Santa Clara politics over the past six years has been anything but normal. Normal simply means that City business is carried out in an orderly, balanced and respectful process.
Orderly City business has been virtually absent and not what voters had in mind.
The tragic termination of Santa Clara talent has been terrible.
Long term, knowledgeable employees were systematically replaced. Promising allegiance to Mayor Gillmor being the primary test for employment.
The long-standing axiom of “do no harm” was totally ignored by Mayor Gillmor and her recruits as they pillaged the City treasury through acts of questionable nature.
Ranking right up there as one of the costliest blunders to impact Santa Clara was the Mayor, her prior City Council allies, and City Attorney Brian Doyle. They ignored several warning letters from voting rights attorney Robert Rubin.
Rubin had been warning the City Council for years. He was adamant that Santa Clara had to create single-member voting districts. Rubin won every CVRA lawsuit he filed. He was apparently trying to do Santa Clara a favor without litigation: form voting districts and there would be no legal action brought against Santa Clara.
Can you believe this? Neither Mayor Gillmor, her Councilmembers nor City Attorney Brian Doyle responded to Rubin’s warning letters.
Now, Santa Clara is millions poorer than just a year ago. If the CVRA lawsuit and award were the only issues, there might be some forgiveness. However, the CVRA blunder is only one issue in the cascading collapse of Santa Clara’s budget.
Just a little over a year ago, (before elections), Santa Clara officials publicly boasted a projected $1.2 million surplus for the year.
This was apparently about as real as Santa Clara winning the CVRA lawsuit in the appeals court.
The dust had not settled from the election, and Santa Clara, which has every reason to be profitable, is projecting a multi-million dollar deficit for the current year.
What was that famous question in politics? “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” In this case, how about a year ago?
How can a City Manager being compensated $700,000 a year be $34 million off in projecting the budget? City Manager Dianna Santana has two associates making over $300,000 a year to assist in accurate budget planning.
Oh, that’s right. It is all COVID’s fault.
Fail to respond to multiple warning letters or get sued. Blame it on COVID.
Spend $34 million more than you take in. Obviously COVID.
Make financial decisions destined to derail the City’s destiny. COVID.
Face it folks, the current collapse of common sense is not COVID. Santa Clara has been furiously spending cash under Mayor Gillmor’s leadership for years.
The new current Council will now be challenged to right a leaking ship that has been loaded with more baggage than it can carry. They have already begun their work.
The Santa Clara Way obviously had been forgotten and COVID is not the cause.