Getting to Know the Santa Clara City Council Candidates
The Santa Clara Weekly is running a series of profiles on political candidates in the November election -- this article focuses on city council seat four candidate Patricia Mahan.
By David Alexander

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Getting to Know the Santa Clara City Council Candidates

Patricia Mahan wants to represent you on the Santa Clara City Council.

Mahan served on the Council from 1994-2002 and as mayor from 2002 to 2010. She has also served as a commissioner on the Historic Landmarks Commission. She has practiced estate planning, tax and wills and trusts law for 30 years and has a J.D. from Santa Clara University.

Mahan said her roots in Santa Clara give her insight into the needs of its residents, and she has a lot of “institutional memory.”

“Knowing our history helps. Knowing our history helps a lot,” she said.

Her top priority if elected to the Council would be to increase city staff, saying the city has been “understaffed for a long time,” specifically on the the police and fire departments. Santa Clara cannot achieve its potential without “staff up to where it should be,” she said.

Increasing the number of city employees is also important for development, Mahan said. With the loss of redevelopment agency money and the $6.5 billion mixed-use City Center project just north of Levi’s Stadium on the horizon, the city will need more employees more than ever.

“This is a mammoth project. It is going to absorb much more of our staff time, much more than even ever the stadium did,” she said.

However, because Santa Clara “has always been an entrepreneurial city,” Mahan said. Although she wants to increase city staff, she said she is “not looking to raise taxes in any shape or form.”

In recent years, she said the public has had a “lack of trust” in the Council. She said that trust needs to be “restored.”

“Santa Clara has gone through a few years of a lot of tumult, just a lot of controversy, a lot of conflict,” she said. “Most of the reason was due to lack of communication, lack of cooperation between our city manager and our city council.”

She said Julio Fuentes, the city’s former city manager, would give council members different information, which“put up barriers” between them. That trend caused many Council members to “distrust” one another.

“Having differing opinions isn’t controversy, isn’t conflict,” she said. “Council members don’t talk to one another when they’ve had a difference of opinion on the dais.”

Santa Clara needs to “get back to what it’s good at,” which is being “the best city and doing things the Santa Clara way.” She said she “knows how Santa Clara does, has done and should do its business,” saying the city needs to “use its assets to bring in money for our city.” That also includes “getting fair and market value” for land used in developments, which includes rent for land and amenities for the public.

“Preserving the character” of neighborhoods such as the Old Quad is also important to her, she said.

Having the infrastructure in place to deal with the inevitable influx in the population that will come with the construction of new housing units will be a challenge, she said.

Showing “leadership” is also important. Appointing Mayor Lisa Gillmor and hiring Rajeev Batra as city manager has gone a long way toward showing the public that the city is getting back on course. That trend needs to continue, Mahan said.

“We have gone through a lot in the past few years, and the community feels it. I think it is just time to get back to getting things done,” she said. “Nothing unifies people more than working on common goal.”