Exclusive San Jose Mayoral Debate Analysis
There was a San Jose Mayoral debate this week hosted by the SVLG and moderated by the Merc’s Barb Marshman. We know, hardly anyone else knew about it either. This is the first debate between the candidates after a recent poll showed Dave Cortese leading the pack with Madison Nguyen in second and Oliverio and Liccardo in a virtual tie for third.
If you weren’t invited to the Fetch debate watch party or our roundtable discussion following the debate to discuss the winners, whiners and losers, here are the key takeaways:
It was a collegial affair that was about as exciting as clipping your toenails. Is this really the best San Jose can do?
All one has to do is watch the opening of the debate to see what Rose Herrera is all about. The Host, and bike ride buddy to Sam “Cheaties” Liccardo, Carl Guardino introduces the candidates in alphabetical order and asks them to take a seat on the stage. First up, Dave Cortese. Dave walks past Carl and sits in the furthest chair. Next up is Rose Herrera. She walks on stage and instead of going to the next furthest chair she plops down in the middle chair, front and center. Anyone who has worked with Rose knows she must be the center of attention…
Rose’s actual debate performance was good and she only made one mistake in our esteemed panel’s view (esteemed panel=interns). She talked about being the only candidate for Mayor that has run a business. Not true, Cortese has and still does run a business and Rose actually ran her business into the ground. Other than that one mistake she was cogent and did well.
Mistake free and folksy delivery of what he believes in. If he were running for Mayor of Technology City he would cruise to victory. He was smart, funny, and should be happy with his performance. BTW, he looks way better in a suit and tie and clean-shaven versus his infamous sweatpants and Abe Lincoln phase.
Oliverio opposes inclusionary housing and was articulate as to why. He is a big proponent of housing on transit corridors and wants San Jose to change its City Charter to a semi-strong Mayor format that would allow the Mayor to hire and fire the Planning Director and we presume other department heads that are not cutting it.
All in all, a good job.
Clearly, the adult in the room. He has improved since his 2006 Mayoral run where he was as wooden as Al Gore in many of the debates and forums.
Cortese explained his positions with examples of key votes he took such as the swing vote to approve the EIR for BART and his opposition to 90% pensions for public safety workers, he even rattled off the date of that vote (BTW, Chuck voted yes). When Liccardo tried to attack Dave over BART (the only attack of the entire debate) Cortese smacked him down without breaking a sweat.
Dave pointed out several times that San Jose is not as safe as it once was and that all one has to do is look at his opponents actions on the council as to why. Very good performance for Dave.
No mistakes with a crowd that he is working overdrive to please. Heavy emphasis on technology as a tool to improve city government and understands the jobs to housing imbalance must be addressed. He also said no development in Coyote and no more conversion of industrial land to housing.
Our roundtable experts all concluded that Sam tries too hard, he comes off as smarmy and is always looking for a quip or funny line instead of just talking from the heart.
Not a bad performance but for someone with ground to make up he should try to make more sharp distinctions with his opponents.
If her goal was to be likeable, then she succeeded. Her immigrant story is compelling and she did well. She politely disagreed with Oliverio over affordable inclusionary housing as she is a supporter and Oliverio is not but did it in a manner where she did not look mean.
Her only mistake was saying she opposes converting industrial land to housing because she has voted many times to do just that. She tripled down on Measure B and pension reform but did distance herself from Mayor Reed by saying her administration would make SJ more business friendly.
The only slight scuffle was over public safety and Measure B. Cortese said the council knew Measure B was illegal and went ahead with it anyway and that has led to hundreds of po-po bailing and made SJ neighborhoods less safe.
The other contenders defended their pension position by saying they did what they needed to do to curb rising pension costs. Other than that minor scuffle no other fireworks.
Runner up: Cortese
Honorable Mention: Oliverio
Onward to other happenings
Can MACSA ever turn its fortunes around? Well, certainly not if its leadership, past and present, can’t handle their finances. The Merc’s Joe Rodriguez reports that the troubled non-profit is taking that moniker way too seriously as it struggles to stay solvent.
Lame Duck Chuck Reed released his 2014 March Budget Message with a whimper yesterday. The Merc’s New Guy at City Hall covered it but it looked eerily like last year’s coverage from the Old Guy at City Hall so we linked to his 2013 March Budget Message story instead.
The countdown to the closure of DTSJ’s Safeway mini-store has started as Ceberus put down $9 billion to buy the struggling grocery chain.
Another arsonist in SJ? A man and woman were burned in a fire that is being looked at by arson investigators.
The SV Biz Journal tells us that traffic in SF and SJ shot up 23% last year, this means you spent a full week in traffic last year. It is an informative and depressing read.
San Jose keeps up its Don Quixote or Barney Fife (depending on who you talk to) quest for the Oakland A’s as it asks the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate its lawsuit against Major League Baseball that was recently tossed out by Judge Ronald Whyte last year.
Feeling ever confident with the latest legal wranglings over where his team will play in the future, A’s co-owner Lew Wolff wants to build a pop-up stadium for the team to play on a temporary basis.
Forbes tells us where the best and, well, yuckiest tech cafeterias are in Silicon Valley. See which tech companies provide its employees bowling alleys, video games, climbing walls, and fitness centers to keep them happy along with food that is a tad better in some locations.
SJ Inside provides some household tips to cut water consumption by 20% and reminds everyone that, duh, there’s a drought.
The South First Friday Art Walk in San Jose is tonight. Check TheSanJoseBlog for the deets.