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 Mario Bouza.
By David Alexander

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Getting to Know the Santa Clara City Council Candidates

Mario Bouza wants to represent you on the Santa Clara City Council.

Bouza is the owner of a Santa Clara-based dental ceramics company, and has served two terms as vice chair of the Santa Clara Civil Service Commission. He is a Rotary member and is also the Boy Scouts of America Pioneer District’s vice chair.

“Everything seems to be going the wrong direction with the way the Council has been putting projects through and also holding meetings behind closed doors,” he said. “I want to see the see the city still maintain this flavor we had in Santa Clara, this small-town feel, but at the same time using smart development.”

Development projects that add amenities -- such as golf courses, the dog park and improving the swim center -- Bouza said, are in Santa Clara’s best interest. The so-called downtown development is “not going to work,” he said.

Maintaining city infrastructure is important, he said. Santa Clara used to place high priority on infrastructure, but it has lost its way in recent years, neglecting some important aspects of this area such as pipelines, he added.

“Our streets, our parks have gotten worse, but we manage to find money for other projects,” he said.

“You don’t want to build a house without a foundation, and the infrastructure is your foundation,” he later added. “We are spending money on dumb things, and our infrastructure looks like garbage.”

Housing costs, specifically for teachers, is an important issue to Bouza. He said the city could convert the property on San Tomas and Monroe Streets into housing for teachers. Building “affordable” housing for teachers in that area would allow teachers to live locally, allowing them to “get the flavor of the city,” and help mitigate traffic, which is a constant concern, he said.

Part of his solution to bringing housing costs down is to remodel several apartment buildings into condominiums and develop more on the northside. Despite the area’s need for less-expensive housing, Bouza said as housing increases so should the number of schools. This balanced approached, Bouza said, is the heart of “smart development.”

Bouza said the city should do more to incentivize homeownership through tax benefits, which would in-turn “open the door for more housing.” The housing market is “not fair to young working families,” he said.

“I am really pro-business because that is what pays the bills,” he said. “Housing doesn’t pay the bills.”

On that note, Bouza said citizens shouldn’t expect Council to operate Levi’s Stadium; it’s a business. He said the Council should appoint an independent citizen committee familiar with business to work along the city manager’s office and report to the Council on the stadium. Doing so would “free City Council from the duties” of dealing with the stadium.

One of the things Bouza said he loves about Santa Clara is that it is a very interconnected community. He said he wants the city to spearhead projects -- projects such as the Street Dance, the Silicon Valley BBQ Championship and the Art and Wine Festival -- that help bring people together.

“When you get to know people better, you respect people. You work together better, You have more flow of ideas” he said. “Right now, what we have is that a lot of our citizens don’t trust the city government.”

Although he is pro-business, Bouza said he wants to be an “independent mind that will work for the citizens,” adding that he will “try [his] hardest to deviate from special interests.”

Change is important, he said, but he wants to ensure that the change within the city is for the better.

The city would do well to “free developers of the restrictions” that have a chilling effect on development, he added.