On Fake “News” and Character

Have you ever wondered why the only sites the council majority bloc can find to support their agenda are blogs run by individuals and not legitimate news sites?

It is because they were set up by Gillmor. And Teresa O’Neill.

Many people glossed over my earlier post on the root of the problem in Santa Clara. But many did not, and were shocked. The blog site that touts itself as a “Santa Clara News” organization is run by a person approached by Gillmor and O’Neill back in 2016, when the full-on assault on truth started in the city.

Back in 2016 Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Teresa O’Neill were actively looking for a captive news channel and proposed the project to fired Weekly employee Robert Haugh, according to texts in The Weekly’s possession. [Texts]
“Teresa and Lisa are going to take me to lunch sometime next week to discuss news in Santa Clara and ideas how there could be another news medium digital based,” Haugh texted in September 2016.

The Silicon Valley Voice; https://www.svvoice.com/santa-clara-spin-docs-fingerprints-on-questionable-news-site/

That was the year that Gillmor took to military tactics and tried to control the media. Not content with just community demagogues, it seems that the council majority bloc also tried to set up an alternative-to-news site that espoused their views and pushed their agenda. And now this site is the main (only?) site that is used by the Police Officers Association PAC and pro-city material to attack the independent candidates.

It is also not surprising that legitimate news organizations, like The Mercury News, have embraced the independents and all but abandoned Gillmor’s candidates, including Teresa O’Neill.

It’s hard to overstate the need for new faces on the Santa Clara City Council.

To understand why, consider some of the council’s failures: Bungling of the costly voting rights lawsuit against the city; poor relationships with neighboring cities; overpaying of high-ranking staff; and the ongoing, costly legal battles with the San Francisco 49ers over management of Levi’s Stadium. All at considerable expense to Santa Clara taxpayers.

The heart of the problem is that three councilwomen — Kathy Watanabe, Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill — vote in lockstep with Mayor Lisa Gillmor on Santa Clara issues. Gillmor is smart and knowledgeable. But her combative, “my way or the highway” approach to governing hurts the city.

O’Neill is smart and experienced, but her reputation as an independent thinker when she came onto the council has disappeared in recent years.

The Mercury News, 22 September 2020 Editorial

And it seems that Teresa O’Neill’s character has also disappeared. Or has been revealed.

Teresa O’Neill was always “friendly” with the owner of the previous anti-resident blog “The Mission City Lantern”, but it is still surprising that she would take such an active role in forming its replacement when the old blog was taken down. A big difference is that although the previous blog was acerbic and biting, it was full of insights and misdirected intelligence; “Santa Clara News” has none of that and needs the support of other shills using false identities to support its factoids.

I ran against Teresa O’Neill in 2016, noting her investment in cigarette companies on her 700 form. Although those have been replaced, Teresa O’Neill — a self-described conservationist — still has a number of fossil fuel investments in her portfolio according to her 700 form. And it seems that her investments in oil and gas have only gone up through the years.

Teresa O’Neill also claims to support minority representation and rights, while supporting the city’s lawsuit fighting the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) and backing measures that would have made it harder for minorities to get on council. Not only did Teresa O’Neill not have any support for her claims promoting minority representation, she was not even correct about the districting process the council foisted on the city. Dishonest, or merely “mistaken”?

Teresa O’Neill, a supposed housing advocate, failed — as both planning commissioner and council member — at pushing for additional housing units at large projects that were already planned for high density. It was the residents who got the developer to add more housing units on the Hunter/Storm project, and projects like the Town Centre have no housing whatsoever — even though it was always zoned for Regional Mixed Use, one of the densest definitions. People do not realize that by not putting density where density is planned, it pushes more density to areas where density was not planned, like existing neighborhoods. And Teresa O’Neill has shown that she would approve it if it came up. The point is not to have one or the other, but a healthy mix, and it seems like that is a complication beyond council majority comprehension or support.

Teresa O’Neill is known in the bicycling community, but there has been no real change to the state or safety of bicycling in Santa Clara. While Teresa O’Neill drives her pickup truck when the weather gets rough and the bicycle trails get a coat of fresh paint, the paths are not any safer or better paved, and improvements such as bollards, separation from vehicular traffic, benches for rest, increased bicycle racks, and bicycle “oases” that could be used by families for rest, water, and repair go unsupported. I advocated for developments along trails to put in these “oases” as part of their community support and neighborhood outreach, but was rejected every single time. Why would someone else on council not pick up the points?

The sad fact is that none of these revelations are actually “new”. Teresa O’Neill has been like this pretty consistently through the years, and that is one of the reasons I run against her. Teresa O’Neill’s followers have changed as well, and I suspect that it is people who listen to her words and ignore her actions, or remember her parents and give a pass to their children, who are still in support, as critical individuals, news agencies, and organizations fall away — individuals like me.

Character is revealed, not purchased. People can change, but not always for the better. And some people seem like they have moved backward because it is we who have progressed.