Thursday, August 31, 2006

As the blogosphere turns...

Another blog has hit the scene: http://www.rant.sv411.com. The blog is run by seasoned politico Rich Robinson. The orientation seems decisively liberal. However, the blog is courteously (and curiously) supported by http://www.sv411.com. We, here, at MW say - the more blogs, the merrier!

If you have a germane blog, post it up in the comments!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Anonymity and Accountability

At the beginning of the month, I was surprised to see that MayorWatch had caught the attention of the Metro. In its article "Who's Watching Mayor Watch?" (http://www.metroactive.com/metro/08.09.06/fly-0632.html), the Metro criticized this site for remaining anonymous while criticizing Chuck Reed for not being upfront with his politics. They wrote:

SJ Rookie and Governator Jr. have refused to identify themselves, although they ironically demand that Reed be up-front about his party affiliation in a nonpartisan race.

To me, this logic was a little twisted. For starters, why does the fact that the election is officially 'nonpartisan' matter? To pretend like this election isn't politically charged is absurd. Chuck's attacks against Cindy have centered around labor and spending - two issues that are partisan litmus tests to most. A political affiliation is seen as shortcut for many voters. Attempting to gain support by tapping into both voter bases by using BOTH shortcuts is problematic. His political identity must be front and center especially when Chuck is calling himself a Democrat and yet proudly boasting of his endorsements by Republicans (like Republican Women's Associations - read here.) Reed supporters may challenge this analysis by arguing that Chuck's nuanced political ideals cannot fit into this partisan dichotomy. That might, indeed, be the case. But insofar as Chuck is using these shortcuts to gain support, he owes it to the voters to outline what his true political values are. MayorWatch's point was that if he is claiming to be a Democrat - in an area where a majority of voters are Democrat - we should challenge him to be true to the political ideals of the party. If, for example, he were truly a Democrat, why would he be supported by a website like FreeRepublic.com? Click here to see his banner posted in a discussion board by supporters on a website that includes on its front page "THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA" and "PROLIFE" tabs on the top. To me, it makes no sense. (But remember this article - which discussed Chuck Reed's vote on 3/4/2004 opposing the city's recognition of same-sex marriage and on 9/20/2005 opposing a resolution urging the Gov to sign the Civil Marriage Protection Act.

The Metro alleged that it was hypocritical to request that Chuck be open about his political affiliation while MayorWatch remained anonymous. These issues are as different as apples and oranges. We, the contributors, are politically interested students. Kids. Trying to make some sense out of this election. It is a tad ironic that the anonymity of this site was criticized by a columnist known only as "The Fly" (read the bottom of the Metro article...) Remember who purports to be the REAL journalists in this blogosphere. It reminds me a bit of when John Stewart was on Crossfire and was criticized by Tucker Carlson for making jokes out of politics. (See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmZkw169xEI).

It's interesting that this site gets picked on for anonymity when letters to the editor like this one are printed in the Mercury News:

Chavez missed important event

As a Democrat, I found it odd that mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez chose not to attend the COMPAC barbecue because of the mailers that attacked her (Page 1B, Aug. 25). Chavez claims she has the skills to bring people together, create jobs and become mayor; I don't think boycotting the COMPAC barbecue is a sign of a strong person, nor is it a sign of someone who can overcome differences and bring people together. It's time to get over it; there are more important matters in San Jose that a mayoral candidate should be concerned about.

Denelle Fedor
San Jose


Fedor, after all, was a legislative assistant to Pat Dando. (Check here, for reference.) It should come as no surprise, then, when Fedor - who has written in twice asking to draft Dando to run for Mayor in years past (here and here) - attacks Cindy for not attending an event that raised money that eventually will be spent against her.

Those who have been paid by the very machine that is going after Cindy should not be able to pretend like their letters to the editor are from objective democrats. Come on... we at least admit to our biases...

