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Milestones – “It’s Time for Change!” – Opinion

Amazing, isn’t it? There are residents who are still fighting the existence of Levi’s Stadium and the SF 49ers. This is despite the national notoriety of Levi’s hosting Super Bowl 50, the 49ers and their winning seasons, and celebrity events that residents are still talking about. Add to this the selection of Levi’s for Super Bowl in 2026 and add to that the choice of Levi’s for World Cup 2026 and you have a good idea of how the world views Levi’s Stadium.

All this still hasn’t changed the “feet in the concrete” position of Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her dedicated followers.

Fortunately, the NFL overlooks the minor political squabbles of Santa Clara’s City Council and considers the facility, amenities, accessibility and draw of the stadium.

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And speaking of squabbles, we have had a few. Santa Clara is very fortunate to have elected a rational council, instead of an ideological one, that is returning sanity and balance to a City Council that was out of control under the Gillmor majority.

I am still pondering how Santa Clara went from a $30 million surplus to a $17 million deficit under Gillmor’s runaway Council. Apparently, this is also a question many residents are asking.

The radical reversal by Santa Clara’s current council has restored, to a large degree, the admiration of the county. Right out of the gate, the council was faced with a few monumental decisions: a City Attorney who couldn’t find his backside with either hand; an over-paid, out-of-control City Manager that was more interested in managing her image than managing the city; and a few other inherited issues like runaway salaries and benefits.

The council is looking at some issues that have been enshrined in the City Charter that may be past their shelf-life. For example, why does a city the size of Santa Clara have an elected chief of police? When Santa Clara was a small community with a handful of officers, many who lived in the city and had worked their way up through the PD management, the city evaded potential problems with a political police chief.

However, Santa Clara has mushroomed since the Charter was written, while the number of officers who live here has shrunk to a handful. A qualified chief should be hired just like a fire chief or a finance director, based on qualifications. Political campaigns aren’t the best employment interviews. It serves the city to have the best qualified person hired by the professional — not elected — city manager.

This city council is acting and working like a city council. Imagine that! They are tackling issues that need to be decided based on the 21st century needs of the heart of Silicon Valley — not the needs of a farm town half a century ago. In short, what worked 70 years ago may not be best for Santa Clara residents today.

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1 Comment
  1. W.S. 9 months ago
    Reply

    I fully agree with changing the charter to require the Police Chief to be an appointed position. There are some very qualified members of the Santa Clara Police Department who would make an excellent Chief. Many of them have more training than does our current Police Chief Pat Nikolai. Having the Police Chief vetted through the City Manager and Council would give a more balanced and in-depth review than the current election process. The election process is based on who has the most money to spend on a campaign, not on who has the best qualifications for the job. Sending out fliers during an election cycle with a small amount of background information does not give Santa Clara a fully assessed review of a candidate. The majority of the cities in the San Francisco Bay Area appoint their Police Chief. We need to get away from the political aspect of our current City administration and have a Police Chief who has the fullest qualifications for the position and can respond, based on experience AND training, in the event of an emergency.

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