A New Santa Clara Planning Commissioner Has Been Fired. Is He a Casualty of Stadium Politics?
The Santa Clara City Council has removed a new member of the Planning Commission after he was accused of living outside the city. Tuesday’s vote to terminate Dr. Ron Patrick was 4-2, with Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe opposed. Mario Bouza has been appointed to replace Dr. Ron Patrick on the Commission.
Dr. Patrick was appointed to the seat on June 6 and sworn in on August 2. He hadn’t even attended his first meeting when the prospect of his removal came up.
Soon after Dr. Patrick’s appointment, Councilmember Anthony Becker alleged the Commissioner's residence was outside the city and called for his removal. Dr. Patrick claims he has been living at his place of business in Santa Clara and has corrected a “clerical error” on his voting registration that placed his home in Mountain View.
Dr. Patrick has hinted that this removal was a political decision based on negative comments he made about Levi’s Stadium. The four members who supported his termination are part of the council majority that is friendly to the 49ers. This is the same majority that ousted city manager Deanna Santana in March.
“This is a decision that is essentially political,” Dr. Patrick wrote in a recent op-ed for Santa Clara News Online. “And many Santa Clara residents watching this process think there’s a political agenda at work, including me. Maybe it’s because I’ve raised issues in the past about how the stadium events negatively impact neighborhoods and more needs to be done about it.”
Watanabe and Gillmore agreed, with Watanabe calling the vote “disgusting” and a “travesty.”
Vice Mayor Suds Jain said it’s unlawful for Dr. Patrick to be living at a place of business. He called it “hypocritical” for a member of the Planning Commission to be violating city codes.
Read more about the controversy at the Silicon Valley Voice.