"Long Time Listener, First Time Caller"

After email after email pestering SJ Rook and Gov. Jr, I have finally been given my own column on MW! Like most readers, I have been a big fan of the site. Also, like most readers, I am an avid reader of blogs that follow SJ politics. Along with SJ Rookie and Governator, I believe that this mayoral election and its coverage need a fresh perspective and a fresh voice. That's where I come in! My email address will be posted on the side soon! Like the other authors on the site, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pandori Gets a Second Chance

David Pandoori must feel like a reality show contestant right now - as if he had been voted off but then put right back in the running after Brandi chose him to compete in the Wildcard round. Although he came in 3rd in the June primary, he will be back in the mayoral race… if the good people at San Jose Inside get their way that is.

Many voters feel dissatisfied with both mayoral candidates, just as they did with both 2004 presidential candidates. Indeed, the language of “the lesser of two evils” and “anybody but (blank)” is all too familiar. So Single Gal, a weekly contributor to SanJoseInside.com, suggested this week that the voters of San Jose elect David Pandori by write-in. It would be a monumental risk for Pandori to actually campaign to be elected via write-in. If he wins, he makes history and garnishes national attention. If he loses, he looks like a sore loser and even worse, a double loser. As Single Gal points out, Pandori is a good guy – he has a solid background in government and good values.

So why should I have to choose between two candidates that I’m not crazy about? In 2004, my values may have aligned more with Ralph Nader’s. But I voted for John Kerry despite the fact that I’ve found dog crap on my shoe with more personality than that guy. I didn’t want to “waste my vote”. Well thank God I put my vote to good use on Kerry. The point is this – voting for someone who is not going to win is not a wasted vote. Maybe if more people had voted for Ralph Nader, the Democratic Party would get the message that they’re losing their base in their attempt to reach out to moderates (i.e. all the lame Democratic senators who voted for the Iraq War). Even if your vote won’t make a difference in the actual outcome of the race, it will make a difference in the sense of mandate that the winner feels and can contribute in the long-run to the evolution of your party’s platform. So don’t let anyone tell you not to vote in the 2008 Presidential election just because California is not a “swing state” and don’t let them tell you not to write-in David Pandori just because he probably won’t win.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who Would You Rather Eat With?

At the San Jose Jazz Festival Gala on Thursday, Al Castellano bid $18,000 to win a lunch date with the future mayor of San Jose. Al doesn’t know where the lunch will be or whether it will be with Chuck Reed or Cindy Chavez. Personally, I feel the two determinants of a good meal are food and company. Al must be an adventurous man because he doesn’t know either. So let’s speculate what his lunch could be like…

Doodle doodle doo…. Doodle doodle doo…

If Chuck Reed wins the election…

Al is waiting at home for his date with Chuck. When Al hears the trademark horn of the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, he knows that it’s 12am sharp, and Chuck is waiting for him outside. He takes Al to a traditional restaurant, that’s also very cheap. Probably Applebees. Chuck orders the 12-ounce steak with a side of Freedom Fries for only $6.99. They converse about new technology and Chuck explains his confusion about the “tiny new audio box called a Me-Pod?!?” Chuck then reprimands Al when he casually places an elbow on the tabletop. The bill comes. And Chuck is one of those guys who thinks the waiter has to earn his tip. Because this waiter didn’t do anything above and beyond expectations, Chuck leaves an 8% tip.

