Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who is Larry Pegram? Why is he part of Reed's transition team?

Today the Mercury reported that Reed has created a transition team that will advise him on policy matters. Some of the names are very familiar, including:

Sharks President Greg Jamison, soccer star Brandi Chastain, San Jose State University President Don Kassing, and newly elected city council members Pete Constant and Sam Liccardo.


And some of the names may not be as familiar, such as Larry Pegram. Who is Pegram? Why should you care? Pegram is on the board of the Values Advocacy Council, a group that states:

We are pro-life
We encourage the use of adult and umbilical cord stem cells for research
We believe that God, not man, numbers our days
We work to preserve traditional marriage between one man and one woman


The Values Advocacy Council also sent out a questionnaire to candidates in the last election which asked candidates to answer yes or no to these questions:

1. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.
I support a Constitutional Amendment to make this the law of the land.
I do not believe that “alternative lifestyles” are equivalent relationships to
traditional marriage and should not be taught as such in public school.

2. I believe abortion should not continue to be legal in the United States.
I believe that the procedure known as a “partial birth abortion” should be illegal.


3. I believe the doctrine of “separation of church and state” means that the government shall not establish a national or state religion (Establishment Clause, First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) but does not mean that religion should be totally removed from any and all governmental activity.

4. I believe that health, survivor and other benefits should not be made available to the “domestic partners” of School District employees.


5. The display of religious articles or symbols has a place on public school property.

6. Prayer has a place in the public school arena.

7. Do you believe that creationism or intelligent design should be taught as an alternative to or along with the theory of evolution?

8. The “faith based” community should have a “place at the table” in public policy
matters, discussions, and debates.

9. I believe that sex education classes should be designed to promote abstinence.
10. I believe that parents have the ultimate responsibility for the education of our children and should be fully aware of and involved in the curricula to which their children are exposed in public school.

11. I believe that clubs promoting a Christian lifestyle should have equal status on the school campus as other clubs and organizations.


Pegram is clearly to the far right of most of the residents in our city, and one has to wonder why the Mercury failed to mention exactly "who" Pegram is, as well as the more obvious question of why Reed picked Pegram for his transition team. The issues that VAC and Pegram support, prayer in school, anti-choice, anti-domestic partners benefits, are not representative of a majority of residents in our area, and I would also suggest that many people would be at the very least surprised to see Pegram on Reed's transition team.

What advice will Pegram give to Reed? Will he "advise" Reed that we need to open up our public areas for religious symbols? Will Reed become a champion for the far right? We will have to wait and see what happens, my hope is that Reed starts to move a bit more to the center. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Removal Powers In Place

The San Jose Council acted last night in enacting policy empowering them to remove fellow officers from office. The legislation comes on the heels of the Gonzo scandals that have dominated city news for over a year now. Most disconcerting for Councilmembers was their utter lack of capacity to do anything meaningful to 'da Mayor for his ethical problems.

While empowering the local politic with the tools to make removal of corrupt officials possible is a good thing, getting carried away with these policies is not. I have not fully read the new enactment so I cannot pass judgment entirely. We had many lessons from the Gonzo scandal. One of which was that an impotent Council can allow corruption to remain unchecked. But we also saw how quickly our local media can cook up good-guy/bad-guy dichotomies. It was partisanship and mob mentality that brought about the Clinton impeachment trials. Politicians should be held to a higher standard than average citizens. But we should be ever vigilant that these removal procedures are reserved for the worst of the worst and not devolve into a new arrow in the political quiver.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Memo to Merc + Metro: THE ELECTION IS OVER!!!

This just in --- the election for SJ Mayor is OVER! Chuck Reed has won.

Hey Mercury News and Metro "editors": you can stop giving Chuck your blind praise now.

In today's Mercury News editorial and in the oh-so-prestigious SV411, the local media both provided the glorious Chuck Reed ass-kissing that they did so well during the election. The Merc talked about Chuck's "straight talk and clear focus on good government" and his "first sparks of mayoral leadership".

Wow. Chuck must have really done something meaningful, right? Wrong. He showed up at a Sunshine Reform Committee meeting and encouraged the members to accelerate their timeline. Oh yeah --- and he "told the members he wanted at least a progress report on the agenda of his first council meeting as mayor on Jan. 9". All he did was show up at a meeting and talk of aspirations?

SV411 reveals how deep the double standards of our journalists run: when Chuck comes and talks about doing things (*note: he did not actually do anything!*) it is the glorious accomplishments of the new Mayor... but when other officials talked and met and discussed reforms, the committee was "crawl(ing) along at a glacial pace".

