We are less than a month away from the 2022 General Election where a historic number of California state legislator seats and important local positions are up for grabs.
In the City of Santa Clara, the next mayor and city council will face issues ranging from affordable housing and new development to a $20 million budget deficit and the ongoing turbulent relationship between the City and 49ers owner Jed York over Levi’s Stadium management.
According to reports, York and the 49ers have poured nearly $2.7 million into Santa Clara mayor and City Council races so far this year.
The City is also embroiled in a late-breaking furor over a new civil grand jury report centered around several councilmembers accused of putting the 49ers’ interests above the city’s. The report also suggested they may have violated city and state ethics laws. It broke just a month before the hotly contested November election, putting into question the political motives behind the report’s timely release. The 49ers organization and several councilmembers said they were never contacted by the grand jury during the investigation.
The two groups are joined by Santa Clara Police Chief Pat Nikolai in asking District Attorney to launch an investigation into the grand jury.
In response, Incumbent Mayor Lisa Gilmor proposed an anti-corruption plan which includes accepting the grand jury’s findings at the next possible council meeting.
Here’s what will be on the ballot next month.
Lisa Gillmor is the incumbent Mayor of the City of Santa Clara running for re-election in November. Gillmor was appointed as mayor in 2016 and then elected to the seat in 2018. Before that, she served two stretches on the Santa Clara City Council: 1992-2000 and 2011-2016. In her re-election campaign, Gillmor is focusing on public safety, new housing, and job growth, as well as supporting the City of Santa Clara’s multicultural communities.
Notable endorsements include U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna, former Santa Clara City Council Members Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Teresa O’Neill, and Santa Clara Chief of Police Pat Nikolai.
Anthony Becker is the current District 6 Councilmember running for mayor. Becker ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2016 and then was appointed to the Santa Clara Planning Commission where he served on an advisory board to the city council. He challenged Gillmor in 2018 and was elected in 2020. If elected as mayor, Becker will focus on building affordable housing for seniors, families and young people, rebuilding Santa Clara’s downtown, reducing city deficits, tackling the city’s growing homeless problem and generating new revenue.
Notable endorsements include Santa Clara Vice Mayor Suds Jain, Santa Clara Councilmember Raj Chahal and Santa Clara Councilmember Karen Hardy.
City Council District 2
Councilmember Raj Chahal is running for re-election in District 2. He has held the seat since 2018. In his ballot statement, Chahal pledged to continue to champion neighborhood protection, affordable housing, and a balanced budget.
Chanal’s endorsements include U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna, California State Senator Bob Wieckowski and California Assemblymember Ash Kalra.
Larry McColloch is a retired engineer and long-time Santa Clara resident running for City Council District 2 on a platform of pro-business, pro-public safety and pro-neighborhood. If elected, McColloch promises to help Silicon Valley Power continue to give residents great electrical rates and attract more businesses to Santa Clara.
City Council District 3
Karen Hardy was elected to City Council District 3 in 2018 and is running for re-election in November. In her ballot statement, Hardy pointed to her work as a volunteer commissioner for 13 years where she wrote the resolution that resulted in Santa Clara being chosen to host the World Cup in 2026. If elected for a second term, Hardy will work to protect water resources, and preserve the communication network between all public safety agencies.
Christian D Pellecchia is a businessman, educator and former board chair of the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce, running for City Council District 3. If elected, Pellecchia will work to restore public institutions including Police, Fire and the Swim Center. He also supports the Reclaiming Our Downtown efforts and hopes to incentivize small businesses to invest in the city.
Measure G: City of Santa Clara No Tax Increase/ Services Protection Measure.
A YES on Measure G amends City Charter Section 1320 (“Utilities Fund”) to require that 5% of utility revenue go toward the City’s general fund each year. This continues the voter-approved utility tax transfers that have occurred annually since 1980. The revenue from the transfer tax is unrestricted and can be used to fund police, fire, parks and recreation, streets and sidewalks, and other general municipal services.
Proponents of the measure highlight that the utility tax has generated around $30 million for the city so far and will not increase residents’ electric bills.
There has been no official argument filed against Measure G with the City of Santa Clara.
Measure H: City of Santa Clara Business License Update / Tax Equity Measure
A YES on Measure H adopts an ordinance updating Santa Clara’s 1992 business license tax. Currently, businesses pay an annual tax depending on their size and type – ranging from $15 to $500. Rental units pay $3 per unit for operators of three or more units. Measure H eliminates the various business tax rates and replaces them with a $45 flat rate per employee or rental unit. It also provides an annual adjustment for inflation based on a consumer price index.
Proponents of the measure argue that the city has not updated its business license tax in 30 years, therefore the tax does not match inflation rates. They also point to the $6 million in revenue that the new flat rate tax will generate which they say can be used to amend the city’s $20 million budget deficit.
Opponents of Measure H accuse the Santa Clara City Council of trying to dramatically raise taxes and claim that small businesses could see their taxes soar over 540%. They also argue that if companies cut jobs or hours, business tax revenue will decline which will reduce funds for local government entities.
For more information on the November election, visit the City of Santa Clara’s website.