If Cindy Chavez wins the election…

Cindy pulls up in front of Al’s home in a slick Grand Prix Race Car. She takes Al to the restaurant furthest from wherever Ron Gonzales is eating that day. Cindy is a little younger, so she talks with Al about what movies are hot. She also has a five-year-old son so those movies are likely to include Disney Channel Original Movies. Some Mercury News reporters are probably hiding nearby and are ready to write headlines about any misstep. If she orders a Diet Coke, the Merc will say “Cindy Chavez Encourages Anorexia!” If she whispers when she orders appetizers, the Merc will proclaim “Chavez Makes Secret Deals with Waitress!” And if she leaves an 18% tip, the Merc will declare “Chavez Approves Unreasonable Subsidy!” Hopefully, Cindy’s husband Mike Potter doesn’t enter the restaurant in a jealous rage and whoop on poor Al.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Good Day For Cindy Chavez

Today, Cindy Chavez has more than just the nice weather to smile about. Despite the Mercury News talking more smack than the girls on Flavor of Love, Cindy can finally open the paper and see someone else’s name being dragged through the mud. Now it’s Pat Dando’s turn. The Mercury reported today that Dando also joined Mayor Gonzales in approving the $11.25 million for Norcal. During her testimony before the Grand Jury, Dando nervously asked, “Will this be made public?” Yes – Ms. Dando – this will be made public.

Pat Dando is the President of the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sent out the illegal hit pieces against Chavez just before the primary election. Needless to say, being tied to Ron Gonzales and that hint of corruption could make Dando look quite hypocritical (just as she did with the Grand Prix). The Merc also reported that “Her aide, Joshua Howard, later testified he was dumbfounded that she had signed the memo.”

Another article reported that the city of San Jose should actually stick with Norcal, at least for the time being. I don’t think that’s something that Chavez will be publicly celebrating. (“See! – this secret deal is not so bad after all!”) But it certainly lessens the sense of condemnation against Chavez.

San Jose State Professor Terry Christensen is urging the City Council to disclose all of their outside incomes. This could be a big step toward regaining public trust in city hall. It could also be good news for Cindy. If both mayoral candidates had to release their outside incomes, the voters would find out that Cindy has not received any income besides her annual salary as a city councilmember. But the voters would find out about Chuck Reed’s law firm’s more unsympathetic clients. One of our frequent commentators, D.H.K. pointed out that Reed’s firm (Reed, Elliott, Creech & Roth) has represented drunk drivers against DUI charges as well as asbestos plaintiffs – 90% of which are estimated to not have legitimate claims.

Finally, Chuck Reed was seen at his 58th Birthday party not wearing his signature American flag tie – perhaps because the gentle criticisms from SJ Rookie finally got to him. That leaves the score at Chuck Reed: 0, Fashion: 1.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Letter to the Editor: Enough Is Enough

We recently received an e-mail from a San Jose resident with a concern about the mayoral race. We suggested that he leave a comment, but he wanted a more effective forum to voice his concerns. So now we would like to introduce our first "Letter to the Editor". This article was not edited by us in any way. Enjoy!

"Enough Is Enough.

I can no longer stand idly by while Cindy Chavez’s name is dragged through the mud of political spin and irresponsible misrepresentations. San Jose cannot lose one of the best mayoral candidates the City has ever seen to unfounded rumors and innuendo. Quite frankly, we need Cindy Chavez as our next mayor.

Cindy Chavez is the only choice for mayor with the ability to put us on the map as one of the best cities in the world. Chavez’s ethics are impeccable. Yet her increasingly desperate critics have resorted to deceptive wordplay in order to raise implications that would border on slander if stated forthright. Chavez’s detractors know that she never concealed any information related to the controversial Norcal garbage contract, and that she never orchestrated a secret payout to the San Jose Grand Prix organizers. But instead of presenting the truth, Cindy’s critics simply suggest what they cannot say.

Both candidates actually agree on the substantive issues for the most part. They both want to attract businesses and jobs, ensure our safety, protect the environment, reduce traffic congestion, increase access to quality education, and recognize and celebrate our rich diversity. The question is who has the ability to get it done?

The only answer is Cindy Chavez. There is a reason why she has been endorsed by both of San Jose’s Congressional representatives, and every single City Councilmember who is not running for mayor. I would rather put my safety in the hands of Cindy Chavez who is supported by the San Jose Police Officers Association than any other candidate. And we can trust Cindy Chavez with our children’s education because she led the recent effort to successfully rebuild Horace Mann Elementary School.

