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The CORE Companies Dominate March Council Calendars

The City of Santa Clara listed the Council Calendars for March over a week ago and, again, past the 10th of the month. Despite the tardiness, there were plenty of notable finds. The first was that, once again, more than three Council Members attended the same event. As mentioned last month, while not a direct Brown Act/Open Meetings Law violation, it is common and best practice for city councils to avoid having a quorum outside of council chambers, regardless of if the event is public and unlikely official business would take place.

Last month, four council members—Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Council Members Dominic Caserta, Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill—attended the South Bay American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Labor Council COPE Dinner on Mar. 15. Oddly, the ticketed event was listed twice on the mayor’s calendar—the actual date of Mar. 15 and again on Mar. 13.

The second occurrence of more than three Council Members attending the same event was when Gillmor, Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe, Davis and Council Member Patricia Mahan attended the Central Park Annex Dedication on Mar. 22 and the third was when Gillmor, Watanabe, Davis, Mahan, O’Neill and Council Member Pat Kolstad attended the retirement celebration for Silicon Valley Power Senior Electric Division Manager Larry Owens on Mar. 29.

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One additional concerning find on the March calendars was that The CORE Companies had meetings with six of the seven Council Members throughout the month, most of which occurred on the same day. President and CEO David Neale, Vice President of Development Paul Ring and Senior Development Manager Vince Cantore met with Kolstad and Mahan at 9 a.m., Watanabe at 10 a.m. and Gillmor at 11 a.m. on Mar. 26 regarding the “Agrihood Project” at the former BAREC site. Neale met with Caserta on Mar. 27 and Cantore and Lara Hermanson of Farmscape, the company responsible for the rooftop garden at Levi’s Stadium, met with O’Neill on Mar. 5.

Outside of the aforementioned four events, the most noteworthy finds in March were the return of some developer and lobbyist meetings, as well as “City issues” meetings.

The Mayor and Vice Mayor along with O’Neill had a “discussion regarding City business” with attorney and former Campbell Mayor Jason Baker on Mar. 20. Gillmor additionally had meetings with Vice President of Government Relations for The Irvine Company Carlene Matchniff about Santa Clara Square on Mar. 22 and a meeting with Ash Pirayou, partner at Rutan & Tucker, LLP, on “City matters” on Mar. 23. Rutan & Tucker is a Palo Alto law firm specializing in corporate and tax, employment, government and regulatory, intellectual property, real estate and litigation and trial law.

In March, the Vice Mayor had a meeting with Congressman Ro Khanna about “City issues” on Mar. 18, and meeting regarding 357 De la Cruz Blvd. on Mar. 21 with Intero Real Estate Broker Mike Strouf.

Caserta’s calendar was pretty light, but he found the time to record a phone call with The Related Companies’ Executive Vice President Steve Eimer regarding City Place on Mar. 19.

Caserta’s calendar wasn’t the only place Related made an appearance. Related’s lobbyist Jude Barry, although listed as part of his company Catapult Strategies, met with O’Neill regarding “transportation plans and initiatives” on Mar. 7.

O’Neill also had a phone call with former Santa Clara City Manager Rajeev Batra about his post-employment benefits on Mar. 24 and ended the month with a call regarding the development in the “Winchester/Stevens Creek area” with San Jose resident Kirk Vartan, whose co-op restaurant is near the proposed development.

Davis, Kolstad and Mahan had no additional meetings with developers and mostly attended public meetings and events in March.

View the calendars at http://santaclaraca.gov/government/public-calendars-of-certain-city-officials.

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