All anybody has done so far is talk. Stop praising Chuck for doing the same thing. We all know that both media have their agendas. Well, you got your golden boy in office. You can at least wait before continuing your meaningless brown-nosing until (a) he actually DOES something or (b) he's up for re-election!

It's disappointing that this is what our news media have been reduced to. The election is over! It's time to start holding Chuck accountable, not praising him with rhetoric for something so marginal as showing up at a meeting and pressing for outcomes! When the reforms are effectuated, we'll be the first blog to give Chuck a thumbs up. But talk is CHEAP. Action - which Chuck has a very spotty track-record on - is what counts.

The bias in SV411's writing is hilarious lately. Anything connected to Cindy Chavez is automatically trash. For example:
"One Chavez-LeZotte idea rejected by the sunshiners would have allowed
neighborhood association leaders to blab on for twice as long as the two minutes
alloted to other groups, average citizens and assorted nut-jobs who address the
council."

I don't entirely understand why that's so bad. Oh yeah, it came from Cindy Chavez.

Merc and Metro "editors": it's time to hold this guy accountable. Your duty is to be suspicious of leadership. Your obligation is to challenge rhetoric, not praise it. You both did such a great job on Chuck's campaign team. But the election is over. It's time to be real journalists again.

Monday, November 20, 2006

What We Got With Chuck

The Merc discussed Chuck's transition team today which is built around Tom McEnery, Deanna Santana, and Vic Ajlouny. This announcement is disheartening for quite a number of reasons.

First, as we wrote about two weeks ago, many - even those that voted for Chuck - hoped that he would help San Jose come together in the wake of a nasty election. Many hoped that he would take a conciliatory tone in his newly elected position. Remember: the office of City Council is meant to represent specific geographic regions but the office of Mayor is charged with representing the ENTIRE city. Bringing these three stooges into the transition team does nothing to that effect. To the contrary, I'd be hard-pressed to find more divisive figures than Ajlouny and McEnery. The article, for instance, outlines some of McEnery's harsh rhetoric toward members of the Council. It is tough to imagine how Chuck is going to rise above partisanship and work WITH the Council when his right-hand man is spitting such vitriol. And don't even get me started with Ajlouny. This guy has pissed off more Bay Area Dems than I can count. Some have called him the Karl Rove of the Silicon Valley. It just doesn't make sense that Chuck would put a political strategist into such a central role. Now is the time to be REACHING out.

Second, we are disconcerted with the fact that Ajlouny is a Republican. McEnery, meanwhile, is a... American Independent? We have no problem with political and ideological diversity, but this team doesn't seem very diverse to begin with. Sometimes you gotta call a spade a spade and this looks like a pretty conservative transition team. The problem is that Chuck never sold himself as a Republican. This city is NOT Republican. Chuck boasted of Democratic endorsements and pretended to fit the mold of the mainstream values of the city. It is disingenuous to create such a transition team after running on a centrist platform without any ideological counter-balance.

Third, it is disgusting seeing more and more power being consolidated in the privileged few. McEnery, who comes from a long line of influential San Jose citizens, has been Mayor. He now writes a blog which has gained quite a bit of influence. And virtually every election cycle since the early 90's, the print media has stuck with McE's lackeys. It is ironic that Reed won on an "anti-machine politics" platform and is already installing the usual suspects!

Fourth, how silly does this make San Jose Inside look? Their creator spewed his romanticized rhetoric for months only to secure a prestigious post in the new Mayor's transition team? Maybe I'm mistaken, but didn't SJI at least pretend to be objective journalists? It would be as crazy as Fox News correspondent Tony Snow suddenly working as a PR man for George W. Bush... oh wait, that did happen. You get the picture. Will SJI still pretend to be the voice of the outsider when it's architect sits in the SJ ivory tower?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chu Throws His Name In The Hat

Longtime local activist Kansen Chu has announced he will run to replace Chuck Reed for City Council. Chu has a decorated political past and looks to be the presumptive Democratic fav. MW talked about Chu's likely opponent, Hon Lien, yesterday. As usual, SV411 has resorted to idiotic characterizations of the candidates by comparing Lien to a "Maxxum model" and introducing Kansen with the "chu dynasty" as the heading. Pretty funny, Sv411. I think I get the joke: his last name is Chu and there was a dynasty in China with the same name! That's really funny guys! You know what else would be funny? When talking about Taiwanese politics referring to Chiang Chin-kuo as "P.F."! Grow up guys.... Seriously.

We all know how SV411/Metro have built their distribution chain --- on the backs of the sex industry (porn, escorts, strip clubs, etc. which fill their weekly ad quotas). It's not surprising that their blog has resorted to sex appeal in discussing the new political candidate. If I'm Lien, I don't know if I'm flattered for the compliment or if I'm offended that my first characterization is based on my looks.