The stakes are high. In many ways, San Jose is a city on the brink. We are the tenth largest city in the country, but no one seems to notice us. We thrived during the early internet revolution, but shouldered the brunt of high unemployment rates as our speculative high-tech economy collapsed. We have convention centers, museums, and professional sports teams, but still our downtown businesses struggle.

The actions we take within the next few years will likely determine the city’s ultimate identity, and place in the world. We cannot allow petty politics to squander San Jose’s uncharted potential. San Jose can set an unprecedented example as an attractive destination city with responsible growth balanced against quality of life considerations. Cindy Chavez has the collaborative spirit and proven experience necessary to build a greater San Jose.

It is time for the city between the hills to become the “City upon a Hill.” It is time for Cindy Chavez."

If anyone else would like to submit a "letter to the editor", feel free to e-mail it to the Governator or myself and we will probably include it in our next edition!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

According to New Polls, Chavez Has An Uphill Battle

A new poll has been issued by the Reed camp and the mayoral election has appeared to blow open a little. Figures show Chuck Reed receiving 47 percent and Cindy Chavez receiving only 20 percent from the sample population that was polled. With this 27 percent deficit, Cindy Chavez will require a new strategy if she wants to stay in this election.

It would appear our dear old friends at SV411 have once again utilized their wholly objective reporting by stating that the upcoming election is nothing more than a technicality. And as much as it pains me to say that I agree with SV411, their claim doesn’t seem to be too far off. With the election creeping up, it will take a miracle for Cindy Chavez to get back in this election. But much to the disappointment of every San Jose media outlet, Chuck Reed’s Stanford band can’t come onto the field as they did in “The Play” just yet.

Accusations have been flying back and forth from both sides about the credibility of these polls. Reed’s political consultant, Victor Ajlouny, has been accused of juicing the latest polls to show Reed with a dramatic lead. And while there is a large group of people who believe this claim to be true, it would be pretty tough for Ajlouny to juice the polls so dramatically. So maybe it wasn’t just the polls that have been juiced by the Reed Campaign.

Recent Grand Jury testimonials have shown that Reed wasn’t as in the dark about the Norcal deal as he has tried to appear. The testimonials reveal that Chuck Reed knew about the Norcal deal as long as Cindy Chavez has. Some testimonials even suggest that Reed has known about the Norcal “scandal” for longer than Chavez has. The Reed campaign didn’t just juice the polls; they juiced the minds of every voter in San Jose. Perhaps this new information is the exact squib kick that Cindy Chavez needed to lateral past the Stanford band and into the end-zone. Whether or not things pan out for Chavez on this one, it’s clear that Mr. Ethical isn’t quite as squeaky clean as his campaign tries to paint him out to be. I guess you have to Reed between the lines to find out the truth about good ol’ Chuck.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Notorious Cindy Chavez

Just like any good story, this mayoral race has two sides. Though candidates Cindy Chavez and Chuck Reed seem like Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper in their similarities, both Chavez and Reed have tried to emphasize their differences on the City Council. So now, in the spirit of invading the privacy of public figures, we would like to give you a deeper look into the personal and political life of Cindy Chavez.

Cindy Chavez was born in 1964 and attended Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward. After graduating from high school, Cindy Chavez went onto San Jose State University where she graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. After college Cindy and her husband Mike Potter, the District Director for State Assemblymember Joe Coto, bought their first house in Downtown San Jose and Cindy was getting ready to settle down. However, on July 4th 1997, a stray bullet hit Cindy’s bedroom window. Instead of releasing a hot rap album like so many others who have been shot at, Chavez discovered her passion for neighborhood safety.

Cindy got involved as the staff director for the South Bay Labor Council and was elected to the City Council as the representative for District 3 in 1998. On the council, Cindy fought for safer neighborhoods and established the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. As a parent, Cindy felt compelled to organize a five-point education plan to improve schools and to provide access to health care insurance to every child in San Jose. And finally, Cindy championed the effort to bring BART to San Jose.

