Patricia Mahan a Santa Clara Icon That Will Live On – Letter to the Editor

On February 1, 2020 it will be an end of an era. After serving 25 years on the dais and as a public servant, it is time for Patricia “Patty” Mahan, one of Santa Clara’s most powerful figures to retire from a successful and historical career as a Mayor, Councilmember and a lawyer.

It is sad to see her leave the council; we have always been accustomed to her being there and Santa Clara has always had a special place their hearts for Patty Mahan. Whether you agree with her, disagree with her, love her or hate her…. She always found time to speak with you on the issues and has always been well revered and adored.

Her political career started in 1992 when she lost her first election to Jim Ash. This loss only made her stronger to come back in 1994 and win a city council seat by beating the former Mayor Eddie Sousa. In 1998, she was easily re-elected and served a total of 8 years.


In 2002, Patty Mahan finished destroying the glass ceiling in Santa Clara by picking up where Judy Nadler left off. Patty was the second female mayor in Santa Clara’s history. She lived her father’s dream to be Mayor and she did so with professionalism, confidence, and honor.  She led Santa Clara into the 21st Century by being innovative and implanting more historical standards throughout our Mission City.

Patty Mahan was one of the major players in the development and future of Santa Clara what it is today. The northside received a lifeline with the development of Rivermark, the expansion of our entertainment district, saving Great America and completing the San Tomas Aquino Trail. Throughout her tenure with the city she promoted companies to take a chance on Santa Clara and establish roots here especially during two recessions (2001 & 2008) by generating new revenues from enterprise and business not taxes and fees.

Patty Mahan’s accomplishments span a generation. She was instrumental to protecting the Ulistac, building of Levi’s Stadium, implanting Silicon Valley Power, and assuring district elections.  On her watch we got to host a Super Bowl and just recently two playoff games for the 49ers, putting Santa Clara in the national spotlight and on the tips of everyone’s tongues.

In any profession, and in any role we are bound to make mistakes. Patty had made mistakes but who doesn’t, we are only human. Patty learned from her setbacks to only have a better strategy in the future.

If you would have told me when I was 9 years old that In the future I would befriend Patricia Mahan the former mayor and current councilmember an influential  icon of Santa Clara from a  political dynasty,  I woulda called you crazy and those are only things that what dreams are made of.  Yet behold, here we are today Patty Mahan asks me for advice and I ask her for advice.

In 2016, when I was running for city council, Patty made herself available for advice.  She even did the same thing with her opponents she was running against like my friend Markus Bracamonte and current Councilmember Raj Chahal. I was new to the scene, new to the politics of Santa Clara. I knew the history, I knew all the players, just didn’t know I could be part of the conversation.

Patty Mahan, you have inspired me and countless others to run for office and to push for the changes that need to keep Santa Clara moving forward yet not forgetting our historical past.

You have my deepest respect. It has been an honor to serve with you on the Architectural Review. It was a privilege to receive your vote for the planning commission when I was appointed.  Even when we wouldn’t agree you treated me with respect, dignity and equality. You were with me in the Silicon Valley Pride Parade in 2018 when I ran for Mayor, and your endorsement, support and advice went a long way and I will never forget that.

Patty, this is not goodbye though… this is just the beginning of a new chapter of your life, the chapter where you focus on yourself, your needs, your family, friends and health. Your service and dedication will forever be remembered, and no one can ever, ever take that away.

The next generation can take it from here, you done good, you built hope for Santa Clara and now we can inherit the future.

She beat cancer, gave it the greatest fight she could, she is strong. Patty can now go hop on her motorcycle and ride through big sky country with the wind in her hair. Patty can now rest and be a spectator by giving the responsibility to the next era of Santa Clarans.

I remember one conversation we had when she was having chemo before she was cancer-free. She said, “I will not rest until I know this city was in good hands for the future.”

Once again, thank you for your service, thank you for the memories, and thank you for being a friend not only to me, but to all of Santa Clara.