Shame on Councilmembers Karen Hardy and Suds Jain for caving into politics as usual during Tuesday’s city council meeting. After Councilmember Chahal very directly pointed out the repetitiveness and mismanagement of the city’s JLL/Dan Fenton “tourism strategy” contract, they still voted in favor of it! The Mayor repeatedly let JLL appointed TID and DMO Board Chair Eron Hodges speak time and time again, often while council members waited to speak. It was a perfect conducted orchestra, a “filibuster” by the Mayor and staff to convince these two members to cave into the politics of usual that have corrupted the city since Mayor Gillmor took over. Despite both Mr. Hodges and the new DMO having over six-figure salaries and two Assistant City Managers the same, the City didn’t have enough “expertise” to manage the Center or DMO on their own. Wasn’t the management company Spectra hired to manage the Center themselves? Are they that weak that they need oversight by a highly paid consultant. Furthermore, why did JLL hire a DMO who admittedly said he had no DMO experience?
This is what the City got for the past three years. Shame on council member Hardy who admitted Mr. Fenton was the wrong person for the job but said she couldn’t stop the process. The fact is the city will never see JLL’s promises of citywide conventions. Did any member ask staff what JLL’s definition of a citywide convention is? The doomsday scenario painted by city staff and the Mayor was a smokescreen to hold on to oversight and power. It had no basis in truth or reality. The City Manager saying it would cost $500,000 per year to hire an employee with tourism strategy experience was laughable. Of course, then again, she is one of the highest paid city employees in the state. It’s sad, but the residents of Santa Clara are getting more of the same. Shame on Council members Hardy and Jain.