The Grand Prix that Chavez fought so hard for has been the biggest thing to put San Jose on the map since the hip lyrics of Dionne Warwick’s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” As the tenth largest city in the country, San Jose is on the brink of a new horizon and Cindy Chavez has big ideas to continue to improve the city. So now that you know more about the woman the San Jose Mercury loves to hate, we hope that you feel a little bit more comfortable with the upcoming election.

-SJ Rookie

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It Sucks To Be Ron

Things don’t look good for Mayor Ron Gonzales. After being arrested and censured, he’s gotta feel more embarrassed than Ashlee Simpson after her infamous SNL lip sync hoedown – only Ron can’t blame it all on acid reflux. At yesterday’s City Council Meeting, the Council moved one step closer to finally ousting the mayor. They are working on an ordinance that would officially make it possible to remove an elected official for misconduct. The vote was 10-1. If you can guess who the one person to vote against the ordinance was, you have a chance at winning the Extremely-Obvious-Trivia-Challenge of the day! That’s right, it was Ron who voted against making it easier to get rid of himself. A vast majority of the council has already publicly indicated their desire for Mayor Gonzales to do the honorable thing and resign, citing his inability to get through the day-to-day duties of being the mayor while fighting hordes of critics. City Council meetings this month are looking more and more like interventions as various council members essentially declare, “Ron, we’re here because we love you… and to let you know that you have a problem.” But in this case, drugs are corruption, rehab is resignation, and poor Ron has 10 parents instead of 2.

Personally, I echo the sentiments of some City Council members who have said they don’t make any judgments regarding Gonzales’ guilt, but the fact of the matter is that the Court of Public Opinion has already rendered a guilty verdict. In order for San Jose to move on and become as great as it should be as the 10th largest city in the U.S., we need a mayor who is not surrounded by a dark cloud of corruption everywhere he goes. Though I don’t think his crime was even that bad. It looks like his mistake was procedural, not substantive (For those who live under a rock and don’t know, Gonzales and his top aide, Joe Guerra, offered to pay garbage hauler Norcal higher worker wages behind closed doors). It cost the tax payers a 9 percent garbage rate increase in 2003. But in the grand scale of corruption, his deal is benefiting garbage men, not oil tycoons. And no one is dying in the Middle East because of this mistake. That being said, I still agree with Councilmember Nancy Pyle who urged the mayor to resign - “The reason is that the number one thought at this point should be to keep the city running smoothly and this would be a distraction.” For the sake of his family and the city of San Jose, he should have resigned back then, instead of being dragged out kicking and screaming.

Either way, both mayoral candidates are trying to see how they can benefit from the city’s condemnation of Gonzales. At this point, saying you want the mayor removed is as uncontroversial as saying, “I’m anti-racism” or “I thought Friends was a good show”. Naturally, mayoral candidates Chuck Reed and Cindy Chavez are now duking it out to see who can wag their finger at Ron harder. In December, Chuck Reed filed the papers to allow the city council to remove Gonzales from office. In June, Cindy Chavez led the effort to severely cut the mayor’s budget and make his calendar public. Chuck is quick to point out that Cindy is the only candidate who endorsed Gonzales. Cindy is quick to point out that Chuck is the only candidate to be endorsed by Gonzales.

The mayoral race would probably benefit from refocusing attention off of who lives closer to Ron or who has more letters in their name in common with Ron, and onto some issues that the next mayor has some control over. So shoot Ron an email saying, “Dude, I know this sucks, but you gotta peace out.” Then write Cindy and Chuck emails saying “I get that you’re trying to distance yourself from the mayor, but what are you going to do for San Jose’s parks, education system, healthcare, neighborhoods, and / or public events?” After that, vote!

