Santa Clara Mayoral Candidate Suggests City Killed Her Dog

Deborah Bress is best known for relentlessly wailing on Santa Clara’s efforts to build a new football stadium for the San Francisco 49ers. As head of one of the region’s rabble-rousingest NIMBY groups, Santa Clara Plays Fair, she fought plans for the $1 billion Levi’s Stadium to the end. But now that it’s open, she’s changed her focus to running for mayor and accusing city officials of killing her dog.

The oft-quoted gadfly has held firmly to the narrative that city leaders in Santa Clara, where she unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 1998 and is giving it another go against Mayor Jamie Matthews, are pulling strings for the 49ers at the expense of regular citizens. But things took a turn for the weird and conspiratorial after an Aug. 20 meeting, when council members discussed a policy that would have given them free tickets to 49ers games.

Someone wrote a status update on Santa Clara Play Fair’s Facebook page thanking people for weighing in on the issue. Under it, self-congratulatory comments ensued about playing watchdog and catching city officials—namely Assistant City Manager Alan Kurotori—with their collective “hand in the cookie jar.”

Days later Bress wrote in the Facebook comments section, “I found my dear, sweet, lovable, trusting and innocent male dog, Dude, DEAD THIS MORNING!!! I’m heartbroken and pissed beyond words! I’m having a very hard time accepting this as just a coincidence!!!!!”

She then added an additional comment to remove any confusion about who she may have been talking about: “To kill an innocent animal is definitely not above these scumballs!”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Maybe she’s going to go all Ross Perot and drop out because of mysterious threats from men in black….

  2. Right on Jennifer. Death to the NIMBY’s- that backwards, old fashioned, non progressive scourge of the universe.
    A jihad against the non believer NIMBYs!!!

  3. Here is some Sam Liccardo news. Sam Liccardo states, “Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking at the rally against the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.” Gee Sam, you must be privy to information the rest of us don’t have. There is an on-going investigation, and you have no idea what really happened. You are judging the police officer as guilty when you don’t have all the facts. All you know is what has been put out in the very biased media. If the officer is found to have been justified in using deadly force, are you going to be the first to apologize? Is this what you are going to do to SJPD officers if you are elected Mayor, assume they are guilty until proven innocent? Confirm you were an officer of the court, who is suppose to assume innocent before proven guilty? Pathetic political pandering. I am disappointed your opponent, Dave Cortese, has been so quiet and not going after your ridiculous ideas.

    • > There is an on-going investigation, and you have no idea what really happened.

      Exactly so.

      Your indictment of Sam, the “officer of the court”, is on the mark.

      He should have known better, and his actions show he is nothing but a populist panderer.

      “Wait for the investigations” would have been the RIGHT thing to do. But it would have required character and leadership, and denied him the “honor of speaking at the rally”.

      I double down on my dis-endorsement of Liccardo.

  4. Jeez let’s start investigating the current city council – that’s what I would be doing rather than a poor distraught dog owner who was clearly upset over the death of a dog. Have you looked into anyone’s city council expenditure? or how the other candidates running have such large ‘funds’ to run local government campaigns? or how about looking into travel expenses of Mayors who don’t like Cattle Class. Or former Police officers on council that have expensive drinking habits billed to the city? Or all the junket trips these guys have in the name of visiting cities to get ideas for our city? Come on guys I think it’s time you got a Life or maybe a Wife so you can see the other side of what is going on in Santa Clara – call the dogs off Bress and look into some of the other candidates or you having trouble finding the glaring discrepancies? Nothing more to see on this candidate than meets the eye – there is no hidden agenda here, no special interest, no boys network, or old friends network here – will you run that story? I doubt it let’s have some real bite in reporting and find out about who Bress really is and what she stands for – I’d be more interested in that than story.

  5. They could even investigate how the mayor of Santa Clara works full time for another city. How does he do that? Does he run City of Santa Clara on the weekends only or does he run City of Santa Clara from his 5 day a week job from the other city. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Mayors with full-time jobs are pretty common for medium and small cities that run a council/manager form of government, where the mayor and council positions are part-time. It’s certainly the case right now in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Campbell, and Cupertino, in addition to Santa Clara, plus probably others.

      • The question is how does he do it? If he has a full time job, how does a person run an entire city-even part time? Does he do it while at work for the other city, on their time? Does the other city job suffer? Are their no calls or emails taken during work hours while on the other city job? Is there a lot of absence from the other job? Does he run Santa Clara on the weekends? Just how does this work? I can’t see how it can. It intrigues me.

        • Probably does it the same way most councilmembers/mayors do it. They hire a cabal of full time staffers to do the day to day work (answering emails, etc) and only show up for appearances and meetings.

          My councilmember does this, and it pisses me off to no end. The rate of pay was justified because it’s a “Full time job” yet he has another job in the county getting paid just as much.

          • Should all be investigated. Someone needs to match up the timekeeping at the full time jobs to make sure it matches with the time they are off doing their mayor duties elsewhere. If their cells are used for mayoral duties, then it is probably public record. Someone should check their phone records to see if any work is being done on the time of their full time employer. Something just seems so out of kilter with this.

          • There is a significant difference between full-time council cities like San Jose and part-time council cities like all of the rest of us. In Sunnyvale, we have *one* administrative assistant for all seven of us, and she mostly does scheduling and email/mail processing (not answering – distribution to us or to other departments), and distribution of written materials. For the most part, if councilmembers want to get something done that’s not operational in nature, we do it ourselves. So yes, I have a 30-hour per week job on top of my full-time job.

            I can’t say that Santa Clara is the same, but I’m doubtful that the SC Mayor has staff to do his work – or any budget to do so. I suspect he’s in the exact same boat as I am, just with an employer that is a lot less flexible about work hours than mine is.

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