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Milestones – A Legend has Left Us! – Opinion

Patty Mahan passed away last week. In Santa Clara she was a legend, a leader and a loving contributor to our entire community.

Patty’s contribution to the community will be with us for generations. Her thoughtfulness as a council member and then as mayor catapulted Santa Clara intonational prominence. Every organization Patty belonged to was better because of her presence, her vision and God-given insight.

It was as if her motto was “How do we make it better?” And the result was…it became better. Whether it was an issue at City Hall or the Catala Club at Santa Clara University, her suggestions, influence, vision and leadership was a gift.


One of her most remarkable stories is reflected in bringing the SF 49ers to Santa Clara.

The 49ers were looking for a new home and were considering different possibilities. The 49ers had searched the Bay Area looking for the best possible location. As Mayor and with the city council’s cooperation she invited the 49ers to look at the area near Great America on the north side.

They were interested enough that Roger Goodell, National Football League Commissioner, was invited to visit the location. Patty, accompanied by a few council members, met with Goodell and viewed the area. While he was interested and considered the location as a possibility for a new stadium, he was a bit hesitant.

It was then that Patty invited the commissioner to take a ride on Great America’s Sky Tower. They rode up the tower together and upon reaching the top could see the entire area. The view was spectacular, the wide streets were amazing, ingress and egress in place along with open space and plenty of room for parking…and a new stadium.

Before the Sky Tower could make its return run, Goodell turned to Patty and said he was convinced. Convinced enough to offer on the spot a two hundred-million-dollar loan from the NFL towards building a new stadium in Santa Clara.

While Patty Mahan contributed her leadership to so many, this experience will be remembered as the one event that changed and enhanced the landscape of Santa Clara for generations.

We will miss you, Patty. Godspeed and may you always be with us.


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