Just Keeping It Real

As you know, one of the main goals of this blog is to keep it real. The Keeping of Realness is an important value to both of us. To that end, we think it’s important that we be honest about any bias we might have. So we feel you should know that my friend and I are leaning toward supporting Cindy Chavez at this point. We are just two college students who have lived in San Jose for our entire lives. After attending some events and reading up on the issues, we simply like Cindy more. That being said, we will continue to try to remain objective with our articles. We started this site to educate young voters about the election and about the candidates, and we do not let our own feelings interfere with this goal. We have tried to establish a forum for open discussion in which voters from both sides of the fence can debate the issues. We will never delete a comment no matter how controversial or disagreeable it may be. The only thing we would do is delete an ethnic slur and footnote that a deletion has been made at the bottom of the comment. So please, continue to contribute to this important debate for the future of San Jose! Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An Unenjoyable Political Barbecue???

As my buddy San Jose Rookie and I can tell you, political barbecues are fun! Who doesn't like schmoozing and hamburgers? But there's one barbecue coming up in two weeks that local Democrats are claiming will not be so fun. Last week, the chair of the Santa Clara County Democratic Party, Steve Preminger, sent a letter urging local activists to boycott this year's annual COMPAC Barbecue. The heading of the mailer reads, "Fundraising barbecues are fun. But there's one you should skip." This letter was distributed to all of the guests at Zoe Lofgren's fundraising barbecue on Saturday, August 5th.

COMPAC is the political arm of the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce that spent $163,000 during the June primary on sending mailers that bashed Cindy Chavez and her questionable Grand Prix spending. Because the mailers were candidate focused rather than issue focused, the Chamber was supposed to only finance them with individual contributions of no more than $250. Instead, they financed the mailers using huge donations from various wealthy Cindy-haters. In his letter, Mr. Preminger explains that the Chamber "unleashed a grossly unethical, misleading, hypocritical and, ultimately, illegal smear campaign against Cindy Chavez." I think Preminger's language may be a little harsh, but he does bring up an interesting point about the hypocrisy of this mailer.

The Chamber of Commerce criticizes Cindy Chavez for supporting the subsidy for the Grand Prix. But the question is who benefits from the Grand Prix? We've heard from several news outlets that the streets of Downtown don't benefit, and clearly Cindy Chavez and the City Council aren't benefiting from all of this criticism. In fact, one of the only groups you could say really benefits from the Grand Prix is the Chamber of Commerce. After putting so much money into bashing Cindy Chavez and her investment in the Grand Prix, the Chamber of Commerce worked to promote the Grand Prix. After all, the more people come to watch the race, the more people will go to the restaurants and bars in Downtown, which means more money for the Chamber of Commerce. I'd like to remind the Chamber of Commerce that you can't always have your cake and eat it too...no matter how much money you spend. After reading this article, you at home must solve the barbecue boycott moral dilemma for yourself. What’s more important to you – knowing that you haven’t contributed to a seemingly unethical organization? Or the feeling of warm barbecued wieners in your tummy?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Out and About

Chuck Reed and Cindy Chavez were both spotted Saturday at a barbecue fundraiser for Zoe Lofgren. While Zoe Lofgren is running for re-election to Congress in the 16th Congressional District, candidates from all around gathered to try and get their names out there. Attending the event were the usual suspects of Mike Honda, Karyn Sinunu, James Beall Jr., and of course, Chuck and Cindy.

Once again, Chuck Reed found himself in a somewhat uncomfortably liberal environment. However, though Lofgren has openly endorsed Chavez, Chuck Reed was able to find some friendly faces amongst the sea of Cindy Chavez stickers and literature. Reed stuck around the barbecue for a little while, but left before Lofgren acknowledged his presence during her speech. I have to hand it to Reed though; it takes courage to show up at an event being thrown by a woman who has openly endorsed your opponent. And it took even more courage for Reed to show up sporting the same radicool Hawaiian shirt and slacks combo that looked so hot at the Santa Clara County Democratic Picnic last weekend.

