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 three incumbent Debi Davis
By David Alexander

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Getting to know the Santa Clara City Council candidates

Debi Davis wants to represent you on the Santa Clara City Council.

Voters elected Davis to seat three of the council in 2012. She is the chair of the city’s ethics committee, chair of the marketing committee and president of the Norcal chapter of Sister Cities. She has served as a commissioner on the Cultural Advisory Commission and owns her own event planning business.

In her second term, Davis said she would like to focus on continuing to make Santa Clara government more open and transparent.

“We had a group of residents who said the council was not really forthcoming with information, that there was not enough transparency going on,” she said. “A lot of people felt that they didn’t have a voice. Now we are just trying to get them heard and understood.”

Davis pointed to her efforts over the past four years that she said demonstrate her commitment to open government. First, she was instrumental in creating a lobbyist ordinance that requires lobbyists register with the city. Davis also said she spearheaded the campaign to get City officials’ calendars available to the public and helped provide greater access to government by working to get planning commission meetings streaming online.

The use of closed-door meetings is not an issue, she added, saying that the Council uses them appropriately -- for contract negotiations and litigation, i.e., instances where confidentiality is paramount.

She said communication is key in government, and she is a communication maven.

“I want to make sure people know what is going on in their community,” she said. “You don’t go into this job because of the money; you go into this job because you are serving the community. I am about community accountability -- listening to their concerns fair and balanced. I am easy to talk to. I listen. I am approachable. Everybody wants to be heard. We are human.”

In that same vein, Davis said voters are getting someone who is “standing up for their rights” when they cast a ballot for her. She pointed to the issue of the 49ers wanting to pave over the youth soccer park and asking for a rent reduction, where she voted to preserve local parks unless two-thirds of voters were in favor of it and voted for an independent financial audit for the stadium.

If elected to a second term, Davis said she would like to continue fostering an open government while addressing some other issues, such as continuing to expand on a “diverse portfolio of businesses.”

The “rebranding” of the city for the Super Bowl is something she considers a personal triumph, she said.

“We needed to rebrand the city and take a look at how we looked to the outside world because we were on the national stage,” she said. “We are now the center of what’s possible. We wanted to make sure what happened in the city was going to be the city.”

Along with that “rebranding” and expanding the job market by adding new businesses comes other challenges. Davis said she wants to address the problem of aging infrastructure, specifically pipelines, and “quality of life” issues, pointing to Silicon Valley’s soaring housing costs. Although she offered no concrete solutions to these problems, she said the council and city employees are “working on that.”