The application of common sense is a gift.
The absence of common sense is painful.
It is amazing how little of that gift is predominant in the political arena.
You would think that we would want political leaders who have an abundance of common sense to make practical decisions. Especially ones that deal with finances and your pocket book.
You have read about the recent award of $3.2 million dollars made to the attorneys who sued Santa Clara over our position on voting districts (or lack thereof).
Now this loss of millions might be understandable if it was a surprise.
However, there was no surprise here.
Robert Rubin, who has sued multiple California cities for voting rights infringement for not having voting districts, has an interesting track record. He has never lost a lawsuit of this kind, ever.
He was nice enough to send a letter to our Council in 2011 and laid out for them the consequences they would face if they didn’t create districts.
Our Council did nothing.
Mr. Rubin then sent a follow up letter in the fall of 2016 warning the Council again that they better get their act together and create districts.
Instead of creating districts, they tried to pass Measure A on the June ballot in 2018, which basically said, “the voters don’t want districts.”
Common sense would normally dictate the Council would form districts.
Ahh…that’s if common sense was applied.
In another departure from common sense, in November 2018 they proposed Measure N, an advisory vote on district elections that was worded like mommy’s apple pie. It passed.
Thinking this passed measure would protect them from having to split the City into districts they ignored Robert Rubin’s warnings.
He sued and won, costing taxpayers $3.2 million plus $800,000 in defense costs.
Now we have districts.
However, here’s the absence…the Council is appealing the decision!
Then we turn to another lapse of common sense. The Chamber of Commerce was fired as manager of the Convention Center in July 2018. Bookings are down nearly $300,000 since the City took over.
Of course, there is more. Remember the enforcement of the noise policy at the stadium?
The Council voted to enforce the noise policy affecting two weeknights a year, costing the City $1.6 million a year. Please…
Then there was the big “ta do” about the Santa Clara Chamber PAC’s supposed failure to file annual reports. Letters were sent to Santa Clara businesses and the press by the City Manager’s office pointing out the PAC could face fines of $43,000 or more.
It turns out the reports were on the City and County’s websites the whole time.
Common sense is a gift that is absent from this Council and that…is painful.
Miles Barber was president of the Chamber board in 1984. He has continued to serve on the board periodically over the years.