Community Political Action--UC Agricultural Center, Santa Clara, CA

Current Elected Officials and Some Background

City of Santa Clara BAREC info

Our elected officials need to see that there are many citizens who support BAREC. Write to them even if it is a short note. Numbers count in politics. The most important thing is that we get one more vote on the Santa Clara City Council to Keep Some of the Land Zoned Agriculture. Try to get these elected Officials to influence the Santa Clara City Council in this direction.

THE TWO MOST LIKELY SANTA CLARA COUNCIL MEMBERS TO VOTE FOR AT LEAST SOME LAND REMAINING ZONED AS AGRICULTURE ARE ALDYTH PARLE. Aldyth Parle is the oldest council member and is focused on Senior Housing. She should be happy because senior housing appears to be happening on the property. It is possible she would vote supporting some land remaining zoned agriculture. Creating a unique situation for seniors (like activities for children, gardens and garden classes, senior horticultural therapy programs, a historical museum) might get her interested in saving some of the land. In February the three city council members who voted in favour of open space are Mayor Patricia Mahan, John McLemore, and Dominic Caserta. The other four voted for housing with research as to possible open space funding ideas (which has not yet been done satisfactorily even after 3 ½ months). The two most unlikely candidates to vote for open space are Jamie Matthews, who received campaign money from the State’s consultants and a great deal of money from developers outside the Valley, and Patrick Kolstad, the only Republican council member. The City’s Ethical Code frowns on council members receiving campaign money on issues they vote on. For this reason, it is hoped that Jamie Matthews is forced to recuse himself from voting on the BAREC issues. If he recuses himself, the vote will be a tie.

The two that represent the BAREC property are Senator John Vasconcellos and Assembly Member Rebecca Cohn. Neither have strong interests in the property nor are they strong on environmental and land use issues. Senator Vasconcellos has 1 ½ years left in his term. Assembly Member Sally Leiber represents most of the City of Santa Clara but not the exact location of the property. She feels there is a problem because there are Assembly rules against going into another elected official's district, in this case Rebecca Cohn’s district. The strange shapes of the State Assembly and Senate Districts makes this a very real problem for BAREC. However, if they really see the value to their constitutients, they can do anything and this is just an excuse. Sally Lieber has interests more in line with the BAREC property (environmental, health, open space, sustainability, non-traditional learners, and “enhancing local government’s collaboration with our schools and community organizations”) than Cohn and Vasconcellos. Assembly Member Joe Smitian and Senator Byron Sher are both former Palo Alto mayors and represent northern Santa Clara County. Senator Sher is a former Stanford law professor, Chairman of the Environmental Quality Committee with interests in natural areas and not agriculture and urban ecology. He is on the Budget Review Committee. He will be termed out in 1 ½ years and is concentrating on the Valley’s linear creek trails and the Salt Marshes. Assemblyman Smitian is currently the most interested. His interests, more than any other elected official, are aligned with the BAREC property. He has degrees in law and city planning, was School Board President, Santa Clara County Supervisor, is on the Budget Subcommitte for Education Finance, and received UC’s 2002 Legislator of the Year award. He will be running for the Senate seat of Senator Sher. We will be fortunate to have him help us. Rebecca Cohn and former Assembly Member Elaine Alquist will be running for Vasconcellos’ Senate. Alquist followed Vasconcellos when he was termed out of his Assembly seat and, therefore, is probably aligned with Vasconcellos to obtain his endorsement.. She was on the Cupertino School Board so has strong interests in education. She was Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Ageing and also the Technology Information Committee.

U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren and U. S. Representative Mike Honda represent the region on the federal level. Both are on the Science Committee and are interested in Education and Technology. Representative Lofgren was a lawyer and taught law at Santa Clara University. Their contributions could be the following: (1) Funding sources in particular the $1 Billion available from the Federal Farmland Protection Program; (2) National historical status for both the 1920 house and for the agricultural land; (3) What governmental organization replaced the national Grand Army of the Republic? If it was the Federal Department of Veteran Affairs, then the federal government owns one of several parcels of this land because the land was given to the Women’s Relief Corps, the local organization for the Grand Army of the Republic. Also, the money to build the 1920’s building was raised by the Women’s Relief Corps. (4) Given the 1860’s federal government’s Land Grant College system, is it possible to remove a UC agricultural research facility for California's Central Coast Bioregion and not replace it?


CITY (Santa Clara)
Full list of Council members
Email Santa Clara City Council

Office of Assembly Member Joe Smitian
Karen Brunton, Environmental Issues Specialist
160 Town and Country Village
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Fax 650-688-6336

Office of Assembly Member Sally Lieber
Kim Williams, Environmental Issues Specialist
100 Paseo de San Antonio, Room 300
San Jose, CA 95113
Fax 408-277-2684

Office of Senator Byron Sher
Mike Potter, Environmental Issues Specialist

100 Paseo de San Antonio, Suite 206
San Jose, CA 95113

Send a pre-formatted letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Choose the letter that best states your opinion
and send these immediately:
Letter 1 - PDF Format
Letter 2 - PDF Format
Letter 3 - PDF Format
Letter 4 - PDF Format

You can also send an email backup to insure your letter is read by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Email, send a letter, or call him at:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-445-4633 (fax)

Office of Assembly Member Rebecca Cohn
Nicholas Ammann, Environmental Issues Specialist
901 Campisi Way, Suite 300
Campbell, CA 95008

Office of Senator John Vasconcellos
Jim Weston, Environmental Specialist Jim.
100 Paseo San Antonio, Suite 209
San Jose, CA 95113

Elaine Alquist, Campaign Office for Senate
PO Box 1192
Santa Clara, CA 95052
408-985-4172 or 408-985-4124

US Representative Mike Honda
Matt Bostick, Environmental Assistant

1999 So. Bascom Avenue, Suite 815
Campbell, CA 95008

US Representative Zoe Lofgren
San Jose Office Manager
635 North First
San Jose, CA 95112-5110

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