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Milestones (OPINION)


Have you noticed when organizations or agencies make a bad decision they usually compound it by making another?

Santa Clara is certainly not exempt.

Because of political posturing and ignoring a threatened lawsuit, our Mayor and Council majority may now spend millions to fix a problem that should not have happened.


The 2016 Charter Review Committee was supposed to address voting districts for our City.

They didn’t.

The 2017 Charter Review Committee did address the issue and picked the least likely plan to work or defend in court. They split the City into two districts instead of five or six.

Attorney Robert Rubin has a very successful track record at suing cities who violate the California Voting Rights Act. He represents several residents in Santa Clara who are minorities.

Santa Clara has a minority population of nearly 60%, yet has not had a minority representative on City Council since 1979.

The 2017 Charter Review Committee was chaired by Tino Silva, a hand picked supporter of Mayor Lisa Gillmor. It is amazing that Attorney Rubin warned the City in a letter about the pending lawsuit he would bring if the City didn’t respond by repairing flaws in the lack of districts. The Weekly reported on this warning letter last year, which the Council majority chose to sweep under the rug and basically ignore.

So, even knowing there was a pending multi-million dollar lawsuit, Mayor Gillmor, her Council allies and Charter Review Chair Silva, ignored the warning.

Why you might ask? Why would the Mayor and her Council allies disregard this million dollar litigaton?

Think about it. Splitting up the City into districts distributes the concentration of political power. If the Mayor could delay addressing the Rubin lawsuit until the 2018 elections were over, she would stand a better chance of keeping her power base and cementing her Council cronies for another term.

The CRC is proposing only two districts for a City with a 120,000 population. Rubin has never lost a CVRA lawsuit against any city, let alone one that offers only two voting districts.

This is going to prove to be a very expensive and unnecessary delay.

As the Mercury News reported, this is a bad joke on the residents of Santa Clara.

It is apparent that your tax money is not a concern to the Mayor. What is a concern is the Mayor’s lack of interest in heading off this litigation.

Is the Mayor’s retaining office at any cost really a benefit to Santa Clara residents?

We think not.

Our City Council should immediately assign an independent panel to draw district boundaries to split our City into six districts.

Madam Mayor…our City can’t afford your premeditated, calculated and costly delay.

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