is endorsed by the YIMBY party. The YIMBY party, and it’s sister organization CARLA, exists to “f*** the suburbs”. Look them up. They wouldn’t endorse him, or his running mate Anthony Becker, without aligning with their principles. I can’t vote for O’Keefe, but I and my household did vote for Mezzetti after talking to him and finding out his views on maintaining local control of development decisions. Becker has stated he’s in favor of handing control over to Sacramento – why would we want councilmembers who doesn’t want to keep local control over decisions that impact us?

    • Sam Yodle 3 years ago

      SC Resident, very informative information! Thank you. However, it is not good news. I have not heard of YIMBY and CaRLA organizations, which I have learned seek to sue “suburbs” based on State law, which I can confirm ‘claims’ to override local authority. The more I learn about Suds Jain and his propensity to invite “outsiders” like Jed York, and YIMBY, and other external forces (mostly nefarious) into Santa Clara, it is distressing. Based on Suds’ position on the planning commission, his ability to vote on downtown “development,” and his connections to YIMBY/CaRLA, you can extrapolate to connect the dots to predict Santa Clara will be SUED by those folks. They brag about “suing the Suburbs.” Will Suds Jain recommend our city to “fold” and give up to extortionists? Probably, because there must be some advantage for him that Santa Clara caves… He already advocates Santa Clara “cave” on its principles on another lawsuit. Once a city yields to a bully, it makes it known it is willing to “settle” other frivolous law suits. There is much for us citizens to monitor, but it is clear we need to watch Suds closely to validate that he is honest and ethical in his aims, and not just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Hypothetically, any wealthy councilperson who negotiates a deal in a YIMBY in its city, may gain favorable negotiations on “investment” property in another city. You are right–YIMBY which endorses Suds, intends to lower our quality of life in Santa Clara.

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