Santa Clara Councilmember’s Redistricting Concerns At Odds With Track Record

As California preps to lose one congressional seat by 2022, one Santa Clara councilmember is proactively trying to ensure her city won’t get switched out.

Kathy Watanabe requested city elected officials discuss writing to the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission, the 14-member nonpartisan committee in charge of scratching out new district boundary lines as they assign the state’s more than 39 million residents federal representation.

Ahead of a July 6 council meeting, Watanabe argued Santa Clara should stay snuggled alongside CA17’s suburbs—Cupertino, Fremont, Milpitas, Newark, Sunnyvale and portions of San Jose—because it is “home to the largest Asian American Pacific Islander population of any Congressional district in the United States, which is something we should support maintaining and be proud of.”

That beaming tone about the Mission City’s minority populations doesn’t exactly pair well with Watanabe’s council track record.

Despite boasting about her blended Asian American family, the two-term councilor stubbornly (and unsuccessfully) fought a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit—twice—arguing minority voters weren’t disadvantaged by the city’s previous at-large system, going so far as to separate herself from a fellow councilmember’s apology to Santa Clarans denied fair representation.

Watanabe also caught flack in 2018 for concerns that soccer games attract a “different crowd” than American football, and her March 2021 refusal to hand the mic to the city’s only Korean American council member at a #StopAsianHate event ended with her censure.

It’s not exactly clear why a different district would prove problematic, as CA17’s U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna aligned with District 19 Rep. Zoe Lofgren in 98% of House votes in 2019-20. Lofgren represents residents in San Martin, Morgan Hill and portions of Gilroy, San Jose and unincorporated Santa Clara County.

But as Khanna has historically endorsed Watanabe, City Hall insiders have only one guess as to why Watanabe crafted the odd letter: political fealty.

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6 Comments

  1. Watanabe is a full blown racist and a hypocrite. She works for Khanna.

    Watanabe is rude to all minorities and insists she have a moment when she is a minority person walking so she can walk thr other way

  2. San Jose Inside and “The Fly” what a joke! Watanabe and Gillmor are the only two on the Santa Clara City Council that actually care and due the right thing for all the citizens of Santa Clara. The other five, Jain, Park, Becker, Chahal and Hardy are just bought and paid for shills of the 49ers, just like this rag of a blog.

  3. Okay Robert Haugh,
    We’ve all had enough of your tripe.
    Is the reason you don’t post your name is because you’re going to trail for sexual assault? And no one cares to hear what you have to say?
    This 49er narrative is worn out just like your credibility as a “writer”.
    Get your life together.

  4. 1. arguing minority voters weren’t disadvantaged by the city’s previous at-large system +
    2. soccer games attract a “different crowd” than American football +
    3. refusal to hand the mic to the city’s only Korean American = ???

    Even if these opinions and behaviors have been reported accurately here (which would be surprising), to insinuate the sum total has any significant meaning is absurd. This story is a hit piece, plain and simple, one that informs readers of nothing other than the author’s bias.

  5. The cult group is back.

    Is Myers still pushing cider vinegar for covid?

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