Politics, Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale City Council: Election Notes

This year there will be an election for four of the seven seats on the Sunnyvale City Council.

Mapping Out the Council

I found a nice web site that summarizes campaign contributions for the different candidates. As I have only recently taken an interest in the City Council, it helps me paint a crude picture of the council as it exists today. There seems to be a core majority and an independent minority.

Caveat: it has been pointed out to me that my data source is not entirely accurate. Raw data can be obtained directly from the city. Unfortunately, that data is provided in PDF format. If I find a convenient way to parse the data out of those PDF files, I’ll take a crack a re-doing the Financial Backings visualization, below.

Heading up the “Core” are Mayor Glenn Hendricks and Vice Mayor Gustav Larsson, who have each received overwhelmingly large sums from the National Association of Realtors Fund.

Jim Griffith is an Software Engineer who has mainly bankrolled his own campaigns. He is the only second-term member of the council, thus his cumulative financial backing is larger than most members of the council, with the exception of Mayor Hendricks and Vice Mayor Larsson. Jim maintains a blog about city council activities at dweeb.org.

Next are what I would label the “Friends” which includes Larry Klein and Tara Martin-Milius. Klein very recently won a special election held in August after the resignation of Dave Whittum. Neither of these candidates have the volume of donations as Hendricks, Larsson or Griffith, but the Inner Core have made friendly contributions to the Friends. Martin-Milius has received contributions from Hendricks, Larsson, and Griffith while Klein has received contributions from Hendricks and Griffith.

The Inner Core and Friends make up a five-member majority. Council motions are often made and carried with minimal dissent.

Beyond the Core are the two “Independents.” Jim Davis‘ campaign contributions are mainly from non-resident individuals, none from the Core members. He generally votes along with the Core, though he did vote against the Maude Ave bike lane, an issue which I took a special interest in. Pat Meyering‘s campaign is completely self-funded. He often clashes with Mayor Hendricks and other members of the council.

Mapping Out the Election

The Deep Pockets (Hendricks, Larsson, Griffith) are not up for election this year, but everyone else is.

Seat 4: Recently won by Larry Klein, is challenged by John Cordes and Mike McCarthy. Klein, who recently served on the Planning Commission, is backed by a few Business and Real Estate PACS, and several residents, including the Core council members, and Stephen Williams, who ran against him in the special election. John Cordes, who also ran against Klein in the special election, is an environmentalist who serves on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. He is mainly self-funded, with an even split between resident and non-resident contributions, and a single PAC donation from the California League of Conservation Voters. Mike McCarthy is entirely self-funded.

Seat 5: Incumbent Pat Meyering is solely self-funded, and I could not find a campaign web site. He is challenged by Russell Melton, who has served several terms on the Planning Commission, and has the support of several developers, the Core council members, and numerous individuals. Melton also managed Mayor Hendricks’ successful 2013 City Council campaign.

Seat 6: Incumbent Jim Davis is a former Public Safety Officer who has served many government and community organizations. He is funded mainly by non-resident individuals. Challenger Nancy Smith has chaired the Santa Clara County Water District Environmental and Water Resources Committee, and is funded by several residents and non-residents.

Seat 7: Incumbent Tara Martin-Milius is funded in the main by several individuals, including Core council members, along with business and real estate contributions. She is challenged by unfunded Ron Banks and self-funded Michael Goldman.

Visualizing the Council and the Election

In an attempt at objectivity, I have compiled the following table to provide a quick reference to in understanding the Council and the election. I welcome feedback, especially factual corrections.

Seat Name Financial Backing Background Web Site Video Statement
Seat 1 Gustav Larsson ███ ███ ████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ████ ████ █████ ███████ Engineer at Ciena
Planning Commissioner
Seat 2 Glenn Hendricks ███ ███ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ █████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██ ████ █████████ █████ ████ ██████████ ████ Manager at PayPal
Marine Corps
Seat 3 Jim Griffith ██ ██████ ███████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ ████████ ██████ ██████████ ██ █████ ██████████ ██████ Software Engineer at Apple
Numerous Government Activities
Seat 4 Larry Klein ████████ ███ ███████ ██ Staff Engineer at Qnovo
Planning Commission
larryforcouncil.com YouTube
John Cordes ██████████ ██ Consultant
Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission
john4sunnyvale.org YouTube
Mike McCarthy █████ CEO at Green Galaxy Homes
Plaza Del Rey Residents Association
Seat 5 Pat Meyering Attorney pat4residents.com YouTube
Russell Melton ██ ██████████ ██████████ ██████████ █████ ███ ██ █████████ Campaign Manager
Planning Commission
meltonforcouncil.com YouTube
Seat 6 Jim Davis ███ ████████ Sunnyvale Public Safety Officer
Numerous Government Activities
Nancy Smith ██████ ██████████ █████ ██████████ Program Manager at NVIDIA
Santa Clara County Water District Environmental and Water Resources Committee
nancysmith.org YouTube
Seat 7 Tara Martin-Milius ██ ████████ █████ ██████████ ████ ██████████ ██████ Teacher, UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley
San Miguel Neighbors Association
taraforcouncil.org YouTube
Ron Banks YouTube
Michael Goldman ██████ michaelsgoldman.com YouTube

Financial Backing Key
██████████ represents $10,000
█ represents $1,000

Business PAC
Real Estate PAC
Elected Official PAC
Political Party
Political Committee
Environmental PAC
Social Issues PAC
Union PAC
Source: http://www.specialinterestwatch.org/, cumulative contributions through June 30, 2016

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