Either way, it's clear where the Reed machine will stand on this election. Get ready for COMPAC/SV411/McEnery/Reed/Merc/etc. to chime in with its typical rhetoric soon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chuck's Heir Apparent

Chuck's victory leaves a vacancy on the Council creating the prospect for yet another special election in San Jose. Rumors are that Chuck has already handpicked his favorite for successor. Chuck's buddy Hon Lien looks like she will throw her name into the hat to represent her district. Here is a little background info on Lien.

One age old lesson of politics is the danger and probability of pendular politics. As far back as Oliver Cromwell, political history has commonly featured stories of leaders who climb to power by defining themselves against an "other" only to become the very thing they opposed initially. I hope for the good of SJ, Mr. Reed does not follow this inertia. Chuck's campaign was built on "taking down the machine" of San Jose politics. Whether or not this depiction of City Hall is accurate is beside the point. But for Chuck to already be handpicking successors smells like the beginning of a new machine being built. I have quite a bit of faith that Chuck won't walk down this road. But my faith in the Chamber of Commerce is considerably more dubious. The Chamber has already heavily backed its former leader Steve Tedesco. The question will be whether it plans to continue to aggressively pursue its political agenda by backing Lien. It will be interesting to see if the Chamber attempts to rebuild its machine that was dominant during the 80's. We'll keep you posted when we learn more...

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's Next?

As San Jose Inside ponders it's role in the future of San Jose, we here at MayorWatch engage in parallel introspection. The campaign is over and there was no Cindy-rella story. COMPAC, big business interests, Irvine developers, and the print media got their way and Chuck has won. Our single focus (admittedly) has been the Mayoral election here in SJ. The same should be said of SJI - although they're not gusty enough to admit it. Well, to be fair, they weren't only dedicated to destroying Cindy Chavez; they also were committed to obliterating Manny Diaz as well. Go read their immigrant-bashing comments today and I think you'll get my insinuation. But I digress. What is the next step?

One election we will continue to follow is the District 6 City Council race where it appears Pierre Oliverio and Steve Tedesco will face off in a run-off. This, of course, is the seat of esteemed Councilmember Ken Yeager who is on his way out. Tedesco is the former chair of the Chamber. You can guess how SJI and SV411 will weigh in on this one! The Pat Dando-COMPAC-Merc-McEnery upper echelon of SJ politics has done a good job of framing an "us-against-them" ethos where the evil amalgam of labor interests has dominated SJ politics for years. In doing so, they have tried to hide their influence. Tedesco is yet another of the Dando-ites who seeks to continue to turn the Council into an extension of the Chamber of Commerce.

Remain vigilant, friends. Let's do some research and find out about these two candidates!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Congratulations to Chuck Reed!

San Jose will have a new mayor come January 2007, Chuck Reed. Reed, a Democrat, will be the head of the 10th largest city in our nation, a city that will face many challenges and obstacles in the coming years. For instance we see that two of our neighboring cities may become host to major league teams, Santa Clara and Fremont. San Jose, largest city in northern CA will once again be "step sister" to smaller and less well known cities, and will also see local entertainment dollars flow outside our city (though in the case of Santa Clara at least the money will stay in the county.) It is my hope that Reed will take a leadership role in finding new ways to put San Jose on the map.

Cindy Chavez ran a strong campaign, and I anticipate that she will take some time off and hopefully run for another local office in the near future. I know both Reed and Chavez, both are "nice" people, both have strong ethics and morals, and while my support was for Chavez, I am hopeful that Reed will learn how to be a bit more daring in his vision for our city.

Further, how can one be upset when we still find our city lead by Democrats? Reed, a Democrat, will be joined by Sam Liccardo, another Democrat, and both candidates in the runoff for Yeager's seat are Democrats!

In the coming months we will be treated to two more elections in our city, one for Ken Yeager's council seat (District 6), and Chuck Reed's seat (District 4). Our city council will be filled with new faces in 2007, how these new council members perform will of course be covered here, as well as observations on our new Mayor, Chuck Reed.

If there is one "concern" I have about our recent local elections it is that we are seeing fewer and fewer women elected locally. San Jose's city council will have four women serving (out of 10 seats), and it is my hope that in upcoming elections we see more women running for city council.

Of course I can't "sign off" from this post without at least mentioning how GREAT Tuesday was for Democrats, and for our nation. Democrats took back both the house and senate, and our country will be the better for this change of leadership. Now we can see true oversight, now our nation has what our forefathers envisioned, checks and balances, now we can hopefully find a way to end our involvement in Iraq, we can address the health care crisis in our nation, the AMT can be addressed, and so many other issues can be brought to the table for discussion and action.

