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San Jose is recovering from the pandemic higher than many different city areas. Nonetheless, the town’s inhabitants has declined, workplace vacancies are up, and 1000’s of homeless folks proceed to battle on the streets.
Earlier than COVID, plans for San Jose’s future targeted on industrial workplace progress in an effort to faucet into Silicon Valley’s financial engine. However occasions have modified. Outdated priorities are taking up new urgency. It’s nonetheless about progress, however there’s extra emphasis on housing to make the town extra reasonably priced for employees, populate downtown to bolster the town’s financial system and shelter the unhoused.
San Jose wants leaders who see the town’s future promise and perceive its challenges. In a time of rising wants and dwindling assets, the second calls for a cautious, considerate method from metropolis leaders. Within the March 5 election, San Jose voters could have an opportunity to choose these leaders, together with the mayor and 5 of the ten metropolis councilmembers. Listed below are our suggestions.
Mayor – Mahan
If it feels as if San Jose residents simply voted for mayor, that’s as a result of they did simply 15 months in the past. In 2022, the race went to a November runoff wherein then-Metropolis Councilman Matt Mahan narrowly defeated labor-stalwart Cindy Chavez, a member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. That very same 12 months, voters additionally determined to maneuver future mayoral elections to coincide with presidential elections.
So right here we’re once more — one other San Jose mayoral election — however this time Mahan has solely token opposition. As he promised when he ran earlier than, Mahan has sought frequent floor with the labor-dominated council and located methods to collaborate in the perfect pursuits of metropolis residents. He additionally satisfied the council to undertake his 4 prime priorities — homelessness, public security, trash and blight, and financial improvement.
Mahan has been particularly relentless about homelessness. As he was beginning his mayoral time period final 12 months, greater than 4,000 folks have been residing on the town’s streets. He insists, accurately, that faster methods should be discovered to get extra folks indoors. Final 12 months, he solid a compromise with the council to allocate extra money from the town’s actual property switch tax for building of quick-build interim options reminiscent of tiny properties, resort rooms and secure parking websites somewhat than on everlasting housing that may take years to construct and price as a lot as $1 million a unit.
As extra tech staff work from their distant properties, metropolis officers should rethink their desires of a downtown lined with shiny industrial workplace area. So, Mahan is different methods to revitalize the center of San Jose. He sees a craving for social experiences, reminiscent of festivals, stay music, conferences and events. And he’s urgent for high-density residential tasks as a means to supply downtown foot visitors and convey again the town’s nightlife. It’s a imaginative and prescient that matches the post-pandemic actuality — a pivoting to fulfill the second.
Mahan’s single challenger is Tyrone Wade, a retired marriage and household disaster counselor who garnered lower than 3% of the vote when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2018 in opposition to Liccardo. Wade’s prime priorities embody addressing the homeless disaster, reforming the police division with higher coaching and pay, and advocating for a common, citywide well being plan. Wade lacks the expertise for such a demanding political workplace.
This leaves Mahan as the one credible candidate. This paper advisable him for mayor in 2022, and since then he has persistently labored to satisfy his marketing campaign guarantees and handle San Jose’s greatest issues. We consider his artistic imaginative and prescient can place the town for a post-pandemic future.
District 2 – Lopez
Incumbent Sergio Jimenez, finishing a second consecutive time period representing District 2 in South San Jose, is barred by the town’s time period limits legislation from searching for reelection.
4 candidates are vying to fill the seat. The standout is Joe Lopez, a retired sergeant who spent 35 years working for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Division and has a agency grasp of the problems difficult the town. He says he entered the race out of issues in regards to the metropolis’s homeless disaster, blight and crime.
Along with his legislation enforcement profession, Lopez, a 54-year resident of the town, brings a stable resume of neighborhood service, together with serving on the San Jose Human Providers Fee, the town’s Board of Truthful Marketing campaign and Political Practices and the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury. He’s additionally president of the Nationwide Latino Peace Officers Affiliation of Santa Clara County.
The opposite candidates within the race are Vanessa Sandoval, who’s Jiminez’s chief of employees; Pamela Campos, a coverage and program officer with the Low Revenue Funding Fund in San Francisco and a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Fee’s Coverage Advisory Council; and Babu Prasad, the proprietor of two small retail companies.
Sandoval and Campos are additionally well-versed on metropolis points, nevertheless it’s Lopez who’s greatest aligned with the mayor’s imaginative and prescient for the town. Lopez ran unsuccessfully for Metropolis Council in 2016. If he fares higher this time, he shall be a stable addition to San Jose’s governing board.
District 4 – Cohen
Councilmember David Cohen is working for reelection to this business-heavy district that features Alviso and far of North San Jose. Initially elected with the sturdy assist of labor, Cohen has confirmed to be a sensible and unbiased thinker on the council who deserves a second time period.
A chemical engineer and supervisor of the computational modeling group at Lam Analysis, which designs and builds merchandise for semiconductor manufacturing, Cohen served on the Berryessa Union College Board for 14 years earlier than he gained the council seat in 2020.
Cohen helps the conversion of downtown workplace area to housing if market situations will assist it. Regardless of his prior union assist, Cohen eyes with skepticism an anticipated labor push for particular metropolis rights for fast-food employees, preferring to look at for added actions by the state’s new quick meals council.
