Santa Clara Governance is Nothing Short of Trump-ian Political Theatre – Letter to the Editor

My following is in response to the Mayor and City Manager’s statements regarding the Grand Jury report. To reiterate what the Santa Clara City Manager said in her statement, “I cannot stay silent against these unwarranted and misinformed statements.” I whole heartedly agree with her. I can’t stand on the sidelines and watch this calamity.

Why can’t the city admit they were wrong? Instead, the Mayor and City Manager continue to spin and orchestrate the fallout with their own narrative, that is nothing short of Trump-ian ethics. While both the City Manager and Mayor state that transparency is a pillar of government and their administration, it may be time for a refresher in transparency 101.

“Everyone is wrong, it must all be fake news. The Grand Jury is wrong, the media must be wrong, and everything the city is guilty of is wrong.” This is what they believe and what they want the public and you to believe. The current Mayor and City Manager must have law degrees by knowing more than a Grand Jury, the media or community watchdogs on public records. Right now, the city is on full alert and doing PR damage control to take the spotlight off Santa Clara.

Admitting a shortcoming is a much stronger a response and more respectable than denial. These are not reforms, this is the classic delay, deny and deflect from real answers. It’s a “my way or the highway” or “scorched earth” policy that, in result, is toxic for Santa Clara and its residents. No collaboration, no outsiders, just insiders and a close-knit clique. City Hall’s tantrum response is absolutely distasteful that echoes the Trump White House.

This mentality played out this week in retaliation politics with a letter from the City Clerk that states his and the City Manager’s concerns on the use of a city logo that is in result is either homophobic or vindictive, you decide.

The letter dated June 18, the same day as the release of the Grand Jury report, states that my actions for producing 4 shirts for Pride month, using the city logo in a rainbow format was wrong. I had given the shirts to the City Manager and Mayor at a City Council meeting for recognizing Pride Month. The design on the shirt was the concept for Santa Clara’s participation in LGBTQ Pride Month and hopefully being able to participate together as a city in the Silicon Valley Pride Parade in August. I find the letter to be petty and doing nothing but playing politics.

Just like the faulty records compliance, Santa Clara is behind on the times in progressive social issues and technological advancements.  Our website is out of date and has garnered criticism, and is not easy to navigate versus those of other city cities. The Grand Jury findings are proof that the city is far behind in its practices. Santa Clara acts like it is still stuck in the 20th century, while the residents are living in the 21st century.

The Grand Jury couldn’t get the records they wanted for the initial investigation which led them to believe the lack of compliance with CPRA law was a major red flag and bigger issue…..and there is no if and or but’s about it in their report.

Special Interests:

I find it very interesting and insulting that the City Manager and Mayor call out my response and the Grand Jury report for being driven by “special interests.” Once again this is the hypocrisy we live within Santa Clara. Some sort of fantasyland of alternative facts. My former opponent, the Mayor, comes from those special interests and was funded by developers (check the 460s) in the last election.

I work as a contingent worker for a social media company and I struggle to survive here in the Bay Area like many other hardworking families. How is that a special interest? If anything …. it’s working class, far from the special interests claims. This is an example of classism and only ask for the Mayor and the City Manager to provide substantial proof of these “special interests” to back up their false claims.

The Mayor promised to get to the bottom of this, yet this sounds too familiar, like in 2016 where it was promised to pull back the curtain to expose BluePac. As of today, nearly 4 years later, nothing has been done about BluePac and nothing was ever found or resolved…only a dark money ordinance, which still can have candidates funded by special interests.

So, when the City Manager and Mayor continue to hang their hats on their transparency express train, they neglect the fact that they are being the complete opposite. The bullying and narcissistic approach has been a drain on our city employees. It is no wonder that I, and other residents, wonder why there is such a high turnover at City Hall, Something is broken, and these are just some examples of the fallout of bad governance.

Don’t get me wrong our city staff has to put up with a lot from large egos to state compliance issues. I commend those employees and give them lots of credit for putting up with the tough day to day operations — recently they delivered a solid budget report.

The City Manager said there is a cure, yet our methods of remedies are different. I believe that cure is a new Santa Clara government, by the people and for the people, not of special interests nor driven by truthful lies. The city continues to think they can line item the truth, or believe the truth can be adjusted… the truth has no temperature.

Deborah Bress, a community watchdog, has been blowing the whistle on the city records requests for over a decade, yet her whistle must have been a dog whistle because it fell on deaf ears for years.

Ms. Bress often says that the city can’t cherry-pick what they want you to see. She believes that all records should be inspectable by the public at any time and I strongly agree. That is real transparency with nothing to hide. The city has a track record of secrecy and I and others have vocalized it in the past which essentially debunks the claims the City Manager states.

We can’t let city officials get off the hook that easily for their incompetence. Yet, in Santa Clara, in past decade there have never been consequences or accountability. Always finger pointing or the blame game. Santa Clara’s civil problems, I fear, could lead one day to criminality in the future. Current actions at City Hall are reckless and uninformed, not the other way around.

I continue to fight for my city as much as I can. I push for real transparency and accountable democracy. The results of the Grand Jury report provided many of us with a breath of fresh air, that real reforms are coming and that this power struggle and game of thrones is coming to an end. This is what happens when officials fear change. All we know is all eyes are on our city now.

This situation in our hometown often brings to mind the film “Chinatown.” The 1974 classic summed it up nicely with the lines “Forget it Jake, its Chinatown”…. In this case, “Forget it folks, it’s Santa Clara.”

Only you and others can make the changes and prevent the same problems from happening down the road.

Sincerely,

Anthony J. Becker