One of the first duties of a City Council is to establish and preserve the financial integrity of city finances.
Our current Council has not done that.
Led by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Santa Clara City Council has been on a runaway financial train that is taking us down the path of financial collapse.
Beginning with a political payoff to our police officers, this Council awarded the largest pay raise in history. That makes little Santa Clara the highest paying city for police officers in the Bay Area.
This was followed by a moratorium on development along the El Camino. Hundreds of millions of dollars of construction and housing has been put on hold. This in turn is costing our City millions.
Of course there is the Mayor’s bogus $180,000 audit that was going to expose the millions that were allegedly being siphoned off by the 49ers. This has turned out to be the major flop of the the year as it didn’t even turn up enough misbilling to cover the cost of the audit. When you add the cost of city staff time to this audit invoice…it has cost us more like $400,000.
Then there is the “spite vote” by our Council majority against our stadium management company to limit weeknight performances at the stadium to 10 p.m. for the three or four events that could be held each year. The loss of these shows will cost Santa Clara $600,000 for each performance.
And the draining drumbeat just goes on. You are aware that our Council has hired a new City Manager after providing a generous salary increase to our Acting City Manager Rajeev Batra.
The new City Manager’s compensation package defies gravity. When you add up the salary, benefits, housing allowance, car allowance, paid vacation, pension, paid leave, medical, dental and life insurance she will be the recipient of a package pushing $700,000 a year.
The Council minority of Pat Mahan, Dominic Casserta and Pat Kolstad have argued futiley for finding fiscal and financial fidelity in our budgeting. Their experience and management knowledge has been totally disregarded as the Council majority continues to flip open the City checkbook.
The Weekly has reported on several occasions that Santa Clara is headed for structural deficits in our next fiscal year.
This Council may not wait.
Our Council majority is out of touch with balance sheets and profit and loss statements.
As you may already know, Kathy Watanabe and Debi Davis were fined by the FPPC for late filing of campaign expenses. Now this should give us a clue. If they can’t keep track of a few thousand dollars in their own campaign budget, how do we trust them with a seven hundred million dollar City budget?
The old adage that “one bad decision is usually followed by another” certainly holds true for this Council.
Paying more money to reduce our expenditures usually doesn’t work.
We are going to need some great leadership to bail us out of this mess.
We would love to read your thoughts with your email, Letter to the Editor: SCWeekly@ix.netcom.com