Cindy Chavez received a warmer welcome at the barbecue partly because her campaign team was roaming the crowd putting Chavez stickers on every guest. The Chavez campaign team also took some advice from the Governator Jr. by setting up a booth with Cindy literature and a Reed piece in which he claimed that Republican women endorsed him. Some may call that harsh or even malicious, but I call it hilarious. If Chavez is going to be challenged on ethics, I can't think of anything fairer or more ethical than helping distribute your opponent's literature.

All in all, the event was a great display of maturity from both candidates. Once again, Reed and Chavez were cordial with each other and neither tried to steal the spotlight of the event. It's good to know that even though the voters are at each other's throats about this election, the candidates can keep their composure.

-SJ Rookie

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chuck Reed: The Man Behind The American Flag Tie

In today’s age of mass communication, it is easier than ever before to find out and spread information about political candidates. Like it or not, the details of a politician’s personal life have become relevant. If Bill Clinton taught us anything, it’s that saxophones are rad and that the public wants to know more than just one’s policy stances. So, we present a biography on mayoral candidate Chuck Reed…

Chuck Reed was born in Garden City, Kansas where he immediately dove head first into the working world. At 15, Reed was driving a bulldozer; by 16, he had moved on to an 18-wheel semi truck. But his love of all things mechanical and made of cold, hard steel didn’t end there – Reed went on to join the United States Air Force by way of the Air Force Academy. Now, I know what you’re thinking – this is the part where Chuck becomes a radically conservative, gun-toting Republican, right? Wrong. From this point on, ol’ Chucky shows us his soft spot and embraces moderate Republicanism. “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Instead, it’s off to Princeton University and Stanford Law School. These experiences gave Reed a solid work ethic, appreciation for the hard-earned dollar, and a strong resemblance to my preachy grandfather.

After over twenty years of serving as an attorney, Reed ran for a spot on the San Jose City Council as the representative from District 4. Once elected, conservative Reed became somewhat of an antagonist to the ten other members of the Council. His frugal mindset led him to oppose some of San Jose’s biggest projects – such as building the new San Jose City Hall and subsidizing the San Jose Grand Prix. Though well-intentioned, Reed voted against the $4 million Grand Prix contract that is now projected to generate $400 million for the city over the next ten years. And in the meantime, “Dr. No”, as he was branded by some city hall employees, failed to offer many of his own suggestions (or bills, for that matter) as to how the city could be improved.

With the current state of city hall, Chuck Reed’s campaign team can’t help but stress his high ethical standards, penny-pinchingness, and devotion to the City Charter. And really – who else wears the American flag so well?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Finish Line (The Other Big Race in San Jose Part II)

The results are in from the Grand Prix and Sebastien Bourdais was crowned as the winner of Sunday’s main event. And while the smoke and hordes of people in attendance have cleared, the mayoral candidate who benefited most from the Grand Prix this year remains up in the air. Grand Prix organizer Dale Jantzen reported over 155,000 attendees during the three-day race, an increase from last year’s turnout despite the dark cloud hovering over the race this year. So it would appear that the Grand Prix was a success considering the circumstances.

However, despite the increase in attendance and the improved racing conditions, many remain skeptical about the Grand Prix in San Jose. Jantzen maintains his optimism regarding the economic impact of the race, but the Grand Prix is still in the red looking to make up the losses next year. Some spectators also had complaints about phantom bleachers that were never built. Any fans with tickets to the silver section 4D were surprised to find out that their seats didn’t exist. These fans were offered an upgrade to the gold section bleachers, but some fans remained unappeased and demanded their money back more adamantly than fans after an Ashlee Simpson concert.

