Remember the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce? A few years ago, it was the hallmark of business in the city. They operated from their own building on Warburton and boasted a board of prominent businessmen and women representing the community as a vital voice supporting business interests.
In addition, the Chamber managed the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Santa Clara Convention Center for 40 years turning in a $2 million profit in their last full year.
Then, in a heartbeat, it was decimated by Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her hard-core cast of council cronies.
With the assistance of former City Manager Deanna Santana, Gillmor brought in a “gun for hire” auditor who made the Chamber appear to be made up of super shysters. The so-called auditor — a woman known for her ability to produce results favorable to Santana’s agendas back in San José — accused the Chamber of mismanagement; such as offering discounts to potential clients which allegedly “cost” the city revenue. The audit contained spurious accusations giving the Mayor and her callous council cronies cause to cancel the Chamber’s convention center contract.
The Chamber imploded. Long-time staff quit, members left, and the Chamber existed as a skeleton organization. The remaining board members sold their building and moved into Ding-Ding TV offices on Scott Boulevard.
Move the calendar forward four years to the current days. Mayor Gillmor is now using the current Chamber as her breeding headquarters for future council candidates. Current Board President Christian Pellecchia has become one of Gillmor’s new best friends and coincidently, has been tapped by Gillmor to run against Councilmember Karen Hardy in November. You may have noticed he has been showing up to speak at council meetings.
Then there is former Councilmember Teresa O’Neil — who coincidently is now on the new Chamber Board — also making her presence known at city council. You might remember O’Neil as a council member who voted to cancel the Chamber. Interesting to note, her third-term reelection plans were absolutely crushed by Councilmember Kevin Park in 2020.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor is very skilled in manipulation and plotting. If she used her “talents” to restore Santa Clara’s resources, the city wouldn’t be facing a multi-million-dollar deficit.
Thankfully Santa Clara voters have determined to vote for solid citizens who care about the city and restoring sanity. Gillmor has shown voters what she wants, and voters have decided what they want.
Thanks go out to the new Santa Clara council who has, and is, restoring order and optimism.