2020 Election: Santa Clara City Council Candidates

by Carolyn Schuk

POSTED 12:28, July 22, 2020


This year four Santa Clara districts will elect their first-ever district representatives.

District 1

Harbir Bhatia

Currently vice chair of the Santa Clara Cultural Commission and Strategic Planning chair for the City Library Foundation & Friends Board, Bhatia is a consultant providing internet technical and marketing services, as well as developing corporate community relations programs. Bhatia has received California State Assembly honors for Leadership in Business and Community Heroes.

Bhatia serves as: deputy board member at Joint Venture Silicon Valley, media chair for international tech business conference TiE Inflect, Santa Clara PAL board member, America India Foundation Local Coordinator, Advisor to the non-profit JOY of Sewa and Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce Board Member.


Kathy Watanabe – Incumbent

Appointed to the seat in early 2016 and she won later that year, Watanabe is a retired  legal assistant. She represents the City on the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), San Jose/Santa Clara Treatment Plant Advisory Committee, Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Counties Airport/Community Roundtable and the Grand Boulevard Task Force/El Camino Real.

Before joining the City Council, Watanabe worked to pass the Community College District Measure A parcel tax and the City referendum to build Levi’s Stadium, Measure J. She has served as Sister Cities Association president and on the Santa Clara Board of Library Trustees.


District 4

Teresa O’Neill – Incumbent

A retired contracts manager for a tech company and a Santa Clara native, O’Neill was first elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016. O’Neill represents the City at the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) Board of Directors and Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA).

Before being elected to the Council, O’Neill served on the City Planning Commission, Santa Clara Unified Board of Trustees, 2011 Charter Review Committee, General Plan Steering Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee and the Triton Museum Board. She currently serves on the Santa Clara Schools Foundation Board and is a member of the St. Justin Parish Community Outreach Team.

Kevin Park

A member of Santa Clara’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee, Park has served on the City’s International Commission (since merged into the Cultural Commission) and the General Plan Steering Committee. He has taught at local colleges and, as a volunteer, teaches programming and leadership to grade school and high school students.

Park is an engineer and has served on the Sister Cities Association Board, Silicon Valley Korean-American Federation Board and Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Arts in Education.

A third candidate, John Frazzini, has pulled papers to run in District 4, but has published no information about his campaign.

District 5

Suds Jain

A member and former chair of the City’s Planning Commission, Jain is a retired electrical engineer. He currently serves on the: El Camino Real Citizens Advisory Committee, BART/VTA Santa Clara Community Working Group, Chief of Police Advisory Committee, Santa Clara Affordable Housing Nexus Fee committee and Santa Clara Citizens Advisory Committee. Jain also chaired the 2019 Charter Review Committee.

Co-founder and co-director of the Wilcox High School robotics club, Jain has taught algebra, Climate Change and Hour of Code; and, as a volunteer, maintained Washington Open School’s computers. Jain is an Old Quad Residents Association Board Member and former VP, and Committee Chair of Santa Clara Cub Scout Pack 32.

Bob O’Keefe

Native Santa Claran, Bob O’Keefe is a retired Highway Patrol lieutenant overseeing all CHP patrol operations in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

O’Keefe has served on the residents subcommittee to the Council’s Neighborhood University Relations Committee (NURC) and continues to participate in the NURC. He’s also a Board Member and Treasurer of the Old Quad Resident’s Association and participates as a resident in the Planning Department’s zoning code overhaul.

District 6

Gautam Barve

A self-employed Software Engineer, Barve is an Ambassador for Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee.

Anthony Becker

Santa Clara native Becker currently serves on the Planning Commission and just finished a stint as commission chair.

He is also on the Santa Clara County Measure A Citizens’ Oversight Committee and chaired the Santa Clara Architectural Committee. Becker is a Content Moderator Specialist for social media companies, a video producer, and Founder and Board Member of the civil rights non-profit DREAM: Santa Clara.

Robert Mezzetti

Another Santa Clara native, attorney Mezzetti’s San José-based law firm handles a wide range of general civil litigation and legal representation. Mezzetti serves on City of San Jose Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) and Mitty High School Board of Regents.

*Santa Clara’s lifetime term limits were passed in 2016. Because of state laws about retroactive legislation, the limits only apply to elected terms after 2016.


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