Former Santa Clara Mayor, Council Candidate Pat Mahan Accused of Lobbyist Violations

UPDATE, Aug. 22, 2016: Santa Clara spokeswoman Jennifer Yamaguma issued the following statement. “As the City of Santa Clara's spokesperson, I would like to correct the previous statement regarding exemptions pursuant to the lobbying ordinance for Santa Clara. Please see section k(8) of Ordinance No. 1949, which reads, ‘Persons who are professionally licensed by a state organization pursuant to the California Business & Professions Code, including but not limited to, attorneys, architects and engineers; provided, however, the exemption for attorneys shall only by applicable if the attorney is engaged in the practice of law with respect to the subject of the employment.’”

UPDATE: City of Santa Clara spokeswoman Jennifer Yamaguma says Patricia Mahan, as an attorney, is exempt from the local lobbying ordinance. “[P]ersons who are professionally licensed by a state licensing organization, including but not limited to, attorneys are exempt from the lobbying ordinance,” Yamaguma told Fly.

Since entering the stadium business with the San Francisco 49ers, the city of Santa Clara has been dogged by allegations of backroom deals and influence peddling. To shake the reputation, city officials adopted new sunshine rules modeled after San Jose’s. The ordinance enacted last winter requires elected officials to publish their calendars online and lobbyists to publicly report who they’re representing. Former mayor and veteran councilwoman Patricia Mahan must’ve missed the memo. The estate-planning attorney, who’s again running for City Council, apparently lobbied on behalf of a billboard-ad broker at least seven times since May without having registered as a lobbyist. City Hall watchdog and conspiracy theorist Deborah Bress, who’s running against Rod Diridon Jr. for the City Clerk post and once accused the city of killing her dog, noticed the oversight while researching her ballot statement. In a letter sent this week to Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her council colleagues, Bress urges the city to take some kind of enforcement action. “As Ms. Mahan has recently self-identified herself as a council candidate, I believe it is even more important that this matter be done with urgency and not be swept under the rug,” Bress wrote. Mahan texted right before press time saying she had a medical issue and would respond Wednesday. Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe, who met with Mahan about the billboard business one of those seven times, tells Fly that she hopes the city investigates the apparent violations. “Cities are meant to be open and transparent,” says Watanabe, adding that she had no idea that Mahan hadn’t registered. “This definitely needs to be addressed, especially since we’re here in campaign season.”

This story will be updated.

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  1. I agree with Kathy . Patricia Nahan violated the rules that have been put in place. Before she decided to run for City Council she should have taken the time to understand the rules and ethics policies that have been put in place to protect the citizens of Santa Clara from special interests groups. ( 49ers)

  2. If she’s a former mayor, the city can’t objectively investigate. They need to hire a special counsel or independent investigator. That’s the only way to give the public confidence that this is being handled well. It’s also the only way Mahan can clear her name if she did nothing wrong. Short of that, the public will assume cover up. Both City Hall and Mahan will be forever tainted.

  3. Hmm. Politics and shady back room deals. What a surprise.

    That a former mayor would just happen to “forget” to register as a lobbyist is a bit of a stretch.

  4. Does The Fly ever any check information for accuracy ?? No wonder they are part of,the Merky!
    1) Jennifer Y is from the city of Santa Clara, and
    2) the attorney exemption is only valid under this:

    ​Chapter 2.155.K.8 — “the exemption for attorneys shall only be applicable if the attorney is engaged in the practice of law with respect to the subject of the employment”

    And, instead of bashing Ms. Bress, how about giving her a huge thank you for discovering and sharing with YOU the huge coverup of corruption and incompetence in Santa Clara’s city hall! YOU didn’t find it, she did! It isn’t a “conspirency” nor a “theory” … It is a fact and one that the current City Clerk couldn’t figure out himself even though he is paid big bucks to do it as his job. Give credit where credit is due and back off Ms. Bress she is bringing out dirt that should be brought out into the sunshine. I’m thrilled she’s doing a great job. You should be too.

  5. > To shake the reputation, city officials adopted new sunshine rules modeled after San Jose’s.


    You mean like the “sunshine” illuminating the City of San Jose’s investigation and mishandling of the SJPD’s protective responsibilities associated with the left-wing mob violence at the June 2 Trump rally?

    That kind of “sunshine”?

    Doesn’t look like “sunshine” to me. Looks like a complete zip-lip, behind-closed-doors, don’t-say-anything coverup.

    By the way, it appears that the left-wing “community organizers” who planned and led the mob used a variation of the old 1968 Democrat Convention “chicks up front” riot strategy. Only, this time they recruited “juveniles” and arranged for them to be” up front” and commit all the violence. “Juveniles” are privileged in the criminal justice system and can’t be identified.

  6. … Nice to see the Fly does read comments, as the city name has been corrected from Sunnyvale to Santa Clara. How about reading the rest of the paragraph from Santa Clara’s lobbying ordinance about ATTORNEYS and labeling Yamaguma as being a “Mahan-marionette” seeing that she stopped short of posting the ENTIRE section which proves that, once again, Ms. Bress, is correct? And Ms. Mahan IS violating the ordinance! Got the stones to do that???

  7. Nice to see that some readers understand that I am actually providing factuality information that is important and needs to be made available to the public. There ar too many shenanigans in City Hall and too many issues being swept under the rug.

    Wonder what made city spokeswoman Jennifer to tell the whole truth? Maybe because today IS Tuesday … And there is a council meeting tonight.

    • Herb Moore,

      If that’s the best argument you’ve got, you lose. I don’t know Ms Bress, but she’s got my vote—thanx to Herb Moore.

      I don’t know the other folks mentioned, either, except for Mahan. But I do recall during the BAREC referendum meeting a few years ago, Mayor Mahan and an employee of Summerhill Homes put on a show for the public. Speakers were concerned about the added traffic the development would bring to the Winchester/Stevens Creek area, and one after another they made their concerns known to the Council.

      When it became apparent that the majority of attendees (who spilled out into the parking lot) and some Council members were opposed to the BAREC development, suddenly Summerhill’s spokeswoman jumped up (out of order), with cell phone in hand, and shouted that Summerhill was offering the Council an extra $300,000 to “mitigate traffic concerns”.

      Mayor Mahan took the pass and ran with it, easily deflecting the traffic issue. I could see the Council members were surprised and gratified at Summerhill’s spontaneous generosity. Eventually, the Council voted to approve Summerhill’s request—at about 2:45 am, after most of the public had left the meeting.

      A few months later I spoke casually with Council member Pat Kolstad, and during our discussion Summerhill’s offer came up. Kolstad said, “It’s funny, we never got any of that money.”

      At that point I knew my first impression was correct: Ms. Mahan needs an ethics course. So whenever I read articles like this, I assume where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

      Fool me once…

    • Interesting legal defense, Ms. Mahan.

      “Mahan wouldn’t discuss why Allvision hired her. (Santa Clara City Attorney) Nosky confirmed the city faces no litigation or other legal matters related to Allvision.”

      — Santa Clara: Former mayor and council candidate under investigation
      Ramona Giwargis, Mercury News–August 23

    • You are in fact, an attorney, lobbyist, bloodline legacy politician, influential and divisive community member. This position of power is both admirable and at the same time, something to be scrutinized carefully by the community.

  8. If we all had our wishes granted about government and politicians, all of the city halls, counties, states and federal
    institutions would be empty.

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