The Silicon Valley Voice

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Milestones – Simply…Deflect! – Opinion

Have you become a bit disgruntled with politics? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger because you have plenty of company.

Everywhere you turn, you can see politicians displacing real public concerns with non-existent “issues.” A master politician alleges that “such and such” is a major issue, and alakazam, a campaign is underway.  A recent example in Santa Clara was the defeat of a charter change that would make the chief of police an appointed position instead of an elected one.

This was not an earth shaker. Neither would it make a change in policy or procedures for the rank and file. Basically, it transferred the hiring of a police chief to city management like the other 99% of city employees, including the fire chief.


However, under the leadership skills of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, this idea was defeated. Gillmor, quite frankly, is a genius when it comes to elections.

Gillmor and her hired election gunslingers were incredibly effective in redirecting voters’ thinking. Some thought it created confusion and that was part of the plan. Unsure voters tend to vote no. In this case, it was a lot easier than some issues we have experienced because less than 35% of eligible citizens voted.

Members of the police department want to choose their own chief. They campaigned door to door, set up yard signs, paid for billboards with money from an out-of-town PAC, and voila! They get to choose their own chief.

They were totally successful in selling their point of view by deflecting voters thinking that voters would lose a voice they have had for decades. In fact, voters have as much “voice” in electing a police chief as Russians had in “electing” Putin last week. In both cases, there’s only one candidate on the ballot.

This was a brilliant and effective campaign. A campaign that deflected from a conversation about oversight and accountability to one about a “right” that’s more fairytale than fact.

What the police offered was a more effective deflection campaign, focusing on “the loss of a right for residents to vote on an issue.”

If Mayor Gillmor used her political skills to solve the City’s financial issues, Santa Clara would be rolling in cash.


  1. Buchser Alum 4 weeks ago

    By focusing on Gillmor campaigning against the meaures and thinking the reason why they failed is due to her campaigning or that of the SCPOA and the money they spent you are not grasping what you need to understand to effectively advocate for such measures if they are raised again.
    And by comparing our city’s elections for police chief to an election of Vladimir Putin you are trivializing a vast country being ruled by a despot who murders his political opposition and invades neighboring countries without cause.
    The latter especially is a discredit to the Silicon Valley Voice and the good work that is done under its masthead. I often disagree with a lot of the reporting on local politics but there is a lot of good and informative reporting that is published here. I hope that most of your readers are able to not judge the publication by its publisher’s opinion pieces.

  2. W.S. 4 weeks ago

    It is truly a shame that the SCPOA brought in outside money to win this VOTE NO campaign on Measure B. It demonstrates how controlling that organization is. Let’s not let the citizens make an informed vote. Let’s just buy a NO vote by throwing lots of money at it. The SCPOA is telling the citizens of Santa Clara to not change anything because “we always have done it this way”. Let’s keep the city in the dark ages and not get a vetted and qualified Police Chief. We currently have a Police Chief who has had very little training and does not seem inclined to improve any of his education. He won’t be forthcoming and identify what college he went to. Our previous Police Chief had a law degree and attended multiple trainings with the FBI on law enforcement. Santa Clara is not exempt from any of the tragic shootings we hear about on the news, and no one wants something like this to happen. What we are seriously missing is a Police Chief who has the background to handle any one of the types of these tragic events that have occurred in other cities. A voting ballot that only contains one name is not a choice. He could have won his job if only 2 people had voted.

  3. Kevin Lee 4 weeks ago

    Mr. Barber’s recent screed descends into realms of the absurd, painting our democratic process with hues of conspiracy and manipulation. Voters, he claims, were but pawns in some Machiavellian game orchestrated by our mayor. Such an insult to the intelligence of the electorate! It seems our Mr. Barber cannot fathom the far more likely truth: Measure B, with its landslide defeat, was simply and unequivocally unpopular.

    His central claim – that some sinister power swayed the minds of the populace – betrays his own cynical heart. The mayor, we are to believe, is not merely a politician, but a puppet master of Orwellian proportions! And the good people of this city, supposedly so easily led astray? Forgive me, Mr. Barber, but this analysis reeks of intellectual dishonesty, an affront to the very principles of informed debate!

    Where Mr. Barber should be probing the complexities of the vote, he instead indulges in hyperbole. Russian elections, he cries, as if the very spirit of democracy has fled our shores! Such wild, unsubstantiated claims are not journalism, citizens; they are the rantings of a man blinded by his own grievances. We demand rigor! We thirst for nuanced analysis! Mr. Barber, examine the true will of the people, not your own fever dreams of deception!

    This publication, and the citizenry it serves, deserves better. Let us raise the discourse from the depths of conspiratorial muck. A city, like its people, possesses a discerning mind – that is the true strength of democracy.

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