Cohen faces a problem from Kansen Chu, who additionally served on the Berryessa college board earlier than becoming a member of the Metropolis Council. Chu served two phrases on the council after which, in 2014, he gained election to the state Meeting the place he served three unremarkable phrases earlier than making an attempt to return to native politics in 2020.
It’s been politically downhill for him since. Chu was resoundingly defeated in his bid that 12 months for county Board of Supervisors. Two years later, he did not make the runoff in his try and win his Meeting seat again. Now, he’s making an attempt to return to the Metropolis Council however has did not make a compelling case for why he ought to unseat a stable incumbent.
Chu looks as if a politician searching for a spot to land. Cohen has served a stable first council time period and deserves one other.
District 6 – Mulcahy
4 candidates are searching for to interchange Councilmember Dev Davis, who should step down as a result of she has served two consecutive phrases. She represents a district on the western aspect of the town that features the Willow Glen and Rose Backyard neighborhoods.
The standout District 6 candidate is businessman and actual property investor Michael Mulcahy.
He’s managing accomplice for household firm SDS NexGen Companions, a San Jose-based actual property and funding agency, and former govt director at Youngsters’s Musical Theater San José. He has invested in Willow Glen properties and owns stakes in neighborhood eating places.
The opposite candidates are: Amatangelo (Angelo) Pasciuti, a retired Marine who just lately moved to San Jose and shortly glommed onto concepts of his firefighter-union backers with out individually vetting the plans; Alex Shoor, govt director of the pro-housing improvement group Catalyze SV who feels strongly that the town ought to prioritize constructing everlasting housing as a result of interim housing, whereas initially cheaper, might change into dearer in the long term; and Olivia Navarro, who serves as District 6’s Neighborhoods Commissioner and a union adviser however brings few concrete options to the town’s points.
As for Mulcahy, he agrees with Mahan on the necessity to use the town’s restricted assets for quick-build interim housing for the homeless. However he components firm with the mayor on the BART extension, saying the road ought to finish at Diridon Station with connections to mild rail. In different phrases, Mulcahy would carry an unbiased business-oriented perspective to the Metropolis Council.
District 8 – Bainiwal
The Metropolis Council final 12 months appointed Domingo Candelas to fill the emptiness created by Sylvia Arenas’ election to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Now, to maintain his seat, Candelas should stand for election within the Evergreen and Silver Creek neighborhoods’ District 8.
Candelas faces opposition from a San Jose police sergeant, a former govt assistant who says she’s working to appropriate “large corruption” in Santa Clara County, and a software program engineer supervisor who has been a pacesetter within the metropolis’s Sikh neighborhood.
The latter, Sukhdev Singh Bainiwal, is the strongest candidate within the area. His prime priorities embody public security, addressing homelessness and supporting small companies. He helps Mahan’s give attention to offering interim housing to get extra unhoused folks into fundamental shelters and linked to companies.
To assist revitalize downtown, he proposes subsidizing companies to maneuver to the world with companies reminiscent of mortgage packages. Bainiwal would additionally prefer to see sponsored housing for police, academics and firefighters. As for the deliberate BART extension to Santa Clara, he helps the road ending at Diridon Station, the place riders can then reap the benefits of Caltrain.
Bainiwal has lived within the space of District 8 for 46 years, since childhood. He’s a former member of the San Jose Airport Fee and serves as board director of the Sikh Gurdwara San Jose temple, one of many largest Sikh temples outdoors India.
To make certain, Candelas brings power from his years working as district director for Jim Beall when he was a state senator. And San Jose police sergeant Tam Truong is of course sturdy on public security, though much less adept at discovering options to different metropolis challenges.
Surinder Kaur Dhaliwal is the fourth candidate. When requested to clarify why she was working, she defined that she needs to wash up perceived county corruption. It was unclear why she felt serving on the Metropolis Council would assist her obtain that purpose.
For a considerate candidate with management expertise and deep roots locally, voters ought to assist Bainiwal.
District 10 – Batra
Mahan was midway via his Metropolis Council time period representing Almaden Valley’s District 10 when he was elected mayor in 2022. To fill the emptiness, the county appointed Arjun Batra, who voters ought to now assist for a full time period.
A former Intel Corp. govt, Batra has used his time on the council properly, creating an understanding of San Jose’s knottiest challenges. He helps Mahan’s emphasis on interim housing over constructing reasonably priced properties, reasoning that the present homeless disaster can not wait years for costly housing for a number of folks. Nevertheless, he warns that short-term housing brings its personal dangers, since working prices can spiral upward over time.
Batra additionally believes it’s time to re-examine the BART extension to Santa Clara, noting that the area and the mission’s prices have modified dramatically because the plan was designed. Lastly, he warns in opposition to changing high-vacancy workplace area into housing with out critical consideration.
Batra got here higher ready to debate the town’s challenges than his two opponents, George Casey, a land use lawyer and metropolis planning commissioner, and Lenka Wright, who has been a spokesperson for 5 cities over the previous 17 years, together with 5 years for San Jose.
Batra is the candidate prepared to handle the town’s advanced points. Voters in District 10 ought to give him a full time period on the Metropolis Council.