It is a sorry sight to see the manufactured behavior of our City Council majority.
Watching our Council last week along with the 10 or so folks in the audience and the 40 people watching online, it was a tragedy of Shakespeare’s making.
Most of you know that Police Chief Mike Sellers retired at the end of August. He was honored at the last San Francisco 49ers pre-season game as a Hometown Hero. It was an incredibly special time.
This left a vacancy for Sellers’ job. A vacancy that would normally be filled by our Assistant Chief, who in this case is Dan Winter. Winter has advanced through the ranks, becoming a captain then assistant chief. Along the way, he also attained a law degree and certainly is highly qualified.
Barring this obvious choice, the Council could have appointed one of the four department captains.
Not the case.
Reading from her prepared script at Council, Council Member Debi Davis moved that there be no interviews for the Chief’s vacancy and the decision to select a chief proceed directly to the March primary election to choose Sellers’ replacement. The motion passed.
Assistant Chief Dan Winter will become Acting Chief until next March when he will need to run for election. But he will not have the title of Chief, (which could have given him an advantage).
It is no secret that Mayor Lisa Gillmor didn’t want Sellers as Chief and she is not thrilled with Dan Winter as Acting Chief.
You may remember that in 2016, Gillmor openly and brazenly handpicked Pat Nikolai as her candidate for the Chief’s job in opposition to Sellers. Sellers had over 30 years on the force, rose through the ranks and was elected Chief in 2012. In 2016, Nikolai was only a sergeant on the SCPD force, had not even finished his college degree and had not sought or qualified for advancement. However, he was a Gillmor supporter and Gillmor wanted Nikolai to run the department as she saw fit.
With enormous support from the Gillmor machine, the Sellers/Nicolai race was to become one of the most heated in Santa Clara memory. When the ballots were counted the numbers were so close a recount became mandatory. To Gillmor’s dismay, Sellers was declared victor by 104 votes.
Gillmor hand-picked Nikolai as her candidate in 2016 during the infamous 49ers audit, where she promised the “stench” of Santa Clara would be cleaned up. The audit found nothing and was quietly dismissed (Like a lot of accusations).
In anticipation that Nikolai would be called on again to run as an important member of the Gillmor Gang, he completed his degree and passed his test to become a lieutenant. Most likely in preparation for the upcoming race in March.
The not so obvious lack of transparency in Santa Clara politics is a blight on the community and an insult to the intelligence of our residents.
This Council majority has promoted themselves as visionary, transparent leaders (they are anything but…). However, they have been successful at creating a “genuine stench” that now permeates City Hall.