Robert Mezzetti, 4th-generation Santa Claran, seeks seat on City Council
A trial attorney for more than 30 years, Robert Mezzetti wants to bring his litigation skills to Santa Clara's city council. Photo courtesy of Robert Mezzetti.

Having resided in Santa Clara for more than 50 years, and a fourth generation Santa Claran, Robert Mezzetti touts his roots and commitment to the city.

He says he is running for a seat on the Santa Clara City Council to safeguard the city he loves.

Mezzetti did not respond to interview requests.

On his “Mezzetti For Santa Clara District 6” Facebook page, the candidate said he wants to preserve the city’s character by promoting a pedestrian-friendly downtown in which small businesses flourish.

On his candidate statement, Mezzetti said he will protect established neighborhoods, especially near Stevens Creek Blvd., from over-development and traffic. He also notes watching his father represent residents against a housing development taught him to stand up for neighborhoods.

“Now, I want to stand up for our city,” Mezzetti said in his candidate statement. “Santa Clara is…home to some of the largest and most successful high-tech businesses. Despite that high profile, we are able to maintain the charm and heart of a small town allowing us to concentrate on and improve living conditions in the neighborhoods.”

To alleviate traffic, he says he envisions creating roundabouts in addition to retiming traffic signals. To beautify the city, he would implement a neighborhood tree planting program and build more parks and other recreational areas.

Aware of the economic disparity of city residents, Mezzetti would create affordable housing which maintains the character of Santa Clara’s neighborhoods.

To create jobs, housing and income for the city, Mezzetti said in his candidate statement he would push for smart development near Levi’s Stadium and Caltrain. He said he would work with city staff to move Santa Clara forward with “responsible and economically beneficial developments.”

Although new to Santa Clara city politics, Mezzetti has served on the City of San Jose Airport Noise Advisory Committee.

Mezzetti, who’s running against Anthony Becker and Gautam “Gary” Barve, earned the support of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, City Manager Don Von Raesfeld and District 6 Councilwoman Debi Davis, whose term expires in November.

Controversy as a lobbyist

Mezzetti’s candidacy is not without controversy. Mezzetti was a registered lobbyist representing a developer for Republic Metropolitan Santa Clara Station, located at the Santa Clara Caltrain Station across from the University of Santa Clara. This could present a conflict of interest because the City Council will vote on the project.

The project, described as a transit-oriented residential project in the Santa Clara General Plan, received an exclusive negotiating agreement from the City Council in 2017. It later became a student housing/affordable workforce housing development and is still pending before the City Council due to extensions.

Mezzetti said if elected, he would continue to legally represent the project but would recuse himself from voting.

In 2011, Mezzetti secured an exclusive negotiating agreement from the City Council on behalf of Joe Montana to build a luxury hotel near planned Levi’s Stadium. The project never materialized due to the city guaranteeing 800 parking spaces on the land for the stadium.

Public safety

Mezzetti is endorsed by Santa Clara Firefighters Local 1171 and Santa Clara Police Association. He graduated in 2014 from the Santa Clara Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy.

“I have learned that SCPD officers are polite, caring and respectful to all those with whom they interact,” Mezzetti said on his “Mezzetti For Santa Clara District 6” Facebook page. “At the same time, they provide our citizens the protection necessary to enjoy the safe and peaceful life we enjoy in the city of Santa Clara.”

After graduating from San Jose State University, Mezzetti attended law school at Santa Clara University, becoming a lawyer in 1984.

President of the Mezzetti Law Firm in San Jose, he has been a litigation and trial attorney for more than 30 years representing clients in wrongful termination and workplace harassment suits, and misappropriation of name and likeness suits for celebrities such as astronaut Neil Armstrong and Montana.

“With my professional expertise, we can avoid lawsuits, or win them for our residents,” Mezzetti wrote on his campaign statement. “Currently, the council doesn’t have a litigator. We’re frequently sued. The 49ers alone have filed seven actions against Santa Clara.”

In addition to wanting all of the city’s residents to be tested for COVID-19, Mezzetti said he would help those who have suffered from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Resident Dennis Bennett, who has known Mezzetti for 40 years, said the candidate is straight forward, honest, has excellent people skills and will be a tireless advocate for the city.

According to campaign finance reports, Mezzetti raised $8,905 and spent $2,455 this year until Sept. 19.

AT A GLANCE

Name: Robert Mezzetti
Age: 65
Family: Married, 4 kids, 6 grandchildren
Political affiliation: Democrat
Education: San Jose State University, Santa Clara University Law School.
Profession: Attorney
Current or previous elected or appointed positions: City of San Jose Airport Noise Advisory Committee.
Top 3 priorities: Safety, economy, preserving neighborhoods
Top 3 endorsements: Mayor Lisa Gillmor, City Manager Don Von Raesfeld, Councilmember Debi Davis
Special talent: Litigation
In one sentence, why vote for you? I’m standing strong for Santa Clara.

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]

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