Santa Clara Council Divided, Embattled Councilmember Becker Stays For Now

Santa Clara Council Divided, Embattled Councilmember Becker Stays For NowSanta Clara Government Website
Tony Ng
Published on June 08, 2023

In a contentious meeting on June 7, 2023, the Santa Clara City Council voted 4-2 against scheduling a future debate over whether embattled Councilmember Anthony Becker should resign, revealing deep divisions among councilmembers according to San José Spotlight. Becker, who pleaded not guilty to leaking a confidential civil grand jury report and subsequent allegations that he attempted to frame Mayor Lisa Gillmor for his actions, managed to hold onto his position, for now.

While the council's recent decision may offer a temporary reprieve for Becker, it is unlikely to quell the growing concerns regarding the impact of his case on Santa Clara's political landscape; a landscape that is already coping with the powerful influence of the San Francisco 49ers and the potential for further political turbulence. This comes after transcripts obtained by The Mercury News, reported here on Hoodline in early May, revealing Becker's alleged admission to fellow Councilmember Suds Jain that he did, in fact, leak the confidential grand jury report titled "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" and his subsequent attempt to frame Mayor Gillmor for it.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that the San Francisco 49ers, who have a contentious relationship with the city over Levi's Stadium and political influence, are financially backing Becker's political career. Santa Clara County prosecutors stated that the football team spent at least $3.2 million through independent expenditure committees for Becker's 2020 City Council race and a failed mayoral bid last year, per The Associated Press. This financial support raises questions about the extent of the 49ers' influence in the city and the decisions made by its elected officials.

Adding further intrigue to an already volatile political situation, Rahul Chandhok, the former chief spokesperson for the 49ers, testified on March 21 that Santa Clara City Councilman Anthony Becker had illegally provided him with the confidential report, and then lied to the grand jury about it, as reported by The AP. This testimony, combined with mounting allegations of corruption, hypocrisy, and unethical ties to the 49ers, prompted local business leader Kirk Vartan and other residents to call for Becker's resignation, as we reported here on Hoodline.

Mayor Gillmor has also called for Becker's resignation, while some council colleagues defend him, as noted by ABC7 News. As the saga unfolds, with new dimensions emerging in this complex legal drama, Santa Clara's political landscape finds itself in the eye of the storm, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the city's leadership and its relationship with the 49ers.

As Santa Clara's politicians and residents brace for the next chapter in this ever-evolving drama, the ongoing legal battle between Councilmember Becker, the 49ers, and the city risks further splintering the already strained relationships within the council and the community as a whole. With Becker's court date set for August 2, the city's future governance and the viability of its contentious political alliances remain uncertain, as the storm surrounding this embattled councilmember continues to intensify.