Four years ago, appointed Mayor Lisa Gillmor ran for reelection against a young upstart named Anthony Becker. Becker was a virtual unknown in the community, yet full of energy and good ideas.
To the surprise of many, Becker received 25% of the vote. Two years later Becker ran for election to Council and won his 3-way race handily against a fatly funded Gillmor opponent and an unknown candidate whose role, some said, was intended to be as a spoiler.
Becker, Suds Jain and Kevin Park joined Karen Hardy and Raj Chahal on Council in 2020, which changed the demeanor and dynamics of Santa Clara. These five returned sanity and common sense to the former clan of runaway Gillmorites.
The new Council members were a welcome infusion, as opposed to the Gillmor Gang’s out-of-touch confusion.
Gillmor has tried numerous ploys to regain her power by supporting candidates sympathetic to her loose-cannon approach to government. Her hiring of City Manager Deanna Santana led to the second highest paid city manager in the state. This action, coupled with the appointment of a former civil service attorney Brian Doyle, formed a team that became the Barnum & Bailey of City politics.
When 2020 rolled around, the electorate had enough. Voters ousted Council Member Teresa O’Neil and Debi Davis termed out, leaving Gillmor with only one supporter in Kathy Watanabe.
Now Gillmor will most likely start another war chest, leaning on developers to feed her election coffers. Perhaps she will use the Santa Clara Police Officers Association PAC again to fund her candidates.
The only difference this time around is this: while Gillmor may be Mayor, all four of her tires are flat and her gas tank is on empty.
Voters have experienced the Gillmor years and view her as a limping duck. When voters ask themselves, “Is Santa Clara better off for having Lisa Gillmor as mayor and on the council for the past 10 years?” The answer is a resounding “no.”
Santa Clara’s current Council has done more to restore, redirect, reinvigorate and redeem Santa Clara in the past seven months than Gillmor has done in the past decade.
Hats off to Santa Clara’s current Council majority that has worked hard and cooperated so well to inject fresh air into an arena that had been engulfed by an excess of hot air.