Things may not be working out so well for Mayor Gillmor’s 2017 agenda.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the issues that have become a plague on the platter of programs she has proposed.
You remember the 49ers audit she launched with fanfare and trumpeting during the election? This was a wild claim of cleaning up the clutter of accounting done by the 49ers and their management of our stadium. She arbitrarily chose the Harvey Rose Company as auditor over the recommendations of City Staff. Through several public press conferences, Rose was queried by Gillmor about the billing errors that were uncovered. His ongoing statements were vague, and contained more hyperbole than fact. The initial quote of $200,000 of taxpayer money for this audit has been exceeded and is on its way to $300,000. This is for an audit which to date has uncovered a few thousand dollars of billing errors by the City, not unpaid invoices by the 49ers.
Then you recall how the Mayor belittled the 49ers for wanting a rent reduction of six million a year. According to Al Guido, President of the 49ers, they were willing to negotiate the contract performance requirement. However, Gillmor was busy making political mileage from this reduction, with accusations that may now be proven groundless. The 49ers have filed for arbitration, which will be another big blow to her budget.
Added to this list of growing issues is the return on investment by a half dozen developers that made sizeable contributions to her candidates’ elections. They “voluntarily” gave the POA PAC about $80,000, from which Gillmor funded and ran her candidates’ campaign.
Summerhill recently pulled their application for a mixed-use development at El Camino and McCormick Drive. This was preceded by Prometheus, which pulled their application at Moonlite lanes at El Camino and Kiely. John Sobrato’s homeless project at San Thomas and Monroe never even made it to the drawing board.
Also, the loss of a City Manager, our City Attorney and our Chief Financial officer, has thinned the talent pool at City Hall.
As if these were not enough thorns along the footpath of political turmoil, enter the actual filing of another lawsuit.
You might recall this column indicated last fall there was a looming lawsuit levied literally to level the elections in our City. Robert Rubin, who has successfully sued several California cities for failing to create a means for diversity representation on their councils, has joined forces with the Asian Law Alliance. They have filed suit against Santa Clara for failing to have representation that reflects our diversity in population. Since our City has never had a minority representative on Council since our Charter was ratified in the 1950s, they argue that our high percentage of Asian populace is not fairly represented.
This was the major reason for convening the Charter Review Committee last year. However, they were sidetracked with four other ballot measures and never addressed the diversity issue.
Perhaps it is karma, maybe it is just bad luck. But our Mayor who has indicated that “disruption is the new normal” may find that balancing too many balls requires more hands than she has left at her disposal.