Enjoy your Saturday, and keep on checking back for more discussions on local politics (with a bit of national stuff thrown in once in a while.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Twilight Zone

Am I in the Twilight Zone? Really?

I wake up today - the day after election day - to a national revolution in the House and the Senate of Democratic values. This is probably one of the most dramatic shifts in Congress in my lifetime.

Then, I look at what happened in California - the most liberal, most progressive state in the Union... And somehow we re-elected our Republican Governor and put in a Democrat-in-name-only for San Jose Mayor? Hmmm. Are San Jose and California... more... conservative... than the rest of the country?

And then I flip on the news to hear Ed Gilispie talking about the importance of a recount and the imperative for accuracy.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone, folks.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Big Democrat Victories Nationally

We'll see how the Dems fared locally and statewide soon...

Update...

Those preliminary results were from absentee ballots ONLY.

Everybody expected Reed to take a huge lead in absentee votes. Nothing shocking yet...

First precinct in...

Chuck Reed
38,761
66%

Cindy Chavez
20,149
34%

Time to start counting...

Polls closed and we've got 1244 precincts to count...

Chavez - Voter Turnout Down

Rumors - Chavez had the votes but is looking like she is getting 11/100 of her identified supporters.

We'll have some data to toy with in an hour...

Democratic Turnout Low In San Jose

We've received tips from a number of Dems working the phones who have reported that the voter turnout in our city is remarkably low. This (obviously) will hurt Cindy.

Merc Reports on Irregularities

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/15951193.htm

Merc shows problems at:

* Rolling Hills Middle School in Los Gatos
* Boxer Mayfair Village Apartments in San Jose
* Adobe Wells Mobile Home Park in Sunnyvale
* the Foothill Covenant Church in Los Altos
* Slonaker School
* the Tully Community Branch Library in San Jose
* the Chai House on St. Elizabeth Drive near Fruitdale Avenue

Election Irregularities...

Something newsworthy from SV411?! I know - crazy! SV411 reports that there have been a number of voting irregularities --- much like what is going on throughout the rest of the country:

"The first voting news this morning wasn’t good: election snafus all
around. We had it here in Los Gatos, where some electronic voting machines just
wouldn’t boot up when the polls opened. The voters who had showed up had to vote
with paper ballots, making them the envy of millions of voters around the
country who are still totally freaked out by the hackability of e-voting."


Share your stories/thoughts/experiences in the comments...

*Updates*

Word is that Chavez still has 300 volunteers on the streets in their GOTV operation. Chavez-supporters are feeling optimistic. We'll see if that optimism can bridge the gap manifested in the recent polls...

"Chuck Reed Abortion"

Interesting. The number one search string leading readers to our website over the past month has been replaced. In previous months, the number one google/msn/yahoo search string used to find our website was "Mayor Watch Blogspot". This month, the number one string is "Chuck Reed Abortion" (along with several permutations of the string like "Chuck Reed pro-life").

Reed voted against the symbollic statement the city made against Proposition 85 - the initiative requiring parental notification for abortion. Some of his supporters have said that Prop. 85 does not run afoul of pro-choice values. Some claim that Chuck felt that it wasn't the city's place to speak up on the issue. You make the call!

SV411 - Can you lose any more credibility?

SV411 awoke from its weekly slumber to provide a final slam against two victims of its yellow journalism. SV411 gives Cindy Chavez a runner-up award for campaign bloopers for attacking Chuck for reimbursing a staffer's religious education. According to SV411:

"But Chavez didn’t mention that the city employee, 32-year-old Mandy Nguyen,
qualified for a $1,400 tuition reimbursement for an intercultural studies
program at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. The religious classes were
only a few of the requirements for her degree."


Huh?

First, it's funny that it took them a week to come up with this spin. How much time did you morons spend digging through codes trying to defend your golden boy? Last week the excuse was that it was justified because it made the staffer a 'better person'. Then the excuse was that it helped her serve Chuck's constituents better. His position shifts daily!

Second, how is it relevant that she only needed a few more requirements for her degree? I don't get it. You desperate zealots may be right - I haven't dug through municipal codes since Chuck Reed blatantly violated the law by voting to materially benefit his client Los Esteros. But could you point us to the law that says that this is acceptable?

Third, when did Chuck Reed become in charge of the "tuition reimbursement" department? Assuming such a program exists, where can I apply? I have quite a bit of educational debt that I'd like to qualify for. Can I send you an application Chuck? Or do you only doll out these reimbursements to your own staffers? Maybe the city said, 'wow, Chuck is so good at spending the public's tax dollars and getting under-the-table reimbursements --- we should have him in charge of reimbursing government official's education costs!'

