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 6 candidate Anthony Becker.
By David Alexander

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Getting to know the Santa Clara City Council candidates

Anthony Becker wants to represent you on the Santa Clara City Council.

Becker sought the appointment of seat six in March when Lisa Gillmor, now Mayor Gillmor, vacated it and the Council appointed incumbent Kathy Watanabe. Becker called that appointment a “friend vote” that was “staged.” He said community politics shouldn’t be about who you know.

“I disagree with a lot of what the council has been doing,” he said. “It is about community. It is about putting Santa Clarans first.”

Since he is an outsider -- and not a “finely groomed politician” -- who doesn’t serve on any boards, committees or commissions, he says he is better poised to be a voice for those who are dissatisfied with what he called a “lack of transparency” in the city government, adding that the council overuses the closed door policy.

He said many voters are “fed up” with the lack of dissenting viewpoints on the council.

“Voters have been waiting for somebody who is different,” he said. “I’m a new voice. I am someone who is going to inspire some changes.”

Further, the City Council has greenlighted too much development too quickly, producing too much housing that is overpriced, he said. Because of that development, he said, police and fire services are no longer commensurate with Santa Clara’s size.

If elected, Becker said he would propose new taxes, specifically property taxes on new homeowners and a 25-cent increase in sales tax, to help fund the increase in services, as a “possible solution.”

“The city is not really on the right track. I think we have lost our way since we started the whole Levi’s Stadium thing,” he said. “A lot of Santa Clarans are upset with what’s happening in the city. We need to bring someone new to the table.”

Becker, a 31-year old film major, said he supports rent control, calling it“rent affordability,” saying that new homeowners “can afford to a pay a little more.” He compared the new taxes to traffic mitigation fees developers have to pay to build here, saying that we “shouldn’t let this area’s rent, or prices be dictated by what an engineer makes.”

He said that he would “guarantee” that the money from the new taxes would go toward police and fire.

Becker shirked off the idea that new taxes would have a chilling effect on economic growth, saying that Santa Clara already offers generous incentives that attract businesses to the area.

“Business is always going to be coming here,” he said. “I don’t think it would stunt growth. I think it would make it more competitive here.”

While Becker claimed that he is “not in favor of raising taxes’ in general, he said the presence of Levi’s Stadium has forced the issue, making a tax hike to fund police and fire necessary. However, he said a tax hike might not be necessary if California voters approve legalizing marijuana.

“Santa Clara should not close its eyes and pretend that this is not a lucrative business,” he said. “If it is legalized statewide, it is something that Santa Clara should really take a look at.”

Becker said he would like to see Santa Clara return to being a “family friendly” community instead of simply focusing on business.