Democracy In Action?
By Carolyn Schuk
Whatever Monday afternoon’s “Democracy Forum” was, it wasn’t democratic and it wasn’t a forum. It wasn’t democratic because not everybody got to participate. And it wasn’t a forum because it wasn’t a place for discussion or commentary, nor a court, tribunal or place of assembly.
Only three complaints got a hearing: Two from candidate Patricia Mahan against her opponents Tino Silva and Council Member Kathleen Watanabe and one from retired SCPD officer Bryan Sterkel against Police Chief Mike Sellers. The parties’ answers to the complaints haven’t been published.
The Democracy Forum is a replacement for Santa Clara’s election-eve Final Word Forum, according to City Democracy Consultant Fred Keeley.
At a time when many voters cast early ballots or vote by mail, events the night before the election have limited usefulness, said Keeley. Unlike the Final Word Forum, there can be multiple Democracy Forums, they can happen any time and are limited to formal complaints deemed by Keeley to rise to the level of requiring a public airing.
Some campaign complaints are about city enforcement issues such as illegally posted signs, Keeley explained, and as such, are handled by code enforcement. Others concern the city’s code of ethics, not campaign ethics, or are adequately addressed in other ways; for example, candidate Anthony Becker’s complaint against Council Member Kathleen Watanabe that she falsely said that Becker’s campaign, and those of other candidates she opposes, are financed by attorney John Mlnarik.
Mlnarik filed Fair Political Practices Commission complaints about four candidates – including Watanabe – and the Police Officers Association and Stand Up For Santa Clara PACs...
Santa Clara Unified School Board Candidates
By Carolyn Schuk
Three seats are open on the Santa Clara Unified School District board of trustees this year: two in Trustee Area 2 (Old Jefferson School District) and one in Trustee Area 3 (Old Santa Clara).
Albert Gonzalez – Area 2
Incumbent Albert Gonzalez (albertgonzalez.org), currently SCUSD board president, was first elected trustee in 2008. Born in Los Angeles, Gonzalez grew up in the Bay Area, has a degree in electrical engineering from Cal Poly and works in the tech industry...