UPDATE, Aug. 22, 2016: Santa Clara spokeswoman Jennifer Yamaguma issued the following statement. “As the City of Santa Clara’s spokesperson, I would like to correct the previous statement regarding exemptions pursuant to the lobbying ordinance for Santa Clara. Please see section k(8) of Ordinance No. 1949, which reads, ‘Persons who are professionally licensed by a state organization pursuant to the California Business & Professions Code, including but not limited to, attorneys, architects and engineers; provided, however, the exemption for attorneys shall only by applicable if the attorney is engaged in the practice of law with respect to the subject of the employment.’”
UPDATE: City of Santa Clara spokeswoman Jennifer Yamaguma says Patricia Mahan, as an attorney, is exempt from the local lobbying ordinance. “[P]ersons who are professionally licensed by a state licensing organization, including but not limited to, attorneys are exempt from the lobbying ordinance,” Yamaguma told Fly.
Since entering the stadium business with the San Francisco 49ers, the city of Santa Clara has been dogged by allegations of backroom deals and influence peddling. To shake the reputation, city officials adopted new sunshine rules modeled after San Jose’s. The ordinance enacted last winter requires elected officials to publish their calendars online and lobbyists to publicly report who they’re representing. Former mayor and veteran councilwoman Patricia Mahan must’ve missed the memo. The estate-planning attorney, who’s again running for City Council, apparently lobbied on behalf of a billboard-ad broker at least seven times since May without having registered as a lobbyist. City Hall watchdog and conspiracy theorist Deborah Bress, who’s running against Rod Diridon Jr. for the City Clerk post and once accused the city of killing her dog, noticed the oversight while researching her ballot statement. In a letter sent this week to Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her council colleagues, Bress urges the city to take some kind of enforcement action. “As Ms. Mahan has recently self-identified herself as a council candidate, I believe it is even more important that this matter be done with urgency and not be swept under the rug,” Bress wrote. Mahan texted right before press time saying she had a medical issue and would respond Wednesday. Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe, who met with Mahan about the billboard business one of those seven times, tells Fly that she hopes the city investigates the apparent violations. “Cities are meant to be open and transparent,” says Watanabe, adding that she had no idea that Mahan hadn’t registered. “This definitely needs to be addressed, especially since we’re here in campaign season.”
This story will be updated.