Democracy in Santa Clara

The city of Santa Clara has elected officials who are supposed to carry out "the will of the people". This is called representative democracy. However, there are always special interests - people who mostly live outside the city - working to use their money and power to influence the elected officials to act against the desires and best interest of the residents of Santa Clara. They want the City Council to subvert democracy for their own monetary gain or personal benefit. It is likely that they are and will be generous to the Santa Clara politicians to see that their desires are put ahead of the people. High density real estate developers make a fortune from getting the approval of the Santa Clara City Council but cannot make a penny without their blessing for massive high-density projects. Wealthy football team owners can afford to build giant stadiums, but since NFL football stadiums lose money they look to get local politicians to use taxpayer funds to subsidize and own the stadium. This creates a serious challenge to democracy in Santa Clara - the City Council has to chose between doing what the people of the city want and doing what rich and generous developers and sports team owners want.

10/28/2009 - City Council rejects Democracy 5 to 2

There is no purer form of democracy than allowing citizens to vote on an issue. On October 28th, 2009 the Santa Clara City Council voted on whether or not the voters of Santa Clara should decide if the San Francisco 49ers stadium should be built based on the city charter - with a competitive bid process - or whether the city should bypass the city charter and allow the stadium to be built without competitive bidding. By a 5 to 2 vote the council rejected democracy that night. The two councilmembers who chose democracy were Will Kennedy and Jamie McLeod. Dominic Caserta, Joe Kornder, Jamie Matthews, Patricia Mahan, and Kevin Moore all remained true to their core values and chose aristocracy and kleptocracy over democracy.

Logical Fallacies Rain Down on Santa Clara Citizens Who Expected Democracy

When the Santa Clara City Council spent over 25 minutes trying to justify their vote on a massive new development they never once said that it was a development that the people of Santa Clara wanted. They all were voting yes for reasons other than democracy. In a democracy politicians work for the people. They carry out their wishes. They are public servants. In Santa Clara politicians tell the citizens that they "are not going to do the popular thing". In Santa Clara politicians serve monied special interests.

On August 18th, 2009, in the City Council chambers at 1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, California, 95050-3713 democracy was not the form of government being practiced by the Santa Clara City Council.

CEOs Present Secondary Challenge to Democracy in Santa Clara

The Silicon Valley CEOS who live in Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside and Palo Alto use their rich and powerful lobby groups (lobby groups are formed to use money to subvert democracy) like the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to entice local politicians like the Santa Clara City Council into making the city more crowded and less livable. For some inexplicable reason, these filthy rich multi-millionaires living in the no-growth low-density hills outside of the Valley and away from Santa Clara, are eager to expand their businesses in two places:

But in a democracy, the wishes of a multi-millionaire have no basis for overruling the will of the people. If the citizens of Santa Clara do not want to get more crowded, do not want to have the burden of paying for high density development (which doesn't bring in as much in tax revenue as it costs in city services) then it doesn't get built. In a democracy the wishes of wealthy people in remote communities have no sway in what happens in Santa Clara.

The wealthier the community, the more diligent the citizens normally are in fighting government corruption and collusion with businesses for personal financial gain. In wealthy communities like Los Altos Hills and Atherton - where the CEOs and top judges and lawyers live - the politicians can't get away with soiling their city for their own personal profit and the profit of real estate developers. In a blue collar town like Santa Clara where the citizens are often struggling to make ends meet, where they have lower expectations in life, where there are more renters who are more tansient, politicans have almost free reign. They are free to soil the city almost at will for the financial benefit of themselves and developers and CEOs.