Another classic line from SV411's post:

"a raunchy virtual meeting place for public masturbators, butt cheeks, nipples and more sexually explicit images that we can’t describe here."

Maybe you guys can't describe it here. But you can put up advertisements for it in your publication! How much of your revenue depends on the sex industry? Readers - grab a Metro! Flip to the back and look at how many prostitutes and escorts keep this ragsheet in business! You want to talk about values? Well, how about you start promoting money-for-sex in other cities!

The underlying fact is that Chuck once again has proven he does not understand the limits of the power he has been awarded by virtue of his elected position. He does not understand that our money is not his to doll out. Even if there were some allowance that his staffer qualified to receive, he needs to understand the difference between what he CAN do --- and what he SHOULD do. Heck, I would be just as incensed if the money went to a secular education. But the fact that he is using public money to promote religious education is unethical. It is the 21st Century. We know Chuck wouldn't do this if his staffer were Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu. Come on!

Is this what we should expect under a Reed administration? As one of your commentors wrote last week, are we going to need to hope Chuck will "throw us a bone"? Are retribution and cronyism part of the Reed reforms?

And if I can get my tuition paid for by working on your City Council staff... can I have an application?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't Give Up Yer Fight!

'Twas the night before the election
and all through our city...

Both candidates feel strong
neither want your pity

The papers have tried
to steal this election

To influence, to steer,
to control our direction

Everyone predicts
the winner and the goat...

But nobody yet knows
how San Jose will vote

Chuck and his buddies
think they've already won

But Cindy, oh Cindy,
thinks that's part of the fun!

Over polls and absentee votes
the bloggers may quarrel

But Chavez's barnstorms
while some sit on their laurels

She thinks: for this city, she's right
And Chuck is wrong!

And that can't be changed
even by the cash of Dennis Fong...

The Merc or McEnery?
Don't be swayed by the elites!

Just take your vision
and go to the streets

Knock on the doors!
Call on the phones!

Leave no undecided voter
all on their own...

Education? Transportation!
The stakes need no explanation!

But only through GOTV
will you feel vindication!

Cindy yells to her troops,
"don't give up yer fight"

Merry Monday to all,
and to all, a good night!

Anonymity is back in style...?

Recently I stumbled upon a website called Cindy Chavez.net. I googled her and found the site as the 8th highest ranked site! When I took a look at it, it was typical Reed propaganda. I'm not going to bash their site without providing a link so here it is: http://www.cindychavez.net. I do appreciate the reciprocal courtesy that they provided by posting our link as well.

The part that bothers me is that they coopted Cindy's name in an attempt to confuse voters. A very common internet technique is called "domain-squatting". Basically someone takes a domain name that they know websurfers will accidentally stumble upon. In the corporate world, they hold the name hostage until their price is met. In the political world, they keep it because the number of accidental hits they get is huge. I think it's disingenuous to call it "cindychavez.net" and give readers the impression that it's a Cindy Chavez site.

Another curiosity: where are all the bloggers criticizing us for being anonymous blasting them on their site? Where's the article in the Metro or on SV411 questioning their legitimacy for not revealing who they are? Maybe anonymity is... back in style!

Unlike our free blog, cindychavez.net costs money to run. Someone dedicated the time and cash to make a website that deceives its readers. I sure hope that Chuck's campaign is not behind the site: if they are and pretend not to be, they could be in violation of municipal election law.

I asked a computer science buddy about the site. He said "The site is run by the whois database. The whois database information is meant to protect the identity of the registrant. The company is in Bellevue, WA 98007."

I like Cindy's chances...

Today the Merc covered the final weekend of campaigning from both Reed and Chavez: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/elections/15937555.htm.

Despite two recent polls that demonstrated a large lead for Chuck, I like Cindy's chances heading into the election. As the Merc calls it, Cindy's campaign has a number of superior advantages coming into tomorrow. Elections are won and lost on the backs of volunteers. The number of volunteers who have been working around the clock for Cindy is probably quite high.

Zoe Lofgren came out this weekend to fire up the Chavez camp and told the story of her come from behind victory over Tom McEnery. McEnery, meanwhile, is scheduled to appear in a Reed advertisement during the final 48 hours of campaigning.

Hopefully this will be a spirited stretch drive!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chronicle Endorses Chavez

This has been a very busy week. Somehow I missed this endorsement that came Monday. The SF Chron endorsed Cindy Chavez: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/10/30/EDG6PKDSU31.DTL

While blogs with 3rd grader sophistication like SV411 are willing to call it a clean sweep for Reed in terms of endorsements, they do not make any amendment or even a brief reference to this endorsement. (By the way, SV411 - how come you never wrote about Chavez's clean sweep of endorsements from elected officials?)

