It is fundamentally wrong in a representative democracy to allow a minority to game the system and stop progress because they don’t like the result. The tea party is an example on the national level and the efforts of the ironically named Santa Clara Plays Fair is another.
The miscreants in Santa Clara just won’t go away. After getting thoroughly trounced at the ballot box last year, they want another chance to “vote” on the 49ers Stadium. They don’t expect to win, but if they can delay the project long enough, it is tantamount to a denial.
It is one thing for the fringe element to involve themselves in these process-driven escapades. Debbie Bress, the spokesperson for the NIMBY group, is a long dismissed gadfly in the city. She once ran a quixotic campaign against ethics icon and former Mayor Judy Nadler. Her vitriolic and hysterical campaign against Nadler was soundly rejected by voters.
But what is really disturbing is the two councilmembers who lend credence and encourage this obstruction. Will Kennedy and Jamie McCloud both opposed the stadium vote last year. That is not the issue—people can disagree. But once an issue is decided, unless there is fundamental moral principle at stake, public officials must put their differences aside and work for the people they represent.
We see the tragedy of minority rule on the national level. Local officials who decry the methods of the tea party cannot then utilize those same obstructionist tactics with impunity on the local level. This hypocrisy is the main reason people eschew government service and opine that “every” politician is unethical.
There is no doubt that this group will go to court in a further attempt to thwart a project a majority of their fellow citizens support. One can only hope a judge will put an end to the silliness once and for all. But the law is fickle and traditionally loath to involve itself in questions of a political nature; usually deferring substantive issues unless and until all governmental processes have been exhausted and it becomes, literally, a court of last resort.
But any delay is a victory for the minority mob. Delay will cost the project and the city more dollars. If a revote occurs, the citizens of Santa Clara will once again be subjected to the hysteria of people whose views they have consistently rejected. And this minority, thus empowered with another defeat, will look to their champions on the City Council to help them delay the project further. It is an unseemly and difficult alliance to comprehend.
The failure of minority elements to accept valid election results, as well as the desire of elected officials to empower fringe elements of the community for personal political gain—at the expense of the people they serve—is grounds for dismissal from office, in my mind.
That said, it is up to the majority of people in Santa Clara to determine the fate of their petty and irresponsible council minority.
Rich Robinson is a political consultant and author of “The Shadow Candidate”.