Elections always produce two opposite results: Those who lose and lament the time and money that evaporated, and those who win.
Winners make a lot of people happy, particularly the candidate. In some instances, elections change the outcome and outlook of the politics to follow. This is the case in Santa Clara.
The new members of Santa Clara City Council are not politicians. They are regular work-a-day folks with a concern for the city policies in which they live. Whether you or they like it or not, the task of bringing the City budget under control ranks right up near the top of the list.
Over the past six years, Santa Clara has seen dumb decisions leave the City vulnerable to our current detrimental deficits.
Since a relatively small percentage of Santa Clara’s population invested time and interest in what was going on, it kept going on.
That is until the defeat of Measure C, which, with fewer voting districts in the City would have favored incumbents. Suddenly, the silly sisters on the City Council could no longer keep their secrets secret.
There is nothing like the sunshine of new faces to eliminate the darkness of a clandestine council.
The defeat of Measure C reduced the enormous expense of campaigning over the expanse of a larger part of the City. The court ordered six new and smaller districts, which in turn made it possible for candidates to meet residents. Raj Chahal, who was elected in 2018, was the first minority Councilmember since Roger Martinez over 50 years ago. Chahal walked his district twice during the 2018 election and was amazed to hear from folks “I have lived here for 20 years and never met a candidate for council or a councilmember.”
There is a big thanks to Chahal and Karen Hardy (also elected in 2018), who toughed it out for two years on Council until this year’s election. They were almost always in the minority and had to watch as decisions were made by the majority gave them grey hair.
It was the fallacious actions by the prior Council that was the catalyst for new candidates to step up, run for election and become elected. They have now taken their seats on the dais, which will change the political and financial culture of the City.
The addition of Anthony Becker, Suds Jain and Kevin Park who join Hardy and Chahal to Council will restore the optimism and outlook for Santa Clara’s future.
While they would be considered winners, the real winners will be the recipients of their combined efforts and these are the residents of Santa Clara.