Politics

San Jose City Council To Be Overhauled In Tuesday’s Election

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Downtown San Jose with City Hall in the foreground. (CBS)

Downtown San Jose with City Hall in the foreground. (CBS)

SAN JOSE (BCN) — The composition of the San Jose’s City Council is in for a major change in Tuesday’s election with candidates vying for seats in five council districts, at least three of which will be represented by fresh faces.

City Council members Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, Pierluigi Oliverio, Rose Herrera and Sam Liccardo are running in the mayor’s race, vacating two positions on the city council.

 

Nguyen, who represents District 7, and District 3 Councilman Liccardo are giving up their seats in their efforts to become mayor.

Oliverio, of District 6 and Herrera, of District 8, are not up for re-election.

San Jose District 1 Councilman Pete Constant withdrew from the mayoral race earlier this year. He is not running again and seven candidates are vying for the chance to replace him on the city council.

The contest to replace Constant includes Richard McCoy, Susan Marsland, Paul Fong, Charles “Chappie” Jones, Tim Gildersleeve, Art Zimmerman and Bob Levy.

McCoy is the vice chair of the San Jose Senior Citizens Commission, who supports full medical coverage for disabled police and fire officers, services for the homeless and veterans and banning skateboard riding on city sidewalks to protect public safety.

Marsland, an educator and working mother, would like to find “solutions to bring jobs and economic development to our community, restore the safety of our streets and neighborhoods, and build our community from the bottom up,” according to her campaign website.

Fong, a former state assemblyman, seeks to retain police officers who have left the force amid budget cuts by the city, put in a two-tier pension system for public employees and restore funding for libraries, senior services and parks.

Jones, an ex-sales manager for Apple, Inc., supports continuing the pension reforms approved by city voters and would allocate the savings to police officers and reinstate the police burglary unit. He also advocates creating a livable wage to reduce crime and raise living standards.

Gildersleeve, a former data support employee at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, said he wants to focus on assisting the poor, disabled and elderly in San Jose, increasing the minimum wage, promoting pro-environment development policies and supporting small businesses over “big box” retail stores in the city.

Zimmerman, a long-time San Jose resident, intends to “bring a no-nonsense approach to city politics and to help our community.” His number one concern is public safety and halting the decline of police serving on the force.

Levy, former chairman of the San Jose Planning Commission and current chair of the San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission, also wants safer streets and will call for restoring the police force to 1,200 sworn officers and the burglary unit while endorsing a two-tier pension system.

In the District 3 election to replace Liccardo are candidates Mauricio Mejia, George Kleidon, Raul Peralez, John Hosmon, Don Gagliardi and Kathy Yamada Sutherland. The district includes downtown San Jose.

Mejia, a businessman, would push for hiring more police officers and a “no tolerance” policy toward street gang activity and changing an “anti-business culture” at City Hall to a customer-friendly one that could “attract companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to the downtown area.”

Kleidon, a teacher and soccer coach, would like to beef up the police force, create more after-school and youth programs as an alternative to gang membership, revitalize small businesses in the downtown and rid the area of vacant storefronts, drugs, prostitution and graffiti to draw business investors.

Peralez, a San Jose police officer, said he would call for more investments in public safety and youth services, new business development and less blight in downtown San Jose and for rebuilding relationships between the city leaders and residents in the district.

Hosmon, a businessman, said public safety is his top issue, as well as business development downtown, graffiti removal, city composting and enhancing community centers, libraries and outreach to the homeless.

Gagliardi, a businessman, supports hiring more police and adding new technology resources to aid police while favoring pension reform to keep the city solvent, maintaining a vibrant arts and culture scene, and fostering better neighborhoods through philanthropic donations, preserving libraries and addressing homelessness.

Yamada Sutherland, a mother who was once policy advisor to the former San Jose City Councilwoman Nancy Pyle, hopes to enhance public safety in San Jose with police, park rangers, code enforcement and gang prevention.  She also would like a faster planning process for new businesses, art, dance and other after-school programs and permanent homeless shelters.

In District 5, incumbent Councilman Xavier Campos is seeking re-election against educator Magdalena Carrasco, his opponent four years ago, and business consultant Aaron Resendez.

Councilman Campos, a former city planning commissioner and aide to former Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr., is touting accomplishments in his first term such as a gun buyback program, affordable housing and sports fields projects, $1 million in funding for gang suppression and instituting restrictions on pay day loans.

Carrasco, who worked for 10 years for the county Department of Family and Children’s Services, said she would put her experience as a counselor, volunteer elementary school teacher and mother of four children to help families, youths and seniors in the district.

Resendez is the president of the Story Road Business Association, a graduate of the San Jose police’s Citizen Police Academy and has been active in neighborhood associations and church organizations.

District 7’s candidates to replace out-going Councilwoman and Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, are Buu Thai, Tam Nguyen, Maya Esparza and Val Le.

In District 9, Councilman Donald Rocha is running for another term against Lois Wilco-Owens.

Rocha points to the council’s passage of a modest budget surplus, pension reform and various projects that created jobs while he has been in office.

Wilco-Owens mentions her experience as a licensed family therapist listening to thousands of people in emotional crises and that she has heard the frustrations residents have about break-ins and other crimes, the lack of law enforcement and roads in disrepair.

The candidate seeks to “restore general services, public safety, road improvement and the elements that add to our quality of life.”

If no candidate garners a majority vote, the two candidates with the most votes will face one other in a November run-off election.

 

© Copyright 2014 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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