Democracy Subverted on 8/18/2009 in City Council Chambers by the Santa Clara City Council

One issue that's vital to the city of Santa Clara - Lack of Democracy or Abscence of Democracy. We all know how representative democracy is supposed to work. The people of a city elect repesentatives who carry out the "will of the people".

On August 18th of this year, the 7 Santa Clara City Council members gave their reasons for why they were voting to approve a massive new high density residential development with a towering - 4 story - parking garage, the likes of which is only normally seen in large city downtown areas. The development will instantly increase the population of the city by 2% and immediately tax city services. In recognition of the strain it will put on the city, the developer has to pay a fee. A one-time fee for a development that will last 50 years.

They spoke for a combined total of over 25 minutes justifying their yes votes. Here is a transcript of the city council's words that night.

Notably missing from their justification was any mention of the fact that the 7 member planning commission who they appointed, had voted unanimously against the project. Not a peep about the 21 no votes to 0 yes votes regarding the project cast by the Santa Clara Planning Commission. It should also be noted that the developer turned down - twice - an offer to modify his project and represent it to the planning commision. In hindsight we can see why he didn't care about getting the Planning Commision's approval - he had already cut a deal with the city council.

But even more astonishing was the fact that in over 25 minutes of talking, not a single politician up on the dais said that they were going to vote yes because a development like this was what the people of Santa Clara wanted. Not one. They did give an almost unending amount of logical fallacies - which are sneaky and bogus types of arguments. False dilemmas and appeals to authority. The mayor was particularly proud of the false compromise she presented at that and a previous meeting. There isn't time to cover those in detail tonight.

Not a single word that what they were doing was what the people of Santa Clara had instructed them to do as elected democratic representatives. Not a single word. We don't know for sure why they are acting undemocractically. Are they in bed with real estate developers? Sure seems like it when the developers ignore the planning commission. And/or do they feel that a representative democracy is a poor form of government?

We have a lot of people up on the dais who get worked up about sporting events. They are eagerly looking forward to the day when they get their free tickets to a 49ers game. Quite possibly their is a luxury box in store for our council members. They like to watch and they like to know the score.

So let's get the scores for the night of August 18th in the Santa Clara City Council chambers at 1500 Warburton Avenue.

Scoreboard for August 18th in Santa Clara
Kleptocracy 7Democracy0
San Diego Developer7People of Santa Clara 0
Politicians feathering their nests7People of Santa Clara 0
Elected Monarchy7Democracyzip
Elected Dictatorship7Democracy zilch
Aristocracy7Democracy nada

So that's the news from Santa Clara, where the politicians and high-density developers are smiling, the people are crying, and democracy lies six feet under ground. Rest In Peace Santa Clara democracy.