Civil Rights Activists Ask SF 49ers for Help Defeating Santa Clara’s Controversial Measure C

As the S.F. 49ers geared up to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, a group of local activists implored the team for help with a very different kind of match-up.

In a Feb. 1 letter to Niners lobbyist Rahul Chandhok, opponents of Measure C—an initiative that would switch the city of Santa Clara’s council elections from six districts to three—asked for support defeating the ballot proposition, which goes to voters in the upcoming March 3 primary.

Santa Clara, home to the 49ers-run Levi’s Stadium, went from at-large elections to district contests by court order after getting sued minority litigants who claimed the prior system violated the California Voting Rights Act by unfairly disadvantaging non-white candidates. As proof of systemic bias: in nearly four decades, the city only elected one non-white council member, and that person only won after Santa Clara divided its council seats among six districts.

“There is no doubt that there is a better democracy and a better Santa Clara when that diversity is reflected and represented in local government,” Richard Konda, head of the Asian Law Alliance, one of the litigants in the voting rights case, wrote to Chandhok.

But the city, led by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, flatly opposed the six-district voting system and backed Measure C to cut the number of districts in half.

Konda asked Chandhok if the team would link arms with his No-On-C coalition, which includes San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP President Jethroe Moore III, the La Raza Roundtable’s Victor Garza and former Assemblyman Paul Fong.

“As a valued community organization in Santa Clara, we know the 49ers share our collective and steadfast belief that we can build strong and healthy communities when all of our voices are heard and represented,” Konda wrote. “For that reason, we urge you to join us in our fight to defeat Measure C.”

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4 Comments

  1. Well this is curious. For ten years, there has been a call to reform the electoral system in Santa Clara to give more opportunities to minority candidates. Finally, a judicial order allowed for a minority candidate to be elected

    For that all that trouble some white guy calls the judge racist for helping voting rights.

    Now the 49ers are asked to help civil rights people oppose another tactic designed to dilute minority votes and they are attacked by a person who claimed Asian Americans can be tracked by facial recognition software.

    This public call is being attacked as a dark money violation even though it is being done in full spotlight. Perhaps it is time to shed light on the dark money being used to attack this.

    • Hi Mr. Trini,

      Unless I’m misteaken, you’re white, since Hispanics are white. Every one I’ve ever asked says so, but I suppose it’s possible you’re the exception that proves the rule. However, I’ve been to Mexico many, many times, and if an average American was blindfolded and had earplugs inserted, and was taken to a street in Mexico City, when the blindfold was removed they wouldn’t know if they were in the U.S. or not (and for folks who haven’t been there, there are plenty of blonde women in Mexico!)

      The folks who want six voting Districts in Santa Clara are racist, there’s no question about that. Those Districts are divided along racial lines, with a wink and a nod. (“They’re geographic Districts!” …*wink, wink*… ).

      Now the preponderance of voters in each voting district are of one major ethnicity; Vietnamese, or Hispanic, or Caucasian, etc.

      Don’t you see what they’re doing? TPTB keep telling you that other races are keeping you down, that they hate you, etc. It’s the old “divide and conquer” tactic. But it’s based on lies. Certainly, there are more people of one racial group or another who hate Caucasians.

      By keping us at each others throats we’re easy to control. But who really benefis?

      Not Mexicans. Not Caucasians. Not Vietnamese. The real beneficiaries are the people who keep telling us that our problems are caused by racism.

      As if.

      Our real problems are caused by the mostly anonymous powers that be; the ones who want to change our laws and culture for their own benefit. Ask yourself: would they really care if one racial group was scheming to deny another racial group opportunities for advancement? Answer: No. “Racism” is just a pretext for what they’re doing to our country.

      The fact is that the Japanese guy who filed his lawsuit claiming that The (White) Man™ was keepoing him from winning a seat on the City Council, just doesn’t have what it takes to get one more vote than his opponent. Not everyone can win elections. But it doesn’t follow that “racism” is why he lost.

      And if Caucasians were keeping other races down like he claims, I suppose he never went to his local post office, and counted the Caucasians — if he could find any.

      We’re being manipulated, Mr. Lopez, and it’s not for our own good.

      Finally, I’d like to respond to your comment about the judge who alowed the last election to go ahead, allowing the voters to decide whether they wanted District elections or not.

      From what I was told (and the facts support it), that judge was given misinformation: prior to the vote he was told that the affected voters would support District elections. That was why he allowed the vote of We The People to go ahead. He believed the voters would defenestreate at-large Council elections.

      Well, as Gomer Pyle would say: “Suprise, suprise, suprise!”

      The voters decisively rejected District elections.

      So with egg on his face, that black-robed dictator arbitrarily reversed a legal vote of We The People — a vote that he had personally authorized — by ruling that We The People didn’t know what we the hell were doing when we voted to keep our traditional at-large elections.

      Why even vote?! One individual — who doesn’t even live in the same city — has arbitrarily decreed that institutionalizing city racism is now Priority #1 — and to hell with what the voters wanted.

      Santa Clara has been a city since 1852, and it has used city-wide elections from the beginning. These District elections are simply a new fad, and by arbitrarily reversing a legal vote of the people that he authorized, that judge is saying in effect that all prior city elections were “racist.”

      That is preposterous. The original lawsuit, which dragged that racist judge into the discussion and resulted in a vote to retain our traditional voting system, had been filed by a Japanese-American wannabe Councilcritter who could never win a City Council election. He didn’t lose because of his race. If that was the case Santa Clara wouldn’t have a Raj Chahal, or a Kathy Watanabe on the Council. He lost for one (1) reason: because voters preferred his opponent’s ideas to his.

      And since there was already a Japanese-American on the City Council before the judge made his ruling, the lawsuit’s rationale was moot. The ridiculous assertion that “racism” by Caucasians is what kept one individual off the City Council is nothing more than sour grapes by a losing candidate.

      Four out of five of the current Santa Clara Council members are female, and 40% are non-Caucasian. That’s the result of a supposedly “racist” city. But by that judge’s ruling, the city is racist and must suffer for it.

      Currently the number of Asian Americans living in the city of Santa Clara exceeds the number of Caucasians, so it cannot be the fault of either group that one particular individual, who doesn’t have what it takes to convince voters to support him, was one of the losing candidates.

      In almost every election there are more losing candidates than winners. But with this precedent Santa Clara — all of it, not just one ethnic group — has been branded as “racist”.

      We’ve reached a point where a single arrogant judge (who didn’t have to run for election himself, since he was appointed) has arrogantly decided that voters in Santa Clara are RACIST. All of them, including Mr. Lopez. There’s no getting around it, because the judge’s ruling applies to everyone in the city.

      As a result, We The People</i. have lost 80% of our voting power. We can no longer vote for the candidate who would be best for the city. Now We The People will only be permitted to vote for only one-sixth of the people running the city.

      This underhanded scheme has been happening all up and down our state. City after city is being attacked with these bogus lawsuits — and the result is ALWAYS the same: District elections. Divide and conquer. TPTB want us to be enemies. But that only benefits them.

      I would be very heartened if Mr. Lopez saw that he was being manipulated with the constant use of “racism!” Sure, there are racists here and there — in every race. But truth be told, there are more racists in the Democrat Party (and IANAR!), and among non-White ethnicities, than there are among Caucasians.

      Always ask yourself: Cui bono? Who benefits? In this case, voters have lost 80% of their voting power because of this racist ruling.

      Cui bono…?

      Who benefits…?

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