Citizens of Santa Clara,
Recently I saw an article on Facebook referencing the Santa Clara City Grand Jury report, suggesting some Santa Clara City Council members acted unethically in dealing with the San Francisco 49ers. I clicked on the link, read the article, and quickly sent it to my wife. Both of us were concerned but not because we are citizens of Santa Clara.
We were concerned because I am Karen Hardy’s son-in-law.
You may think my opinion has no merit as her family member or someone not living in Santa Clara. You may think Karen asked me to write this. She didn’t and has no idea I am. But I will simply say anyone who knows Karen and my history will tell you it has not always been easy. Learning to have a son-in-law was not easy for her, nor was having a mother-in-law. There have been many disagreements and challenges. But she and I have strived to work through our differences to try and find common ground for her daughter and our four children. Ultimately, she and I have grown to understand and respect each other despite our differences.
Since the article was published, my interest in politics has taken over. I read the entire report along with every article, blog, or social media post I could find. Some of the claims, of course, would raise questions. Sadly, many of the comments on social media cast doubt on who my mother-in-law is as a person, calling her a “shill,” “puppet,” or even “worthless.” But I want to tell you what I know about Karen Hardy after almost 17 years of marriage to her oldest daughter.
Karen Hardy is incredibly dedicated and involved in her community. As a San Jose native, the Hardy family has joined mine for holidays. Even before her election in 2018, we often heard of her service to the city, sometimes over Thanksgiving dinner. Honestly, it was sometimes exhausting to listen to her civic involvement. Regardless, she has an interest, and we try to support her in it. For example, she is so proud of the improvements at Machado Park and loves having our children play there on visits. She truly wants Santa Clara to be a better place.
The stadium was something she opposed from the beginning. We had long disagreements over it. But when the stadium was built, there was no option but to make the best of the situation created by previous councils. She is pragmatic and tries to find solutions for all residents. Sadly, this desire to work with the 49ers to improve relations and benefit the city brought on what I feel are unfounded ethical concerns.
When the city won the World Cup 2026 bid, she was excited to tell our 11-year-old son. He asked if we would get free tickets. She said no, we would buy them. Later she told me how she never wanted to appear improper in her capacity and how she purchased her lunch instead of accepting a free one when meeting with FIFA. Despite all our disagreements, I have never questioned the integrity, ethics, and morality of Karen Hardy. While we may disagree on many things, those are beyond reproach.
I hope due process plays out in this situation. That is what we believe in our justice system; we are innocent until proven guilty. The Grand Jury report raised possible suspicions, requiring more investigation, interviews, and transparency. Sadly, this report came out just weeks before an election, causing many to claim foul without objective evidence while, at the same time, there are questions regarding the report’s impartiality.
Come November 8, I am not sure if my mother-in-law will win re-election. But I know this, win or lose, I have no concern she is an honest individual to the core with an admirable dedication to civic service. If I lived in Santa Clara, my vote would go to her. I encourage you to do the same.