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Too Many Council Members Attend Yet Another Event in April, Developers and Labor Lobby

The April Santa Clara City Council calendars are out, again, later than the 10th of the month Ordinance 1950 requires. Past calendars continue to remain unchanged, with no mention of last year’s meetings with Banner Public Affairs and Peter Hillan—another requirement of the ordinance. This, again, shows Santa Clara City Council claiming transparency, but refusing to follow its own rules, and no one, including City Attorney Brian Doyle, policing Santa Clara politicians.

Although May has proved to be a particularly damaging month for now-former Council Member Dominic Caserta, his April calendar was fairly light. He did, however, manage to pack in three meetings regarding the BAREC site on Apr. 2 and 3. His first meeting was with David Neale, President & CEO of The CORE Companies, immediately followed by a meeting with San Jose resident Kirk Vartan on Apr. 2. Less than 24 hours later, Caserta had a meeting with CORE’s Vice President of Development Paul Ring about the site.

On Apr. 2, prior to his meetings with CORE, Caserta met with Jon Moss, Executive Vice President and Partner at Prometheus regarding the 5.7 acre, 355-apartment, mixed-use Viso Project at 575 Benton St. and had an introductory phone call with Peter Tsai, Vice President of Real Estate Development of The Sobrato Organization.

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On Apr. 10, Caserta had a meeting with Laborers’ Local 270’s Olivia Navarror about labor issues and a phone call with Dennis Martin of Sausedo Consulting and South Bay Governmental Affairs on Apr. 23. A meeting with the WEEKLY’s David Alexander rounded out any non-public meetings or events for the former Council Member.

Council Member Pat Kolsatd recorded only four events on his calendar in April, all public meetings, with one attended remotely, and Council Member Patricia Mahan also maintained a light calendar, recording five public meetings and the Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society on Apr. 28.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe and Council Members Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill continued their trend of full calendars containing a mix of public meetings and events as well as private meetings with developers and residents.

Gillmor began her month with an interview with Maze & Associates’ auditors Cody Smith and Amy Meyer. She then had a series of events regarding City Place or with The Related Companies—the first of which was on Apr. 4 and attended by Davis and City Manager Deanna Santana. The trio met with Rudolph and Sletten’s Vice President John Elwood and ELS Architects’ Clarence Mamuyac regarding the not-yet-funded Santa Clara International Swim Center, as well as the Kylli Group—a subsidiary of Genzon Investment Group—and City Place.

A day later the Mayor and Vice Mayor met with Related’s lobbyist, Jude Barry, regarding City Place and transportation and four days later Gillmor, Santana, Assistant City Managers Manuel Pineda and Ruth Shikada met with Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross to view Related’s Hudson Yard project, an 18 million square foot project in New York City that will include approximately 4,000 residences, an art center, 14 acres of open space, a 200-plus room hotel, office tours, restaurants, 100 retail shops and a 750-seat public school. Hudson Yard will cost NYC almost $1 billion in public funding foregone tax revenue.

Gillmor recorded a meeting with the South Bay Labor Council’s Executive Officer Ben Field regarding unions and living wage on Apr. 18, meeting with the Director of Real Estate Development of Adobe Services Jon White and Adobe’s Executive Director Louis Chicoine regarding the Corvin Housing Project on Apr. 19 and meeting with Unite Here, Local 19’s Sarah McDermott about labor unions and the Hyatt Hotel later that day.

Later in the month, on Apr. 23, Gillmor met with Attorney Rob Mezzetti of Mezzetti Law Firm and Consultant Bob Mendelsohn of Republic Metropolitan regarding affordable housing. A meeting with Old Quad Association President Adam Thompson about Republic’s proposed train station project immediately followed Gillmor’s meeting with Mezzetti and Mendelsohn.

Gillmor notched another meeting with unions on Apr. 26 when she met with Santa Clara County Residents for Responsible Development’s Director Josue Garcia and union representatives from three unions about labor and Santa Clara projects. Also on Apr. 26, Gillmor and Davis met with the American Cancer Society and Santa Clara County’s Tobacco Free Coalition to discuss tobacco use in Santa Clara. Gillmor met with the Santa Clara Lawn Bowls Club following her meeting with Davis and the anti-smoking groups.

Gillmor also attended the Relay for Life event and ended the month by filming the Wrestlemania Welcome Video and meeting with Santa Clara Police Activities League (PAL) Director Gordon Pound about PAL.

Like Caserta, Watanabe met with Tsai regarding Sobrato on Apr. 3. The Vice Mayor met with candidate for Cupertino City Council Tara Sreekrishnan about endorsement on Apr. 4 and candidate for State of California Insurance Commissioner Dr. Asif Mahmood, also about endorsement, on Apr. 10.

On Apr. 18, Watanabe met with candidate for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Susan Ellenberg, who is running for the same seat Caserta was vying for before sexual harassment and bullying accusations derailed his campaign. Watanabe also hosted an event for Ellenberg on Apr. 30.

Watanabe’s April calendar included two meetings with residents. The Vice Mayor, who resides in Santa Clara’s Northside, met with resident Nicole Wynn regarding Lick Mill Park issues on Apr. 9 and Maria Barbieri regarding the catchall “community issues” on Apr. 30.

She took a break from “business” meetings by continuing her attendance at the Santa Clara Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy and making an appearance at Relay for Life, but ended the month with Bothman Construction’s Bob Bothman about the 1411 Lewis Street demolition project.

The majority of Davis’ meetings not previously mentioned, were public meetings and events, although she did take time out to judge Santa Clara’s Sculpture Exhibition; meet with Dan Ondrasek and Rodney Dunham of Reclaiming our Downtown and Freeman, Tung & Sasaki’s Greg Tung about the Reclaiming Our Downtown group; and attend the Relay for Life Event.

O’Neill began April by meeting with Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees Board Member Pearl Chang, Santa Cruz City Schools Board of Education Member Rose Filizetti and Sunnyvale resident Jo Lucey about education issues on Apr. 3. Later that evening, at 9:30 p.m., O’Neill met with Maryland-based Fair Vote’s Margaret Okuzumi about Measure A—the June ballot measure redrawing Santa Clara’s voting districts to allow for three Council seats in two districts instead of the current “at-large voting” procedure.

O’Neill met with resident Jonathan Marinaro regarding the Planning Commission opening on Apr. 6, continued her monthly, Q&A with residents on Apr.8, had a phone call with Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)’s General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez regarding labor on Apr. 12 and met with resident Anthony Becker about planning and development issues on Apr.21, before notching a meeting with developer ROEM Corporation’s Executive Vice President Alex Sanchez and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Stephen Emami about Santa Clara projects on Apr. 23 and Winter Consulting Principal Corrinne Winter regarding transportation issues on Apr. 25.

O’Neill filled up much of the remainder April with more Measure A events, including a public information night on the campaign on Apr. 26 and meeting with Okuzumi and former Santa Clara Council Member Will Kennedy on Apr. 30. She also had a meeting regarding “Santa Clara issues” with Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tino Silva on Apr. 27.

Finally, in yet another case of “too many Council Members attending an event,” O’Neill also attended Relay for Life, making five Council Members—O’Neill, Watanabe, Davis, Gillmor and Mahan—at an event at the same time. Council continues to straddle the line of ethics, and, again, disregards the general rule of avoiding a quorum outside of council chambers.

To view a complete list of published Council Member meetings, visit http://santaclaraca.gov/government/public-calendars-of-certain-city-officials.

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