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Milestones: Pick a winner! – Opinion

Publisher Miles Barber talks about the ongoing City Council race. He says the current council avoided voting districts and got the city sued.

Measure C was designed by Mayor Gillmor and her three “Yes Madam mayor” incumbents.

This was the measure that was to reconfigure the number of voting districts in Santa Clara for future elections from the current court-ordered six, to three.

It is difficult to find justification for the current incumbents, who ignored for years the warning letters from attorney Robert Rubin. He warned the Council to increase the number of districts from one to multiple single-member districts.


Rubin has established a reputation of suing cities that have refused to create single-member districts. Districts offer better representation that reflects the ethnic makeup of their populations. He first warned Santa Clara of a potential voting rights lawsuit in 2004.

As a courtesy, Rubin wrote to the City again in 2016, warning the current City Council that if they failed to take action by creating single-member districts, he would take them to court.

The City Council majority simply ignored Rubin’s letters.

Rubin has never lost a lawsuit against a city involving single-member districts.

What is most unfortunate and expensive is the cost to taxpayers for the Council failing to respond to Rubin. The current City Council majority sat on their hands and the result was predictable.

Following the third letter, Rubin fulfilled his warning by suing the Santa Clara City Council.

The court agreed with Rubin and the Asian Law Alliance, who represented the plaintiffs in this lawsuit against the City. The court ordered Santa Clara should have six single-member districts through 2020.

In addition, the court awarded the Asian Law Alliance slightly over $3 million dollars.

To postpone having to pay this penalty, the Mayor and Council appealed the court’s decision. In the meantime, the $3 million award is accruing interest in addition to the bill taxpayers will ultimately have to pay. This is on top of the legal appeal costs.

Now, if negligence was not enough, the Mayor and the current Council thought they saw an opening to extend their political control of Santa Clara and proposed on the March 2020 ballot Measure C. If the voters adopted Measure C it would reduce the number of districts from six to three and make it easier for the Mayor’s candidates to get into and remain in office.

The Mayor and her Council majority of Davis, Watanabe and O’Neill even used City money to produce a glossy brochure portraying all the “benefits” of Measure C.

However, voters were smarter than the Council thought and rejected measure C by a 60-40 margin.

Since Measure C didn’t work, the Mayor is proposing a couple of hand-picked candidates to run for City Council in this election. These are two individuals who have done little to nothing for Santa Clara or the community.

She has chosen Bob Mezetti to run against Planning Commissioner Anthony Becker and Bob O’Keefe to run against Planning Commissioner Suds Jain.

Becker and Jain have served our community for years and will make excellent Council representatives.

Voters will pick the right candidates.


1 Comment
  1. Tom E. 4 years ago

    Mr. Barber,

    I understand you have a tremendous amount of distaste for the Mayor, but you are above this level of gaslighting.

    Mr. Mezzetti has had a distinguished career as a lawyer spanning several decades. He brings real skills, experience and knowledge the table. I am grateful as a District 6 resident that he has chosen to run for this seat. We should jump at the opportunity to bring his counsel to the Council. Other people that have hired Mr. Mezzetti for his counsel? 4 of the 12 Astronauts that walked on the moon. NFL Hall of Fame Quarterbacks. And dozens of sexual assault victims that needed him to stand up to some of the most powerful people and organizations in the world. Santa Clarans should hire Mr. Mezzetti in November.

    Conversely, can you imagine paying even $1 for any amount of time from Mr. Becker. I can’t. He has no accomplishments, skills, or credibility. Only empty credentials. I still don’t know what he does for a career besides act as an internet troll. We should decline to hire him publicly. just as we most clearly would privately.

    You should be ashamed of trying to foist such a subpar candidate upon us. My best to Mr. Becker, but I encourage him to pursue some real accomplishments and talent stacks so that he has something to offer the City besides cliches. He might also be able to devote some attention to the non-profit that he “directs” so that it can finally obtain 501(c) status. It’s only been three years and counting.

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