There was a time, not many years ago, when the number one city in the county to locate your business in was Santa Clara. The reasons were multitude. Friendly and helpful City staff with a desire to get your business up, running and in production was a winner. There was no automatic “no” or ball of red tape that wrapped around your project plan. The typical approach to problems was, “that might be difficult to do that way, however, if you were to do it this way it could work.”
Just look around. Santa Clara is home to AMD, Intel, Nvidia, a host of fast-rising tech companies and some of the biggest and best companies on the planet.
Owen’s Corning became the cornerstone for leading the march to Santa Clara by building its plant “out in the countryside” in the early 1950s.
Great City Managers like Don Von Raesfeld, and Jennifer Sparacino provided 50 years of leadership as Santa Clara enticed big business to locate in the City. A major reward and attraction for these companies was Silicon Valley Power. The enticement of power rates nearly 40% less than PG&E was a clincher.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor’s sitcom saga and her appointment of opportunist City Manager Deanna Santana ushered in a changing philosophy. The process to obtain a permit for operation and production became more like a pretzel personified.
COVID restrictions made City Hall a ghost town as City employees avoided the office, worked from home; making in-person visits, requests for planning and obtaining permits an added complication.
As senior and veteran employees retired, they were replaced by Santana’s former colleagues and their former colleagues. Many of these folks were recruited by Santana’s office and staff. They didn’t need to know the Santa Clara way, just Santana’s way.
As a result, the culture and climate took a wrong turn, increasing the process, adding requirements, and changing the application process from a cooperative one to a frustratingly uncooperative one.
Taking note of these changes were Santa Clara residents. The autocratic rule of Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her enablers Santana and City Attorney Brian Doyle became a common daily discussion. Voters stepped up and voted in a new council. It was no longer the Gillmor gang making repeated blunders at taxpayer expense.
This new council replaced Doyle and Santana and reopened Santa Clara’s partnership in Levi’s Stadium. Already, five events have been booked for the next year; promising millions in revenue for the City, and millions more for City restaurants, hotels, and ancillary businesses.
Gillmor plans to run for Mayor again in November. You must ask, “What issue is she going to run on?” One thing Santa Clara voters know, it can’t be her record.