As many are getting sick and tired of the Merc/Metro's agenda, it is refreshing to see another newspaper recognize the importance of SJ's mayoral election. (Though as an aside - I do have to say that the Merc has made babysteps toward improving the objectivity of its articles over the past week or so.)

Merc Covers Clinton Endorsement; Chavez the Democratic Choice

Take a look for yourself: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/elections/15918994.htm

In the article, Reed claims that the office of Mayor should be non-partisan. Non-partisanship is a fiction. Issues, programs, etc. that require funding are inherently political and always will be. One's political orientation is central to how such funding decisions will be made. And social issues - same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. - are by definition zero-sum.

Chuck Reed is running a campaign that is absolutely silent on how he stands politically.

The only way one can truly be non-partisan is to do nothing at all... If you look at Chuck's record on the council, you may believe that he may just be non-partisan after all. He is pandering to Republicans by sending out literature boasting of Republican endorsements and speaking at Republican events. If you're a Democrat, don't be fooled by this Justice Roberts-like campaign of silence.

Actions speak louder then words

Yes, I am back. Have been very busy these last few weeks, family, work and volunteering on local elections. Of course I have been reading this blog daily, and posting a comment every so often, and today just wanted to weigh in with some observations on the San Jose Mayoral race.

It has become clear to me that while Reed wants to be known as the candidate that will "change the culture at city hall," his actions during this campaign have shown otherwise. You see, Reed has a problem, it is a problem easily observed in other public officials as well, officials like George W. Bush. What is the problem exactly? The problem is that Reed thinks his judgment is above reproach. In the case of George W. Bush we see that there is a tendency to "dig in" once a decision has been made, irregardless of the results of that decision. Reed has shown some of the same "dig in" tendencies as Bush. For instance when Reed was questioned about his use of tax payer money for questionable expenses he insisted he had done nothing wrong, and until the issue clearly became a campaign problem for him, he refused to see how his actions were wrong. I am still not convinced that Reed, even though he repaid the money to the city, understands the error of his initial judgment.

Secondly, we see that Reed ok'd the use of city money (our money) for religion. Reed sees nothing wrong with using "state" money to fund the religious education of one of his staffers. I do see something wrong with this, as do many people, because there should be a separation between church and state. Reed not only fails to see what the problem is, he refuses to accept the fact that his judgment on this issue might have been wrong.

What really got me thinking about this issue was a mailer Reed sent out yesterday, a mailer that touted all of his local endorsements, fair enough. However, below the page with the headline of how Reed was going to "change the culture at city hall" we see a half page of political cartoons that personally attack Cindy Chavez. How is this any type of change in culture at city hall? Change starts not with words, but with actions, and clearly Reed sees nothing wrong with the culture of personal attacks, which, sadly, does not bode well should he be elected mayor.

Should Reed be elected mayor there are clear indications that he may not easily see the error of any of his judgments, and as he has already shown by his actions, his judgment is not above reproach.

Yes, I am clearly a Chavez supporter, for many reasons. One reason is that Chavez knows how to work with people, she finds ways to bring everyone together, discuss issues and work towards a solution. Chavez has worked hard for our city, and while some here may not agree with her decisions as a council member, her intention has always been to try to do what is best for the city of San Jose and all of us who live here.

Reed, in my opinion, isn't up to "restoring pride" or "reforming" the culture at city hall, especially given his personality which is to make decisions, stick to them and attack anyone who dares to question his actions, even when his decisions are clearly questionable. Chavez, on the other hand, has not only apologized for some of her decisions, such as the last minute vote on the Grand Prix, she has vowed to make sure that she does not repeat the same mistake. No one is perfect, and it is no "flaw" in a personality to admit that you were wrong in a decision and would do things differently a second time, rather a more worrisome flaw is the personality that cannot, will not, see the mistakes in their judgment.

San Jose is a great city, a wonderful place to call home. We are one of the safest largest cities in the nation, we enjoy some of the best weather in the nation, and we are home to some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the country. It is my opinion that Chavez is the best candidate to lead our city forward, however, should Reed be elected mayor, my hope is that he reaches out to those who did not support him and show by example that we can and need to work together for the benefit of our city.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Listen to the Clinton endorsement here

Here's what Clinton has to say about the election in his radio advertisements:

http://www.cindychavez4mayor.com/sound/clintonspeech.mp3

President Clinton Endorses Cindy Chavez

Just when it looked like things were over, the Chavez campaign unleashed a secret weapon today. When President WIlliam Jefferson Clinton came into California yesterday for a Proposition 87 rally and fundraiser for the DCCC, he recorded a radio commercial endorsing San Jose Mayoral Candidate Cindy Chavez. As a New York resident and a national leader of the Democratic Party, this endorsement definitely raises some eyebrows.

