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Community Letter about Unfounded FPPC Complaint

Post Date:03/25/2020 4:20 PM

From the Office of the City Manager

 

March 25, 2020

Dear Santa Clara Community,

As we all continue to be focused on the latest updates and news regarding COVID-19, I want to take a moment to share some other news that was received today by the City of Santa Clara.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) notified the City, in a letter dated March 25, 2020, that it won’t pursue “an enforcement action” based on allegations, submitted by former Councilmember Patricia M. Mahan, against Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor, City Clerk Hosam Haggag, City Manager Deanna J. Santana and City Attorney Brian Doyle, about public outreach done for Measure C. Mahan’s sworn complaint was submitted to the FPPC on Feb. 20, 2020.

The complaint alleged that City officials used public resources to campaign in favor of Measure C, which would have amended the City Charter to elect councilmembers by district. City officials, who had ensured that their activities were fully within the law, were heartened by the Commission’s decision.

I want to reassure our residents that your City officials are very knowledgeable of the election laws around the use of public funds for campaigning and mass mailing. The City only provides educational outreach materials regarding elections for the purpose of informing its residents of upcoming elections or ballot information. The mass mailing, sent by the City, involved local election information that is permissible by state law.

City Clerk Hosam Haggag was also pleased but not surprised by this outcome. “It comes as no surprise to the City that the FPPC dismissed this frivolous complaint,” said City Clerk Hosam Haggag who was among those named in the complaint. “Providing educational information to residents is what the City has done in the past and is one of my duties as your elections official. We will continue to encourage residents to engage in civic participation and will not be dissuaded by hollow threats and baseless allegations.”

This is not the first failed FPPC allegation brought against the City. In a letter dated Oct. 9, 2018, the City was informed by the FPPC that based on its “review of the complaint and the documents provided, the Enforcement Division found insufficient evidence of a violation of the Act, and will not pursue an enforcement action in this matter.”

The Mayor has also commented that, “This is not the first-time that former Councilmember Mahan used this tactic to discredit the good work of City officials and staff. She filed the same allegations two years ago with the same FPPC outcome—which was that her allegations had no merit and were fully dismissed,” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor “I want to thank the City for continuing to provide good public information and education for voters.”  

The City’s Measure C educational information, which included mailers and flyers, is available on the City website. Now that these allegations have been proven false, we must set aside our differences and come together as a community during these uncertain times. In my role as the City’s Director of Emergency Services, I can assure you that we have the best professional and ethical team in place that’s working around the clock to help us navigate this public health emergency.

In community spirit,

Deanna J. Santana

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