What ever happened to Council Member Teresa O’Neill?
You remember, that thoughtful lady who brilliantly asked good questions and was willing to challenge wild ideas from the moon?
She was the one who wouldn’t be intimidated, stood up for solid ideas, thought through background information and expressed her thoughts with clarity.
Somewhere over that past two years, the door hinge came off.
Oh, she still can express herself with precision, clarity and intelligence.
However, we now find one of her most endearing qualities has gone absent.
A most sought-after commodity by most public officials that separates them from the chaff of the bully, the heavy foot of autocrats, the overbearing leader or pushy electorate.
Somewhere along the line, the quality in her objectivity has evaporated. This has made the decision process for our City Council a slam dunk for Mayor Lisa Gillmor’s agenda.
Objectivity wraps itself in common sense. It has a way of making evaluations free from what is popular or, what is detested.
You remember Teresa, she worked for many years with HP as a contract analyst. Considering the contracts our Council has discarded and created over the past two years, David Packard must be banging the walls of his tomb.
O’Neill is usually the swing vote on every Council decision. You would expect Debi Davis and Kathy Watanabe to vote for whatever issue the Mayor proposed. However, the balance vote was expected from O’Neill.
This has turned out to be a serious disappointment.
Even the most obvious issues that would normally be rejected through lack of substance and absence of fact, have sailed through with O’Neill voting with the Council majority.
When you look at the City financials, O’Neill’s specialty, you must be shocked at the money our Council and City Manager have spent on lawsuits, new hires, auditors, City surveys and nebulous studies. Each of these expenses were approved by Council with her vote usually being the confirmation.
O’Neill remains a mystery. When she ran for election it was her proclaimed objectivity that separated her from prejudiced opinions.
Actions of the last two years have shown us that politics of power are more important than people, revenue or budgets.
Approving taxpayer paid costs of the 49ers audit that turned up a half dozen minor items that could have been solved in a half hour meeting was not a good decision.
Recent treatment towards dozens of volunteers at the Chamber of Commerce is far afield from the objectivity leading to her election.
If anyone should understand and recognize the importance of our partners, their performance, contracts and contribution to Santa Clara, it should have been Teresa O’Neill.