The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

News of Council Member’s Imminent Resignation Was News to Her

When Santa Clara City Council Member Patricia Mahan woke up from a medical procedure on Thursday, it was to a call from a Mercury News reporter saying there was a press release that she was resigning.

Earlier in the afternoon, the City of Santa Clara publicly announced via a City press release and social media that Council Member Mahan had resigned from the Council, giving a date for Mahan’s departure and citing “serious medical issues.”

The City did so without Mahan’s authorization or even knowledge. At the time the announcement was released, Mahan was in the hospital recovering from a medical procedure.


“Nobody called me,” Mahan said. “I woke up with a call from a Mercury News reporter.”

Mahan says that she had only spoken privately with HR staff about her plans, but hadn’t told the Mayor about her plans.

“I didn’t include a retirement date in that discussion,” Mahan said. “I told nobody outside my family. If I wanted to tell people [about my plans] I would tell them from the dais.”

Further, publishing confidential medical information was not only “wrong,” Mahan said, “I think this is actionable. Communicating confidential medical information is protected under HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act].”

By publishing Mahan’s medical information, Mahan explained, the City made it a public record and all confidential communications respecting Mahan’s medical information — which are normally protected and not subject the Public Records Act — become public records as well.

The City’s carelessness may have set Mahan’s recovery back, and as of this writing she is still in the hospital and being carefully monitored.

Mahan says she asked City Manager Deanna Santana to publish another news release — a correction and apology. “She said she’d have to talk to [City Attorney Brian Doyle].”

Mahan is, in fact, cancer-free.


  1. Wesley K. Mukoyama 4 years ago

    Stay strong and get well. We need you!

    Wes Mukoyama

  2. Anne Nguyen 4 years ago

    Thanks for representing us during your tenure on the City Council, Ms. Mahan. You were the voice for so many of us citizens, especially during the past 4 years when the city suffered from poor leadership on the City Council. We will always cherish the fact that you spoke for us when others tried to shout you down. Your leadership and your devotion to your hometown will always be appreciated. You’re a gift to Santa Clara, and we’re grateful for all you’ve done to make life better for us. Best wishes to you and your family.

  3. John Slos 4 years ago

    Thank you for supporting Santa Clara.

    What they did was illegal, you should sue and report them to FedGov for breach.

    Take care,


  4. Jose Wheo 4 years ago

    When reading the city announcement that you resigned because of a serious medical condition, we thought you might have cancer. We were wrong. We believe that the city manager was wrong to announce it. Wish you have a quick recovery to continue fight for the rights of Santa Clarans.

  5. Diane Harrison 4 years ago

    I wish you the best, Councilmember Mahan, whether you stay on the council or not. We may not have agreed on some issues, but Ken and I strongly appreciate your support of our Eichler neighborhood! Thank you!

  6. Rukku Rogers 4 years ago

    Did SV Voice ask the city for comment? You are publishing a one-sided piece that appears to be aimed at helping Ms Mahan sue the city.

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