Though some fans had a rough time at the race, when we look at the big picture, the Grand Prix made major improvements this year. The construction team created three bridges along the track to allow spectators to move freely from one side of the track to the other without the fear of a hit and run and 170 mph. Race organizers also spread out the bleachers to avoid congestion along busy streets in an effort to make the experience more appealing to spectators. While most of the kinks of the race were worked out during the Grand Prix’s sophomore year in San Jose, local businesses didn’t receive the boost they were expecting. Hotels lining the track were completely booked during the weekend, but the bars and restaurants at these hotels reported a drop in their sales. Other downtown restaurants also reported a drop in on-site sales, but an increase in race-related catering during the weekend.

Perhaps the Grand Prix isn’t quite as “grand” as it claims to be. Though great improvements have been made from the Grand Prix’s first year in San Jose, complaints have still surfaced. While the checkered flag defines a clear winner for the drivers, it doesn’t do much to help us find our mayoral winner. Like every news station in the 2000 election, maybe we called the winner of this Grand Prix controversy prematurely. Reed gets to stick to his guns that the Grand Prix is still in the red, and Chavez gets to boast the attendance numbers and money that came into the city. I guess it’s time we accept the Grand Prix for what it is, a Mediocre Prix. And who knows, maybe in a couple years they will work everything out and we can once again be home to the Grand Prix.

-SJ Rookie

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Is Chuck Reed a Closeted Republican?

On Saturday, I attended the Santa Clara County Democratic Picnic at Rainbow Park. For the low price of a $10 donation, I got barbecued food, Doritos, and even a delightful Safeway Select Brand Cola. Needless to say, I didn’t go for the food. I went to hear some candidates speak. But while both mayoral candidates Cindy Chavez and Chuck Reed were in attendance, Chuck did not receive the opportunity to speak.

Reed, a life-long Democrat did not receive the endorsement of the Santa Clara County Democratic Party. And if you take a look at his record, it is clear why. Mr. Reed should take a cue from Lance Bass and finally come out of the closet… as a Republican, or at least an Independent. I don’t have a problem with Lance Bass’s new identity and I don’t have a problem with Chuck Reed’s. It’s okay to be conservative – but just be honest about it. Let’s look at the facts…

-On October 25th, 2005, Chuck Reed voted against the City Council’s symbolic vote against Governor Schwarzenegger’s anti-abortion proposition (Prop 73 on the special election ballot). To clarify that triple negative sentence that my 4th grade teacher would kill me for writing, Reed is pro-life.

-On March 4, 2004, Chuck Reed voted against the city recognizing same-sex marriage. Again, on September 20th, 2005, Reed voted against a resolution urging Governor Schwarzenegger to sign a Civil Marriage Protection Act. All of the sudden, the Lance Bass analogy seems a little inappropriate. Ironically, the Civil Marriage Protection Act is the one thing that Chuck Reed agrees with Mayor Gonzales about. They provided the only two votes against the item. You see, nothing unites people more than intolerance.

-If there’s one issue Reed is not afraid to be conservative about, it’s money. He votes against the mayor’s budgets and against numerous subsidies, most notably, the Grand Prix subsidy and the new City Hall subsidy. Chuck Reed is like San Jose’s Grandpa, giving the city a nickel and telling the city not to spend it all in one place.

With all this in mind, it is no surprise that at the end of Cindy Chavez’s speech at Saturday’s Democrat Picnic, she recognized Mr. Reed’s presence but did not invite him up to speak. This decision from Chavez wasn’t made to spare the audience from Chuck’s classy Hawaiian shirt and dress pants ensemble, but more to spare Reed from a not so friendly welcome. After all, Reed has a mailer that declares, “Republican Women Endorse Chuck Reed”. To say the least, Chuck’s presence was much like a hardcore Boston fan in the bleachers at Yankee stadium…it was only a matter of time before his Hawaiian shirt was covered in peanut shells and sunflower seeds. San Jose can still thrive under a Republican or Independent or Democratic mayor. But a spade’s a spade and Reed should be upfront about his political affiliation. We all know how damning a “flip-flop” label can be for a candidate.