Why would President Clinton even care about the SJ Mayor's race when the Democrats are in a position to try and win back Congress? Chavez and Reed are both Democrats, and no offense to CIndy...but she's no Monica. So then why would the most successful Democrat in recent years throw his name behind the underdog running against a Democrat in a local election?

Well aside from the fact that San Jose is the tenth largest city in the nation, Clinton legitimately believes that Cindy is the best for the job. Though advisors were hesitant to allow Clinton to give his endorsement because there were two Democrats running in the election, Clinton insisted that Cindy was a Clintonian Democrat through and through. Reed's Democrat Halloween costume couldn't stand up to Clinton, and Cindy's endorsement list has officially released it's 37th volume. Reed recently earned the endorsement of anonymous, which puts him with almost enough endorsements to fill up a post-it. This last minute surprise from the Chavez campaign might be too little too late with the election less than six days away. But, an endorsement from Clinton might be the spark needed to get some undecided voters or unintended voters to go out and vote for CIndy. One thing finally seems clear here, the Democratic leaders, either local or national, want CIndy in CIty Hall. Maybe it's time that this mother and wife step up to the plate and clean up the scandal and rumors that have been stifling City Hall.

Looking Forward

SV411 has declared victory today in its quest to get its candidate of choice, Chuck Reed, into City Hall. As the election season comes close to its conclusion, I have to wonder how SV411/Metro have any credibility whatsoever. The two publications have been relentless in their partial pursuit of destroying the Chavez campaign. That's not to say that San Jose Inside (or us, for that matter) have been exactly fair and balanced. But remember - we are bloggers. SV411/Metro are supposed to feature journalism. Why did they even announce that they were endorsing Chuck a couple weeks ago? They endorsed him the moment the primary ended. Really. Whatever side you fall on in this campaign, I hope that our readers put pressure on these sorry excuses for journalists. In this day and age, our city deserves better. Next time you pick up a Metro, flip to the back of it. Look at how the Metro makes its money. That piece of trash is a regular printed red-light district. Hookers, strippers, smut, etc. etc. pay their bills and yet somehow we give this publication the right to influence our opinions on values and ethics in City Hall. Remember the fear they tried to instill in voters about an alleged connection between Chavez and Indian gambling? Well, the very existence of these jokers is utterly dependent on the sex industry. But the website correctly points out that Chavez now trails Reed by a double digit margin. It is a little curious how large of a lead Reed has allegedly built when last than a month ago both candidates were within the margin of error. Polls schmolls, some might say. But the import of a 12 point lead can't be ignored. I'm going to bet that the Chavez campaign starts pulling out all the stops with what appears it might be its final Hail Mary drive. Yesterday's announcement that Reed used public money to send a staffer to a parochial educational institution, however, seems to have not stuck in the public consciousness. While certainly not on par with Reed's earlier reimbursement scandal, it is still surprising that there has been little uproar over Reed's most recently revealed gaffe. Maybe I'm too young to understand how people can swallow this. But to me, that separation between church and state is one of the most vital features of a contemporary democracy. Would the staffer been afforded the same privilege if she were Jewish? Buddhist? Hindu? Reed offered a number of justifications for the move. For one, he claimed that the expenditure of public money for religious education made his staffer a better person. While that may sound noble on its face, I think most of us know that that is complete bullshit. If an official took city money and used it for pilates, a history class, or even Oprah's book club, most would agree that it might help improve said official's personhood... but nobody would agree that that is appropriate. I don't think Mr. Reed is this stupid. His next justification is probably more sensical. Reed claims that the religious training will enable the staffer to better deal with Reed's constituents. I am not clear how or why religious training would help accomplish this objective in any way shape or form. Religion is not like language. Religion is not instrumental to constituent services. But even if it were, this is not the type of reality that our politicians should be catering to. Some may point to this miscue from Reed as an example of his lack of ethics. To me, I probably wouldn't take it that far. I don't think Reed intended to enlarge the bloated municipal bureaucracy by using city money for personal gain. I think he honestly believes that this was an appropriate expenditure. And that's what I see this upcoming election coming down to. Chuck Reed is a good guy. There's no two ways around it. I believe his campaign staff has turned him into something he's not. But I do sincerely believe that he is a good dude. But his values and his vision are outdated. Someone who thinks that this type of expenditure is appropriate --- that this practice of keeping religion integrating into the mainstream of our political practice is legit --- is not the type of leader I want. Remember how he voted when the city took a symbolic stance against the initiative requiring parental notification for abortions. Remember how he voted when asked to recognize same-sex marriages in SJ. Many spin these votes as old fashioned values. To me, that's a euphemism for conservativism. Next Tuesday, you can vote for the past. Or you can vote for the future. I'm going to vote for the candidate who wants to move our city forward. I'm going to vote for education, housing, and the environment.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reed Spends Public Money On Religious Education

***BREAKING***

The story is here at ABC.

