SANTA CLARA (KCBS/BCN) — Former San Jose Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez has won a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors with a huge lead over Teresa Avlarado, in Tuesday’s special election.

Chavez defeated Teresa Alvarado in a runoff election after the two received the most votes but fell short of a majority in June’s special election to replace disgraced former Supervisor George Shirakawa.

Chavez told KCBS that her top priority would be focusing on crime.

“It’s burglaries, it’s auto thefts, it’s violent crimes but people just don’t feel safe because there is so much graffiti in their communities now and, for them, they want to know how can the city of San Jose and the county start to work together,” she said.

Health care reform, Chavez said, was also a big issue for District 2 residents, which has the lowest income of the five districts.

“We have a lot of people, in this district in particular, that don’t have access to health insurance. And I think all of us that live in this county really understand how important Valley Medical Center is and the transition we make into health reform has to also protect that institution.”

Chavez received 11,814 votes, or 55.55 percent, and Alvarado received 9,455 votes, or 44.45 percent, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

She won the support of teachers and other public sector labor organizations. District 2 includes the County Government Center where the Board of Supervisors meet, all of downtown San Jose and much of East San Jose.

The Board of Supervisors approved the election to replace Shirakawa after he resigned March 1 in light of a 12-count criminal complaint filed that day by the district attorney’s office.

The office charged that Shirakawa obtained more than $130,000 in public and campaign funds for personal use and to gamble at casinos.

He later pleaded guilty to four felony counts of perjury, one felony count of misuse of public funds and seven misdemeanors for filing inaccurate campaign and government finance report but still has not been sentenced for the criminal convictions.

A swearing-in ceremony will be head for Chavez on Aug. 13.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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