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Sources Say

New Math

Santa Clara City Attorney Brian Doyle appears to be working overtime on some new math, City Hall sources tell the Weekly.

Under last Tuesday’s directive of “exploring options” for filling the now-vacant Council Seat 5, Doyle appears to be on the prowl for a legal angle that will let Mayor Lisa Gillmor install another personal ally on the Council without the inconvenience of an election.


Santa Clara’s charter is crystal clear on how vacancies in elected offices will be filled.

“A vacancy in any elective office of the City … shall be filled by appointment by the City Council by a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the remaining members.”  If the Council fails to make an appointment in 30 days a special election is to be held.

The problem is that 4/5 of 6 is 4.8, which rounds up to 5 votes needed for an appointment.

But Gillmor doesn’t seem certain to have the 5 votes.

At last Tuesday’s Council meeting, Patricia Mahan made it clear that she favors an election for the vacant seat—seconding some strong sentiments expressed by the public—and Patrick Kolstad didn’t sound likely to endorse a third Council appointment in as many years.

So the City Attorney who was known before his appointment for his cozy relationship with at least one Gillmor ally  appears to be trying to round 4.8 down to 4 for his boss.

The Gang That Can’t Campaign Straight

 The Yes on A committee may or may not have enough votes on June 5, but already the political committee appears to be on the way to accumulating a bouquet of FPPC complaints against itself and the City, according to several local Democratic party sources.

First the group sent out a mailer without an identifying FPPC number on it.

Next the City sent out an “informational” mailer that looked and sounded like a campaign mailer—public agencies are barred from partisan campaigning. Looks like a duck etc.

Then Mayor Lisa Gillmor allowed a campaign ad to be played at the last City Council meeting—and broadcast at City expense to thousands of viewers watching the Council meeting on TV or online. The ad didn’t have any information about who made it or paid for it.


The ad played last week at the Council meeting was made by a member of the charter review committee that proposed Measure A’s 2×3 system, Hosam Haggag, and promoted on Facebook—he is also an employee of Facebook.

Haggag also co-bylined a Mercury editorial endorsing the measure, for which Maryland-based proportional voting advocacy group FairVote provided editorial and placement “advice,” according to FairVote’s executive director.

Haggag is a vocal opponent of outside money in local elections, but he hasn’t objected to FairVote’s $22,000 in donations to Yes on A. As of April 30, No on A has received no donations as of its April 27 filing.

FairVote is located in Takoma Park, MD


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