The details are still coming out but as of now the story looks like Reed paid for a staffer to attend a religious institution to receive religious education.

"In 2003, she took seven classes at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary at
taxpayer expense. The classes included principals and approaches to Bible
teachings and worship and music in the faith community."


Chuck Reed's defense?

"Chuck Reed: 'The classes she took made her a better person, made her a better
employee and it was good for the city.' "


Really? Did it really help our city? And do we really want our tax dollars being spent on helping the fat bureaucracy become "better people"?

Come on, Chuck. This is ridiculous. It is getting more and more hilarious that Reed claims to be the fiscally responsible candidate.

Ever heard of the separation between church and state?

Why Do Irvine Developers Want Reed?

Lately there has been quite a buzz about Connecticut donations made to the Democratic Party. Some media outlets - like SV411 - have insinuated that the money was all coming from the same special interest. The evidence for this very serious allegation? That $1,000 was donated from a driver from this development company.

You can go ahead and add "classism" to the list of the prejudices maintained by SV411/Metro. BECAUSE OF COURSE A POOR DRIVER DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY OR SOPHISTICATION TO MAKE A POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION.

Right.

We talked about this earlier when we discussed how good ol' Dennis Fong has found every way imagineable to purchase this election. We talked about his siblings and his office managers making donations. If you buy that multiple donations coming from the same source must be a special interest attempting to circumvent finance restrictions, then look at Reed's hands as well. His are dirtier, in fact.

But a discussion about circumstantial evidence supporting accusations of evading campaign finance restrictions is not necessary right now. SV411 and the Reed campaign may like to sling mud this way - but we believe that it's just silly.

What we want to know is... why do Irvine developers care who wins for San Jose Mayor?

The Irvine Company President - sitting pretty in San Juan Capistrano - elected to donate to the Reed campaign. Interesting, no? Last I checked, that's about a 10 hour drive away. Maybe he was excited about the prospect of visiting our wonderful city and NOT seeing a Grand Prix or NOT seeing a musical at the SJ Rep? Maybe he just likes touring cities with naysayer mayors?

That may have been plausible - until we saw more and more donors from this corporation going to Reed. Tony Russo from El Dorado Hills, also an Irvine Company employee, maxed out to Reed as well. Who is Daniel Young? He is the VP of the Irvine Company and apparently HE'S A BIG CHUCK REED FAN AS WELL! Living nice and cozy in Coto de Caza - the city made famous for its centrality in Bravo's Real Housewives of Orange County, Young somehow was moved by Reed's campaign to bring transparency to SJ government and decided to max out to Chuck's campaign as well...?

Oh and Richard Lamprecht from the Irvine Company. Living in Laguna Niguel, Lamprecht must have been persuaded by Chuck's vision on education... not on securing development opportunities, right?

Maybe Chuck just has a positive relationship with the Irvine Company. Maybe he frequents their Spectrum in downtown.

But how do you explain the two contributions that came from the "TRC Companies" - more companies interested in development and centered in Irvine?

That's not all the $$$ coming from our friends in the OC! The Sares Regis Group - another Irvine based company interested in development - has also found quite a number of ways of getting the Reed campaign money.

Geoffrey Steck from Sares Regis maxed out. Oh, and SV411 --- his wife, Nancy Steck, also maxed out as well. (Maybe in your attempt to be investigative journalists you could read up on Steck and make unfounded assumptions based upon her economic status as well.) William Thormahlen also from the Irvine-based Sares Regis development company also donated to Reed. And, yes SV411, so did his wife Christine. She maxed out as well. These donors also live in Coto de Caza.

The list goes on and on.

My question is why do Irvine developers care so much who wins in SJ? Much has been smeared against Cindy regarding an alleged development agenda, but nobody has looked at these odd sources of donations for Chuck. What is on Chuck's agenda? His campaign has smeared Democrats for accepting Indian gaming money. The assumption underlying those negative attacks was that special interests don't donate without expectation of reciprocal services. Well, Chuck, using your same logic --- what is the Irvine Company going to get from you?